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  • The Body Line

    Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:21

    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 - 17:35



    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.

    According to Malcolm Gladwell, most masters of their craft have put in roughly 10000 hours of practice prior to mastery. However, those 10000 hours can't be mindless, rote repetition. What separates the amateur from the expert is the thousands of hours of mindful training--it's 10000 hours of focused attention to perfect practice that develops highly refined skill.

  • Martial "skills"?

    Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 11/25/2010 - 18:40

    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.

    Finger strikes through coconuts. Sure, I'd never want to get in a fight with him as he might put a hole in my skull with his conditioned fingers. But take a look at those gnarly fingers.  I think I'd prefer full function and fine motor control of my digits instead of the ability to pierce a coconut.

  • Penetrating the sphere: Geometry of attack

    Submitted by Qiang on Sat, 11/20/2010 - 22:05

    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.

    One mistake that I frequently made (and probably still frequently make) is to roll and pivot past the diameter line and attack straight away. That tends to only work if you partner or opponent is not attentive to your actions. The problem arises from the fact the force interactions are multidimensional. The point of contact is not a static sphere; rather, it is a dynamic point that changes curvature and moves in space.

  • Training Beginners

    Submitted by Qiang on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 23:50

    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.

  • 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 - 02:05

    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 - 10:01

    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:

    I came across this post at Diesel Crew about training athletes' reaction time with visual and audio cues.  Most athletic training is about improving physical attribute, but not all training is about physical improvements.  Strength, power, speed, etc. are only useful in the context of being able to perceive the conditions of the moment.


    Thought this vid demonstrated understanding the point of contact in a different context:

  • Point of Contact

    Submitted by Qiang on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 09:28

    In my experience with learning and teaching I-Liq Chuan, I have noticed that a lot of time is spent training the point of contact.  Once the basic understanding of body unification is achieved, training can quickly progress to framing movements in terms of the point of contact.  The point of contact provides a context for movements and serves as a training aid which guides the training progression.

  • Power Comes From The Feet

    Submitted by Ashe Higgs on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 00:00
    Ashe Higgs's picture

    The Importance Of Foot Alignment In Generating Maximum Power & Balance For Martial Arts

    One of the reasons I like to follow the Dragon Door crew is that, besides the fact that they know their stuff where sports performance is concerned, they also often provide some tantalizing food for thought about martial arts, especially the so called "internal martial arts".