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Słaby kick boxing?

2 sierpnia, 2013 autor dacheng
This was written as reply to questions on one of Facebooks groups.
It happens quite often, that people seeing yiquan sparrings or competitions (not too many of those were organized so far though) comment and criticize yiquan people for not protecting their head and not keeping proper guard or tight guard and generally lack of defense. Very often they comment: „this is just like very bad, low level boxing or kick-boxing” or „they should rather learn some boxing or kick-boxing instead wasting time for this shit”.
The source of such view is taking the limited perspective of striking ring sports. And while some things actually make a lot of sense in such limited enviroment, it is quite different outside this frameset. As you can see from MMA fights, keeping the type of guard typical for boxing or kickboxing is not really often used or useful there. Well, sometimes you can see MMA fighters keeping such guard for a moment, mostly when when they are at distance several meters from their opponent, so keeping that guard is actually quite pointless then. But because coaches (and for the hitting part in the MMA the coaches often come from boxing) use to repeat: „keep guard, keep guard”, many fighters develop that habit. However this habit is displayed mostly in situations of being outside fighting range, while the guard usually disappears when they enter actual fighting range. Yes, in boxing or kick-boxing, pure striking competition rules and big gloves, that element might be something important and valuable. But people should notice that it becomes quite useless under other kinds of conditions.
If you want to understand what we do in yiquan, you should forget some ideas which come from boxing or kick-boxing – purely striking competition sports, with use of big gloves, with many long rounds originally designed to make money by organizing events atracting many spectators. It should be obvious that those sports didn’t develop for reason of reality based self defense, but for commercial and entertainment reasons. Those sports are great in itself. And also the skills developed by those athletes would be useful in outside ring situations. But there is a lot beyond this perspective.
Think about MMA again. How is it that in so many situations when pure boxers and kickboxers without MMA experience would take typical tight guard, you don’t really see those fighters doing this? Simply it is not boxing ring situation, with only striking allowed. If catching, throwing, leg shoots can be used, there are many more dangers and risks than just being hit in the head. The focus on protecting head the way as it is done in boxing becomes quite useles under those more variable  conditions with different kinds of risks.
And this is more or less the reason why in yiquan it doesn’t make much sense protecting yourself by taking such guard – it simply will not work, will not save you, and in many cases you will actually become defeated exactly because of doing something like this!
Fighting includes both attack and defense. Yiquan, as many other chinese martial arts stresses avoiding separating them. As long as it is possible you want to make defense and attack simultanous. And if it is possible you want one and the same movement be both defense and attack.
Successfully hitting is a defense too. Unbalancing opponent is part of attacking, but at the same time you defend yourself. When contact with opponent’s arms happens even for a split of second, it is much better if it is not only for blocking or simply covering your body against punches, but if you can use it to reasonably change direction of opponent’s attack, and also use this moment of contact to disturb opponent’s balance, all this to facilitate your next actions. When you possess those skills, then if opponent is just blocking and covering his head, you can use his defense against him. The actions which would work well against a striker turn out to be not so useful, if opponent learned to use any contact to „take center”.
Footwork is a defense too. We stress continuous changing position and angles, which is important for both defense and attack. Changing distance too. Both moving out and moving in can be a defense. Moving in will usually mean simultanous attack. As for moving out, some xingyiquan master said: „Even when I move back, I move forward”. You move back (and usually at the same time to the side), not just to move back, but to immediately enter again from more convenient position/angle, and as long as possible you want to „take opponent’s center” simultanously, either by hooking or catching or making him attack you and using his momentum against him.
Unlike many present day competition formats with the rounds made long to make it a spectacle, yiquan exactly like its predecessor xingyiquan, was created for surviving fast, extremely fierce bout. Not just one on one in safe enviroment, but next assailants can join any moment or while you engage in fight with one, others might use this time to beat your dear person. We are talking about situation when you don’t have time for moving back and patiently waiting for opportunity to attack.
Changing position of your body can be used too, including some leaning in various directions. However quite often the same action which would be quite useful defense if opponent is only striking, could be working against you, if he trained „taking center” (similarly if he learned more all-round ways of fighting, like mma).
In situations of serious time pressure, when the fight is really fierce, when the danger is not only the possibility of being hit, but also being violently pushed or thrown onto some hard and edgy object (situation quite different from sport fighting on a big mat or a ring with elastic ropes), typical striking arts strategies, tactics and techniques turn out to be insufficient, and training which mixes striking with destroying opponent’s structure and balance becomes exactly what is important.
People who do striking sports don’t understand this. They will criticize yiquan for not protecting head in a way which would suit their taste. But just think for a moment. On one side there is the risk that opponent’s fist will hit your head. But on the other hand the risk that your spine or your head will hit the edge of some hard object. Which is more dangerous actually?
Please notice that on the sport ring boxers wear big gloves and apart from that their hands are binded with tapes. This is something which allowes them to hit very hard without taking the risk of injuring hands. And what happens when they are trying to hit that hard when they don’t have tapes and gloves on their hands? Injuring their own hands quite frequently instead of injuring opponent…
At the competitions which we started the fight area is relatively small, and being thrown out of it symbolizes being thrown into some object. And just stepping out symbolizes falling from a platform or from stairs. You see, people must to think also about this, not only about possibility of being hit – well, actually like in many real life fight situations, unlike sports rules created because of completely different reasons.
Those who criticize us, should think a bit, and try by themselves fighting under such conditions, so they can finally understand, that their opinions are illusions.
Thinking that „not protecting head” is result of wearing helmets with mask is one of such illusions. The risk of your spine or head being smashed when hitting hard object, the risk of falling down on something hard and edgy if you step out – this is why you need to fight in different way than people educated on typical sport formats imagine.
Yiquan fighting is taking into account such things, and our competition rules are created in such a way that they help to promote the way of fighting which is efficient under such conditions and not under rules created artificially because of completely different reasons, as is the case with mosts sports.
When under such conditions opponent is using skill of mixing the hitting with upseting opponent’s balance, you need to deal it with skills which people who don’t do this kind of training don’t realize. When they try what they know, to protect against hitting, they often fall out from the fight area – seems nothing dangerous, until you realize that it would mean for example that you fall down from high platform or from the stairs onto a hard edgy object. And even in the light contact Easy San Shou, in this case opponent gets 2 points, while for hit only 1 point. Some people would say that such rules are stupid. But just think again, what would be more dangerous in the real fight situation about which we are talking?
So when those people will be defeated by being thrown out from the fight area, they will stop protecting themselves in the way they thought was so good, because they will finally notice that their defence works against them. Of course in result they will be hit more often… Whatever they do, it works against them, because they just didn’t learn the skills to protect themselves under such conditions…
And very few people learn such skills. Even people who think they practice yiquan, actually quite often have not much idea about what they are actually learning …
There are many ways to practice attack and defense skills in yiquan. Actually tui shou is the basic method and is very usefull. Mixing striking with destroying opponent’s balance in free fighting and defending against such actions is actually very closely related to tui shou training. You learn absorbing and redirecting opponent’s power, balance between hard and soft, protecting center and using center, oblique surfaces (or triangles), pointing force or controlling force, attack and defense being one. Even in most basic pushing hands drills all those concepts are included. This way you can start working on it in relatively simple situations. When you can make it in simple situation, you can gradually try more difficult ways of practice.
Tui duan shou is actually kind of tui shou in which striking is included. It is very important transitory stage between typical tui shou and san shou.
San shou training includes many kinds of practice, from relatively fixed attack and defense drills, to semi free and relatively free kinds of sparrings. They might focus on different specific aspects of fighting, on different principles. Some are included in standard study program, but many can be designed and adapted according to needs, depending on what kind of problems students encounter – of course this needs a teacher who understands what it’s all about.
Anyway many important san shou skills are really closely related to tui shou. Most people don’t know how it works, so usually they don’t even notice and hence are not able to understand what’s happening during the fight which they watch. They see that someone is „not using any defense”, and they don’t realize that, as Wang Xianghai said; „what is important happens at a distance of one inch”. It’s often splits of seconds, and movements difficult to notice. They see „no defence, no protection”, but if you know how it works, you will notice that in very short moment of contact balance of the person with lower skill becomes disturbed, so that person is at risk of being thrown out of the fight area, and not able to deal efficiently with someone using such skill. So next moment he rather avoids arms conctact (gives up defense using bloking, covering head – which would lead to the same result), but in result is hit or is projected, because has no chance to defend by using tui shou skills. Improving defense needs serious working on this. And the basis is tui shou.
Just hope that more people will start learning yiquan seriously, especially young talented, physically fit, so we can use competitions to promote yiquan, demonstrating high level of skill and that range of skill which many people don’t even realize yet that it exists and is important for real fighting.
Odpowiedź na pytania zadane w grupie na Facebooku.
It happens quite often, that people seeing yiquan sparrings or competitions (not too many of those were organized so far though) comment and criticize yiquan people for not protecting their head and not keeping proper guard or tight guard and generally lack of defense. Very often they comment: „this is just like very bad, low level boxing or kick-boxing” or „they should rather learn some boxing or kick-boxing instead wasting time for this shit”.
The source of such view is taking the limited perspective of striking ring sports. And while some things actually make a lot of sense in such limited enviroment, it is quite different outside this frameset. As you can see from MMA fights, keeping the type of guard typical for boxing or kickboxing is not really often used or useful there. Well, sometimes you can see MMA fighters keeping such guard for a moment, mostly when when they are at distance several meters from their opponent, so keeping that guard is actually quite pointless then. But because coaches (and for the hitting part in the MMA the coaches often come from boxing) use to repeat: „keep guard, keep guard”, many fighters develop that habit. However this habit is displayed mostly in situations of being outside fighting range, while the guard usually disappears when they enter actual fighting range. Yes, in boxing or kick-boxing, pure striking competition rules and big gloves, that element might be something important and valuable. But people should notice that it becomes quite useless under other kinds of conditions.
If you want to understand what we do in yiquan, you should forget some ideas which come from boxing or kick-boxing – purely striking competition sports, with use of big gloves, with many long rounds originally designed to make money by organizing events atracting many spectators. It should be obvious that those sports didn’t develop for reason of reality based self defense, but for commercial and entertainment reasons. Those sports are great in itself. And also the skills developed by those athletes would be useful in outside ring situations. But there is a lot beyond this perspective.
Think about MMA again. How is it that in so many situations when pure boxers and kickboxers without MMA experience would take typical tight guard, you don’t really see those fighters doing this? Simply it is not boxing ring situation, with only striking allowed. If catching, throwing, leg shoots can be used, there are many more dangers and risks than just being hit in the head. The focus on protecting head the way as it is done in boxing becomes quite useles under those more variable  conditions with different kinds of risks.
And this is more or less the reason why in yiquan it doesn’t make much sense protecting yourself by taking such guard – it simply will not work, will not save you, and in many cases you will actually become defeated exactly because of doing something like this!
Fighting includes both attack and defense. Yiquan, as many other chinese martial arts stresses avoiding separating them. As long as it is possible you want to make defense and attack simultanous. And if it is possible you want one and the same movement be both defense and attack.
Successfully hitting is a defense too. Unbalancing opponent is part of attacking, but at the same time you defend yourself. When contact with opponent’s arms happens even for a split of second, it is much better if it is not only for blocking or simply covering your body against punches, but if you can use it to reasonably change direction of opponent’s attack, and also use this moment of contact to disturb opponent’s balance, all this to facilitate your next actions. When you possess those skills, then if opponent is just blocking and covering his head, you can use his defense against him. The actions which would work well against a striker turn out to be not so useful, if opponent learned to use any contact to „take center”.
Footwork is a defense too. We stress continuous changing position and angles, which is important for both defense and attack. Changing distance too. Both moving out and moving in can be a defense. Moving in will usually mean simultanous attack. As for moving out, some xingyiquan master said: „Even when I move back, I move forward”. You move back (and usually at the same time to the side), not just to move back, but to immediately enter again from more convenient position/angle, and as long as possible you want to „take opponent’s center” simultanously, either by hooking or catching or making him attack you and using his momentum against him.
Unlike many present day competition formats with the rounds made long to make it a spectacle, yiquan exactly like its predecessor xingyiquan, was created for surviving fast, extremely fierce bout. Not just one on one in safe enviroment, but next assailants can join any moment or while you engage in fight with one, others might use this time to beat your dear person. We are talking about situation when you don’t have time for moving back and patiently waiting for opportunity to attack.
Changing position of your body can be used too, including some leaning in various directions. However quite often the same action which would be quite useful defense if opponent is only striking, could be working against you, if he trained „taking center” (similarly if he learned more all-round ways of fighting, like mma).
In situations of serious time pressure, when the fight is really fierce, when the danger is not only the possibility of being hit, but also being violently pushed or thrown onto some hard and edgy object (situation quite different from sport fighting on a big mat or a ring with elastic ropes), typical striking arts strategies, tactics and techniques turn out to be insufficient, and training which mixes striking with destroying opponent’s structure and balance becomes exactly what is important.
People who do striking sports don’t understand this. They will criticize yiquan for not protecting head in a way which would suit their taste. But just think for a moment. On one side there is the risk that opponent’s fist will hit your head. But on the other hand the risk that your spine or your head will hit the edge of some hard object. Which is more dangerous actually?
Please notice that on the sport ring boxers wear big gloves and apart from that their hands are binded with tapes. This is something which allowes them to hit very hard without taking the risk of injuring hands. And what happens when they are trying to hit that hard when they don’t have tapes and gloves on their hands? Injuring their own hands quite frequently instead of injuring opponent…
At the competitions which we started the fight area is relatively small, and being thrown out of it symbolizes being thrown into some object. And just stepping out symbolizes falling from a platform or from stairs. You see, people must to think also about this, not only about possibility of being hit – well, actually like in many real life fight situations, unlike sports rules created because of completely different reasons.
Those who criticize us, should think a bit, and try by themselves fighting under such conditions, so they can finally understand, that their opinions are illusions.
Thinking that „not protecting head” is result of wearing helmets with mask is one of such illusions. The risk of your spine or head being smashed when hitting hard object, the risk of falling down on something hard and edgy if you step out – this is why you need to fight in different way than people educated on typical sport formats imagine.
Yiquan fighting is taking into account such things, and our competition rules are created in such a way that they help to promote the way of fighting which is efficient under such conditions and not under rules created artificially because of completely different reasons, as is the case with mosts sports.
When under such conditions opponent is using skill of mixing the hitting with upseting opponent’s balance, you need to deal it with skills which people who don’t do this kind of training don’t realize. When they try what they know, to protect against hitting, they often fall out from the fight area – seems nothing dangerous, until you realize that it would mean for example that you fall down from high platform or from the stairs onto a hard edgy object. And even in the light contact Easy San Shou, in this case opponent gets 2 points, while for hit only 1 point. Some people would say that such rules are stupid. But just think again, what would be more dangerous in the real fight situation about which we are talking?
So when those people will be defeated by being thrown out from the fight area, they will stop protecting themselves in the way they thought was so good, because they will finally notice that their defence works against them. Of course in result they will be hit more often… Whatever they do, it works against them, because they just didn’t learn the skills to protect themselves under such conditions…
And very few people learn such skills. Even people who think they practice yiquan, actually quite often have not much idea about what they are actually learning …
There are many ways to practice attack and defense skills in yiquan. Actually tui shou is the basic method and is very usefull. Mixing striking with destroying opponent’s balance in free fighting and defending against such actions is actually very closely related to tui shou training. You learn absorbing and redirecting opponent’s power, balance between hard and soft, protecting center and using center, oblique surfaces (or triangles), pointing force or controlling force, attack and defense being one. Even in most basic pushing hands drills all those concepts are included. This way you can start working on it in relatively simple situations. When you can make it in simple situation, you can gradually try more difficult ways of practice.
Tui duan shou is actually kind of tui shou in which striking is included. It is very important transitory stage between typical tui shou and san shou.
San shou training includes many kinds of practice, from relatively fixed attack and defense drills, to semi free and relatively free kinds of sparrings. They might focus on different specific aspects of fighting, on different principles. Some are included in standard study program, but many can be designed and adapted according to needs, depending on what kind of problems students encounter – of course this needs a teacher who understands what it’s all about.
Anyway many important san shou skills are really closely related to tui shou. Most people don’t know how it works, so usually they don’t even notice and hence are not able to understand what’s happening during the fight which they watch. They see that someone is „not using any defense”, and they don’t realize that, as Wang Xianghai said; „what is important happens at a distance of one inch”. It’s often splits of seconds, and movements difficult to notice. They see „no defence, no protection”, but if you know how it works, you will notice that in very short moment of contact balance of the person with lower skill becomes disturbed, so that person is at risk of being thrown out of the fight area, and not able to deal efficiently with someone using such skill. So next moment he rather avoids arms conctact (gives up defense using blocking, covering head – which would lead to the same result), but in result is hit or is projected, because has no chance to defend by using tui shou skills. Improving defense needs serious working on this. And the basis is tui shou.
Just hope that more people will start learning yiquan seriously, especially young talented, physically fit, so we can use competitions to promote yiquan, demonstrating high level of skill and that range of skill which many people don’t even realize yet that it exists and is important for real fighting.

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