This article is meant to show how a traditional Chinese martial art can be used in a practical application. I will show first how the technique is done classically then in a practical application in a street situation. Obviously the pictures have been taken to try and show possible applications, these interpretations are my own as traditionally the Chinese martial arts were taught in a broken fashion so that the student has to find the answers themselves and not be spoon fed by the teacher.
1. ‘Ye Ma Fen Zong’ (Part the wild horse’s mane)
Bob is attacked with a hook punch, he first collects the punch and immediately steps forward using Pi Quan as the final application.
Bob is attacked opening his car if you follow the sequence you will see that he uses the same application with a variation as he also uses the environment to finish the attacker.
In Sun Style Taiji though the names are the same as other forms of Taiji the applications come from Xing Yi or Bagua, these applications have been adapted to meet the situation.
This is the last thing taught in the 5×5 system not because it is least important or most important it is in my opinion better to have the empty hand and knife skills first then use the stick for attributes it can give you regarding range and conditioning.
First we learn the 5 basic angles of attack, then drill them against an opponent attacking him with them not blocking stick, but maybe attacking his arm or body depending on strike. Then we learn some standard drills, Pakgang, Hubud, Punio Sombrada and the 3 and 5 hit Sombrada. This will give us some training in different ranges and by moving from drill to drill smoothly helping us move in and out of the three ranges.
After competency is gained stick grappling can be added or disarms, chokes and locks depending on what level the student wishes to go into the art.
We are developing a system meant to be relatively simple to learn, apply and still retain some elements of being a martial art not just a hybrid system of mish-mash techniques. So with that in mind, after the basics have all been learned, it is hoped the practitioner will go on to explore other elements with us, such as Knife offence, stick and dagger, double stick, staff etc or will inspire them to seek out other instruction, having gained a good grounding from us.
I think with the stringent law on edged weapons that operates with the UK it is important to look at effective empty hand striking to include more emphasis on the knife defence element and the use of effective disarms, then use appropriate immobilisation of opponent. I feel the empty hands should be taught first along with knife defence, then weapons.
Within the 5×5 system we use western boxing as a catalyst learning jab, cross, hooks and uppercuts throwing in a variation hook from Muay Chaiya Nawarrat that gives us our base 5 techniques these are drilled in combinations using pads and then in sparring once competency is gained.
We can also use empty hand drills like Higot Hubud and Pakgang to gain sensitivity and variety.
For the knife defence we can use hubud again or themed sparring working up to doing blocks, disarms and counter techniques to near full speed and power to add realism.
Even though we are learning to deal with life threatening situations we should still train safe with regards to our partner and try to work with as many different shapes and sizes of opponent.
The last element is being prepared mentally to deal with the threat of injury and having the right mindset to go with the physical tools you have developed, recognising adrenalin dump how to avoid it, pressure testing what you learn regularly in a safe environment, environment awareness is also important and switching on the alert if you are in strange places, trust the instincts you have developed if you feel like running then run away don’t let ego rule your natural instincts, only fight when you have no choice.
Practicinga martial art is a fun and rewarding experience and so you should enjoy your practice but that does not mean you are not serious when it comes down to the wire.