What style do you practice? PART TWO

15 Jul

This is part two, you can find part one of this blog here (CLICK).

So, let’s review… Chinese martial art I am most associated with? Lama Pai I learned from the late Chan Tai San…… Chan Tai San also was noted for Choy Lay Fut and White Eyebrow, which inevitably all his students learned some of.

The very first Chinese martial art I ever studied was Dang Fong lineage Hung Ga. Because of this, I also learned some of Chan Tai-San’s village style Hung Kyuhn and some of his Hung Fut.

In between studying Hung Ga and meeting Chan Tai San, I was in Jeng Hsin Ping’s Shuai Jiao school. There, my senior James Chin taught many of the classes and incorporated elements of the Long Fist he had learned previously.

After Chan Tai San passed away, I went about a decade until I found another Chinese martial arts teacher who I would consider learning things from. Not surprisingly (to me at least) that was most Xingyi Quan and some Bagua Zhang.

Before I did ANY Chinese martial arts, I did Korean martial arts. Considering I received 2nd Dan black belts in both Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo and Sin Moo Hapkido, I’d say they are something I formally studied.

In my previous blog, I noted that I am ALL of these things, and I am also NONE. Simply put, I can not deny the influences, but I am not contained in any way to a single teacher, a single method or a single tradition. If “pressed” I’d say my Taekwondo gave me the foundation to learn the many kicking techniques in Chinese martial arts. Of course, I’d have to add that my training in contemporary Wushu also helped with these kicks. And I’ve done plenty of Muay Thai training to add to that mix.

My Hapkido training taught me to fall, that was VERY IMPORTANT (and ignored in most Chinese martial arts training). It helped me learn Shuai Jiao. And the join locks helped me learn the various Qin Na in all the methods I studied later, even though today I have abandoned 90% of traditional Qin Na as theoretical and not practical.

My Hung Ga training was an introduction to traditional format Chinese martial arts. However, the irony would be that ultimately I abandoned deep stances, much of the bridge focused fighting, the mysticism of “Qi Gong” and several other aspects of the training.

Shuai Jiao may be the Rosetta stone of my martial arts career. The Chang lineage disregarded “Qi” and “Qi Gong” and most of the mysticism. The short “forms” changed my view on forms practice. That the arm swings in Shuai Jiao translated into locks and throws prepared me to look at Chan Tai San’s method in a very different light. Without Shuai Jiao, I don’t think I would have completely appreciated Chan Tai San’s method.

Chan Tai San’s method, syncretic and grounded in his actual experience in fighting, is the foundation of what I do. It is the skeleton, the connective tissues and the internal organs. Everything else just “fleshes out” the method.

All the training I did in modern martial arts / mixed martial arts did not lead me away from Chinese martial arts. It gave me a different way to look at them. It gave me methods to drill them to make them “real”, to make them practical. It helped me make linkages and connections that otherwise would have been lost. In the same way, teaching people to fight, training fighters, gave me a deeper understanding of what I do and how it really works. That is, I did not train fighters to run a “fighting gym”. I did it as a scientific experiment.

You can check out the result, my “method”, online with COMPLETE ACCESS at https://new-york-san-da-martial-arts.teachable.com/p/nmr-online-curriculum

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