Slow Movements, Fast Fighting

7starmantis

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In the May issue of Inside Kung-Fu magazine there was an article of taiji that was pretty interesting.

"Many people are skeptical that tai chi is a martial art. "How can anyone defend himslef in slow motion?" they ask. This is a reasonable question if people have only seen tai chi done in slow motion.
However, the perception is inaccurate, as tai chi dose have training methods that allow practitioners to move at exceptionally fast fighting speeds. Here are five examples of how practicing tai chi's slow movements translate into fighting exceptionally fast.
1. Tai Chi tones and relaxes the muscles. The more relaxed and toned muscles are, the faster they can move.
2. Tai Chi trains the central nervous system to be more effecient. The nerves the ngive strong signals to the muscles to move faster.
3. Slow-motion movement acts like a kind of weight on the muscles, which when removed, causes them to move faster.
4. Tai Chi gets your whole body movement coordinated. Efficently linking your waist and legs can really help catapult your hand speed.
5. In more advanced practices, you learn to seamlessly alternate between doing extremely slow and fast movements, first during solo forms, then push hands, and finally during sparring. Your chi controls your nerves and muscles like an electric light's dimmer switch, which can gradate light from almost total darkness (excruciating slow motion) to extreme brightness (lighting fast)."

I found it very interesting myself, any thoughts on the article?

7sm
 

pesilat

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7starmantis said:
In the May issue of Inside Kung-Fu magazine there was an article of taiji that was pretty interesting.

"Many people are skeptical that tai chi is a martial art. "How can anyone defend himslef in slow motion?" they ask. This is a reasonable question if people have only seen tai chi done in slow motion.
However, the perception is inaccurate, as tai chi dose have training methods that allow practitioners to move at exceptionally fast fighting speeds. Here are five examples of how practicing tai chi's slow movements translate into fighting exceptionally fast.
1. Tai Chi tones and relaxes the muscles. The more relaxed and toned muscles are, the faster they can move.
2. Tai Chi trains the central nervous system to be more effecient. The nerves the ngive strong signals to the muscles to move faster.
3. Slow-motion movement acts like a kind of weight on the muscles, which when removed, causes them to move faster.
4. Tai Chi gets your whole body movement coordinated. Efficently linking your waist and legs can really help catapult your hand speed.
5. In more advanced practices, you learn to seamlessly alternate between doing extremely slow and fast movements, first during solo forms, then push hands, and finally during sparring. Your chi controls your nerves and muscles like an electric light's dimmer switch, which can gradate light from almost total darkness (excruciating slow motion) to extreme brightness (lighting fast)."

I found it very interesting myself, any thoughts on the article?

7sm

Another thing about slo-mo training is that speed often hides sloppiness. By doing it slowly things like body mechanics, accuracy, positioning, balance, breathing, etc. can really be focused on and developed.

I think it's a fallacy to think that training slowly all the time can develop a good fighter. But I think slo-mo training is, in the case of Tai Chi, a good way to develop a solid foundation on which to build. It also allows Tai Chi instructors a handy filter. If a student comes in who is only interested in health aspects, then they never need to see any of the martial aspects. If a student comes in with an attitude problem then they will either get bored and leave or their attitude will adjust long before they get to any of the martial aspects.

I only trained in Tai Chi for a couple of months but I've always been a fan of slo-mo training to develop and hone the foundational attributes. As my primary instructor often says, "it must be developed before it can be tested." If it (what "it" is will vary depending on the topic at hand) is tested before it is developed then how is one to know whether a failure is due to a deficiency in "it" or due to a lack of proper development. Slo-mo training is one tool for proper development of attributes. Over time, speed and power can be increased over time - and often will do so naturally - without getting sloppy.

Mike
 

loki09789

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pesilat said:
Another thing about slo-mo training is that speed often hides sloppiness. By doing it slowly things like body mechanics, accuracy, positioning, balance, breathing, etc. can really be focused on and developed.

I think it's a fallacy to think that training slowly all the time can develop a good fighter. But I think slo-mo training is, in the case of Tai Chi, a good way to develop a solid foundation on which to build. Mike

A testimony to the legitimacy and validity of 'low and slow' as a really effective training tool is it's use in other performance/athletic/exercise venues. In my case, skating and hockey. I just started a few years ago, and believe you me, playing with guys/girls who where practically born on skates is humbling. I applied my martial arts training focus/discipline and the process of technique aquisition from my Kenpo background (Form, power, focus, speed) and have developed faster than many expected. This is not a "I am awesome" point as much as "Martial arts is the original and real sport/functional training" fitness program point. The 'low and slow' training approach is what made the difference because when I do drive hard during games I move better and don't waste as much energy as my fellow newbies tend to do. Not to mention the body awareness, balance, relaxation/mental control.... benefits of martial arts training.

The 'low and slow' approach really benefited my skating especially. By skating, not for speed, but for mechanical efficiency and technical mastery (talked FREQUENTLY about by instructors of power skating programs) with little or no power in the application, I could develop a more efficient stride. I even took a USA figure skating program with my son and fiance to get better and it was really good because the 'technique over power.'

I would even recommend this type of 'cross training' as a way to empty your cup and re-discover the 'newbie' mental state all over again. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of learning hockey and seeing how my martial arts training/philosophy and attitude can be applied to other venues. Next could be either an Irish Dance class or ballet even.... boy am I in touch with my Masculinity or am I whipped by a beautiful bride.... who knows, but I am having fun:)
 

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this is also referred to as the "martial arts approach" to swimming in Total Immersion by Terry McLaughlin.
 
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7starmantis

7starmantis

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pete said:
this is also referred to as the "martial arts approach" to swimming in Total Immersion by Terry McLaughlin.
Its funny, when used in that way, it is widely accepted, and then used for fighting it is so widely questioned.

7sm
 

MA-Caver

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My own studies with Tai Chi has helped at least develop a good form of movement with my other art. The benefits of doing TC goes without saying. Relaxing, soothing and just all around peaceful.
I've noticed that my own speed is pretty good and from reading this thread I can now see where it was helped.
Back to the park!

:asian:
 

Tony

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Just read all your posts and the information I read is very interesting. It makes me want to join a tai chi class! I think I could do with it for destressing. The Martial aspect I am not too concerned with but if it helps my current training then all the better. In Kung Fu we sometimes have to perform techniques really slowly and you notice how hard it is doing a kick really slow as opposed to really fast. But there aren't many Tai Chi classes in my local area unfortunately. I might have to drive 15 or 20 miles!
 
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vampyre_rat

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I had heard that BK Frantzis tried doing karate kata at tai chi speed and it really helped his control.

Why not try your forms really slowly, while trying to remain as relaxed and loose as possible. You may find it increases the control of your kicks, eventually.

A lot of what tai chi is about is getting rid of unnecessary tension. It can help your balance and let you know how stable you really are.

15-20 miles? My class is 33 miles from my flat! It is nearer my work though.
 

pesilat

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Tony said:
Just read all your posts and the information I read is very interesting. It makes me want to join a tai chi class! I think I could do with it for destressing. The Martial aspect I am not too concerned with but if it helps my current training then all the better. In Kung Fu we sometimes have to perform techniques really slowly and you notice how hard it is doing a kick really slow as opposed to really fast. But there aren't many Tai Chi classes in my local area unfortunately. I might have to drive 15 or 20 miles!

LOL. 15 or 20 miles! When I met my primary instructor, I lived 120 miles from him. For a year, I drove over every Friday night, trained with him on Saturday, then drove back on Monday morning to get to work. After a year, I quit my job, sold my trailer, and moved in with the woman I was dating - she only lived about 20 miles from my instructor (and she's my wife now).

Mike
 
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Scout_379

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Very creepy thing when you throw a punch during class and the instructor blocks it slowly, and easily, no matter how fast you do it.

Slow blocks, if timed right, are very effective and really put the attacker on edge. But only with damn good timing!
 

pesilat

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Empty Fist

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  1. [*]Tai Chi tones and relaxes the muscles. The more relaxed and toned muscles are, the faster they can move. Yes this is true. Tai Chi Chuan movements when executed fast can be compared to a whip being cracked.
    [*]Tai Chi trains the central nervous system to be more efficient. The nerves the give strong signals to the muscles to move faster. Tai Chi does help the central nervous system to become more efficient (calm).
    [*]Slow-motion movement acts like a kind of weight on the muscles, which when removed, causes them to move faster. Disagree to an extent. It definitely helps build up your leg muscles. If your upper body feels too heavy then your upper body is not relaxed and goes against one of the major principles of Tai Chi Chuan, "relaxation" or Sung.
    [*]Tai Chi gets your whole body movement coordinated. Efficiently linking your waist and legs can really help catapult your hand speed. More related to power than speed. Power comes first then speed.
    [*]In more advanced practices, you learn to seamlessly alternate between doing extremely slow and fast movements, first during solo forms, then push hands, and finally during sparring. Your chi controls your nerves and muscles like an electric light's dimmer switch, which can gradate light from almost total darkness (excruciating slow motion) to extreme brightness (lighting fast)." This is true especially if one practices push hands. Tai Chi Chuan applications are used at normal "practical" speed during push hands.
My comments are solely based on my own experiences. As always other views and comments are welcomed.

 
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Scout_379

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other than slow movements, these princples are common to all martial arts in my opinion
More related to power than speed. Power comes first then speed


I disagree, power comes as a result of speed.
 

pete

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Scout_379 said:
I disagree, power comes as a result of speed.
power, or force is mass x acceleration.

there is a difference between speed and acceleration, or between speed and quickness. speed will allow you to complete a task from start to end in less time. acceleration, or quickness is the time it takes to put something at an optimal speed, and in the case of martial power to hit a target.

now mass is not simply pure size or weight of the person, but just the mass of the pieces of that person contributing to the power. for example, if a guys got a massive left arm, but its just hanging there while he uses his right, well it ain't contributing to the power.

so, here's where tai chi comes in...

the concept of yin within yang, yang within yin provides offense within defense and defense within offense... quickness is built into technique.

proper body alignment and posture is practiced to arrive at whole body unity... one part moves, no part remains still. this allows more of a person's mass to contribute to the power.

yes, tai chi teaches us calm awareness, which through a calm mind and relaxed yet stucturally sound physical presence. we do not burden our muscles with tension which slows them down. nor, do we desensitize our nervous systems. this allows us to move with efficiency, and through much practice and proper instruction, will improve power through pure technique.

pete
 
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Empty Fist

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Scout_379 said:
other than slow movements, these princples are common to all martial arts in my opinion

I disagree, power comes as a result of speed.
One can execute a quick punch without any power. On the other hand one can execute a punch slowly with a lot of power. The key to power is stated in the following Tai Chi Chuan classic "power comes from the root of the feet, generated from the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers"
 
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Scout_379

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pete said:
power, or force is mass x acceleration...
pete
what he said, grade eleven physics all over again:erg:
Empty Fist said:
One can execute a quick punch without any power. On the other hand one can execute a punch slowly with a lot of power. The key to power is stated in the following Tai Chi Chuan classic "power comes from the root of the feet, generated from the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers"
How can you apply this to real time? Other than by pushes, how can a slow attack be useful? A slow, powerful punch to me sounds like a push rather than a strike.
(just asking...
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vampyre_rat

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power is not force.

Work is defined as the cumulative product of force and displacement.
Power is the rate at which work is done.

Power = Force x Velocity

A very slow punch with lots of force will not necessarily hurt, but a punch with lots of force over a very short distance with some speed will.

What it means is that you can (maybe) get really close before unleashing a punch that only travels a few inches but still knocks the guy over. All the power of a good tai chi push focused into one punch.

The taiji classic does not say that the power is generated slowly, just that it comes from the feet. You get your whole body behind it. Like any good boxer would.
 

BushidoUK

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Just to add my opinion as a karate-ka..
I find if I teach combinations e.g. jab, reverse punch, side kick more than likely students will do 3 fast techniques. However, if i teach them the 3 strikes, as 1 long flowing movement, and then over a period of time increase the speed, eventually the combination is one very fast technique.

Essentially if i want to teach people to do things fast, I teach them how to do it slow...
 
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