Wushu is Chinese Martial Arts.....a new year and new training schedule and preparation for competitions and performances. And for some students (shudder) tests. Often many students ask me why do martial arts have tests..and isn't it about the art and not the martial since we are not engaged in combat. First its not martial or arts......they go together like yin and yang.....it is martial and arts......you cannot have one without the other. Health and excercise might be your goal but your choice of wushu means you are using the methods of wushu to reach your goal. In which case you must understand and practice application of technique and the training methods that help you to achieve mastery. So you cannot just practice form without the essence. Otherwise the art would be called Wu Ngai........martial dance! Too often other martial artist think wushu practioners are just dancers.......this often happens because they don't see wushu students apply their techniques and in fact many cannot acually use the technique. Partly, this is the fault of modern wushu training which separates wushu into Taolu and Sanda...such a schism did not exist in past times. You cannot just learn a bagua form and think you know bagua..in fact without understanding the technique and it's use you are most likely performing the technique in correctly. You must know it's intention and how to generate the Qi and the jin to apply the technique properly. Proper training also means developing flexibility,speed ,and strength...all part of basic training......that part contemporary wushu does well....but all too often only in the area of long fist...while good, actually is not enough to be good at other styles. Nanquan and many of the traditional styles suffer this fate. Now on the other side, traditional wushu teachers and stylist tend to train for strong stances and power............while good they don't learn to relax as contemporary wushu students learn........which means a reliance on dead strength....not lively whipping power of contemporary wushu...to a large extent this was one of the issues Bruce Lee wrote about in his critiques of the traditionalist. He showed that by relaxing that one could be extremely fast and apply the technique accurately. More thought on that later. Well you might ask what does that mean for say a bagua student? Well first one must develop the foot work.....not just foward but in all directions...mudslide foward everyone knows ,but howabout backwards and sidewards? Stance needs to be 1/2 to a whole head lower with weight on the back leg......bagua has no bow stances at all. Lots of standing and stepping training. Then one must develop hand speed and the ability to intercept, grip,lock, and throw......which you cannot achieve by just training form alone........you need a live partner. Ok, meditate,relax,breathe.....more next time...peace!
Coming: Sept 14 Mid-Autumn Festival Sept 15 Dragon Boat Festival Oct 12 4th Annual Golden State Chinese Martial Arts Champions