Secrecy in Kung Fu Today/ arrogance in MA's

Gerry Seymour

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For a beginner, learning to control position of their limb is a priority. To be able to do just this is sufficient reason to simply correct - principle behind it not needed. You are right in that how the limb gets there is important. In fact, the path the limb takes is just as important, if not more, as the end position. This is what gives the move function.

As for the instructor repeating the same ineffective rote correction to the struggling student - the instructor is simply unskilled. In this situation, it seems he is unable to recognize the problem's cause and/or teach that critical bridge that allows the technique to be done correctly (in accordance with principles). But knowing the principle without that bridge allowing it to be utilized is useless. They need to know how to move and what that feels like more than the underlying principle. Their body will understand the principle, even if the mind does not at this stage.

I hope I am expressing well enough to make this perhaps abstract, but IMO, important and valid point. Consider an eight year old gymnastics student doing a technique. Do they mentally understand the biophysical principles involved? They learn by doing, their coach refining their dismount technique, not with explanation of the various forces at work, but with suggestions like, "Cross your arms sooner" or, "Raise your right hand like you're scratching your head as you twist." The coach recognizing these more subtle points being the key, fulcrum or "pressure point" of the technique will allow the student to better execute. Of course, the coach's corrections are based on physical principles, but the eight year old doesn't know that, doesn't care and doesn't need to know them. They just enjoy the feeling of spinning correctly and sticking the landing. They feel how to do it correctly.

To more fully quote Parker, "To hear is to misunderstand, to feel is to know."
My post may have been unclear. The primary issue I was referring to is related to principles, but the principle neednt be spelled out. But it must be contained in the correction.
Heres a simple example. Ive seen an instructor correct a stand-up grappling technique by saying that foot should be over here. That leaves the student (beginner or otherwise) struggling to make it end up there. In my opinion, there are two elements missing: what likely caused the foot to end up in the wrong place (usually an incorrect weight shift), and why the placement matters (usually for structural or movement purposes). So the student moves the foot (after the technique is completed) with no understanding. The technique does contain important principles, but not the way the student is practicing it.
 

clfsean

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The first principle of the Zimen system is the "畾 cruelty". Even today, I still don't know how to map that principle into techniques.

Some principle is very abstract. It may just represent a "faith". The "cruelty" principle can be translated as, "If you don't intend to hurt your opponent badly, you should not fight him".
The first principle in the Lion's Roar family (Lama Tai, Hap Ga, Pak Hok Pai) is Chan ((畾) for Ruthlessness. Whatever it takes to get it done in practice. Obscure sometimes isn't physically translatable except in just doing. :)
 

clfsean

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Just to be the devil's advocate here for a minute, aside from me and maybe Sifu Wang, who else has gone through the public bai si ceremony with their teacher and is acknowledged as a disciple and in line for being a lineage holder? This pertains to the difference of indoor vs everyday student.
 

Flying Crane

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Just to be the devil's advocate here for a minute, aside from me and maybe Sifu Wang, who else has gone through the public bai si ceremony with their teacher and is acknowledged as a disciple and in line for being a lineage holder? This pertains to the difference of indoor vs everyday student.
I have not, although i suspect I would have if life circumstances hadn't thrown a couple curveballs at me. My classmates have, however, so I have had opportunity to see material that they practice and such. I cannot say if they have additional private sessions that I am unaware of, although scheduling did not permit me to attend all sessions. So what they work on when I am not there, I do not know. .
 

Xue Sheng

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Just to be the devil's advocate here for a minute, aside from me and maybe Sifu Wang, who else has gone through the public bai si ceremony with their teacher and is acknowledged as a disciple and in line for being a lineage holder? This pertains to the difference of indoor vs everyday student.

Nope, but was told by my Yang Shifu, one night after class, after our after class private push hands session, where he spent much of that time knocking to the floor, I was part of the lineage
 

dvcochran

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It seems to me Kung Fu schools and teachers still cloak themselves in secrecy.
Also, my experience with one School in the Poconos, Pa. Came off as cocky.
Why after many years involvement with martial arts, is this so?
I only got to green sash under Sifu Gray in TN. The environment and personality are what kept me from pursuing things farther. So yes, I have experienced what you mention. I do not have enough experience to speak beyond this.

However, I loved what I learned and seeing how much Kung Fu is grafted in to MDK TKD is a very cool thing.
 

Flying Crane

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Ill add a few more thoughts. What I see my classmates who are disciples working on, is forms that I have not learned. But they are very much in the flavor of those that I have learned.

Sifu was featured in an article in Inside Kung Fu magazine back in the early 1970s. In this article he talked about teachers who dont know the whole system, all the forms and such. He seemed to be critical of this.

Fast forward to the present day, and he has stated very clearly that all the forms are not needed. He even sometimes throws up his hands and says things like, why do you want all these forms? We have a bunch, and they all tend to be quite long. At any rate, I believe his position has changed over the years.

My opinion is this: forms are a tool that help you understand the concepts and principles upon which the system is built. They give you options and examples of what is possible, but neither define all that is possible nor all that is required. They are meant to open your eyes to possibilities, and then what you use and how you use it, is up to you.

You should not need 18 long forms to accomplish this. How many is necessary or appropriate will vary from person to person. But once the lessons have been learned and the concepts upon which the system is built are understood, you dont really need more forms. They might even get in the way as busy work. If you understand the system solidly after learning six or eight forms, you dont really have a need for a dozen more. If you have learned six or eight forms and are still clueless about how the system really works, then learning a dozen more is unlikely to help you. In that case, perhaps this system and this approach to training is a poor match for you, and you ought to consider training something else. At the same time, if you have those forms, they are valuable and useful, but if you dont learn them you arent really missing anything.

So in the end, I see the forms as a tool. I dont need to own every tool that exists, to build a table.
 

Flying Crane

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Nope, but was told by my Yang Shifu, one night after class, after our after class private push hands session, where he spent much of that time knocking to the floor, I was part of the lineage
I would say that all of us who are committed to our training, are part of the lineage. We have a place within the lineage, even though we are not official Lineage Holders.
 

Xue Sheng

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Ill add a few more thoughts. What I see my classmates who are disciples working on, is forms that I have not learned. But they are very much in the flavor of those that I have learned.

Sifu was featured in an article in Inside Kung Fu magazine back in the early 1970s. In this article he talked about teachers who dont know the whole system, all the forms and such. He seemed to be critical of this.

Fast forward to the present day, and he has stated very clearly that all the forms are not needed. He even sometimes throws up his hands and says things like, why do you want all these forms? We have a bunch, and they all tend to be quite long. At any rate, I believe his position has changed over the years.

My opinion is this: forms are a tool that help you understand the concepts and principles upon which the system is built. They give you options and examples of what is possible, but neither define all that is possible nor all that is required. They are meant to open your eyes to possibilities, and then what you use and how you use it, is up to you.

You should not need 18 long forms to accomplish this. How many is necessary or appropriate will vary from person to person. But once the lessons have been learned and the concepts upon which the system is built are understood, you dont really need more forms. They might even get in the way as busy work. If you understand the system solidly after learning six or eight forms, you dont really have a need for a dozen more. If you have learned six or eight forms and are still clueless about how the system really works, then learning a dozen more is unlikely to help you. In that case, perhaps this system and this approach to training is a poor match for you, and you ought to consider training something else. At the same time, if you have those forms, they are valuable and useful, but if you dont learn them you arent really missing anything.

So in the end, I see the forms as a tool. I dont need to own every tool that exists, to build a table.

I discovered over the years that my Yang Shifu changed one of the fast forms slightly and he had changed one of the Dao forms that I first learned, but later he put the things back in he took out. And although he learned them, there are forms he no longer teaches nor even sees a reason for.

As to Xingyiquan, Although I started to learn the 12 animal forms several years ago I came to the belief that there is so much in the 5 elements forms you don't really need much more, nor do you really have time to truly learn all the other forms. It can easily become forms collecting IMO.

After reading Di Guoyong's book I discovered there are a whole lot of old school things to the 5 elements that very few people train these days, I think mostly because they are hard, tedious and occasionally painful. And then after my brief training with Xuan Yun Zhou (Wudang Xingyi) my belief was reinforced. There is so much to the 5 elements that have been removed to make it easier and quicker to learn...and give you time for the 12 animals. bashi, and what can be copious weapons forms in xingyiquan.
 

clfsean

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I only got to green sash under Sifu Gray in TN. The environment and personality are what kept me from pursuing things farther. So yes, I have experienced what you mention. I do not have enough experience to speak beyond this.

However, I loved what I learned and seeing how much Kung Fu is grafted in to MDK TKD is a very cool thing.
When I learned MDK TKD back in the 80's, the "Kung Fu" still hadn't been made a big deal and was almost if not exactly non-existent. I've seen what MDK TKD does with their interpretation of CMA. They're better off sticking to the Shotokan or Shorin-ryu forms. ;)
 

clfsean

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The reason I asked that question is because as an "indoor" student, my training is different. I was invited in by my teacher, who previously was invited in by his teacher, etc...

The normal daily student is somebody who comes in looking for exercise or social event or movie wannabe fulfilling of ideation, etc... They're not getting the details hammered on the littlest things every time they move. They're not getting the complete drills, exercises, gongs, weapons, etc... due to the lack of commitment in learning, preserving, continuing and fighting. And this does include some "secrets" they don't get due to those facts as well.

There's nothing wrong with them and their choice for depth as it's what they want and all they want. If they want to go deeper, they see me work in the class with them on their curriculum and help with their training. They also see the level of my output as well. They are more than welcome to start working like me, show the interest in detail and depth.

But they don't. They don't see my one on one training. They're not entitled just because they pay tuition as well, and my tuition on top of that is well above and outside of theirs.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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The first principle of the Zimen system is the "畾 cruelty". Even today, I still don't know how to map that principle into techniques.

Some principle is very abstract. It may just represent a "faith". The "cruelty" principle can be translated as, "If you don't intend to hurt your opponent badly, you should not fight him".
My Sifu defined this as malicious intent.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I also think some of this is in how teaching is done. I've seen instructors correct position of a limb, without ever getting into how the limb got there (principles of movement, and the answer to how it should be corrected) or why it should be in that position. Without those ever being discussed, a lot of students will misunderstand principles. I've seen people struggle with the same technique over and over, getting the same rote correction. Then another instructor gives them a little bit of the principle explicitly, and they are quickly able to make the correction.

Of course, it's possible to err in the opposite direction. I sometimes explain too much, which can confuse some (not all) students.
I am guilty of being too wordy when I teach.
 

Oily Dragon

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Just to be the devil's advocate here for a minute, aside from me and maybe Sifu Wang, who else has gone through the public bai si ceremony with their teacher and is acknowledged as a disciple and in line for being a lineage holder? This pertains to the difference of indoor vs everyday student.
I'm a bai si disciple but it was a small, private affair. The pictures of the event are locked up inside Mount Rushmore, but the Vatican has a copy.
 

clfsean

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I'm a bai si disciple but it was a small, private affair. The pictures of the event are locked up inside Mount Rushmore, but the Vatican has a copy.
Nice! Mine was broadcast literally over two continents, plenty of pictures, etc... but there were reasons and it was public in class with all of students attending that day there.
 

Oily Dragon

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畾 in kung fu is from Zanshin (畾敹). Cruel? Probably.

The actual glyph is a composite of small bits of zan building up over time. Hence, kung fu. And aikido, karate, kendo, lots of other stuff.

Zanshin - Wikipedia
 

clfsean

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畾 in kung fu is from Zanshin (畾敹). Cruel? Probably.

The actual glyph is a composite of small bits of zan building up over time. Hence, kung fu. And aikido, karate, kendo, lots of other stuff.

Zanshin - Wikipedia
My guess is zanshin would come from Chan (cn) since Japanese katakana & kanji are based on or direct Chinese Hanzi.
 
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