Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Bagua training with teacher Mike

Yesterday, we had a 2 hours of "dynamic stretching" training. When you embark the journey of martial arts training, one key element is often missing in many clubs: that martial arts techniques only works if the body is strong and agile enough to yield it.
I have trained with many teachers, some better than others. All have good understanding of the techniques, but only few has the structure (car chassis) and the inner power of chi (the engine). Kung Fu would not work if only techniques were trained. So yesterday training with Mike Laoshi reminds us again how useful his lessons are, the exercises called basics are very advance for us. Just because our basics sucks. Yet, I can not find a different club who can give me such intense and worthwhile training.

The dynamic stretching we did is emphasized on the relaxation of the whole body. On the same time strength and agility building of the legs, as it is the legs that make most of the hard work in our daily life.

After the stretching the group was split in two: one group for Hsing Yi training and the second group for bagua. I was at the bagua training so I can't comment on the Hsing Yi training. But when I compare bagua with aikido training, the bagua is at first sight boring because students are expected to do only cicle walking for one or two years before training any locks at all. Whereas with aikido, locks are essential from the start. In the past, I have doubted the bagua training often as living in the contemporary times, one would hardly have any time at all to make circle walking for 2 years as a preparation for jointlocks etc...

How wrong I was! With each lesson, teacher Mike would give us small demos and strip the myth of bagua. Instead, we were shown very powerful ways of applying locks and throws using spiraling movements of the body. Many techniques remind me of aikido, it is that close!! But upon closer inspection, bagua is much richer in its movement and generation of power. It is not a surprise since bagua is an older martial form, and had time to mature by many great masters of the past. Second, although aikido seems to have as much external circular movement as bagua, it lacks the small internal circle that is driven by years of alignment training and proper usage of chi. These internal spiraling of the body takes years to develop but is exactly what makes bagua powerful. I am sure, if aikido (or any other martial arts) would be trained this way, it will make the art complete. 

So next week, we will be happily circle walk again...

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