Shaolin Lian Huan Quan Application with Monkey Steals Peach

Damien

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I'm slowly but surely creating videos to help people understand Lian Huan Quan better. Even if you don't practice Shaolin, some of the applications are nice and can be incorporated into your training.

As one of the forms that most people training Shaolin learn first, I think it's important to help people with it. I met up with Will from the Monkey Steals Peach channel (check it out if you've not seen it, some great documentary videos on Chinese martial arts) for training a few times recently, and he said something that I think a lot of people probably think- "isn't Lian Huan Quan just a beginners form, things don't necessarily have an application to them". As a beginner form, I think it's been somewhat lumped in the same bucket as Wu Bu Quan.

Whilst it's true that it is used to teach beginners, it's actually quite an old form, and does contain plenty of good applications. One particular movement is a twisting roll and step from ma bu to ma bu, which is always taught as avoiding a punch and stepping in. I've heard this many times, but had never seen someone actually demonstrate against someone. Spoiler alert, if you take that at face value, it doesn't work. So I thought I'd make a video on how it is actually used in context.

 

Oily Dragon

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Another great video man.

Thanks for displaying the power of real footwork and the similarities between classic boxing and Quan fa. This gets lost in a lot of the online riff raff.
 
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Damien

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Another great video man.

Thanks for displaying the power of real footwork and the similarities between classic boxing and Quan fa. This gets lost in a lot of the online riff raff.
Thanks.

No problem! :) Yeah it's easy to make everything look large, elaborate and unfeasible, and then just end up doing pure boxing instead. The irony is that thinking about a lot of kung fu movements more like boxing you would be closer to its intended use.
 

Xue Sheng

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Great video. I see a lot of CMA folks working with a form, trying to figure out applications, or work with applications that simply do not work or are to complicated. I've done similar things with Xingyiquan and how an application works, with trial and research. It's great to see how your approach to this, thanks for the video
 

Oily Dragon

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Thanks.

No problem! :) Yeah it's easy to make everything look large, elaborate and unfeasible, and then just end up doing pure boxing instead. The irony is that thinking about a lot of kung fu movements more like boxing you would be closer to its intended use.
This simple fact of kung fu is lost on so many people.

The fist sets are there to unlock your own, personal, physical potential. Somebody who really trains their body this way, much like a dancer, becomes agile, light on their feet, and powerful. Their dexterity is apparent. Kung fu skill is obvious, not some hidden away thing. That's the big snake oil lie in the CMA scene, that these skills are secret knowledge. Not really, hasn't been that way for hundreds of years.

However it manifests (cooking, fighting, cleaning), it should look and sound and feel like skill. This is a big part of why the animal styles came about, animals fight in all these natural ways that somehow seem to defy physics or logic. And humans have basically lost this natural skill over our evolution, because we don't fight regularly. Most people need to train to fight, and to do that they have to maximize their physical potential. From there you get the spectrum of people who hobby, people who push themselves harder and harder, all the way to people who throw themselves into competition with confidence of someone who knows their skill level.

It's worth noting, this doesn't mean every kung fu master needs to be physically ripped. You just have to master (and show mastery) of your own body. Dancers do this all the time. So do fisherman. Your movements are definitely worthy, so thanks again.
 

Oily Dragon

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Great video. I see a lot of CMA folks working with a form, trying to figure out applications, or work with applications that simply do not work or are to complicated. I've done similar things with Xingyiquan and how an application works, with trial and research. It's great to see how your approach to this, thanks for the video
It's pretty rare to find someone who checks all the boxes.

[ ] physically skilled at the fist set (this is the long, hard part for most CMA fist sets)
[ ] understands the fighting principles of the style
[ ] has actually tested techniques in decent san da practice or beyond
 

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Thanks.

No problem! :) Yeah it's easy to make everything look large, elaborate and unfeasible, and then just end up doing pure boxing instead. The irony is that thinking about a lot of kung fu movements more like boxing you would be closer to its intended use.
My opinion is that this comes about because people are taught the form as the end-product of the exercise of learning kung fu. They lose sight of the goal of training: to develop fighting skills. Instead, the performance of choreography in the guise of a form becomes the goal. See, I can do this form from start to finish, that means I know kung fu!
But that isnt true at all.

Applications taken from a form are often very scene-specific and can represent options available under specific circumstances. That is helpful, but cannot take the place of a broader understanding of how the fundamental principles of movement work, and how that is used to deliver powerful techniques, and how and where it is appropriate to apply those techniques. That knowledge and skill comes from drilling the fundamentals and working them in a variety of partner drills that explore a wider range of possibilities. Then, a form can be useful as an additional training aid for purposes like conditioning, the ability to maintain structure and foundation while moving quickly and changing from one technique to another in a longer string, and for giving further examples of what is possible.

I believe that many schools skimp or fail to practice the fundamentals in a meaningful way, and go directly to the forms, with little or nothing else. Then when someone needs to fight, they dont really have a grasp on how to use what they have learned. They are stuck trying to figure out how they might apply some piece of the form to this guy who is swinging at their head, and they are lost. So they just randomly start to swing away and it turns into low-level, poorly-skilled boxing, failing to engage the strengths that kung fu offers and provides.

Editing to add an extra thought: jumping straight to forms and believing that means you are skilled in kung fu would be like buying a table saw and spending all day cutting up scrap wood, and believing that makes you a carpenter.
 
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Wing Woo Gar

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My opinion is that this comes about because people are taught the form as the end-product of the exercise of learning kung fu. They lose sight of the goal of training: to develop fighting skills. Instead, the performance of choreography in the guise of a form becomes the goal. See, I can do this form from start to finish, that means I know kung fu!
But that isnt true at all.

Applications taken from a form are often very scene-specific and can represent options available under specific circumstances. That is helpful, but cannot take the place of a broader understanding of how the fundamental principles of movement work, and how that is used to deliver powerful techniques, and how and where it is appropriate to apply those techniques. That knowledge and skill comes from drilling the fundamentals and working them in a variety of partner drills that explore a wider range of possibilities. Then, a form can be useful as an additional training aid for purposes like conditioning, the ability to maintain structure and foundation while moving quickly and changing from one technique to another in a longer string, and for giving further examples of what is possible.

I believe that many schools skimp or fail to practice the fundamentals in a meaningful way, and go directly to the forms, with little or nothing else. Then when someone needs to fight, they dont really have a grasp on how to use what they have learned. They are stuck trying to figure out how they might apply some piece of the form to this guy who is swinging at their head, and they are lost. So they just randomly start to swing away and it turns into low-level, poorly-skilled boxing, failing to engage the strengths that kung fu offers and provides.

Editing to add an extra thought: jumping straight to forms and believing that means you are skilled in kung fu would be like buying a table saw and spending all day cutting up scrap wood, and believing that makes you a carpenter.
I trained 17 hours a week for 2 years on nothing but fundamentals before I was invited to the advanced class and started learning forms. My teachers said there were stages to learning forms. Learn the form, dance the form, play the form, work the form. In any case, I think forms are the equivalent of other peoples music. Its great to be able to play a Led Zeppelin song but the goal should be to play your own music. I use the forms as examples but my expectation is not to have a bunch of cover band musicians, but rather jazz impresario artists that can actively choose to create music on the fly. I believe that is the true purpose of the forms. The fundamentals are analogous to scales and chords.
 

Xue Sheng

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My opinion is that this comes about because people are taught the form as the end-product of the exercise of learning kung fu. They lose sight of the goal of training: to develop fighting skills. Instead, the performance of choreography in the guise of a form becomes the goal. See, I can do this form from start to finish, that means I know kung fu!
But that isnt true at all.

Applications taken from a form are often very scene-specific and can represent options available under specific circumstances. That is helpful, but cannot take the place of a broader understanding of how the fundamental principles of movement work, and how that is used to deliver powerful techniques, and how and where it is appropriate to apply those techniques. That knowledge and skill comes from drilling the fundamentals and working them in a variety of partner drills that explore a wider range of possibilities. Then, a form can be useful as an additional training aid for purposes like conditioning, the ability to maintain structure and foundation while moving quickly and changing from one technique to another in a longer string, and for giving further examples of what is possible.

I believe that many schools skimp or fail to practice the fundamentals in a meaningful way, and go directly to the forms, with little or nothing else. Then when someone needs to fight, they dont really have a grasp on how to use what they have learned. They are stuck trying to figure out how they might apply some piece of the form to this guy who is swinging at their head, and they are lost. So they just randomly start to swing away and it turns into low-level, poorly-skilled boxing, failing to engage the strengths that kung fu offers and provides.

Editing to add an extra thought: jumping straight to forms and believing that means you are skilled in kung fu would be like buying a table saw and spending all day cutting up scrap wood, and believing that makes you a carpenter.

make that times 10 in Taijiquan. How many people know "fan through the back" can break an arm. or be a throw...... worse yet...how many want to know....most do not.

Saw a video once of a xingyiquan guy, who has a physical school, and does online teaching, do a video of Hengquan...demonstrate the application he was shown, then proceed to tell everyone why it does not work...... and he is right, it didn't work, but then he was applying it very VERY wrong. Have seen other demos of Hengquan showing how it is applied, that were different, but again, very VERY wrong.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Have seen other demos of Hengquan showing how it is applied,
The XingYi Heng Quan remined me one day my teacher was teaching his MA class in Chinese Cultural University. It was an outdoor class. One guy walked toward my teacher and asked if he could test his skill on my teacher. My teacher accepted. That guy used a foot sweep on my teacher's leading leg. My teacher lifted up his leg. The guy then changed his forward foot sweep into a tornado kick and tried to kick my teacher's head. While his body was in the air, my teacher used the Xing Yi Heng Quan to strike on his waist and knocked that guy's body to fly 45 degree upward. That was the only time in my life that I saw a punch can knock someone's body to fly 45 degree upward.

I didn't have much faith in Xing Yi Heng Quan before that day (boxing does have side punch), After that day, I did.

My teacher was 73 that year. For his old age and still accepted challange from a 20 years old was amazing. I was his teaching assistant that day. I saw the whole thing.
 
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Damien

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This simple fact of kung fu is lost on so many people.

The fist sets are there to unlock your own, personal, physical potential. Somebody who really trains their body this way, much like a dancer, becomes agile, light on their feet, and powerful. Their dexterity is apparent. Kung fu skill is obvious, not some hidden away thing. That's the big snake oil lie in the CMA scene, that these skills are secret knowledge. Not really, hasn't been that way for hundreds of years.

However it manifests (cooking, fighting, cleaning), it should look and sound and feel like skill. This is a big part of why the animal styles came about, animals fight in all these natural ways that somehow seem to defy physics or logic. And humans have basically lost this natural skill over our evolution, because we don't fight regularly. Most people need to train to fight, and to do that they have to maximize their physical potential. From there you get the spectrum of people who hobby, people who push themselves harder and harder, all the way to people who throw themselves into competition with confidence of someone who knows their skill level.

It's worth noting, this doesn't mean every kung fu master needs to be physically ripped. You just have to master (and show mastery) of your own body. Dancers do this all the time. So do fisherman. Your movements are definitely worthy, so thanks again.
I completely agree. People see old masters that don't look that impressive in forms, or fat men and say, how can they be a master?

The fact is that they developed skill and knowledge to pass that skill on. Just because your teacher can't do a tornado kick, doesn't mean he doesn't know how it is used or how to teach it to you.

That being said, if you want to maximise your ability to train, it certainly helps to be strong and fit! It's a good way to speed up the process by being able to train more.

I've been watching some videos by Napolean Blownapart recently about fake martial arts masters peddling their secrets. Quite amusing. The fact is that these days most masters out there would love to have dedicated students they could teach everything to. Without them their styles will die out, and the more people that know it the greater its chance of survival. Long gone are the days of needing to have an edge over the local bandits or the gym across the street.
 
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