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Dlaczego nie boks lub mma?

28 lipca, 2013 autor dacheng

Jest to odpowiedź na pytanie zadane po opublikowaniu „O Yiquan i nie tylko”.

„If openness and competition are such a good thing for the CMA’s, why set up a separate competitive format (like Yiquan PH comps), where the level of competition will inevitably be lower than in other established formats? Why not just train for and enter judo, boxing, MMA comps etc.?”

Practitioners of various CMA should think for themselves which is the way more suitable for the art which they are practicing. Do they want to practice that art in depth or do they want to switch to those modern established formats instead? I was already addressing this issue above.

So some would practice a traditional art, and they would not engage in tournament testing, because their art is not suitable for this.

Then because of the same reason, some would rather give up that art and switch to training for modern established competition format.

And some would try to do both, training some CMA and participating in those modern tournaments. But if they don’t really focus seriously (and completely or almost completely) on training preparing for those competitions, they will only be able to participate in some low level tournaments.

Now, I already stated above that we think that there is another reasonable way – establishing tournament rules which would suit characteristic of a given art.

Of course having some tests of your skill using different rules is useful too. But is this reasonable to focus mainly on using different rules, or to focus primarily on the rules which are designed to promote the core skills of your art? In my opinion more reasonable is the second.

Now, quite often you can hear opinion, which is actually quite weird, that because yiquan is „formless”, it is about zhan zhuang and shi li training to develop „hunyuan li”, but it doesn’t teach „how to fight”. So some people advice you to go to train boxing or some other art. For me absolutely crazy idea. Completely different from what we learn in Yao’s line, and from what Wang Xiangzhai was teaching, and also what he was writing.

Wang Xiangzhai stressed ability of adapting to situation, instead of using sets of fixed techniques (which of course is not different from proper understanding of xingyi or bagua), but it doesn’t mean that yiquan has no character if we are talking about the way of fighting. This would be a big misunderstanding. The characteristic of yiquan fighting is really not so much different from xingyi with some bagua influence. Also presence of tui shou in yiquan is important element, and our pushing hands seem to be much more influenced by Fujian white crane drills (Wang Xiangzhai for several years training together with white crane people in Fujian)  than taijiquan.

Our tui shou is not so much related to grappling/wrestling, as it seems to be with some taijiquan schools. It is rather related to striking and using short moments of contact to redirect opponents arm and force, opening space for attack and also affecting opponent’s center/balance through those short moment of contact („issue power at the moment of contact”), to follow with next actions.This is quite crucial or core part of what we learn. Wang Xiangzhai mentions this himself in „意拳断手术要与意拳使用之方法“ (”Description of yiquan duan shou and yiquan application methods”) written in 1959: „…意拳之技击专讲断手,意即断敌所来的手…” („In yiquan combat ‚breaking hand’ is especially stressed, the meaning is ‚breaking’ opponents attacking hand”). Not necesarrily breaking in literal sense, but issuing power to that arriving hand, this way affecting whole body.

Now, why to focus on competing in other formats, while it is possible to develop our own format, With the yiquan characteristic? When you don’t need to care much about specific points, joint locks etc., we don’t have those problems which people from other arts would have, making big compromises, if trying to develop competition rules.

Why to focus on preparing for different rules, which are promoting completely different way of fighting, while we can use competitions to promote the yiquan character?

Because the level of those well established tournaments is higher? But this would be good reason only if you want to give up your art, and switch to training for those tournament rules. In most cases trying to do both would mean that you don’t train enough to get to high level in those formats.

So idea that participating in those presently well established competitions formats is good for CMA is a bit weird. Lack of practical testing is kind of problem, yes, but why focus on testing under those alien rules? Why care so much about rules which were created specifically for entertainment and making money on big shows, and not really with the thought of testing martial arts under conditions for which they were created?

Our yiquan fighting characteristic is mainly about preparing for „battle” – fast, violent „street” bout, with various objects around (corner of a building wall, a motorcycle, a stone bench etc.), with danger of friends of your opponent joining, when you cannot think about tactics for several rounds, but you need to get rid of the danger as soon as possible, when none of opponents thinks about going to the ground, when being pushed doesn’t mean that your opponent gets warning from the referee (like in many sports format) or that you fall into elastic ring ropes, but maybe you have your spine broken, hitting some dangerous object.

So when you train skills for this kind of fight, why you should care about competition rules which create completely different character of a fight? Why not to establish rules which would better approximate the character of your art?

Of course the level is low at the moment. Quite many yiquan practitioners are more into basic health practice, there are not many qualified instructors, there are not too many young, talented  physically fit people interested in learning yiquan, who could be made top level fighters.

But there is a tremendous potential for the future, only if some more people understand this.

There exist some striking formats. There exist some grappling formats. There exist some mixed formats. But is that all? Well, it seems that people are kind of blind to some aspects and modes of fighting. 
People practicing CMA should understand better. Why go to boxing, which is purely striking, while the character of yiquan (actually xingyiquan is the same) is moving into opponent, using „wedge” and leverage, affecting center, and not just striking?

MMA? Yes, it is about expanding the fighting to next areas – fighting on the ground, and how the stand up fighting changes, when opponents are willing to go to the ground. So this is aspect which yiquan people start studying. But some don’t really know yiquan as it is, don’t really know what we have in yiquan, and they just think about boxing and mma, and this way they lose chance to learn about something valuable, which they will not really find there.

So actually we have something interesting to offer to the world of combative sports. Some area which others don’t even notice.

Make a small fight area, extremely short time of a bout, give points to opponent if he is standing and you on ground („sure death” in a „battle” mode of fighting), or he is within the fight area, and you are outside (representing you being pushed onto some dangerous object, falling from the stairs etc.), and what you will notice? Well, you will see more or less people fighting in a way as taught by Yaos. You will soon notice how important is tui shou and tui duan shou (pushing hands including hitting) training for preparing for this kind of conditions. Next you will notice how our zhan zhuang and shi li practice is important for developing skills needed here. This way we can offer new interesting competition format and at the same time make people better understand the value of yiquan training methods.

On the other hand, if we would go toward preparing for boxing, kick-boxing, mma, what people learning with us would discover? That value of our training for preparing for those formats is minimal, and if they would think about real success in those formats, probably more than 90% of their training should be exactly what other people train, and their yiquan would become limited maybe to a few percent of training… If choosing this way, maybe it’s better to give up yiquan and switch to mma training from the very beginning.

So no, this is definitely not good idea. Our choice is to show, that we have something others don’t have, and use competition formats which will promote developing skills important for this part of the fighting spectrum, which others neglect or even don’t realize it exists.

Of course this is quite a challenge. In China they were able to organize more or less official (trial status) yiquan san shou competitions only once, in 1998. Problem is that wushu authorities didn’t like it (and unlike mma, yiquan in China is governed by wushu authorities), saying that it looked ugly and the level was low (sure, how you could have high level in a format which basically doesn’t exist and there are no people training seriously/professionally), and of course in yiquan circles there are various opinions (and some „masters” didn’t even practice much of combative side of yiquan, but their voice counts as opinion of the yiquan circles).
For us, now developing YIQUAN.COmpetitions project in Europe, it is not easy too. So far yiquan training seems  not too be very attractive for young, talented, physically fit, fighting oriented guys. So we started from formats, which are accessible to average yiquan practitioner present days: Easy Tui Shou (fixed position), Free Step Tui Shou and Easy San Shou (hitting with light contact and some other limitations).

Even though in Easy San Shou, power of hitting is limited, so it is only quite far approximation of what we want to demonstrate, the situations of ‚issuing power in the moment of contact’ and affecting balance in the moment of contact of arms do happen quite frequently under those rules. Of course it is true, that most of participants are low level at the moment, just beginners, or even if they do yiquan for some years, some of them are not able to come to classes regularly (job and family obligations, distance from school etc.), but even in this situation we were able to prove/demonstrate some things (at least some people are able to notice).
In next stage, when there will be at least a few people fit for this, we plan Standard San Shou, with rules basically the same as Easy San Shou, but hitting with full power allowed.

And Elite San Shou is planned as opportunity for confronting people from various combative sports, with minimum rules, but the same small fight area, short time of a bout, points given when opponent is down, or outside the area.

Then there is also idea (when there are more people practicing combative yiquan and interested in it) expanding to format which would include some ground. But most important is now to promote what we are taught in Yao’s yiquan, so it is understood and not lost, and then expanding to other areas (Opinion expressed by Yao Chengguang himself, when asked by one of my students: „Yes, you can learn ground fighting as an addition to yiquan”).

Development is not about forgeting what you have and following some novelties, but noticing good points of what you have and what others have, and then creating new quality.

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