To practise Standing Qigong is to practise what you should aim to feel in every moving tai chi posture. What you’re intending to achieve with standing qigong isn’t exclusive to qigong, it’s part and parcel of tai chi.The problem with tai chi, of course, is that you’re moving, which makes it very difficult to feel those physical alignments and sensations. Those feelings of internal connection and relaxation, of simultaneous solidity yet openness within the body, of calmness, and of ‘Peng’, are hard to find whilst shifting the weight from one foot to another, extending and rotating arms or legs, being conscious of posture, turning the body, and leading the whole event with your intention.
When your system starts to fight itself. This is partly why there’s so much emphasis on relaxation in tai chi. If you’re tense you cannot connect your body together efficiently, nor can you sink your qi; in effect your body is an out of control solar system, an analogue clock with a loose cog, a society undergoing a revolution, or a city’s plumbing system with worn out joints in the pipes. In effect you start fighting yourself, as though you’re trying to chew your own teeth.
Feeling. Everything has to work together, which is why it’s necessary to feel what’s going on in your body. You don’t have to understand the anatomy and physiology, although that also can help to a certain extent, but feeling what is going on is essential. You therefore need to be aware of how you’re holding your spine, the position and angle of your pelvis, how your feet are planted, what you’re doing with your neck, your shoulders, knees … and so on. Nothing is left out of the mix.
The ideal personal commune. The concept of standing qigong is that you train your body so that it works as a collective. One part doesn’t work harder than any other part. This is like dividing the effort equally amongst all component parts, and the result is that “the whole becomes greater than the sum of the individual parts”. In other words, in this case, the resultant energy of the whole is greater.
You’ve got time to feel. The advantage of Standing Qigong is that it’s static. You’ve got time to think and feel (although, when they start, most people don’t like this feeling!). The problem with trying to apply this concept to tai chi is that tai chi constantly moves, and you can’t focus on the internal balance of the ever-changing posture shifts so easily. On the positive side though, for many people the constant movement is preferable because they don’t have to focus on the discomfort of their body, as the body is never in one position long enough to experience it!
So what do you do in tai chi? Ultimately you focus on the movement of your centre, (your core, your Dantien) whilst moving, so that the actions of your torso and limbs come about as a direct result of the movement of your centre, guided by your intention. This way, your core appears to move very little. You focus on how your centre is rotating, rolling, and rising & falling, and how those movements are manifested in the movements of the limbs; i.e. the spokes and rim of the wheel are operated entirely by the action of the hub.
To do this though, you have to know the tai chi moves very well, in fact they have to be almost second nature, which is why you practise over and over and over and …
James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and qigong in both London and in Kent. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan on one Saturday a month.
CONTACTS: http://www.taiji.co.uk http://www.qigonghealth.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 07836-710281 or 020-8883 3308
5 Top BJJ Techniques that a Kung Fu Student Must Know
Brazilian Jiu jitsu (commonly known BJJ) made a name for itself on the world stage after the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993, where a skinny Royce Gracie defeated three bigger and stronger opponents using only the techniques of the art taught to him by his father, Helio Gracie.
It seemed like the promise of martial arts – that a weaker person could beat a stronger one – had finally been fulfilled. Since then BJJ has grown at an astounding rate, stepping out of the shadow of mixed martial arts, with pure BJJ competitions becoming increasingly popular all over the world, drawing pay-per-view audiences and high-level athletes.
While BJJ is known for its groundwork (which puts off a lot of people who are more interested in self-defence) it does contain a lot of standing locking and throwing techniques that are very similar to those found in Chinese martial arts like Kung Fu, Taijiquan and Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling). What’s more, these standing techniques don’t require you to go to the ground afterwards, if you don’t want to. It therefore makes sense for a student of these Chinese arts to study the standing techniques of BJJ, to see how it applies them and what the differences are.
So, here are the 5 standing BJJ techniques that we think are worth your time investigating:
5 Top BJJ Techniques
THE FOOT SWEEP (ASHI HARIA)
The foot sweep is a bread-and-butter technique in Chinese martial arts, especially in Shuai Jiao, and it’s used just as often in BJJ in competition. In its simplest application it involves blocking your opponent’s foot, or shin, with your foot while turning their upper body, so they fall. Of course, grappling arts make use of a Gi, or jacket, which makes the foot sweep easier to accomplish, however, a good foot sweep is often simply down to correct timing. In Yang style Taijiquan the sequence known as ‘Turn body to swing over lotus’ is the most transferable to footsweeps and it’s a simple matter to make the necessary adaptations shown in this foot sweep tutorial:
THE SHOULDER THROW (IPPON SEONAGE)
The shoulder throw is a classic technique from Judo and Shuai Jiao, but it also appears in BJJ, where a good shoulder throw can be the perfect setup to a match-winning armbar. In Kung Fu styles you often see the shoulder throw taught as a response to a grab around the neck from behind. In grappling styles you learn to use the move on somebody standing in front of you, by making an entry, then turning your back on them. It’s worth mentioning that you’ll find the entry movements are very similar to the moves just before ‘Brush knee twist step’ in Yang style Taiji, and that the movement could be easily modified into a shoulder throw by bending at the waist afterwards. Take a look:
THE STANDING ARMBAR (UDE GATAME)
Chinese martial arts apply several standing armlocks under the banner of Chin Na (locking and seizing techniques), from all angles and positions. While BJJ has countless armlocks in its ground positions there are relatively few standing arm locks taught in a typical class, but one really effective technique that is taught is called Ude Gatame in Japanese, and it involves hyperextending the elbow joint in response to a lapel grab. Here’s how it works:
And here you can see it’s use in a Judo competition, resulting in an injury, which shows how dangerous the technique can be:
THE JACARE WRIST LOCK
Locking the wrist joint is a great set up to throws or takedowns and has become a staple of many Kung Fu styles due to its effectiveness in self-defence situations. The wrist lock is often frowned upon by some BJJ practitioners due to the high rates of injury that result from its use in competition, but that only serves to emphasise its effectiveness.
One particular wrist lock found in BJJ that you might not have seen before is named after Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, a famous BJJ practitioner who used it effectively in competition. It’s great as a response to somebody grabbing your shirt:
And here’s Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza using it to finish a match very quickly:
HIPS THROW (O GOSHI)
We can’t finish without mentioning the hip throw. The hip throw is a great throw to have in your arsenal for a self defense situation where the attacker is throwing big wide hooks at your head. It’s very easy to block then, clinch up and then perform a hip throw. In fact, Ronda Rousey had made a career in the UFC out of this very tactic. Here’s BJJ Black belt Kit Dale showing how it’s done:
And here is a great video showing how to adapt the hip throw to situations without a gi:
Chow Gar Tong Long is a southern Chinese martial art and is one of the four major schools in Southern Praying Mantis. It is an aggressive style with emphasis on close range fighting. These skills are developed by utilizing a range of training techniques which have been developed over several centuries.
At Champions Kung Fu, we teach in the traditional way, exactly as GM Ip Chee Keung was taught by the late GM Ip Shui, who was in turn taught by his late GM Lau Sui.
There are many different forms in the Chow Gar system. These are used to help the students develop their fast, sharp punches and iron shirt.
The below video shows the London Kung Fu family, along with some of the Champions Kung Fu team and some beginners doing the first and most important form, “Sarm Bo Jin”.
The basic movements in Chow Gar are referred to by the Chinese term “San Sau”. The movements are used to help students understand fighting applications, and to learn about how to generate power and use speed appropriately.
The highest level of Chow Gar is to have heavy shock power in all movements. Shock Power requires extensive training. As the power in the arms increases along with speed, and body strength, techniques require shorter distances and produce greater force. Once the techniques require very little distance and do not use any momentum, this is referred to as having shock power.
It is difficult to develop shock power because during training, so called “physical power” is easier to develop and overly improving physical power will prevent students from obtaining shock power. At the same time, having a lack of physical power also makes shock power impossible to develop correctly, so a careful balance is required.
Chow Ah Naam
Chow Ah Naam founded Chow Gar. He lived in the Southern Shaolin Temple, training under Abbot Sim See Yan. Although proficient in other martial arts, he combined his experiences and training to create a new system which he named Chow Gar Praying Mantis.
Wong Fook Go
Wong Fook Go was initially a lay person but later became a traveling monk. While training with and learning from Chow Ah Naam, he traveled throughout Southern China promoting Chow Gar.
Lau Soei (1866-1942)
Lau Soei was an accomplished teacher of the martial arts in his home village before meeting Wong Fook Go. He is the oldest grandmaster for whom we have a photograph. Lau challenged Wong and was defeated, so he started learning Chow Gar from Master Wong, and reached an extremely high level.
In 1913, Lau Soei moved to Hong Kong and established a Southern Praying Mantis school there. Initially, he would teach his system only to members of the Hakka community. Near the end of his career, he opened his teachings to the general public. Yip Shui was one of his first non-Hakka students. Lau Soei died in 1942.
Yip Shui (1912-2004)
Yip Shui continued on the tradition of Lau Soei after living and training extensively with Lau Soei. He established a reputation for the effectiveness of the Chow Gar style by meeting all challenges. He worked hard to teach and promote this style. He was known and highly respected throughout Hong Kong, and was the first Cantonese to master the system. Yip Shui died in 2004.
Yip Chee Keung
Yip Chee Keung was made the new Grandmaster at a ceremony held in Hong Kong, as shown below.
(Video courtesy of our Hungarian Kung Fu brothers – Chow Gar Budapest)
He has reached an extremely high level, with superb shock power, iron shirt, stances and all aspects of kung fu.
(Video courtesty of our kung fu brothers London Kung Fu).
Other GM Ip Chee Keung Chow Gar Schools
GM Ip Chee Keung, currently runs a small handful of schools. London Kung Fu, who have classes in Hounslow on Mondays and Thursdays. Chow Gar Budapest who run classes in Budapest 4 days a week. As well as the head office in Hong Kong, and of course Champions Kung Fu.
We also have good relationships with several other schools across the globe.
Bonus Facts – Chow Gar in the Movies
Random fact: The closest to Chow Gar to appear in classic kung fu movies was in the movie Invincible Shaolin, where Lo Leih (who we believe did study another branch of southern mantis) learns something similar to our mantis system. Previous Chow Gar grandmasters were regularly invited to appear in kung fu movies, but believed that movies were not a good place to show real kung fu, as they are for fighting.
Recently at the school.. during discussion on preparation for Chinese new year celebration. . the subject of knots used in Chinese crafts came up…thought I’d share this from China High Lights. ..https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/culture/knot.htm