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Qiang's blog

Tuning In

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 11:51pm

"Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house." ~Ezekiel 12:2 (New American Standard Bible)

Training Mistakes

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 09/19/2013 - 11:05pm

Mistakes are part of the training process. Stumbling a bit while exploring beyond your comfort zone is par for the course. Recognizing the mistakes and correcting them is essential to make progress. I didn’t see my mistakes at the time (hindsight is 20/20). Looking back on my training, I’ve made plenty of mistakes that were obstacles to my progress. Here are a few of the bigger ones.

What a child can teach you about learning gongfu

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:43pm

Babies start their lives with very limited movement abilities, and yet they can learn to crawl and walk largely on their own. They focus their attention on themselves to wire up the neural pathways that allow them control their bodies and feel what their bodies can sense. Learning gong fu as an adult requires a similar sort of focused attention to develop the body control and awareness that will allow the skill to manifest. The mindful physical practice establishes the movement foundation that allows the art to be expressed.

Why I-Liq Chuan?

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 10:52pm

I haven’t given the question much thought in a while since I had already long since decided to focus on ILC.  But now that I teach as well as study the art, it is a question I have to answer with some regularity. After I was recently asked about the specific distinguishing characteristics of ILC, I finally sat down and revisited the question.

 

Squats, hip rhythm, and projecting

Submitted by Qiang on Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:43pm

One of the things that I find painful to observe when I go to the gym is watching people do squats.  It’s a basic movement that gets butchered since our sedentary lifestyles have made us forget how to move from the hips.  Instead, what happens when people squat is mostly poorly coordinated movements starting from the knees.  Rather than try to explain this in text, I find that Kelly Starrett’s video post about squatting is easier to visualize:

 

Skill is not automatic

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 3:14am

Achieving proficiency in a martial art requires certain abilities.  However, the abilities themselves do not equate to high level proficiency.  To achieve mastery of an art requires developing skill.  Skill and ability are related concepts, but are distinct.  The difference between the two is subtle, and I have not always had the best explanation to distinguish them when I get into a discussion with others.  But after reading through Geoff Colvin's "Talent is Overrated," I see that the difference between the two can be succintly stated: skill is not automatic.

Physics of Fajin, Pt. 2

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 09/09/2011 - 2:30am

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out fajin, but you might want to use a little rocket math to understand it. The force equation is a fundamental relationship for understanding how rockets get off the ground.  In the last blog post, we left off mentioning how we need acceleration to generate enough momentum over short distances.  For our purposes, we can use the force equation to analyze how it is possible to generate enough velocity and momentum for a short distance attack.

 

Physics of Fajin, Pt. 1

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 09/01/2011 - 10:10pm

Being a science sort of guy, I like understanding mechanisms of how things work. Tying in concepts from biology, physics, and neuroscience into martial arts training is something I can totally geek out to. In my mind, demystifying martial arts esoterica using science is a good thing. However, science is sometimes used incorrectly to justify certain principles and phenomena  Fajin--the issuing of power--can be understood within the framework of sound science; it does not have to reside solely in the realm of qi, magic, superhuman abilities, or hand waved pseudo-science. 

Horizontal Control and the Four Strategies

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 04/07/2011 - 10:33pm

When gaining the upper hand position, getting to the horizontal usually works to your advantage. Dropping your opponents into the horizontal plane in effect closes them in the up-down dimension. This makes it much more difficult for them to project force against you and is getting the upper hand into position to attack. From the lower hand horizontal position, it is tougher to achieve the spacing necessary to strike in. To strike from the lower hand position, the elbow extends and the shoulder flexes to straighten the arm.

Horizontal Control and the Four Strategies

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 04/07/2011 - 10:33pm

When gaining the upper hand position, getting to the horizontal usually works to your advantage. Dropping your opponents into the horizontal plane in effect closes them in the up-down dimension. This makes it much more difficult for them to project force against you and is getting the upper hand into position to attack. From the lower hand horizontal position, it is tougher to achieve the spacing necessary to strike in. To strike from the lower hand position, the elbow extends and the shoulder flexes to straighten the arm.

NC March 2011 Workshop Recap

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 03/25/2011 - 10:41am

Last weekend, I made my regularly planned trip down to NC to train with Sifu at the NC ILC workshop.  As always, I left with a lot of stuff to work on.  I find going to workshops to be highly informative.  This is not just because of the knowledge that gets presented, but also because I get feedback from touching hands with more and different people than I normally would.  Interacting with different people gives me access to people with different feels, which is invaluable for learning to put principles into action.

NC March 2011 Workshop Recap

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 03/25/2011 - 10:41am

Last weekend, I made my regularly planned trip down to NC to train with Sifu at the NC ILC workshop.  As always, I left with a lot of stuff to work on.  I find going to workshops to be highly informative.  This is not just because of the knowledge that gets presented, but also because I get feedback from touching hands with more and different people than I normally would.  Interacting with different people gives me access to people with different feels, which is invaluable for learning to put principles into action.

Blink and the Power of Words

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 12:20am

Blink and the Power of Words

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 12:20am

The Body Line

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 9:21pm

After the center of the feet, usually the first "easy" idea I teach to new students is paying attention to the body line. When the hand (or more precisely, the point of contact) is inside the body line, it is easier to absorb. Conversely, when the hand crosses outside of the body line, it is easier to project force. The body line is an important transition point which needs to be recognized to maintain unification with an opponent's force.

The Body Line

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 9:21pm

After the center of the feet, usually the first "easy" idea I teach to new students is paying attention to the body line. When the hand (or more precisely, the point of contact) is inside the body line, it is easier to absorb. Conversely, when the hand crosses outside of the body line, it is easier to project force. The body line is an important transition point which needs to be recognized to maintain unification with an opponent's force.

Repetition

Submitted by Qiang on Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:35pm

 

 

Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes. But what are you actually accomplishing from repetitive practice? Hours of drills are necessary to achieve mastery of any skill, yet the hours of practice do not necessarily lead to proficiency.

Repetition

Submitted by Qiang on Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:35pm

 

 

Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes. But what are you actually accomplishing from repetitive practice? Hours of drills are necessary to achieve mastery of any skill, yet the hours of practice do not necessarily lead to proficiency.

Martial "skills"?

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 11/25/2010 - 7:40pm

A few months ago, I did a post on questionable body conditioning practices.  So, for your entertainment, here's a followup post about questionable martial skills.  Some of them are impressive, but none of them really pass my personal test for general sanity.

Martial "skills"?

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 11/25/2010 - 7:40pm

A few months ago, I did a post on questionable body conditioning practices.  So, for your entertainment, here's a followup post about questionable martial skills.  Some of them are impressive, but none of them really pass my personal test for general sanity.

Penetrating the sphere: Geometry of attack

Submitted by Qiang on Sat, 11/20/2010 - 11:05pm

In a previous post, I discussed the point of contact in terms of vector components. When you penetrate your opponent’s sphere, you pass the diameter line of the virtual sphere at the point of contact and have technically passed your opponent’s defense. However, just getting past the diameter line is necessary but not sufficient.

Penetrating the sphere: Geometry of attack

Submitted by Qiang on Sat, 11/20/2010 - 11:05pm

In a previous post, I discussed the point of contact in terms of vector components. When you penetrate your opponent’s sphere, you pass the diameter line of the virtual sphere at the point of contact and have technically passed your opponent’s defense. However, just getting past the diameter line is necessary but not sufficient.

Training Beginners

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:50pm

I sometimes get asked whether training with beginners is boring or pointless. When you advance to a certain level of skill, it can be frustrating to have to train “below your skill level.” However, I choose not to view it that way. After spending a significant amount of time (years actually) as the only I-Liq Chuan guy around and having to build a group from beginners, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity presented by training with a beginner.

Training Beginners

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:50pm

I sometimes get asked whether training with beginners is boring or pointless. When you advance to a certain level of skill, it can be frustrating to have to train “below your skill level.” However, I choose not to view it that way. After spending a significant amount of time (years actually) as the only I-Liq Chuan guy around and having to build a group from beginners, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity presented by training with a beginner.

Kickin' Ass with Math: Vectors, spheres and points of contact

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 09/10/2010 - 7:33am

One of the topics that has come up in the past workshops is the idea of vector forces in the spheres of offense and defense.  To maintain your defense or invade your opponent's defense at the point of contact, the understanding of these spheres is essential.  The concept of the spheres can at first seem esoteric, but the forces involved can be understood with some elementary geometry and physics (warning, math to be discussed ahead).

Kickin' Ass with Math: Vectors, spheres and points of contact

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 09/10/2010 - 7:33am

One of the topics that has come up in the past workshops is the idea of vector forces in the spheres of offense and defense.  To maintain your defense or invade your opponent's defense at the point of contact, the understanding of these spheres is essential.  The concept of the spheres can at first seem esoteric, but the forces involved can be understood with some elementary geometry and physics (warning, math to be discussed ahead).

Malaysia Trip Recap

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 2:05am

A little over one week back in the U.S. and I feel like I'm just getting over my jet lag.  It's a weird feeling popping wide awake at 1-2 a.m. and being dog tired during the daylight hours.  Anyhow, I thought I'd jot down a few notes on my experience in Kuala Lumpur and training with Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong.

First, my experiences with Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur:

Malaysia Trip Recap

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 08/20/2010 - 2:05am

A little over one week back in the U.S. and I feel like I'm just getting over my jet lag.  It's a weird feeling popping wide awake at 1-2 a.m. and being dog tired during the daylight hours.  Anyhow, I thought I'd jot down a few notes on my experience in Kuala Lumpur and training with Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong.

First, my experiences with Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur:

Link-o-rama IV: Summer Vacation Edition

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:01am

I'm off to Malaysia for some training and vacation.  I'll be taking a break from writing my blog posts for a few weeks (but don't worry, I'll be back soon enough).  Here are some links to tide you over during the break:

Link-o-rama IV: Summer Vacation Edition

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:01am

I'm off to Malaysia for some training and vacation.  I'll be taking a break from writing my blog posts for a few weeks (but don't worry, I'll be back soon enough).  Here are some links to tide you over during the break: