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Qiang's blog

Fork Energy: Engaging Structure and Mass

Submitted by Qiang on Mon, 01/04/2016 - 14:39

At the point of contact, you want to be able to generate at least two energies: one attacking the structure and one attacking the mass. The why and how of this may not be immediately obvious, but the principle behind this “fork” energy can be understood via simple models.

As a first pass to understanding, we remove complicating factors and reduce our analysis to the essentials needed for examining the underlying principles. Using a “spherical cow” approximation technique, we can do barebones thought experiments to derive the mechanisms of the fork energy.

Random Thoughts Dec 2015

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 12/18/2015 - 08:12

Inching towards clarity

Sifu has said that he doesn’t teach anything new, rather we just understand things differently each time. I haven’t had any earth-shattering learning experiences with my training lately, so I take this to mean that enough of what Sifu has taught me has sunken in that my head no longer hurts when trying to grasp his lessons. Of course, there is still the possibility that I have completely misunderstood him and am operating with completely flawed model of reality.

Tuning In

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 22:51

"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)

A good portion of learning I-Liq Chuan is learning to recognize what you are seeing. It is not that the advanced practitioner has achieved some mysterious power or superhuman senses. Rather it is something much more mundane: they have better control of how they perceive reality. Sifu uses the analogy of learning to be like a receiver, specifically an FM radio. The information (radiofrequency waves) is already out there and the antennas are up, but information from the radio waves is not clear until the frequencies are tuned in. Everybody receives information through the same senses, but not everyone tunes in as effectively to perceive what they are actually sensing.

Training Mistakes

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 09/19/2013 - 23:05

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.

Thinking there is a perfect stance

This misconception probably came from my tai chi days and playing with people only doing stationary push hands. I used to have the idea that I could train to perfect my stance so that my structure would be rooted to take any force. It is easy to fall into this sort of thinking at the early stages of training since you are learning to align your structure, and your feedback generally comes in the form of simple static stance pulls and pushes.

What a child can teach you about learning gongfu

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 10/25/2012 - 23:43

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 - 22:52

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 - 23:43

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:

 

MobilityWOD squat video

 

Skill is not automatic

Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 03:14

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 - 02:30

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.

 

Rocket Science

 

Physics of Fajin, Pt. 1

Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 09/01/2011 - 22:10

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. 

Here’s my attempt to properly apply classical physics to the often mysticized fajin.

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