Traditional arts were for fighting in crowds

Traditional Asian martial arts may have evolved as much for fighting in crowds as for one-on-one duels: a high number of traditional Asian arts use a cross pattern for their forms, the practitioner turning on a central point to face each cardinal direction. These patterns are built into many Indonesian and Malaysian Silat systems – sometimes the very first movement will be a ‘four corners’ twisting rotation from a basic horse type of position. Other styles such as Cimande and Sera are structured in a way that encourages the practitioner to make their own cross stepping sequences, and Malaysian Buah Pukul contains pre-set cross pattern jurus. More surprisingly perhaps, some styles of Bagua also practice stepping on a cross: the originator of Fan Bagua, Fan Zhiyong, was known as ‘Fan the Madman’ because he would strike out explosively in all directions. And then there are the southern long fist systems such as Choy Li Fut, Hop Gar and Hung Gar which not only have such patterns, but form their fists in such a way that is particularly suited to being flailed around in wide arcs: Pavel Macek has just posted a nice clip of his Hung Kyun class training for multiple attackers

Neil Ripski practices Drunken boxing with a similar multiple attackers mindset

which makes sense considering the prevalence of drunken sets in various lineages of Hung Gar and CLF.

The application is fairly obvious, although nowhere clearer than in Russian folk styles such as Skobar (which funnily enough has a ‘drunken’ aspect)

Here’s another very nice clip of the Skobar teacher, Alex Kostic and his students in action, from softwork to full contact

Training montage

Who doesn’t love a training montage, particularly when it’s a lifelong internal martial artist putting himself through his paces at the age of 58? Mike Patterson shows what decades of Xingyi and Bagua training can do (he started age 13 in Taiwan and was the All Taiwan Full Contact Martial Arts Champion 1975-1976)


Which is where Steve Cotter got his Fuhugong movements…he trained with Mike for several years

MMA wouldn’t work against a street fighter?

MMA fighters would lose if they fought bareknuckle/ in the street? If you believe ‘streetfighters’ or convicts possess some sort of skill that combat sports fighters don’t, take a look at the career of Kimbo Slice…Slice initially trained exclusively for street boxing, focusing on bareknuckle techniques, dirty boxing from the clinch, and elbows. He rose to internet infamy by KOing equally fearsome looking opponents in raw, bareknuckle backyard fights. His only on-tape street fight loss was against a Boston police officer who trained in MMA. The popularity of the fight propelled Kimbo into MMA where he had some minor initial success against the likes of a washed-up Tank Abbott before failing hopelessly against fighters such as Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione in a very brief stint in the UFC. How different would the cons on the prison yard be from Kimbo (apart from the hidden shank)? Here’s his career in three videos….

Vintage backyard Kimbo…

His only bare knuckle loss…against an MMA trained policeman

His first encounter with a higher level MMA guy

The old way: basics before forms

In one of the oldest, most functional Chinese styles, Tongbei, basic techniques were trained individually far more than forms… “Today the basic training in Qi style Tongbei is 108 individual techniques. Sometimes it is called Chai Quan – take apart skill. The basic training in Shi style is 24 postures, sometimes it is called Lian Quan – synthesized form.…As Qi style became more popular some forms were created for teaching purposes. Compared to Qi style, Shi style group still kept the old way” Strider Clark…The main trainings include: 6 Prime Skills, 8 Older Fists, 12 Linking Fists, 12 Cannon Fists, 24 Posture Form, 36 Take Apart Fist, Weapons. Note, ONE FORM only… Strider Clark in action (in case you’re one of the few people who’s not seen this clip, it never gets old…)  The source of the quote is here


Aikido and Taiji as unarmed portion of weapons arts

On one level, this is a great advertisement for aikido’s effect on personality if not fighting ability. Having said that, the MMA guy is equally respectful. Constant investment in loss seems to grind the ego down rather effectively. Question: would a Tomiki or Yoshinkan Aikido guy do better? Probably, but not much. Makes me think, perhaps Aikido and Taiji share a similar evolutionary history: its possible they both started as weapons arts (certainly the case with Aikido) and the unarmed aspect only makes sense as a last ditch set of techniques intended to defend against an armed opponent?

Sanda…’chute boxe’ style

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Chinese martial arts have a modern, sporting aspect… and fearsome it is too. Here’s a nice nine minute intro to the training and basic techniques of Sanda, with a little added Brazilian ‘chute boxe’ flavour….

“If CMA doesn’t wake up, it will die.”

MMA fighter Xu Xiao Dong really stirred things up when he beat down Tai Chi ‘master’ Wei Lei. Now Lü Baochun, a normally mild- mannered Baji Quan and Chen Taiji teacher (and erstwhile challenge-taker for Feng Zhiqiang) has taken the unusual step of airing his views on the match and what it means for Chinese martial arts .

1) Chinese martial arts is truly on its last breath and only something like this can help resuscitate it. That’s why this video and the fight in it is a very good thing. Chinese martial arts need to be violently shocked into waking up. Whoever does this is doing CMA a big favour. Direct quote from Master Lü: “The fight itself and who is fighting or who wins or loses is not important. What is important is that they are talking about CMA. It’s good because they are forcing it to wake up. If it doesn’t wake up, it will die.”

2) CMA started going downhill 30-40 years ago. Before that the principle said that when talking about fighting you should “talk with your fists”, not only wth your mouth. Now almost everybody (99%) of CMA have small fists and big mouths. It’s good that somebody shows up and shuts them up. “There is a time for talking but there should be a balance between talking and really fighting. We can and should talk about techniques, ideas, styles but you should be able to support it. Many people stay “inside” talking about how they are the best but refuse to open their doors and open their minds.

Who is best is determined by fists, not by talk. 3) Master Lü said he is glad to watch the video and he wants to thank both participants. They both did a good thing for CMA. Hopefully people will think hard about what is the future for CMA.

Tai Chi postures for free fighting

Perhaps turn the soundtrack down unless you’re a Dead Kennedys fan, but this clip of Wudang / Practical Tai Chi shows quite well how Tai Chi postures can be trained realistically to transfer over to more of a free fighting format