My struggle

Post questions and tips on selecting a sport or martial arts style, and finding a good instructor or teacher.

My struggle

Postby Moe » Nov 05, 2005 21:31

I have been practicing Wu Shu for about 2 years now and for a very long time I have considered changing to another martial art which would provide me with proper fighting skills. What we mostly practice in Wu Shu are forms and we hardly ever spar. From what I have understood, the fighting skills come with the repition of these forms over a long period of time. That is something that I am very skeptical about. The forms themselves contain some very useful techniques if put individually but in many situations when I choose to spar with someon (outside school) I find myself fighting with my own style and my own moves that I have learned by myself by sheer repition and dedication. The Wu Shu moves that we learn in forms make no real use.

The only thing keeping me with this school is that I have recently improved in many forms and execute them with high accuracy and it feels nice to perform them. I have also found a family in this school and a place of belonging.

Wu Shu as I have witnessed is mostly concerned with performance and not really 'fighting'. And I would like to learn pure fighting and have no clue what sort of martial art would be appropriate. Or am I just impatient and should continue working on my Wu Shu?
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Postby Kit » Nov 06, 2005 19:54

Hi Moe
I too went through a similar line of thought a few years ago. I started out with wushu as well and went into some other styles including shaolin etc... and the thing that always got me was that in most styles, when people practiced forms, they always followed the distinct style of their martial art, but when they sparred, they all looked very much alike regardless of style... basically sparring like kickboxing. Almost none of them used the stances and techniques practised in the forms in sparring. i now hold that if an art has forms that cannot be applied in sparring or real situations, then one needs to accept that they are merely learning a form of gymnastics or dance and should not be fooled into thinking they are learning a martial art or self defense. (even a ballet dancer can dance with a weapon, but you would never call them a martial artist!) The arguement, that practice over many years will teach you how to apply the techniques in a real fight, in my opinion, is a lie. It covers the fact that either the moves cannot be used or that the teacher doesn't know how to use them.

In short, look for a style that fights how it trains. Some styles I think are good at this are styles such as Yau Kung Mun (my style now), Choy lee fut, Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do (I hold a lot of respect for Jeet kune do... one of the more open minded and practical approaches out there, thanks to Bruce lee's philiosophy), Tung Lung (pray mantis) etc.

I think it is important for a style to not force a person into a mould, but rather to bring out the persons individual talents and abilities and enhance them, whilst strengthening any deficiences or weaknesses they may have.
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Re: My struggle

Postby dragon » Nov 07, 2005 06:34

Moe wrote: And I would like to learn pure fighting and have no clue what sort of martial art would be appropriate. Or am I just impatient and should continue working on my Wu Shu?


If you want to learn a pure fighting art that enables you to fight against any fighting style,you need an art/arts that are neutral-i.e,have no particular style of their own.
The best neutral art in my opinion is boxing.It isn't hindered by multiple stances,exotic punches/blocks,etc.
I know many people will say boxing is at a disadvantage because it doesn't use kicks but i feel(and have witnessed) that the experience gained from heavy contact work far outweighs the lack of kicking.
For example,an individual who's only been training for 6 months in boxing will have more knowledge about fighting than an individual who's been training in traditional martial art for the same length of time.
All martial arts can be effective against their own style,but put them against another and flaws start to show.

I practice a traditional style of Kung Fu purely for pleasure as i enjoy the syllabus(forms,weapons,etc) but i also study boxing,kick boxing,grappling for the contact side of things.This covers the fighting distances(punching range,kicking range,and ground work).

Dragon.
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Postby Moe » Nov 07, 2005 07:37

What guys have posted is really great and helpful.
Our same wu shu school has recently introduced San Shou (chinese kickboxing) which is just like kickboxing and a different instructor teaches it, I am going to join, but its only once a week and I feel that is not enough. In addition to that i'm thinking of also doing aikido to increase my experience in grappling arts since there isn't the slightest hint of that in Wushu. Any of you had any experiences in San Shou or Aikido?
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Postby dragon » Nov 07, 2005 10:00

I haven't had personal experience of Aikido,but what i've seen seems to be locks,throws,take downs,but no actual ground fighting-i.e,the aikido "defender" remains standing.
I do grappling to give me experience/an edge if the fight goes to the floor.

Dragon.
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Postby Moe » Nov 07, 2005 14:16

I see, I thought Aikido tought some ground fighting. It is really a bummer that many martial arts neglect the most common things that a person really needs. Its safe to say that almost 99% of REAL fights end up in the ground and the one with less skills or no experience in ground fighting is bound to lose!

As for Wushu I am going to continue doing it but just for the fun aspect of it, I think San shou should give me some good experience
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Postby Thomas Kurz » Nov 08, 2005 16:35

Articles on selecting fighting or self-defense system are at http://www.real-self-defense.com/sd_tips.html . Sample titles:
Effectiveness of various combat sports and martial arts (an answer to a question), Selecting a gym or a martial arts school, Non-contact systems vs. Knock-down systems, Selecting a self-defense system.

Moe wrote:Our same wu shu school has recently introduced San Shou (chinese kickboxing) which is just like kickboxing and a different instructor teaches it, I am going to join, but its only once a week and I feel that is not enough. In addition to that i'm thinking of also doing aikido to increase my experience in grappling arts since there isn't the slightest hint of that in Wushu


For stand-up grappling *for you* I recommend Shuai-chiao. It will give you a good insight into application of your Wu-shu forms and will give you skills applicable in San-shou. You can get videos with good Shuai-chiao instruction at http://www.combatshuaichiao.com .

For ground grappling, the most utilitarian are Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. BTW, you will see many similarities of Judo stand-up grappling to Shuai-chiao.
Last edited by Thomas Kurz on Nov 08, 2005 17:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Moe » Nov 08, 2005 16:56

Thank you very much for your resourceful reply Mr. Kurz.
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Postby mmeloon » Nov 11, 2005 11:13

I'd just like to add that one way forms improve fighting technique is to give one practice at fighting opponents from multiple directions. Unless your school regularly practices 4-vs-1 sparing, you are probably getting used to always having your opponent directly in front of you. Obviously, there aren't really any opponents in forms, but you are supposed to be imagining evil-doers from all sides when you are performing your forms. Without that mental image, forms are little more than dance. Each one of your moves needs to be with knock-down power and forms develop the balance and agility to immediately reverse directions and throw an equally powerful strike in a completely different direction to destroy the guy who's charging at you when your back is turned.

-Mark
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Postby Moe » Nov 11, 2005 18:39

Thanks for the insight Mark, in fact many of the forms we practice are aimed at multiple enemies, or at least thats how our master has demonstrated to us. Many of the forms have some very useful techniques and many times our master would ask someone (or even 2 people) to come up and he would demonstrate on the techniques on them.

We never do sparring so that is where I was getting confused.
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Re: My struggle

Postby GNARL » Oct 19, 2009 02:18

Only going through with forms training without applying them to action or practicing sparring technique will make you good at just that, forms. However, when mixed with self defense application and sparring, with a good instructor that can explain the differences and many similarities, you can learn real fighting(competition/self defense). Even though forms are done many times in ways that are different from how the actual techniques would be done, you have to remember than many of the techniques and stances embody perfection and symbolism of the technique. Real fighting is mean and dirty. However, with proper instruction you can learn how to use your perfect stance and perfect technique in real, street-applicable ways. It is true that traditionally within a system, many forms and basic techniques will be different but sparring similar. But remember, contact sparring and self defense are slightly different. Sparring usually allows use of safe techniques with pads in a controlled environment, which is not time to use arms locks, wrist locks, chokes, full power elbows and knees. However, in some hard styles this is the case.
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Re: My struggle

Postby Moe » Oct 19, 2009 07:29

GNARL wrote:Only going through with forms training without applying them to action or practicing sparring technique will make you good at just that, forms. However, when mixed with self defense application and sparring, with a good instructor that can explain the differences and many similarities, you can learn real fighting(competition/self defense). Even though forms are done many times in ways that are different from how the actual techniques would be done, you have to remember than many of the techniques and stances embody perfection and symbolism of the technique. Real fighting is mean and dirty. However, with proper instruction you can learn how to use your perfect stance and perfect technique in real, street-applicable ways. It is true that traditionally within a system, many forms and basic techniques will be different but sparring similar. But remember, contact sparring and self defense are slightly different. Sparring usually allows use of safe techniques with pads in a controlled environment, which is not time to use arms locks, wrist locks, chokes, full power elbows and knees. However, in some hard styles this is the case.


Wow Gnarl, you are posting some 5 years later :lol: but still i find what you have to say quite useful and realisitc. What sort of martial arts training are you doing?
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Re: My struggle

Postby GNARL » Oct 20, 2009 11:29

I train in Shotokan Karate, and how is your training going nowadays?
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Re: My struggle

Postby Moe » Oct 21, 2009 07:31

I trained once in shotokan karate for 7 months when I was 14, thats where I picked up my kicking techniques (something wu wushu failed to provide). Unfortunately i was forced to stop my wu shu training due to financial strains as well as me having to move back to my home country.

I have been practicing at home, but it isn't enough and I do need to find a worthy school in order to learn proper combat skills. Luckily though I can still perform kicks and punches at full range, but the slightest hint of slacking will definately mean losing my skills.
"Believe nothing that you hear, and half what you see." -Bruce Lee
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Re: My struggle

Postby GNARL » Oct 26, 2009 04:27

Where is your home country if you don't mind me asking and what type of training do you plan to begin?
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