Kung fu without forms

qwerty

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I've been thinking, although kung fu forms have been evolving for centuries, how are they to compete against grappling martial arts such as bjj and judo? Although there are several styles of kung fu which are designed for ground fighting each style has its own strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion the idea of forms is "rigid". Not as in physically rigid but mentally. I would believe that by separating the movements of the forms and using them freely would be much more efficient..... What do you think?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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You can replace form training by combo drills training.


Solo combo drills also exist in the grappling art training as well. When training partner is not available, the solo training can help you to "polish" your skill.

 
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clfsean

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Forms aren't used for fighting. They're drills put together, techniques that flow logically from one to another or at times, what somebody did to somebody else, etc... They're for intellectual learning & reference of a martial art. Physical learning comes with touching hands with people.
 
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qwerty

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Forms aren't used for fighting. They're drills put together, techniques that flow logically from one to another or at times, what somebody did to somebody else, etc... They're for intellectual learning & reference of a martial art. Physical learning comes with touching hands with people.
I see.... So forms are like a "mental fight simulation" to prepare martial artists against real opponents, but will they predict how an actual opponent will react?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I see.... So forms are like a "mental fight simulation" to prepare martial artists against real opponents, but will they predict how an actual opponent will react?
Form is like a book. A book may only have one ending whether it's happy ending or sad ending. But when you map that book into drills, it can have many different endings.

For example, a form may have the following combo:

- left side kick,
- right palm chop to the neck.

This combo will work when you throw a left side kick and your opponent uses right downward block and spins your body to your left. What if your opponent uses left downward block and spins your body to your right? You will need to modify the 2nd move of your combo as:

- left side kick,
- right spin back fist.

Will your form contain both cases? May be not. Should you train your combo drills in both cases? IMO, you should.
 
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qwerty

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Form is like a book. A book may only have one ending whether it's happy ending or sad ending. But when you map that book into drills, it can have many different endings.
That is an excellent explanation. Thank you.
 

kuniggety

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You can't ever predict how an opponent will react. Forms teach technique and train muscle memory. You shouldn't have to "think" about how to do a move and how to transition into the next. Many people learn the defense aspect of the form as they're learning it so that they can visualize the opponent. If you're not doing that, then it's basically a dance.
 

Xue Sheng

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I've been thinking, although kung fu forms have been evolving for centuries, how are they to compete against grappling martial arts such as bjj and judo? Although there are several styles of kung fu which are designed for ground fighting each style has its own strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion the idea of forms is "rigid". Not as in physically rigid but mentally. I would believe that by separating the movements of the forms and using them freely would be much more efficient..... What do you think?

Bruce Lee already said this and came up with Jeet Kune Do

Beyond that you have Sanda (Sanshou) which is pretty much Kung Fu (incorrect translation by the way) without forms and it is based on a lot of drills

Beyond that it has already been said that forms are not for fighting, but if you look at forms and do not see the myriad of applications to fighting your thinking is to rigid as it applies to forms
 

jks9199

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Forms serve different purposes. Some are vehicles to transmit the strategies and approaches of a style. Some are about exercise. Some are simply pretty sequences assembled for esthetic purposes. So, if we simply look at "fighting forms", those which encompass the tactics and principles and strategies of a style, you have to look at the form to see what the lesson is. Then, to use it, you can break those pieces out and practice them as drills or partner exercises. Probably clear as mud... Let's try an example.

A common basic form set across many styles consists of a block, and counterpunch. The specifics will depend on the style (one might use a knife hand block, another might step to a particular angle, the counterpunch varies, etc) but the underlying message of block and counter is the same. Take that into a drill, and you might have one person throw a punch at their partner, who blocks and counterpunches. As you practice it, the feed attack might vary, it might speed up, the attacker might protect themselves from the defense, etc. Eventually, the combination of form practice, drill, and other practice should result in your ability to respond to an attack without really thinking about it by positioning yourself, blocking or parrying, and striking back. (It works the same with 2 person forms, too... just the application is more apparent.)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Some solo drill/from are created directly from the application. When drill/form are created this way, it may not look pretty at all. If you try to use this kind of drill/form to compete in form competition, you will never win.

Here is an example. The nice thing about this approach is the "correct angle between you and your opponent" has already been built into the drill.

Application:


Solo drill:

 
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Flying Crane

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You don't need to like forms, and you don't need to practice them if that approach to training doesn't work for you. And you don't need to apologize for that.

I don't concern myself with competing against BJJ or judo. Especially the "competition" part of it. And I don't apologize for that, either.

I'm a kung fu guy and I find forms very useful in my training, but that's just me. But yeah, there are other things to do too.
 

yak sao

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The thing about forms is they are not the system. Rather, they contain the system. The goal then is not to master the form, but to master what is contained within the form.
To truly understand the system you are training in, it is important to study the forms. While it's true that forms teach technique and muscle memory, along with stamina, balance, flexibility, strength training, awareness, and many other things vitally important to being an effective fighter that are not coming to mind at the moment, let's leave that aside.
Something else more abstract is found in forms..they contain the principles of the system that your are training. To understand your system and ingrain it down into your core, you have to literally, make it a part of you. The movements have to flow out of you without conscious thought or effort. When this happens you start to see the DNA that links your forms together and you see the underlying principles that were put there for the diligent student to find.
Do you need forms to fight...nah, there are too many examples of good fighters down through the ages that didn't train forms. But form is an excellent resource, a treasure even, that has been handed down to us from our respective systems' ancestors.
I for one, value that treasure.
 

Hanzou

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I've been thinking, although kung fu forms have been evolving for centuries, how are they to compete against grappling martial arts such as bjj and judo? Although there are several styles of kung fu which are designed for ground fighting each style has its own strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion the idea of forms is "rigid". Not as in physically rigid but mentally. I would believe that by separating the movements of the forms and using them freely would be much more efficient..... What do you think?

That's why people roll in Bjj instead of doing forms. I feel that rolling develops your reactions and abilities far better than form practice does, because you're facing actual resistance, and have to respond to that resistance. Also people aren't correcting your form as if you're doing some sort of dance number. The resistance corrects your form for you, and even better, the resistance helps you determine what modifications to the form works with your body type.

As others have said, there are some modern KF arts that don't practice forms, and there other MAs that don't practice forms. You can always do what I did, and simply train in an art where forms and katas are nonexistent. Best decision I ever made.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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It can be a good challenge if you can create a form that the

- 1st move set up the 2nd move,
- 2nd move set up the 3rd move,
- ...
- n-1th move set up the nth move,

The higher the number n, the more it will challenge your MA knowledge. For example,

- you throw a left side kick,
- your opponent uses left downward block and spins your body to your right,
- you borrow your body spinning and right spin back fist at your opponent's head.
- your opponent drop his head and dodge your spin back fist,
- you then ...

If n < 10, I'll call it "combo drill". If n > 10, I will call it "form".
 
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tshadowchaser

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as I said in another thread if someone is correcting you and saying this works better or try this angle or placement of the arm/leg and you try it slowly to get the correct angle you doing the same thing people do in kata.
Do you just suddenly go full force hoping you may get it correct and never get corrected for mistakes or do you think about it after *(maybe when your home) and visualize it OPPS that part of kata
 
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qwerty

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It can be a good challenge if you can create a form that the

- 1st move set up the 2nd move,
- 2nd move set up the 3rd move,
- ...
- n-1th move set up the nth move,

The higher the number n, the more it will challenge your MA knowledge. For example,

- you throw a left side kick,
- your opponent uses left downward block and spins your body to your right,
- you borrow your body spinning and right spin back fist at your opponent's head.
- your opponent drop his head and dodge your spin back fist,
- you then ...

If n < 10, I'll call it "combo drill". If n > 10, I will call it "form".
Interesting idea
 

Kung Fu Wang

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do you think about it after *(maybe when your home) and visualize it OPPS that part of kata
When I walk by myself, I like to use my arm to do

1. left arm downward parry,
2. right arm upward comb hair,
3. left arm upward wrap.
4. right arm downward wrap.

If 2 moves combo (1 and 2 are one move, 3 and 4 are one move) can be called as form/kata, I'm doing form/kata at home.
 
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qwerty

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as I said in another thread if someone is correcting you and saying this works better or try this angle or placement of the arm/leg and you try it slowly to get the correct angle you doing the same thing people do in kata.
Do you just suddenly go full force hoping you may get it correct and never get corrected for mistakes or do you think about it after *(maybe when your home) and visualize it OPPS that part of kata
I will be honest. I don't study a particular martial art in lessons or anything but have been spending the past 3 years creating my own. It started off crude, if that's the right word. Then I began fine tuning it to increase efficiency, precision, power and adaptability. I have created a few really basic forms, (not based on brute force but precision) and I'm just wondering if I should carry on with forms or not. The idea of this is not just pure self-defense but also self control, patience and adaptability (to mental pressure). I'm 14 at the moment and plan on fine tuning it for quite a while. So far I have not had to use this as defence but to improve every day life. It's worked! But unfortunately my knowledge is limited to only what I know. Which is why I came up with this thread to observe how forms are used in martial arts.
 

Dinkydoo

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I will be honest. I don't study a particular martial art in lessons or anything but have been spending the past 3 years creating my own.

[...]

But unfortunately my knowledge is limited to only what I know.

Find an art you're interested in, go to a class.
 
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