Fu Zhong Wen, Yang Chen Fu, Yang Shao Hao, Sun Lu Tang, Wu Chien Quan, Ma Yueh Liang, Tung Ji Yieh, Chen Wei Ming (below Sun Lu Tang)

Monday, December 22, 2014

General outline of our Throw training in Chinese Martial arts and Taijiquan

What you should expect to learn and know for testing and demo of techniques.

Warm up:
Waist rotation
Back rotation/windmills
Bar stretch- front, side, and back
Split training
Tendon stretch: vuom ba duan jin #1.
Standing floor stretch
Standing v stretch- rt. Middle, left
Front kicks
Inside and outside crescent kicks

Stance and leg work:
Back hook with leg
Pull out let spin 180.
Hook kick
Gong bu turns
Extending gong bu turns
Cross stance up and down
Coil leg up
Low coil sits
Kick back throw (classic shuai throw)

Entering training:
1.       Front cross step
2.       Back cross tep
3.       Fast enter step (jump)
4.       1,2, or 3 with full bending throw.

Fall training:
Front roll
Front fall
Side fall
Coil leg side fall
Back fall

Leg holding throws:
Single leg side throw
Single leg over the shoulder
Double leg
Double leg to side
Double leg over the back/suplex
Kick catch leg sweep
Kick catch push forward
Kick catch pull back

Over the waist and back throws:
1.       Back/hip- Neck throw
2.       Back/hip - Shoulder throw
3.       Back/hip - Waist throw
4.       Snake throw
5.       Tiger throw
6.       Front waist throw
7.       Waist throw from opponent back.
8.       Dragon throw
9.       Leg reap throw
1-.   Push the chin throw (white crane spread wings).

Leg hooking throws:
1.       Ward off shoulder control- sweep lead leg.
2.       Roll back/elbow control- sweep lead leg.
3.       Leg lifting, chest press throw.
4.       Wrist control sweep leg
5.       Combo hook kick and leg throw.
6.       Neck pull, hook kick throw.
7.       Play pipa: arm drag/elbow control and sweep lead leg.

Other throws and counter techniques:
1.       Ba ta ne: hand block and move forward throw.
2.       Elbow striking throw.
3.       Snake creep down 1: Fireman carry throw.
4.       Snake creep down #2: reach between groin throw.
5.       Pull leg, press forward/neck or chest throw.
6.       Part horse mane throw: control leg, push chest throw.
7.       Carry tiger to mountain: flip over throw.
8.       Double and single leg counter: sprawl or neck control.
9.       Dragon as a counter throw.

Ground fighting:
1.       head lock, arm bar.
2.       Neck crank
3.       Guillotine from guard
4.       Paint brush series- key locks and kimura.
5.       Wrist locks
6.       Rear shoulder/chicken wing

7.       Darce choke.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Be weary when you see "Tai Chi Combat" or "Tai Chi fighting" in same sentence and by whom.

    Please be aware of all kinds of marketing schemes that are used now-a-days when people promote Tai Chi Chuan as an effective martial art for fighting and real self-defense. We are talking about non-fighting Tai Chi folks promoting fighting, and other silliness like "One Touch KO's". That is another one that takes the cake in deceitful advertising.

 In recent years, an increase of questionable instructors have been marketing that they teach effective "Combative Tai Chi", "Tai chi for the streets", "Tai Chi for fighting", and all other types of gaffs. Some of these consumers and buyers of these dangerous marketing trends are really going to get hurt by it. They may think they have a real skill, and one day, thinking they will have special fajin powers,  someone is gonna clock them into reality.

Do you even know what to look for when seeking out "Tai Chi for fighting"??? Please allow me to help you.

First of all you want to have someone with real fight experience. A verifiable fight record comes to mind. I am not talking about hearsay stories that so-n-so touched a guy on the shoulder and his opponent flew away and fell down, or the 1000's of fights so-n-so did while on the streets. Both are totally unverifiable and most likely polished stories worthy of a good laugh. Be weary of many of the "Tai Chi fighting" Youtubes out there, most are done by people with no fight experience and they are often scripted scenes with their students who telegraph punches and act "knocked out" in these misleading videos. One in particular, a instructor had his student who is a non-wrestler, act as a wrestler, so he can show how to use the art against wrestlers in a way that wouldn't work. Total Fail!

Second, find a person who has a good reputation, has been in the game for a while, and trained for sport fighting. Someone who is safe to say has done well in fight events. You want to try to avoid people who say they have fought, but in reality got knocked out in the first minute of the fight. A good fighter is someone who knows the hard work of sparring, strength training, cardio training, hit conditioning, high percentage techniques, and all the other important tools and attributes to help you survive a real street and sport fighting confrontation. We recommend someone well known as a good fighter.

Thirdly, that person needs to be well versed in transmitting this to their students who thus become great fighters and even champions of full contact fighting. If someone is training fighters that constantly lose and get knocked out, the instructor seems to not know how to properly prepare a fighter. If the fighter loses, but fights well, then it is another story. What is important is how and what are they producing. A win-lose ratio is a good gauge. Class size, amount of fighters active in competitions, knowledge of the various rules for various fight events, these things a good instructor will know.

So here are good signs:
1. find someone with real experience in fighting, and can prove it.
2. find someone well known and active in the martial community and fight events.
3. find someone who continues to train fighters regularly and can take you to that level.

In my own research and fight training, I have met and talked with several people who can apply both Tai Chi Chuan, or their respective Chinese Martial Art into the realm of full contact fighting. This is either Sanda, San Shou, Lei Tai, and even MMA. Here I will discuss some of the top people world wide doing so. These are teachers I highly recommend if you want to go beyond "push hands" and get right into the heart of real fighting.

Sifu Mike Patterson:  was the Taiwan National Champion for a couple of years back in the 70s under Hsu Hong Chi and student of Hung Yi Hsiang. He taught fighters how to use Hsingyi, Pakua, and Tai Chi in Lei Tai combat. Several of his fighters won in their divisions and became on the US team. He kept a team of Men and Women that dominated Lei Tai competitions for many year is mid-90s to early 2000. Alex Shpigel, Mario Mancini. Bob Reynolds, Steve Cotter were some of them.
Sifu Mike Patterson with champion students

William CC Chen:
 Master William Chen competed in Full Contact fighting event in Taiwan in the early 1950s. As a student of Cheng Man-Ching, he demonstrated Tai Chi as a combat art. His daughter Tiffany Chen and son Max Chen have both been members of the US Lei Tai and US San Shou team and competed Nationally and Internationally. Peter Ralston- also studied Tai Chi with William C.C. Chen in NY. In fact it was while he was training at Chen's school that he saw the poster for the (at the time, upcoming) 1978 World Full-Contact Fighting Championship in Taiwan and decided to compete. He went on to win the tournament, becoming the first non-Asian ever to do so.
William CC Chen and Tiffany Chen

Sifu David Ross  is a San Shou fighter and instructor in NYC and trains fighters in San shou/San da, and MMA. He is a writer and has a excellent blog here discussing similar topics as this one.

Luo De Xiu- Hung Yi Hsiang's student, competed in national fighting events in Taiwan. He is a world renowned master of Neijia: Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi. Luo has students teaching in Europe and America. Including Marcus Brinkman, George Wood, Ed Hines, Nick Cumber. Tim Cartmell- trained with Luo De Xiu. In 1986 he won the middleweight division of the All Taiwan Invitational Full Contact Tournament, and then won the middleweight division of the Chung Cheng International Full Contact Tournament later that same year. Tim is a Black belt in Brazilian Juijitsu.
Tim interview here

EBM Kung Fu- Brent Hamby (Oakland San Shou) EBM in Oakland California has a pretty tough squad of fighters that train in both Internal martial arts and San shou. Team consists of Brent Hamby, Adam Caldwell, Brian Madign, Russ Middleton, and more. they carry on tradition of Wong Jack Man.
EBM Oakland Ca.

Dan Docherty- Wutang TaiChi Style teacher in the UK who learned in Hong Kong, fought and won in a full contact events in Asia in late 1970s early 1980s. Neil Rosiak- Dan Docherty student who fought in Vale Tudo in the early years when MMA was developing, and is trainer for fighters Sami Berrick and Richard Lewis at the Masters Club in London. San Shou Ireland: Niall Keane, Declan Gannon, Karl Kidd, Daren Lowry, Wayne Marshall, Vytautas Vysniauskas are a Tai Chi team from Dan Docherty's Wudang Tai Chi Association that fights out of Ireland and is very active in competition. MUST READ Round table of Tai Chi fighting coaches from U.K. 
Dan Docherty

San Shou Ireland

Eric Sbarge: Eric Sbarge and Peaceful Dragon Lei Tai team with                    
Natalia Hill, Robert Beaver, Carrie Chun and others is based in North Carolina. They are from Chang Tung Sheng's branch of Shuai Chiao and Internal gong fu: Taiji, Pakua, and Hsingyi.
Eric Sbarge

Two other notable champions of full contact fighting I want to also mention are Patrick Brady and Robert Ruby. Both really great fighters. Some more active in teaching than others. Robert Ruby can be found here in Richmond Va.
Patrick Brady

Robert Ruby
Coach Christopher Pei- is a Yang Taijiquan Coach having studied under Willy Lin in DC's Chinatown, with Fu Zhong Wen, Yang Zhen Dou and Yang Zhen Ji. He has also fought in his younger days in tournaments. He currently coaches San shou fighters who have competed in Lei Tai. His fighters include: Chris Chai, Adam, Marty, Alan Le, Sean Wargo.

Gurjok K. Singh- Teaches fighters a combination of Tai Chi pugilism, Boxing, and Muay Thai.  Mr.Singh is a Retired Army Ranger and owner of Angels Gym that trains regional and state, mens and women, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and Grappling IKF and NAGA champions. He is also a book author, "The Art of Western Tai Chi".

Coach Wilson Pitts: influenced by Boxing,  Robert W. Smith, and  TCM with Dr. Amy Tseng in Richmond Virginia, he emphasized combat usage in Neijia arts of Tai Chi, Bagua, and Hsingyi. He trained several fighters including acupuncturist Celeste Wray and Jamar, for Lei Tai and San Shou using boxing principles and study from his experience at Joe Fraiser's Cloverlay Gym in North Philly in the 1970's. Wilson also teaches in New York city, California.

Sifu Clarence Burris teaches Tien Shan Pai and Tai Chi in Northern Virginia.  He is 1992 NASKA Virginia State Heavy Weight Champion, and in 1993 Selected on the U.S. full contact Sanshou Team for World Championships in Malaysia.

In closing, I hope you find some of the information here useful when seeking out teachers of full contact fighting, "Tai Chi for fighting" "Tai Chi combat" and real self defense. We believe that people who have "been there, done that" are your best chance of having a SAFE, SUCCESSFUL, and FRUITIOUS experience. We hope you will not have to use your martial arts in a life and death situation, but if you should, we hope you are properly prepared having done the hard work we believe these teachers can give you. There are some other teachers out there not mentioned I may have forgotten, these come to mind. Please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jibenggong (Basics/Foundation practices) common to Kung Fu, Long Boxing, and Wushu

These seem to have helped me tremendously with my Internal arts training: I had a teacher from Shanghai Jingwu (Chin Woo), Zhou Jianhua and two others, one from Mizung Lohan style (under Alex Kwok/Nick Scrima), another in college from Shaolin Wu Xing ba fa (Ching Ching Fang's student Chow in Richmond Va) and a Traditional Yang teacher who was also a famous Wushu teacher (He Weiqi) and former USA Team coach Lu Xiao Ling. these basics are common to all of them. Taijiquan Jibengong is at the bottom.

Common Jibegong in Long Fist: Chin Woo, Mizung Lohan, Shaolin Longfist, and even wushu training: good for any player.

Warm-up, stretching, etc.
1. Loosen neck, ankles and wrist.
2. Arm/shoulder circles, Waist circles, hip circles, knee circles. (variety of waist turning drills)
3. Heel stretch
4. Squat
5. Various stretches: wall stretches, floor stretches, partner stretches.
a. Single leg
b. Double leg
c. Splits (Chinese and regular)
d. Scales
e. etc.

Stance work stationary:
6. Horse stance (with staff on legs)
7. Bow stance and kneeling stance (knee almost touch ground)
8. Pistols as empty stance warm up
9. Empty stance
10. Drop stance
11. Balance stance
12. Half sitting stance
13. Full sitting stance

Punching/Stance work: moving
14. Horse stance punching: variety including: horse stance to bow stance, horse stance to half sitting, horse stance to kneeling stance, etc.
15. Bow stance punching
16. Drop stance to bow stance to balance stance drill- low to high leg work.
17. Moving half sitting stance.
18. Combination of stances.

Kicking basics
19. Front stretch kick
20. Inside stretch kick
21. Outside stretch kick
22. Side stretch kick
23. Side kick (low, medium, high)
24. Chinese round kick (low , medium, high)
25. Inside and outside kick combines
26. Slap kick
27. Double slap kick
28. Shovel kick
29. Back kick
30. Low front sweep (180) degree
31. Low back sweep (360) degree
32. Front snap kick (Tan tuei)
33. Combined front snap kick and side kick
34. Circle arm slap kick

Acrobatic/agility skills- rolling, tiger rolls, back rolls, front falls, back falls, dragon spins up, tornado fall, side kick fall.
front jumps, 360 jumps to left, 360 jumps to right.
35. Front jump kick
36. Tornado kick
37. Lotus kick
38. Butterfly kick
39. Cartwheels and Aerial (cartwheel no hands)

Strength conditioning:
1. Jump and land in Horse stance
2. Wall sits (sit in horse stance back to wall)
3. V-ups
4. Sit ups
5. Push ups
6. Burpies
7. Squat kicks
8. Outside kick, 180 degree inside kick, to bow stance palm strike hold (repeat 20 times)
9. Leg raises (50)
10. Back extensions
11. Bridges (30 sec holds)

Taijiquan Jiben gong:
1. Loosening and joint opening/Flexibility set.
2. Standing gong set.
3. Single movement set.
4. Taiji walking set 1 (no hands movements)
5. Taiji walking set 2 (with hand movements- Part Horse mane, Brush Knee, Repulse monkey)
6. Taiji walking set 3 (with holding postures.)
7. Linear fajin movements.
8. Taiji Straight sword solo techniques.
9. Taiji Saber solo techniques.
10. Taiji Spear techniques.
11. Hitting set (solo and partner).
12. Taiji qigong and warm-down set.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Travesty in asian martial arts: the "ex-pat" bum

One of the biggest travesty in martial arts is the westerner who goes off and lives in an Asian country for extended period of time, living and training full time,  becoming an ”professional”  instructor, but never competed in the local martial arts events hosted in the country or region they are staying in.  This definitely is a sad affair, especially to those who do go to those countries and compete, yet do not have the luxury to live overseas.

I know over a dozen ex-pats who have gone to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and other places, live, train with great teachers,  and have competed. They have competed in International wrestling, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, Tui shou “push hands”, Muay Thai, stick fighting, San Shou, Lei Tai, Taolu (empty hand and weapon forms) and other contact and non-contact “forms” sport events of their respective martial art.  This helps build their martial arts career, interaction with the martial arts community locally and internationally,  and shows legitimacy in the martial art of their passion. I respect these folks the most, as many of these folks do not teach on the “seminar” circuit world-wide.  

Then there are those westerners on the touring “seminar” circuit, who have lived or are living “the dream” training abroad somewhere in Asia, and have nothing to show but “blah-blah-blah” theory talk on forums.  Nothing to show in regards to competitions, fighting, and real skills of their art in question with non-compliant persons. A lot of talk from these folks, not much walk from them for sure. At best they are able to handle their own students with lesser skills, have good ability to market, and self-promotion.  I am not a fan of these chaps in the slightest, especially when they claim secret skills and hidden methods. Most amateur part-time fighters can knock their professional non-fighting ass out cold.

Buyer Beware of these bums, most likely not worth your hard earned money to attend their seminars.

Lastly, there is another ex-pat breed who may not have competed and/or fought, however they are not full-time martial artist, but DO have real skill, are recognized by a lineage and teacher, but on the contrary, are not on the "seminar" circuit. Having real skill, these folks are quiet and just keep to themselves. I have met a few and applause them. Bravo!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sparring to hone your fighting skills, why are "Internal boxers" so afraid?

Sparring: The only way to get good at internal martial arts combat.

   From the start of training in martial arts in late 80's sparring has been an integral part of training. From the early days of sparring with friends who did Boxing, Isshinryu Karate, Chuck Norris Karate, and Judo in the front lawn sessions, you learned that to be good, you really need to take classes and learn some basic strategy.

   In the following blog, you will see videos of me sparring. While the goal is often to "hit and not get hit", the reality of fighting does not dictate this and you will see me get hit and take punishment. Even the "best of the best" gets hit, they recover, and keep going. Do not let anyone tell you they are so awesome at sparring they do not get hit. This is a straight up lie. If a Tai chi instructor talks to you about "one punch knock outs" walk away quickly! ( It is not that we do not believe in one-punch KO's, it is Tai chi instructors with no fight experience banking that their Tai chi training and students WILL ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY produce a one punch KO's every time they get into a fight or self defense situation. At best these instructor as someone said is just "anecdotal evidence". The one punch KO's people are talking about are at beginning of a fight, I throw one punch, one time, and you are knocked out.)

(Schools mentioned in this blog have links provided, just click on the school name)

   It wasn't until college in 1990, I found my first martial art teacher where I started to go to classes. Having been told there was a guy teaching martial arts in the park, it happened to be Tai Chi Chuan a "Internal Martial art" whereas the training was not using strength development that most "External Martial Arts" cultivated, but the internals used the approach of "relaxing tension in the body" and cultivating "chi". This teacher also taught other arts called Hsingyi Chuan, Pakua Chang, and felt to be a good fighter: train in the cardio and hard hitting power of western boxing.

Tai Chi Chuan has a special auxiliary training called "Tui Shou" or "push hands", that helps develop principles, sensitivity, and develops a type of internal awareness/force. There are two types of push hands, first is "fixed-step" where two players do not move feet and try to unbalance each other. This is probably the MOST ERRONEOUS of the push hands where someone who is good at 'Fixed step' thinks they have real fighting skills. The second is "Moving step push hands" where players can take steps forward, back, left, and right, and it a bit more closer to the pummeling, tie-ups, clinch, and grappling seen in other martial arts.

Sport Push Hands: I do believe sport push hands serves a purpose. Serious Tai Chi players should do this or at least go to many push hands gatherings and push hands with as many people as possible to help develop skills. These skills will help you in sparring in many unusual ways especially in tie-up and clinches. Having real resistance, remaining calm under pressure, and feeling the opponents intent and power will only help your skill experience.
author in a Moving Step push hands competition

Tai Chi Chuan also has its combat training called "San Shou" or "free fighting". However most Tai Chi folks do not practice the San Shou. In this day and age of Youtube and online videos, we have a thousand "Tai Chi Masters" with skeptical push hands videos, but nobody wants to show "San Shou sparring" videos. Why? LOSS OF FACE!
In a nutshell, many neither had instructors that were great fighters or sparred, and they themselves have not fought. Often times these "Sifus" who do put out videos of themselves will only show them looking good anyways.
That is the reason why most martial videos out in the world wide web are false crap to begin with. I don't buy into them.

 Here is where my gripes begin when I am on forums. "Sifu this and sifu that" have ability to push every student around, but they will not show sparring videos. They might show videos of applications, hitting, or smacking a much lower level student around, but can they do this outside their school? Absolutely NOT!!

  While people like myself been enrolled at sparring schools others go to "Open Sparring nights" and have "Sparring Camps" we test our self against other styles and people trying to hit you. Yes there are a set of standard rules, nobody is out to kill each other, but it is to test skills and show progress. People like fighters, the hunters, the do-ers, we know bullshit videos on the web when we see them. Don't try to 'pull the wool' over my eyes.

Video taping sparring and training. From the start I have always been taught to video your training. The camera does not lie, and it helps you. It is helping you to be a better fighter, improve your form, and train your eye for seeing bad mistakes and correct movement or execution. Seeing what works and what doesn't is the goal. While some schools have to keep "secrets" hidden and do not allow video taping. I do appreciate places that have allowed me to video tape my san shou sparring to re-evaluate my techniques.

The reason why we trained sparring, mainly was for various sport fighting events in the area. In particular: USCKF "Koushu Federation" Lei Tai full contact fighting event, USAWKF "United States Wushu Federation" San Shou events, and Khun Kao productions "DC metro Showdown" San Shou and Muay thai fighting events. The excellent bi-products of sparring training: finding truth in what works and what doesn't (realistic view of fighting), increased cardio/stamina/endurance/, confidence builder, strength conditioning builder.

Early Days Richmond VA: (1990-1996)
One Room Schoolhouse- the guy I met in the park was Wilson Pitts. He had a small dojo room in his home he used for training student. It was not until around 2006 we did some sparring to help Jamar, Celeste, and Steve for their fight in Baltimore Lei Tai- some poor sparring clips here in the small room. Richmond Va- 2006 Lei Tai sparring camp filmed by Wilson:
Old School fight camp 1
Old school fight camp 2
Old school fight camp 3

Richmond Wushu parks and Recreation:(1992-2002) Sifu Weiqi Ho and Sifu Zhou Jianhua , Wushu and Tai Chi chuan classes has several advanced students who came from other martial arts in particular Corey Sullivan who did Wah Lum Praying Mantis kung fu, Mike Shea who did Duncan Leung's Wing Chun and Chou's Shaolin Wu Xing Ba Fa. During this time Steve Lipscomb, a Virginia state ranked Wrestler, Kung Fu guy, and Push hands champ held sparring classes. This was one of my first exposures to structures sparring with students of various martial arts. UFC was gaining momentum in early 90's so we were aware we needed to keep up with knowing how to fight and know some "ground fighting" as well, if a fight went to ground. Our preferred strategy was to stay on the feet however, and work within san shou competition standards.

Padded Weapon Sparring: Weiqi was pivotal in the development of the padded weapons sparring at the International Koushu event in Baltimore. The wushu class, we had the padded swords so we often would do the padded weapon sparring based on the rules of the Koushu event. I did not have a camera back then.

Moy Yat Ving Tsun (1 year enrollment): (1993) I spent a brief time at Moy Yat Ving Tsun school. I bought into the advertising with Bruce Lee, learning to defense self quicker than Tai Chi, and college friends at the school.  I sparred a few guys there who had gripes with me studying Tai Chi and Kung fu at "other places". While most of the time we did "Chi Sao" sparring (no gloves), often times I would met up with classmates and spar outside the school. It was political, no gloves sparring but not full contact fighting.
 Yip man and Bruce Lee practice "Chi Sao".

 Park Bok Nam's Pakua Chang school (1 year enrollment) (1996) I went to Park's to get more detail on Pakua Chang. While we did not have "free sparring" in the San Shou sense of putting on sparring gear. we did have Pakua circle sparring and training techniques off the line, angles, and circle called Rou shou. We had a free hand (no gloves)technique sparring drills to train in the Pakua Chang techniques and methods.

Virginia Beach Va.- (1997-1998)
I did not go to any formal schools at this time, but I did go to Madame Gehan's tai chi class, and Xianhao Cheng's park class that had 'push hands'. I also taught a Tai chi class at Virginia Beach parks and recreation. The only sparring I got in at the time was with old friends from high school who were either doing Muay Thai, Silat, Jow Ga Kung Fu, or Brazilian Jujitsu. It was a matter of style vs.style. I held my own in most of these "for fun" scraps.

Washington DC/Northern Virginia- (1998- present)
When I moved to Northern Virginia to train more in Chinese Wushu at Omei Wushu school  (3 year enrollment) with USA team coach Xiaoling Lu, it was to continue my growth in Taolu "forms" competitions. However while going to many of the push hands gatherings and groups at various schools and parks, there was also many opportunities to go to several open sparring places. One of my classmates Harry Carter was a Black belt in Taekwondo and they has a open sparring at Black Belt Academy. Looking back, I really should of stuck around there more and gotten more into sparring, but the Taekwondo sparring and San shou which allows for clinching/takedwons/throws left me limited. It was def a lesson in using striking of punches and kicks. (no elbows/knees).
Omei Wushu school did have its own sparring class, but it was primarily just for kids. We did however have a few San Shou/Sanda coaches from China teach a few seminars at the school.

Chinese Martial Arts Institute (CMAI)- (2 year enrollment) around 1999 I started going to CMAI for several political reasons... what wushu has politics?!?!? No. ;). CMAI did have sparring and a San shou coach with Coach Lama from Nepal Wushu team. I def spent more time sparring at CMAI since the school was both Tien Shan Pai kung fu and a Tai Chi Chuan school. I eventually got a camera. In 2012-2013 I was able to get some footage sparring at the open sparring nights.

(15 videos online) CMAI

Great River Taoist Center (GRTC)- another school in downtown DC had some sparring. I spoke with teacher Scott Rodell on attending some classes. They did both Yang Short form, Michuan Yangjia Tai Chi, push hands, weapons, and San shou sparring. They were a complete school in that aspect. November is their "Extreme San shou" month where you sparred like 10 minute rounds MMA style, it did not stop on the ground and windows and walls usually ended up smashed and broken. Looking back it was pretty full contact tough. Video taping was not allowed, but I appreciate GRTC and have a lot of respect for what they do. They often had san shou seminars as well. Sparring at GRTC write up. This was around 2006 I believe.

Yizong Baguazhang- George Wood had a class in the park where we often would train many combat throws and sparring. They even helped me out some when I was going to fight in Lei Tai, however that year, I went through some job changes and had to postpone my fight. I guess that was around 2007, video taping was not done, but I probably should of asked cause I do not think he would of minded.

Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts- (NOVAMMA) and Pentagon MMA (2006-2013)
There was def no shortage of sparring at both these MMA schools. There was sparring pretty much everyday in one form or another: Judo Randori, Brazilian Juijitsu "rolling", Muay Thai sparring, Boxing sparring, MMA sparring, Wrestling matches, etc. The whole 9 yards so-to-speak. I really improved much at these schools and the sparring was hard and tough. By the time I got into sparring here I was already in my early to mid 30's. As a "part-timer" (someone not full time fighter) I did find myself drifting towards Stand-up sparring classes like the Boxing and Muay thai since I felt the striking only helped to improve my San Shou striking tremendously and there was not shortage of sparring partners like at the Chinese Kung Fu schools. I def took a good beating on "fight team try-outs" and often found myself on the verge of barfing in many of the sparring classes. Video taping was pretty much encouraged. My time there was also as a web admin, youtube producer, kids teacher.
Fight team:
NovaMMA- author Matt sparring-

Muay Thai sparring: there are a few places I have been to in the DC area to spar with other Muay Thai experts but unable to get some video work, one was MASE academy in Sterling VA. to try a class with Matt Neilson (now at Fairfax Jiujitsu), Yamasaki academy with Pro fighter Mark DeLuca, I also traveled to THAILAND 5x and trained at Keawsamrit gym Bangkok and Fairtex in Pattaya. I have put some time in both stand-up and clinch sparring with other foreigners, and local Thai fighters both retired and young "up-and-comers". I would like to add that sparing in Thailand is nothing like sparring in USA. In USA sparring is very hard, in Thailand in is called "technique" training. They will say "go practice your techniques". Also in USA sparring tends to get "out-of-hand" where one guy starts to "ego-out" and go hard, this does not happen in Thailand, there is a sense of respect, however if you do that to a Thai fighter, they will often "put you-in-place".

Mainstreet Crossfit Sparring- 
Often time when part-time fighters get older and want to disassociate with the schools where sparring get to hard, you want to find people you can continue to hone your skills and not feel to injured the next day. We developed a sparring course at Mainstreet Crossfit one year where you go as hard as you want to be hit. We video taped everything so the fighters can watch and see and learn from what they are doing good or bad.

(36 videos) Mainstreet sparring Boxing-

Mainstreet muay thai sparring-
United States Wushu Academy (1.5 year enrollment)(USWA) and First Defense/Northern Va. Shuai Chiao club: (2011-2013) I spent some significant time at both these schools to supplement my San Shou sparring and increase my Shuai Chiao (Chinese wrestling) knowledge of techniques and methods. While both schools did have some excellent sparring and a lot of technique training, I did not stick around. The amount of adults in the sparring was thin. We could not video tape our sparring. Though I did pick up some good training at those schools and CMAI, I felt it was a downgrade in training after having been at MMA and Muay Thai schools. However, I do recommend those schools for people who want to start sparring if you have not learned it before.

Annandale Boys and Girls Boxing Club (2013-present): here we have boxing only sparring, but it is somewhat hard sparring. We have a few pros and 'up-and-comers' in amateur fighting. We have sparring 5 days a week. The rounds are 4 minute rounds (most schools are typically 2 or 3 minute, unless 5 min. MMA). Cameras are not allowed at the gym.

Sport fighting Finally the real experience comes from actual fighting. I am not saying go out and start bar fights, street fights, those may happen. Yes, I been in a few of those too. Sport fighting against real opposition, against someone training to fight, with a contract to hit, punch, throw, each other will give you real insight to what works and what does not in a set of rules and time. You go into survival mode, under stress, pumped with adrenaline and nerves. Someone once said, a sport fight is worth 6 months of good training. The fight camps leading up to fights are intense as well, the hard sparring, strength and cardio conditioning, fight simulations, and mental training. As a sport competitor I never felt I was top game, but i at least tried it: forms, weapons, push hands, full contact San Shou/Lei Tai. It was fun and worth the experience.

My own fights that got filmed:
fight 1
fight 2

In Conclusion: sparring is one of the most important training methods to improving fighting skill. Video taping is a must, to see your progression through time. Spar with as many people as you can, from different styles, martial arts, try the wrestling, ground fighting, stand-up, and do not get complacent in your training with just your school or your own students. People who go out and fight and spar who are doing the real work and have something to show, these are the guys (and gals) I respect the most. Internal martial artists, the majority of them do not spar for fear or injury, or simply they do not have instructors who themselves spar or have fought. If your going to shell out punches and kicks, you need to know how to take and deal with punches and kicks, this is called conditioning, and there are many drills for this, in Chinese kung fu it is called "Pai Dai Gong" and I have a few vids on my blog and youtube. This will help the dangers of hard sparring which can led to concussions which can be all to common. A good strong defense (evasive techniques like stepping, checking, covering, shielding, head movement) is just as important as your offensive techniques. Most "internal martial arts" non-sparring folks 'cop-out' to the "my art is to deadly" or "we have no rules for fighting" retarded statements. Well sparring, in my counter to those statements, allows you to try your techniques under real pressure, in a safe environment (wearing gloves and safety gear like cup, mouth piece, head gear), for when you do get into real world self defense scenerios, so I encourage you "internal martial artists" to go out and develop your kung fu with sparring. Do you really think your push hands "fajin" push is going to stop someone seriously out to hurt you? Better to be properly prepared than sorry.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thailand 2014: T'ai Chi and Muay Thai Boxing Bangkok

Just got back from my 5th trip to Thailand. If you ever go there and want to join the local Tai Chi/Taijiquan groups in the parks. Lumpinee park is where everyone is. I typically hang out with the Yongnian Taiji group. They warm up with some of the linear fajin work, do long form 2x, they also do 24 form, 42 form. Weapon practice they do traditional yang saber and straight sword as well as 32 and 42 sword. They also do a stretching set that was similar to yi jin jing. The group is from Yang Chen Fu's disciple Zhou bin. Zhou bin's son Zhou You bin teaches there sometimes. http://www.china-taichi-guide.com/Taichi-Schools-Teachers/Zhao-You-Bin.php

Some of The Baguazhang at Chinese pagoda in Lumpinee park:

All the Thai Yoga massage I got in Thailand really helped nagging injuries and increased range of motion. I love Thai massage!

Kaewsamrit gym:sample of the Muay Thai pad work wife got at Kaewsamrit gym Bangkok long untimed "when is it going to end" rounds

Other videos:

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Kaewsamrit notes:

warm up: Shadow box rounds.

10 rounds bag (until trainer available).

5x 5 min. rounds thai pads.

3 rounds clinch spar.

200 jump thieps on bag.

200 knees on bag.

Running laps 15 min.

2 rounds shadow box.

KO power jab cross on bag.

Knees round the room.

drill Punches.

step forward check leg, step back check leg drill

60 Push ups.

60 sit ups.

20 pull ups.

stretches_ standing and floor.

various thai pad work Combos:

Jab, double jab, jab cross, jab cross hook, 4 punches, rt. Kick , left kick, check kick counter kick (both sides) elbow,

- jab, rt elbow, left spin elbow.

-jab, left up elbow, rt spin elbow.

Superman elbow.

Jump front kick thiep.

Left right thiep.

Uppercut , hook, cross.

Double left hook to body, weave,cross hook cross.

-add uppercut hook cross.

Rt elbow.

Tuk ma la elbow.

Jab cross leg kick.

Jitti gym Muay Thai pad rounds were around 5x 5 minutes this year, basically untimed in reality.

video 1

video 3

video 4

Most importantly I was able to hang out with great friends and new friends. Tyson Dewees former Lei Tai fighter and personal trainer, Shane Wiggard (Boxer Rebellion MMA- pro mma fighter, Cris Haja, purple belt in BJJ, Farnam Mirzai (Live Muay Thai)- pro fighter and trainer, Fawn Tran- martial arts actress, and Nathan Jones- martial arts actor from Jet Li's Fearless, and Tony Ja's Ong Bak movies.