Lost in translation?

11 Sep

Taijiquan’s push hands (推手), Wing Chun Kyuhn’s sticking hands (黐手), or Baguazhang’s Rou Shou (柔手); these things are clearly Chinese martial arts. But what about clinching, hand fighting, pummeling, wrestling? These are the things Nak Muay (Muay Thai boxers), wrestlers and MMA fighters do; surely they have no relationship to Chinese martial arts? Chinese martial arts require technique, skill, sensitivity, some would even say “qi” (?) while these other things? Perhaps often, language is the barrier and it is all just lost in translation?

Push hands or a wrestling duck under?

Push hands or a wrestling duck under?

We must cross the bridge (橋) to close the distance. Then we attack the arms, to open the doors (開門) and enter the in door area (內部門). At times, we must be flexible (柔). Other times we must be hard (剛). We must be continuous (連環). We must listen (聽) to respond. At times we yield (產). Other times we must attack (捅). Whatever you chose to call this, these are the essential principles.

jit choih deng jaangpek and jong combination

Chinese martial arts people are usually very familiar with the “bridge arm”, but usually see it as the elaborately shaped movements in their hand forms.

Crossing the bridge

Crossing the bridge

Parrying and absorbing punches to set up the neck ties, under hooks, over hooks and clinches used in Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is just as much “bridging” and “crossing the bridge”.

Seven Star Footing

Seven Star Footing

Chinese martial artists are used to seeing a posture in a hand set….

ankle pick 2

… and then (maybe) learning its application.

inside trip

They frequently don’t even know the exact same technique exists in a foreign martial art like Judo or in western wrestling.

捨身探海uchi 4

One strength of Chinese martial arts was that they found various practice skills (Gung) to improve the techniques in application. But over the years, often the Gung was preserved but not the application!

bicpts grip

As I have said before, often people are obsessed with the outward shape, and forget the intention. Or they simply want to believe what they do is unique, perhaps so unique as to be the “secret” of their teacher and their teacher only!

bicepts arm pummeling

My personal belief, we should focus on the PRINCIPLES… they are universal.

hand blocking throw cross bodycracking 2



One Response to “Lost in translation?”

  1. philippelavoie20@hotmail.com September 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    In my style of Gong Fu there is fives skill’s for fighting : Punching, Kicking, Trowing, Seize and Tumble. All of other concept are for helping you catching theses fives ones. My teacher say : keep it simple and real. Thank’s for your article!

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