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Paz Journal: August 2004

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  • Paz Journal: August 2004

    After suffering through the heat, the sickness, and all the annoyances of rural China last year, I decided it would be a good idea to go back and experience it all again. Just like last year, I could only spend 2 weeks at Shi Decheng's school. The first two days made it seem like 2 weeks would be much too long, but by the end of the trip, I didn't want to return to Japan. In fact, I was pretty sad to leave.

    Taking the train from Beijing to Zhengzhou, I had started to worry. Shifu hadn't returned an email in over a month. Would he be there? Where would I train if he wasn't? But much in the same way as many things in my life happen, things would work out just as long as I showed up. I actually found Decheng on the bus going from Zhengzhou to Dengfeng; turns out he was just returning from some wushu festivals and his email wasn't working. He attempted to greet me in Japanese and I attempted to greet him in Chinese, and then he laughed and punched me in the arm. I thanked my lucky stars I ran into him and then thanked them again that he remembered me. What a great way to start my 'vacation' in Dengfeng.

    For the next two weeks, I lived and trained at the school. This turned out to be a much different experience than last year, when I had stayed at a hotel (complete with a massage parlor, a sauna, and nice toilets). This year I felt I had really breathed, ate, and ****ted kung fu. This year's training was also much different in that there were so many more foreigners, most of them just beginning, and a few them very experienced and athletically gifted. It was really great to see Shifu weave in and out of Chinese, English, French, Italian, and now a little bit German as he taught.

    The best part for you guys, however, is that I took plently of notes on my observations on training methods, chinese culture, kung fu culture, and life in general. Also, the exposure to all the other foreign students gave me a look at how shaolin is developing around the world (both the good and the bad).

    Oh, and Doc, there are some pretty girls in Dengfeng, just not at the Feng Yuan anymore. In fact, a couple pretty ones showed up at the school. It was a strange coicidence though that my coaches told me to practice in the back by myself after asking me for a pen and some paper. Life's funny, huh?
    -Jesse Pasleytm
    "How do I know? Because my sensei told me!"

  • #2
    Pretty girls in Dengfeng? And I didn't see them?

    Nah. Can't be man. Drink some water and rehydrate.

    Curious about the "good and the bad" that you noticed though.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)


    • #3
      Okay, first topic: 'Applications'

      Monday: Monday is the day of rest at Shi Decheng's school, for both domestic students and long term foriegn students. For me, however, Monday meant going with Decheng to meet with the new students from the UK. It also meant me being in the front of the line during jibengong and setting the pace for class, a position usually reserved for people with actual skill and athletic prowess. Considering the size of the class, I was surprised that everyone actually got through all the jibengong movements. But there was still a half-hour left in class. Surely he wasn't gonna teach these shaolin virgins taolu in their first class, right? No, Decheng did something even more hideous, heinous, and blasphemous (at least the to kung fu world): he taught applications to all the jibengong, the famed 'secrets' of shaolin, things that some students will wait half a lifetime for.

      And just like when the Tick found out that the menancing Infinity Sphere was just an 8 ball turned sideways, it turns out that the applications are basic and simple. So much for secrets.

      Actually, Decheng had taught me some applications last year, and some others I could figure out pretty easily on my own. Most of what we did on Monday did not surprise me at all. In fact, a lot of the techniques we did had a very similar equivalent of what I do in Aikido. Xu bu ge zhang = Gyakumaiate, reverse xu bu ge zhang = aigamaiate, ma bu dan bian = gedanate, and qian sao tui is a nice little one leg shoot followed by a sweep, something straight out of judo or wrestling. All of the moves are considered basic in their respective arts, bread and butter.

      So why have 'applications' been guarded secrets, techniques too deadly to reveal the general public, at least according to various kung fu 'experts'? That's a damn good question. It might have to do with certain 'stubborn' aspects of Chinese culture, it might have to do with 'sifus' who actually have no working knowledge of what they do. It's also funny to mention that after Decheng demonstrated (to me AND on me) his knowledge of pressure points (which was unlike any other 'demonstration' of qi powers I've felt before) he then went on to tell me its pretty much useless to learn that stuff until you have an immense understanding of boxing and wrestling skills(so take that you 'my awesome qi finger strike will beat your puny grappling' jerks).

      Now, before I am lambasted and my image burned before the altar of Guan Yu, I will ask this: why learn taolu and solo movements if the applications are so simple? The answer to that question lies in one key concept that is often neglected in martial arts literature: power of movement. Knowing the application and being able to pull it off during drills in class is much different than being able to put your opponent on the ground in a live situation. But even in these two situations, it is still very hard to practice and develop power of movement...combining footwork and structural alighnment to maximize the movement into placement of the technique and the power of the technique itself. With solo exercises, you develop this power of movement, which is really what separates fighters from mere scrappers. Notice any great NHB fighter or professional boxer...they have it.

      So, sounding like a complete traditionalist, stop sparring and get back to doing those dumb katas.

      (My next post will emphasize the importance of sparring...maybe)
      -Jesse Pasleytm
      "How do I know? Because my sensei told me!"


      • #4
        "So why have 'applications' been guarded secrets, techniques too deadly to reveal the general public, at least according to various kung fu 'experts'?"

        i wouldnt go as far to call them guarded secrets, but in the past, if you learned gung fu the traditional way, youd have to learn the forms and figure them out for yourself

        either way, unless your training under some condition where a sifu would emphasise this aspect, imo a sifu that doesnt show apps isnt worth ****, in my situation we learn the apps and so much more, and we drill them till we get em "right"

        "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


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