Thai Style Checking vs Jin Ji Du Li

Damien

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So as I've mentioned elsewhere I recently started Muay Thai. One thing that jumped out at me is the foot position in the check- toes pulled back. This certainly makes sense, it tenses a lot of the muscles in the lower leg, reducing the potential for damage.

Now the question is why in a lot of Chinese martial arts do we see the position Jin Ji Du Li (Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg), which is sometimes used as a block, with the foot pointed? For those not familiar with the pose:
1646786773732.png


Ignore the arms. The leg can variously be positioned across your body, in front or to the side.

The position is used as a training exercise and as a way to transition into another stance or a kick, but it also appears explicitly as a stand alone move within forms.

Foot pointed helps with balance, but there must be more to it than this, there usually is a reason for specific postures, even though these have sometimes been forgotten by a lot of practitioners these days. It is occasionally used with toes pulled back, but this is usually explicitly as a sweep. So why block with the foot pointed? Or is there another application here that I've just not heard?

Ideas?
 

JowGaWolf

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So as I've mentioned elsewhere I recently started Muay Thai. One thing that jumped out at me is the foot position in the check- toes pulled back. This certainly makes sense, it tenses a lot of the muscles in the lower leg, reducing the potential for damage.

Now the question is why in a lot of Chinese martial arts do we see the position Jin Ji Du Li (Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg), which is sometimes used as a block, with the foot pointed? For those not familiar with the pose:
View attachment 28161

Ignore the arms. The leg can variously be positioned across your body, in front or to the side.

The position is used as a training exercise and as a way to transition into another stance or a kick, but it also appears explicitly as a stand alone move within forms.

Foot pointed helps with balance, but there must be more to it than this, there usually is a reason for specific postures, even though these have sometimes been forgotten by a lot of practitioners these days. It is occasionally used with toes pulled back, but this is usually explicitly as a sweep. So why block with the foot pointed? Or is there another application here that I've just not heard?

Ideas?
I have gist hand experience. Toes up for when they kick comes from the side. Toes down when the kick comes from the front. This comes from my round house kick that will either target the side of the leg or the front of the leg.

For clarity. Checking with the front of the leg= Toes down. With side of leg Toes up.
 

Oily Dragon

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So as I've mentioned elsewhere I recently started Muay Thai. One thing that jumped out at me is the foot position in the check- toes pulled back. This certainly makes sense, it tenses a lot of the muscles in the lower leg, reducing the potential for damage.

Now the question is why in a lot of Chinese martial arts do we see the position Jin Ji Du Li (Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg), which is sometimes used as a block, with the foot pointed? For those not familiar with the pose:
View attachment 28161

Ignore the arms. The leg can variously be positioned across your body, in front or to the side.

The position is used as a training exercise and as a way to transition into another stance or a kick, but it also appears explicitly as a stand alone move within forms.

Foot pointed helps with balance, but there must be more to it than this, there usually is a reason for specific postures, even though these have sometimes been forgotten by a lot of practitioners these days. It is occasionally used with toes pulled back, but this is usually explicitly as a sweep. So why block with the foot pointed? Or is there another application here that I've just not heard?

Ideas?
This is a good one. The technique/stance can be found in at least a half dozen traditional Asian arts, and you're right, there's a lot of different techniques that center around it.

In Tai Chi it's used as a kick setup. In Hung Ga it's used as a check, a kick setup, and a leg trap.

Based on your question, I'm thinking the leg trap is what you're wondering about, because it's a standard San Shou tactic, trap the kicking leg with either an arm or leg hook, then throw. The toes are turned in because of the hooking foot.
 

jayoliver00

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So as I've mentioned elsewhere I recently started Muay Thai. One thing that jumped out at me is the foot position in the check- toes pulled back. This certainly makes sense, it tenses a lot of the muscles in the lower leg, reducing the potential for damage.

I wouldn't flex my toes down like that as that can hyperextend the ankles if you get kicked hard around the instep; giving you the similar effects of a straight ankle lock => sprained ankle.

I like to flex my foot upward to tighten the muscles & brace for the kick better. Downside is that it can get hooked w/a feint kick => swept, but rare.
 

JowGaWolf

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I did a leg check toe down against a kick to the side of my leg and the kick caught my foot
I wouldn't flex my toes down like that as that can hyperextend the ankles if you get kicked hard around the instep; giving you the similar effects of a straight ankle lock => sprained ankle.
Yep been there done it. Worse way to take a round house kicking coming to the side of the legs. If the round house is coming towards the front of body, then you won't hyper-extend anything. It also causes the knee of the checking leg to be too mobile.

I'm with Oily on this one. There are other applications for it. (toe pointing down)
 
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Damien

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I wouldn't flex my toes down like that as that can hyperextend the ankles if you get kicked hard around the instep; giving you the similar effects of a straight ankle lock => sprained ankle.

I like to flex my foot upward to tighten the muscles & brace for the kick better. Downside is that it can get hooked w/a feint kick => swept, but rare.
That's what I mean toes pulled up towards the shin for the check
 
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Damien

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This is a good one. The technique/stance can be found in at least a half dozen traditional Asian arts, and you're right, there's a lot of different techniques that center around it.

In Tai Chi it's used as a kick setup. In Hung Ga it's used as a check, a kick setup, and a leg trap.

Based on your question, I'm thinking the leg trap is what you're wondering about, because it's a standard San Shou tactic, trap the kicking leg with either an arm or leg hook, then throw. The toes are turned in because of the hooking foot.
Generally I sweep with the foot pulled back to the shin and toes turned in, in a circular motion (not allowed in Muay Thai, boo).

Sweeping straight back and having the foot pointed down could potentially give you that extra length to increase the chance of keeping the leg trapped a little longer I guess. Would probably have to be a very close range technique to have enough power though.

I also wonder if it's just one of those positions that has been mis-standardised over the years, so that multiple techniques have been grouped together and you end up seeing the wrong version used. Trying to do front arm strikes when turning from ma bu to gong bu is a good example of this, you pull back the same shoulder you're trying to punch with, you can do it, but it's not the best mechanics.
 

JowGaWolf

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Generally I sweep with the foot pulled back to the shin and toes turned in, in a circular motion (not allowed in Muay Thai, boo).
ha ha ha. you sound like me. My brother invited me to spar at his gym with some of the people there. I asked him what things I would be allowed to do. The first one was the sweep. He told me that type of sweep wasn't allowed. Like tons of what I do wouldn't be allowed. At that point I just might as well take a Muay Thai class lol.

I also wonder if it's just one of those positions that has been mis-standardised over the years, so that multiple techniques have been grouped together and you end up seeing the wrong version used.
Probably. It wouldn't be the first example of it.

Trying to do front arm strikes when turning from ma bu to gong bu is a good example of this, you pull back the same shoulder you're trying to punch with, you can do it, but it's not the best mechanics.
There's a trick to this. It requires the turning and the forward movement of the body. If you release the punch at this moment where the body pushes the weight forward, then both punches will be strong. Like a lot of CMA it's definitely not the easiest mechanics. Double punches are strange any way. My theory about them is that they one you are talking about is a close range technique. When I train my son I use it as a counter to a bear hug from behind. When used this way it tosses the person from your back. The punch is used to help break the grip.


If someone grabs you like this, then they are connected to your core which is good because you can easily move them as you move your core. The stronger they hold on, the better. Turn into gong bu bu by using your core. The extended leg will assist in interfering with you attackers footwork. I will break his root and right about that time, his brain will freak out and make regaining balance the main priority, which is also around the time the double punch takes advantage of the brain switching from holding on to not falling. I can do the do the double punch but I like the grappling part of it better. My personal opinion is that it's more practical then what is shown in that self defense video. If your core is really strong then that guy has no.

This is probably a better video to visualize where you can turn into gong bu. If not I'll try to get it on camera if I can remember.
 
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Damien

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ha ha ha. you sound like me. My brother invited me to spar at his gym with some of the people there. I asked him what things I would be allowed to do. The first one was the sweep. He told me that type of sweep wasn't allowed. Like tons of what I do wouldn't be allowed. At that point I just might as well take a Muay Thai class lol.
Haha, yep, sounds about right. When I first started looking at the rules I was like "can I do any of my favourite moves?!"

There's a trick to this. It requires the turning and the forward movement of the body. If you release the punch at this moment where the body pushes the weight forward, then both punches will be strong. Like a lot of CMA it's definitely not the easiest mechanics. Double punches are strange any way. My theory about them is that they one you are talking about is a close range technique. When I train my son I use it as a counter to a bear hug from behind. When used this way it tosses the person from your back. The punch is used to help break the grip.
Yeah I'm aware of how you can get power in it, it's just an odd one. Certainly there are uses for it, but in many cases it makes far more sense to advance the lead shoulder and step in with a front arm strike, like you would with a jab. In older versions of Shaolin forms you see the distinction between Gong Bu and Yao Bu, the former for front arm strikes and the latter for rear arm strikes. These days most styles just use a long Yao Bu, call it Gong Bu and then attack in it with either arm! Zhui Feng Gan Yue Dao is a great example of the distinction, you get long lunges with a deep bend in the front knee (the bow) when you step with the same foot you hold the dao in, and tight twists when it is the rear hand. Ma Bu only appears before the rear arm strikes, not the front arm.

Funny you should post a video from KungFu.Life, I actually teach for them and help run the business side of things! On top of my own stuff, cus I'm clearly not busy enough! Shifu Yan Xin was my first instructor many a moon ago.

I feel like the double punch makes slightly more sense from a bio mechanics point of view, you can really roll the shoulders like when digging with a pick to get power, doesn't work so well with the front arm alone. Another way to use the front arm turning into Gong Bu (or Yao Bu depending on how you want to use the terminology....) is to actually hit across, like you're scraping your knuckles across the opponent, rather than punching in.

One of my big interests is understanding why we do things the way we do and how that has changed and why. The version of Da Tong Bei Quan I teach for KungFu.Life uses the ma bu to "gong bu" front arm punch at the start. It's pretty much the standard version most people do these days. Another version with some slight variations I know uses the crosswards knuckle scrape. I'm currently doing a deep dive on an older version from out in the villages around Deng Feng another one of my teachers picked up. It uses the lunge and some very different mechanics. The structure of the form is similar to what most people practice these days, plus or minus a few moves, and its really interesting to see how moves have morphed. You can usually see why; it's simpler or certain mechanics have been prioritised over others. I teach my private clients a version that closely follows the modern structure, but replaces some of the moves which I feel have been over simplified and don't really make sense from an application point of view, or biomechanically anymore with those from the older version.

Anyway, you got me quite off topic there! 不
 

Oily Dragon

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Generally I sweep with the foot pulled back to the shin and toes turned in, in a circular motion (not allowed in Muay Thai, boo).

Sweeping straight back and having the foot pointed down could potentially give you that extra length to increase the chance of keeping the leg trapped a little longer I guess. Would probably have to be a very close range technique to have enough power though.

I also wonder if it's just one of those positions that has been mis-standardised over the years, so that multiple techniques have been grouped together and you end up seeing the wrong version used. Trying to do front arm strikes when turning from ma bu to gong bu is a good example of this, you pull back the same shoulder you're trying to punch with, you can do it, but it's not the best mechanics.
Right, toes turned in in a circular motion is like the Hung Kuen hook (first couple of fist sets), it's also found throughout Tan Tui forms. It can be done toes in, sort of in, or sort of down, or straight down whatever it takes to hook a particular incoming leg. That's what seems to differentiate.

Toes down down? Nothing wrong with that. Whatever, this dude is just chilling in a garden.

But like you said, the top part is another thing altogether. Sun and Moon, it definitely goes with Gum Gai Duk Lop Ma (函擐). Also, Nasty Rooster (芷). Good stuff.

1646801912191.png
 

Oily Dragon

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This might also help.

Taming Tiger basic stepping drills. Toes down, because this is just learning footwork.

1646802503222.png


Tiger Crane kick setups, toes turned in a little more for defense, kicking.

1646803122145.png


It's impossible to see from just the stills, but there are intermediate leg hooks in these fist sets that can't be illustrated in stills. It's the glue between the pictures that really matters.
 

JowGaWolf

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but in many cases it makes far more sense to advance the lead shoulder and step in with a front arm strike, like you would with a jab.
You are right about that, but I guess it wouldn't be the same unless some crazy monkey stuff wasn't coming at you lol.
Funny you should post a video from KungFu.Life, I actually teach for them and help run the business side of things! On top of my own stuff, cus I'm clearly not busy enough! Shifu Yan Xin was my first instructor many a moon ago.
Nice. I like the videos. It has the right information about it and presents a practical image of Kung Fu.

. Another way to use the front arm turning into Gong Bu (or Yao Bu depending on how you want to use the terminology....) is to actually hit across, like you're scraping your knuckles across the opponent, rather than punching in.
This sound similar to how I power my Jow Ga wheel strikes.

The version of Da Tong Bei Quan I teach for KungFu.Life uses the ma bu to "gong bu" front arm punch at the start. It's pretty much the standard version most people do these days.
I took a look at this and it just made me feel really tired lol.
Anyway, you got me quite off topic there! 不
But that was a good derail. Good info in your post.
 

Martial D

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I have gist hand experience. Toes up for when they kick comes from the side. Toes down when the kick comes from the front. This comes from my round house kick that will either target the side of the leg or the front of the leg.

For clarity. Checking with the front of the leg= Toes down. With side of leg Toes up.
Checking a kick with the side of your leg is also known as getting kicked in the calf

Ouch.
 

Oily Dragon

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Checking a kick with the side of your leg is also known as getting kicked in the calf

Ouch.
It's pretty standard in Muay Thai to use the shin and calf to deflect kicks. In San Shou you try to catch kicks, which sometimes fails and becomes a check.

Either way it hurts but a lot less than getting kicked in your liver.
 

Martial D

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It's pretty standard in Muay Thai to use the shin and calf to deflect kicks. In San Shou you try to catch kicks, which sometimes fails and becomes a check.

Either way it hurts but a lot less than getting kicked in your liver.
The shin. Yes. The side of the calf.. definitely not. That's a target.
 

Oily Dragon

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The shin. Yes. The side of the calf.. definitely not. That's a target.
I agree, any muscle really. Though in both arts, even the side of the calf is conditioned for impact, just in case. In a lot of cases of you improperly check a kick with your calf, you're going on your butt.

Worst bruise I ever got in my life (bowling ball size) was from a Thai style low kick I checked with my thigh. That sucker stuck around a while.
 
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jayoliver00

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Haha, yep, sounds about right. When I first started looking at the rules I was like "can I do any of my favourite moves?!"

Usually when we have open sparring, dudes from other standup striking styles usually get beat by Muay Thai's clinch work, if they've never trained it before. And I'm wearing thick, MMA knee pads to throw knees to the body only.
 

Martial D

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I agree, any muscle really. Though in both arts, even the side of the calf is conditioned for impact, just in case. In a lot of cases of you improperly check a kick with your calf, you're going on your butt.

Worst bruise I ever got in my life (bowling ball size) was from a Thai style low kick I checked with my thigh. That sucker stuck around a while.
You can check with the outside of the thigh by leaning into it. It's a technique I learned while doing Dutch style mt. It still hurts a lot though, but so does checking with the shin.
 

Oily Dragon

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Usually when we have open sparring, dudes from other standup striking styles usually get beat by Muay Thai's clinch work, if they've never trained it before. And I'm wearing thick, MMA knee pads to throw knees to the body only.
NO such thing, "Muay Thai's clinch work".

My clinch work is not that bad. That's because I'm more worried about being thrown, than being kicked. Can you dig that?
 

Oily Dragon

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You can check with the outside of the thigh by leaning into it. It's a technique I learned while doing Dutch style mt. It still hurts a lot though, but so does checking with the shin.
The only Dutch kickboxer I know is totally broken, inside and out. A lot of it came from competing, the rest came later.
 
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