View Full Version : Big realization - request for help and info
I'm never happy unless I'm involved some how in martial arts. In college I got a BB in Judo. I then when into a long full-contact karate stage with thai boxing and boxing mixed in. While a trainer for Maxwell, and after, did BJJ for about 5 years. All very practical, all very contact.Then got back into thai boxing - which brings us up to a couple years ago. Due to divorce, moving etc...wasn't doing much MA.
Have been exploring what to get into next, Kali, ROSS, Taiji, kung fu. The realization is I'm very happy with my current workout program. Very happy with getting back into fitness consulting - more on that in weeks to come. Very happy with my new wife/life/job. I'm just not feeling the drive to go to class, spar, get beat up, give up half my saturday, not do my CST, KB....
The more I think about it, the more i think I might be leaning toward a more non-combat, form based MA training thing. ( this is not to start a debate about whether kungfu or anything else is better for fighting-I think you all know what i mean). Something I can do solo. I am more then aware of the limitations of this kind of training, so that's not a factor.
I'm very pulled toward a kung fu direction. I think there will be great cross over with Body flow, CST , the body weight stuff etc..
So, any recommendations on DVDs, styles.
Thanks for reading.
10-29-2003, 07:35 AM
Bill, I too have to cross that bridge. At some point the body can only take so much. I think that inside you do have the answer. You just have to search. That being said I heard that there will be some type of phila area ross group (check with Dave). On the old RMAX web there was some very good info (internal vs external, soft vs hard, etc.).
10-29-2003, 07:38 AM
First, I really appreciate all the insight in your many posts both here and on the DD forum. I have gained much from them.
I have been doing Aikido for about 6 years now. Earlier this year I went to my first Systema seminar. Since that time I have bought nearly ever DVD/VHS produced by russianmartialart.com and I have been to several more seminars and several classes. The closest intructor is about 3-1/2 hours away from me.
The cool thing about Systema is the training methodology (sp?). Much of the training consists of BW drills that can be done solo. The other cool thing is that I am in the middle of reading "Body Flow" and the parallels between many of Coach Sonnon's drills and Vlad's drills are very interesting. I am beginning to think that the Russian training paradigm may just be superior in regards to strength, flexability, MA, the whole ball of wax.
I don't know if you have looked at the System before, if not there are a ton of video clips on the web that I can point you to. Also Vlad will be in NC next month - not so far from PA I think.
10-29-2003, 07:45 AM
How about that Shaolin Monk who trains in Manhattan. I trained under him once, it was very good. He could do some crazy feats. New York is probably too far for you though. Philly is known for their boxers, although that may require some degree of full contact. A fisticuffs school would be pretty cool, where you could hit anywear below the head using punches and elbows and such. You have a lot of choices. I studied a mixed Kung Fu style called WunHopKuenDo in California. It was cool. We have a praying mantis style kung fu school here in Orlando. See what you have up your way. Maybe do a search on Kajukenbo on google and see if any schools pop up in your area.
Combining MA is fun. Maybe ROSS would be the best though.
10-29-2003, 08:05 AM
Much to the chagrin of many style purists, I've always said that there is a maturation process in martial arts.
In our youth, we seek attribute development: the vestibular thrill of acrobatics, the muscle control and kinesthetic awareness of lightly to non-competitive styles of wrestling, gymnastics, kata-oriented styles.
In our adolescence, we burn with the fire of challenge critically requiring rites of passage as a biological fact. We seek to demonstrate our prowess but we lack the sensitivity and patience for sophisticated styles, which is why in adolescence we gravitate towards kickboxing, karate, boxing, et cetera.
As we enter adulthood, the sophistication of mastery starts to call strongly to us. We crave refinement - efficiency. We feel ourselves pulled towards sophisticated skills, but still need that pragmatic check and feedback of competition. We find ourselves in BJJ, Sambo, Catch-as-Catch-Can, Judo, et cetera.
Aging more we arrive at family life and the call of protectorate puts on his hat. We see the realm of competition as a limited though necessary one in development. Although we still cling to the need for the feedback of facing realistically resistant opponents, we find ourselves drawn to more combative arts such as Kali, Silat, some forms of RMA, and the host of CQC methods and reality based defense systems.
Moving forward even farther in age, we see that our fixation with the combative is more of our projection of violence upon the world. We see the reality that combative events are active, not passive. The former 'sexy' allure of combat loses its luster as we encounter the reality of brutishly short, ugly and painful trauma. We realize that martial art is much too serious to be taken seriously. We feel compelled to return to enjoying anxiety-devoid styles, such as Capoeira, and some forms of RMA like Buza and Skobar.
Passing into the elder stage of our lives, we find ourselves drawn to some deeper meaning, to some refined sophistication within the process of our martial maturation. We seek to train for the sake of training - to see how deep the Rabbit hole goes; to hopefully etch an indelible mark for future generations of model development; to contribute back for the spectrum of benefits we have received. We feel drawn to the more esoteric arts (though we may prudently hide this in the closet to people earlier on in the maturation process), such as Aikido, Tai Chi, Hsing I, some forms of RMA.
I see this pattern in every one of my clients, though in some they must return and recapture any steps they may skip along the way. Some styles are permissive of a couple steps. Some systems are internally flexible enough to accommodate the complete maturation process - but that's all dependent upon the maturation level of the teacher. Too often teachers approach their “style” as inviolable – they teach not to the maturation process, but only to their level of development. This is acceptable, if they acknowledge it. Unfortunately, most project their level of development out onto the world not understanding why others do not live as they do.
10-29-2003, 08:25 AM
Wow, incredible post, Coach.
10-29-2003, 08:33 AM
Very interesting observations, Scott!!
For a short time I used to train in Aikido under a 60 - something instructor who was an ex CIA agent. He was both a Judo and Aikido practitioner. He used to tell us that he found his awakening/transformation/transcendence (I forget what words he actually used, but that was the gist) through his practice of Judo, not Aikido. Given the nature of Aikido one might expect the opposite to be true.
Each person must walk his own path. Martial art is a vehicle for self-transformation. Use what calls you and make it your own... deliberately.
10-29-2003, 08:38 AM
Sorry that I used style examples. This was not used to pigeonhole the styles, but to use them as examples IN GENERAL. I know the Sambo I taught in the early 90s was not the same as 10 years later. And I've been exposed to so many different 'approaches' to Jujitsu so as to make the term... nearly non-descriptive. As I said, it's all in the teacher's presentation of the material process.
great responses and Coach you got it completely. There is a great article at the www.uechi-ryu.com site by David Elkins - where he talks about " learning to fight 'real good'". What then? I just could't see going to Kali and learning to knife fight - I'm not carrying a knife.
Ross definitely appeals because of the obvious no fixed end/no technique aspect. I already do CST, body-flow, WW, Be breathed, so I'm kind of doing the solo part already. I think the beauty of ROSS is in the flow work which requires a partner. Right now i can see I'm not up for it.
I'm thinking more on the lines of shaolin, hing si, tai chi -add another set of flowing movements to the mix. The more pure movement oriented the better. Just learning a form -adding to the tool box. I have this picture of being strong, flexible getting to that flow fighting place - but not to fight so much. I'll certainly report on what I end up with and progress to/thru.
10-29-2003, 09:19 AM
Well, of the things that i've tried and am still trying.....Tai chi is a very deep art, lots of flow, and then the challenge of learning to transfer the flow of solo forms to pushing hands. Also some styles of Filipino arts really emphasise flowing, for example Modern Arnis, Remy Presas styles (not all FMA do this, for example in Balintiwak, there is more emphasis on flow disruption), even wrestling of any kind can be very flowingt...A long time ago, i read an article by Coach Sonnon where he said that our oldest wrestlers should be our best..., or words to that effect, please forgive if i have completely blown the quote...however, try to learn to flow around your partner, don't oppose his force, but rather ride it out, deflect it, avoid it. i find that when i do a lot of Bodyflow/Grapplertoolbox exercises, it really shows in my grappling...still get bound flow sometimes though. i suspect that any art can become flowing, if that is your intent...
it is perhaps not so much what you do as how you do it?
10-29-2003, 09:22 AM
Unless I misunderstand what you mean, I'd say you are absolutely ready for what ROSS has to offer. Nearly anyone at nearly any age and level of development can start with ROSS. You take where you are currently and develop incrementally from there.
ROSS training is structured so that training proceeds at a pace that is comfortable to each practitioner. This is the challenge for ROSS instructors... That is, assessing their students current conditions and implementing training protocols which will steadily and deliberately improve their condition.
Since a major goal of ROSS is to decondition patterns of fear-reactivity, by necessity a beginning practitioner cannot be overwhelmed by the training stimulus without sacrificing gains that can be made through such training.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had been working with a private student who is a young, strong, agile guy who was getting ready to go into the Air Force. He was attempting to get into Para-Rescue and passed all tests with flying colors, except the vision test. If he had gotten in, we would have had until December to work together, but since he did not pass the vision test he had to go in as initially planned which was a couple of weeks ago. This was disappointing to me, since I was really looking forward to working with him for a couple more months.
Anyway, he had had some brief training in a couple of different MAs, but was still very fear reactive to certain things. He related a story to me our first night about how he was followed by some guy in a car and got really freaked out, completely doubting his ability to handle a situation should it have come to a conflict. There was no confrontation, but his lack of confidence was a very serious concern for him.
Though I would have liked to, had we time to train until Dec., in our short time together we did no hard work at all, despite his going into the military. I felt it was more important for me to work with him on identifying and releasing patterns of tension, developing the ability to relax during a confrontation, focusing on the integration of breathing, movement and alignment, exploring biomechanical movement that would facilitate improvisational skills, developing kinesthetic sensitivity, and things like that.
It was rewarding beyond description to me when he told me on our last night that he was so much more confident in his abilities to handle himself in a violent confrontation than before he started with me. His comments to me when we left that night were all the thanks I could ever hope for...
Sorry to ramble... and especially so, if I have misconstrued what you meant...
10-29-2003, 09:56 AM
Nice posts Coach and Dave!
In your last post you seem like a path has presented itself to you. Just to play devil's advicate, I will throw this out. While I "generally" agree with Coach Sonnon's assessment of the martial path, I would like to voice this idea: that any of the earlier vehicles (like boxing, kickboxing, Judo) can accomidate many practice methods, besides hard, fast, and through the floor (as we used to say in Judo). Most people think that to box, or grapple, you have to wear yourself out, or beat yourself up, but that is only one way to train. There are many ways to solo train as I'm sure your aware: shadowboxing (or grappling), conditioning drills, minute drills, bag work (timing, heavy, speed, uppercut, et cetera), grappling dummy, et cetera.
Anything that can be found within one of the "esoteric" MA's can be looked for, found and trained within these delivery systems as well. Plus, while you are working on different areas of efficiency, your efficacy remains easily accessible as you aren't starting from scratch learning a "new" movement patern. Cuts down on stress, and increases survivability in a "just in case" scenario.
Some practice methods I use:
<sum> Hard/Fast through the mat flavor
<sum> Slow and conscious flavor
<sum> Smooth and connected flavor
<sum> Big movement flavor.
<sum> Small movement flavor.
<sum> Combination Big/Small movement flavor.
<sum> Combination of any above, Et Cetera
<sum> Single Opponent
<sum> Multiple Opponent
<sum> Light Contact
<sum> Medium Contact
<sum> Full Contact
Remember coach's paradigm: The training environment creates the training experience which creates the training content.
If you are looking for X, create the environment that will engender the experience, which will in turn lead you to your content. Rinse and repeat as needed
If, on the other hand, you want to learn something "new," that is whole nother animal.
10-29-2003, 10:04 AM
Given your background and what you have experienced and know, I'll bet you'd be your best teacher.
I know for a while when I was traveling a lot for business (even after 9/11), I wanted to know how to handle myself in tight quarters where no style need apply.
At that time, I engaged in an exchange w/ Scott about simply being "present" and having full presence of "mind" to do what the situation called for. Shortly thereafter, my son had a medical emergency and I was astonished at the clarity of "presence" I was able to bring to the situation, which helped everyone enormously -- especially me, who would otherwise have been as freaked out as everyone else.
Scott's tape sets (GTB, IOUF, Shockability, Leg Fencing, et al.) provide a virtual encylopedia of kinesthetic movement principles that can be applied to almost any MA. Likewise, I have some of V. Vassiliev's "Systema" tapes that help you teach yourself about how to be "there" in just about any situation. Between the two, you'd have a set of resources that could be applied to any "style" regardless of how ritualized or fluid it is.
Let us know what you decide to do.
10-29-2003, 10:50 AM
Kung Fu and Taiji are a lot of fun, and you can get a lot out of them.
I know you work downtown, but do you live elsewhere?
Pretty sure there's still a Hung Gar school in Chinatown, pretty close by Maxercise.
My old shifu Gellhorn is waaaay out west on 30 in Frazier now, i think. She teaches Mi Tsung Lo Han (northern shaolin) along with several other styles, including William Chen's style of taiji, which is pretty well known for it's focus on developing boxing skill.
The only warning there is avoid Mi Tsung if you have bad knees.
I think Nick Gracenin is still in PA, too, he coaches or used to coach the US Wushu team.
Closer in, but still west of you is a siu lam school on old eagle school road, I believe. Never went there, but have heard good things.
Taiji has a lot to offer, you may get a lot of mileage out of it, but a lot depends on your teacher.
Amazing freaking post.
your'e right - the environment and attitude of your partner is key, that said I've yet to go a hard style school - thai, BJJ, Kyokushin, where some bozo's not trying to show you he's a bad ass. In my younger days I was always happy to debase said bozo of his misconception, but, although I like to think I still could - I don't need or want to.
ROSS does seem perfect but going back to my original post, I only have so much time/energy to spread around, so group training right now is not what I need. I think I'm doing alot of solo ROSS prep, ie all of Scotts training modalities, now. Matt has been very good about keeping me in the email loop but I can tell I'm just not putting forth the effort to make it happen. i will try to go to any seminar type things I can. My friend Dave has done some Systema, lent me the tapes and we will play some I'm sure.
I'm leaning toward taiji - it's so not what I'm used to it may just the thing.
10-29-2003, 11:47 AM
Chuck, you wrote,
Any of the earlier vehicles (like boxing, kickboxing, Judo) can accommodate many practice methods, besides hard, fast, and through the floor... Anything that can be found within one of the "esoteric" MA's can be looked for, found and trained within these delivery systems as well. I couldn't agree more. I had hoped to communicate this very element through my post. This is exactly the purpose of ROSS as a Performance Enhancement System to 'personalize' practice to meet one's specific needs. Thanks for the clarifying post.
Bill, CST "is" the solo practice behind ROSS as I teach it. Depending upon the country YMMV. The original impetus behind the creation of CST was combat specific physical preparedness, though it has since become more universally applied by those not interested in such silly things we 'martially inclined' may wish.
I think the way that all the CST has me feeling, strong, relaxed, has brought this on. I'd like to apply that to some new form of martial movement. The philosophy behind the chinese arts, the energy movement, the dao, appeals to me and seems to mesh. It might just be that I'm ready for it now. I think the research for my future article also got me going.
Yun Shi Qui Jun Heng - " To attain equal and even balance make all of your movements circular"
Luihebafa - Doaist Water Boxing
10-29-2003, 12:10 PM
I think I'm safe in saying that we'd all like to hear your reports from your progress exploring the internal arts.
Interesting that you mention the uechi-ryu boys! I used to spend a great deal of time in email exchanges with David et al. I don't think uechi ryu is ideal for the goals that you are seeking (although the practioners on that forum may say that Sanchin will give you everything you want :D ) That being said, you may want to speak with Evan Pantazzi about the practice of Wing Chun. He studies uechi ryu, wing chun and kyusho jitsu (pressure point fighting) and his wing chun has some great spiritual complexities.
I studied wing chun for a few years and found it very rewarding. For me though it was bujinkan ninjitsu that alowed me to really explore the spiritual aspects of martial arts, my own mind and body, all the while remaining very combat effective. As a plus the buyo camps are really fun! Several days in the forest training day and night in adverse conditions. Combat firearms, tracking, hand to hand in total darkness etc.
All in all you could probably find what you are looking for in almost any martial art by simply adjusting your practice to conform to your own goals. Ultimately all martial arts are about your own body and your own mind. They are either a vehicle with which to travel down the path of self perfection. Or a means with which to defend yourself and defeat an opponent. They all end in the same place.
10-29-2003, 04:42 PM
If you are interested in masterbating with a group (sorry Scott...had to run with it...) See if Li Tai Liang is teaching any seminars near you.
He's this unique blend of 5th generation xingyi practioner as well as a former professional instructor for the Beijing police department.
If you get to work with him and really get a feel for what he's doing and trying to teach you, it will change "forms" practise forever.
Oh, and he also moves fast and hits like a truck. But a truly nice man who cares about the progress of his students.
You won't get much out of his tapes till after having had the in-depth explaination of what is going on. They're more Cliff notes.
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