Remember how all this got started?

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Remember how all this got started?

Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon Jan 25, 1999 2:40 pm

I just received the following e-mail on Sunday from John Lovas. I was asked to post.

I was the one who chose the title here.

Bill

******************************************

I inadvertantly started this debate when, unable to swallow Mr Sigman's claim that Uechi Ryu students can't benefit from a weekend (Taiji) Push Hands workshop, I asked Sensei Mattson for his opinion. Sensei Mattson felt, as I did, that given the common Chinese roots of Uechi and Taiji, it would make perfect sense to "cross-train". Here's a brief follow-up:
Eight of us Uechi Ryu students (each with 3 to 5 years Uechi training, but none in Taiji) spent a total of 7 intensive hours last Saturday & Sunday learning "Push Hands" from Yau-Sun Tong (http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~taiji/)
· a Taiji master from China, and his very friendly, helpful students.
Master Tong is a very competent teacher and excellent martial artist. Though we were relatively "stiff" initially, everyone was pleasantly surprised with the rate of our progress. Push Hands in Taiji is probably like Sanchin in Uechi - there's a GREAT deal more depth to each than meets the beginner's eye, and many years of daily practice continues to yield benefits. There's clearly much for Uechi students to learn from a good Taiji teacher who is willing and interested in teaching his/her art. The workshop WAS definitely worthwhile for all of us.
On a humerous note, several of the Taiji students were openly surprised that we Uechi folk were friendly and displayed "beginner's minds" in the workshop - NOT at all consistent with Mr Sigman's comments about us on the Neijia listserve.
Check-out Sensei Dave Hunt's "Atlantic Martial Arts Training Camp" July 9,
19 & 11 right here in glorious Halifax, Nova Scotia :
http://members.tripod.com/karatecamp/
Cheers,
John.
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Postby Hutch » Mon Jan 25, 1999 3:14 pm

Bill Sensei:

Just read John Lovas' e-mail to you and feel compelled to post as I was one of the eight students that attended the two morning push hands workshop with Mr. Tong. Our association with Mr. Tong arose out of our relationship with one of his students who is a Uechi shodan (now fully engaged for the last two years in his study of Taiji) and also a Chito-ryu nidan and a very experienced tournamnet fighter (now retired from that aspect of martial arts). This Uechi friend was in a good position to recommend the notion that push hands would be instructive to our Uechi sparring and he is experienced enough to recognize Mr. Tong's excellent martial and teaching abilities.

The bottom line is that we were impressed with the soft aspects of push hands and the larger range of hip motion that it introduced to us karateka. Useful? Most definitely. Fully understood? Definitely not. But seven hours was a tantalizing taste and gave us a few drills that we can work on at the dojo and at home.

"The body teaches". With practice, I am confident we will gain better understanding and probably will go back to the well for further instruction from time-to-time. Internal versus external? Still far too inexperienced to draw any real conclusions. The concensus amongst the Taiji and Uechi students present at the seminars was that karateka start hard and work toward soft while those who study Taiji begin with soft and develop hardness. In the end we are all seeking a powerful type of fluidity that engages both internal and external aspects as required. This is what we witness when we watch the "senior seniors" of Uechi do kata forms and this is what we aspire to.

Best regards,
Hutch
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Jan 25, 1999 9:05 pm

Abosultely I adore these responses re: pushing hands.

As a practical teaching problem, I counsel my small body of students to "cross train" to some extent, but suggest that this may best be done after Shodan or Nidan.

What are the forum's thoughts.

John T.

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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon Jan 25, 1999 9:33 pm

John

Every teacher has his/her own opinion. These are mine.

I encourage people to cross-train in other styles. However I also recommend that they be AT LEAST shodan before doing this. Otherwise there is no strong reference in the "base" style, and you can end up with a hybrid mess.

I recommend that people seek out good teachers as opposed to specific styles. I tell people to remember their foundation (sanchin), but keep an open mind and never say something like "My teacher told me blah, blah, blah." I also tell them that it's possible to go some place and find no commonality between sanchin and where they are venturing. At that point, I recommend they make an either/or decision....unless they have unlimited time in their life.

Bill
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Jan 25, 1999 10:12 pm

Well done is better than well said, but well said is still pretty good.

Well said to you and well done to the "push hands" experimenters.

JohnT

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Postby JohnC » Tue Jan 26, 1999 5:29 am

Bill G and John T:

There are many reasons why someone choses to cross train. Sometimes a rare opportunity may arise that would be lost if they wait until shodan or nidan. Other reasons may arise that makes the decision appear inevitable. Someone might begin Taiji or another style during a period when karate might exacerbate an injury or an acute period of rehabilitation.

Fortunately, the style that became available for me to cross train in - Wing Chun - has quite a bit of similarity and actual root commonalities that probably saved me some grief. While I am "aiming for two targets", they were almost close enough together that they nearly merged into the cross-hair of a single aim!(almost)

However, still learning Uechi while cross training in another style and not having the base of shodan or nidan, does present a dilemma. There are habits that are unique to each style that can bleed into the other and may prolong the development of either. Ah, well ...

Start working on the heavy bag with reverse punches and out comes a - straight/arrow punch! Watch your full Uechi blocks in kata start to minimalize into WC circular stuff, etc. What helps is to not train equally in both at the same time. Usually, I major in one for awhile and then shift. In a perfect scenario and looking back in hind sight, I feel your advice is wise and students should take heed if they can make the arrangements to continue straight to shodan in 1 style.

I might add, this was my Uechi teacher's rather poignant advice as well.


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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Tue Jan 26, 1999 3:39 pm

A substantial number of instructors think that after Shodan at least is the most appropriate place to begin cross training.

It's not easy. I lost a lot of students over the years, but none to the suggestion that cross training was OK..

JOHN T

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