Archives for October 2012

Can Silat or Xing Yi be applied in MMA?

MMA is just like any other sport.

If you want win at Tennis, you need to spend most of your time studying and practicing Tennis.

You can use training from other sports and disciplines to enhance aspects of your Tennis game…

…but when you walk out onto the court you’re either playing Tennis or you’re going to lose.

Xing Yi and Silat were designed for a very different setting.

Using the full art in a ring would get you disqualified pretty quick.

(…and that’s assuming they’ll even let you into the ring carrying that machete 😉

An mma fighter could use training from Kuntao Silat or Xing Yi to increase their power, speed and explosiveness…

…but sorting through all the BS that’s out there on these arts and finding a good teacher takes a lot of work and effort.

Until top quality examples of these arts are a lot more common I doubt we’ll see them having much influence on MMA.

Though I could be wrong…

Prologue Lesson 5: Heng Crossing

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Prologue Lesson 4: Pao Pounding

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Prologue Lesson 3: Beng Crushing

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Prologue Lesson 2: Tsuan Drilling

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Prologue Lesson 1: Pi Chopping Splitting

Xing Yi can be different things to different people but first and foremost it is an aggressive and highly effective fighting art.

So before we get into the main part of the program we’ll take a look at the basic self defense application of each element in it’s simplest form.

As you progress through this course we will add a lot of internal skills & principles. You’ll learn fighting strategies and some of the movement will become more sophisticated. As you build these skills, always keep in mind the basic applications covered in this section.


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This lesson is part of the Clear’s Xing Yi Intensive.

Clear’s Xing Yi is an intensive training program designed for hard-working students who want to learn Hsing-I efficiently & effectively. It’s also a great program for experienced Hsing-I and Internal Martial Artists who wish to deepen their understand of this powerful fighting art.

Our goal is to train folks who want to teach. Folks who will become high quality instructors in Hsing-I Chuan and who will go out and teach it to others.

With your help, we can make sure this art grows and flourishes in the coming years.

What & Where is The Center in Martial Arts?

Many martial arts talk about The Center.

  • They protect the center
  • They attack the center
  • They move the center
  • They control the center
  • They fortify it, they seize it
  • Some even dissolve the center

So what exactly is the center? and where is it?

It’s a good question.

The Center is the place where someone can be pushed, moved or thrown with almost no effort.

…and if you hit them there it’s a serious problem.

In an external art this is often the physical center of someone’s body. Their center of gravity or leverage point.

…and it’s mostly in the same place every time.

The Internal Arts aren’t so simple.

Now, we’re talking about the center of someone’s intention and energy.

It can move, change and even disappear.

So what’s with this fortifying, moving and dissolving the center?

This is one of the clearer distinctions between the internal arts.

  • Xing Yi fortifies the center.
  • Bagua moves the center.
  • Tai Chi dissolves the center.

If you put your hands on a Xing Yi guy his center is solid. In fact it’s so solid that when you try to push it you’ll just get run over.

When you put hands on a Bagua guy you can try to push his center.

But every time you do it ends up being somewhere else. It keeps moving and twisting and is always just out of reach.

When you put hands on a Tai Chi guy there’s simply nothing there. Like trying to push a cloud.

Why does this matter?

If you only study one style or lineage, it doesn’t.

You don’t need to distinguish between the different influences on your style.

You simply focus on becoming the best imitation of your teacher that you can.

But, if you study more than one art or you want to understand the an art as a whole.

(Instead of just one flavor of it.)

Then it is absolutely critical to understand the underlying principles that every flavor of the art is based on.

And you must know where that art begins and ends. What it has in common with other arts and what is unique.

This type of understanding takes time.

Especially with all the convoluted information out there about the internal arts.

Our Internal Combat Arts course is very helpful in this way.

Not only do you learn how to fight with Kuntao Silat, Xing Yi, Bagua and Tai Chi…

…You start learning core internal principles like fortifying the center, moving the center and how to find someones center.

You learn different ways each of these arts generate power.

(and you learn how to combine several of them for some very devastating strikes.)

…and you get a clear look at many of the things these arts share as well as what sets them apart.

So, go join the Internal Combat Arts course:

http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts

What is Indoor Teaching? & why Kung Fu sucks

I’ve been asked a couple times recently about what exactly the term “Indoor Training” means.

Basically “indoor” is a term for information in a system that is only taught to a privileged few.

In other words it’s stuff that is only taught ‘behind closed doors’ instead of in public.

There are different names for this practice.

Sometimes you have to be a family member or become a disciple to get this info. Some systems are only passed on to one person.

Everyone else is kept in the dark.

No matter how dedicated or how long they study.

Now, this practice makes sense if you go back before modern firearms and you have to worry about war with a nearby city, family or tribe.

But in the modern world this doesn’t protect you from unpleasant folks. They’ll just stock up on firearms, try to run you over with a car or send their lawyers after you.

A lot of things have been lost because of this practice.

And it’s the primary reason there is so much poor quality kung fu and Internal martial arts out there.

There are two reasons this practice continues…

IGNORANCE & FEAR

Ignorance comes in a few different forms.

Some people never learn they’ve been held out on. They simply teach what they learned without ever realizing they’re doing themselves, their students and their art a disservice.

Others perpetuate this practice because it’s what they were taught . They were handed this tradition and they never questioned it or considered the damage they’re doing to their students and the art they’re trying to preserve.

And then there’s FEAR…

Fear that the competition will steal their ‘secrets.’

Fear that their students will learn everything they know and then leave. (and maybe become the competition.)

These fears, and those like them, are a fear of losing power and control over others.

(If your goal is power over others I suggest you dream big and go into politics or start a career in our financial industry.)

These fears are destructive.

If a teacher only teaches the good stuff to a few people then a lot of their time is spent teaching not so good stuff.

Their skill level will suffer because of all this time spent working with poor quality training. (which leads to an increase in fear.)

If they only have one or two disciples then they have a huge problem if one goes rogue or is killed in a car wreck.

And all those students who studied for years without developing the skill they should have…

..their skill level will form the basis of the arts reputation in the years to come.

If you are constantly learning and you teach everybody openly…

– then a rogue student will quickly be surpassed by his peers and the loss of a senior student won’t be the end of the system.

– You will never run out of things to teach.

– and with more skilled students your skill will grow faster as well.

There is also an almost legitimate fear that someone they teach will use their knowledge to hurt someone.

Thing is, indoor training is NOT any easier.

It still takes HARDWORK over TIME.

(It’s just much much more effective.)

In today’s world the bad eggs have access to much easier ways to hurt somebody…

And the good eggs…

…The hardworking students who will carry these arts forward…

The don’t need any extra obstacles in their path.

These arts are hard enough already.

The solution is simple.

LEARN and TEACH..

LEARN the best stuff you can find anywhere you can find it.

Become a shining example of what is possible with these arts.

and TEACH.

Share what you know.

Make sure your students become high quality examples to carry these arts forward.

It’s Simple…

learn, teach and never ever stop.

Sigung Clear was lucky. In the early years of his training he got access to the indoor teaching of some highly skilled teachers.

But instead of trying to coast on that tiny bit of luck, like many folks do,

He added a whole bunch of Hard Work.

Constantly training and seeking out the best teachers and learning the best stuff he could.

Over and over. Again and again.

…for over 30 years now.

To this day he still makes sure to get around 6 weeks of full time (40 hours or more) instruction per year.

(That’s about 240 hrs per year. To put it in perspective if you attend a 2hr class twice a week that’s 208 hrs per year if you never ever miss class.)

That’s why our programs are able to deliver the results that they do.

…because we skip all the BS and start with the good stuff right away.

Our hope is that if we keep doing this often enough and loudly enough more folks will follow our example.

If you’d like try the good stuff approach then go check this out:

http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts

Bagua 101: The first 5 Bagua skills you should learn.

We’ve been talking a lot about Xing Yi recently.

Our function first approach and how we leave out all the fluff and filler.

The same applies to our Bagua.

So here’s a quick look at the first 5 Bagua fundamentals.

1. Constant Penetrating Power

This quality is very much the Hallmark of Bagua.

There are many other energies and expressions.

But this is first

Because without this so much of your Bagua movement will be paper thin…

…lacking the internal power and integrity that all real Bagua has.

ALL your movement should have a penetrating bone breaking power.

And it should be constant.

Without ANY breaks or interruptions ANYWHERE in the movement or the power.

2. Simple Street Application

Bagua is known for some very complex movement.

However if you’re going to be able to fight with Bagua anytime soon you need to start with some simple and effective street applications.

They key is that they must still use proper Bagua principles.

This could mean a lot of things but the two most important is that they use the Constant Penetrating Power we already talked about and…

You must NEVER stop moving.

Bagua ALWAYS assumes 6 – 8 attackers. This means you must never EVER stop moving.

So when you train your application make sure you NEVER stop moving and walking.

If you stand in one place for a moment, even if you’re doing something horrible to one attacker, the other attackers will get you.

This brings us to number 3…

3. Fighting Use of Circle Walking

With any real style or study of Bagua one of the first and most important practices you hear about is Circle Walking.

The fighting use of Circle Walking is a HUGE topic.

There is much much more than we’re going to talk about here.

One of the first things you’re working on is to never stop moving.

I know I mentioned this already but it’s absolutely CRITICAL and it’s a very common error.

As soon as you stop moving your feet the other attackers will catch up to you and you die.

So Bagua doesn’t stop.

Your feet are always moving and you’re constantly traveling and covering ground.

With a little practice you’ll be able to walk in any direction you choose while still being able see ALL the attackers AND where you are going.

4. Move Your Center

One of the key principles that sets Bagua apart from Xing Yi or Tai Chi is that Bagua Moves the Center.

(Xing Yi Fortifies the Center. Tai Chi Dissolves the Center)

This comes back to the principle of CONSTANT MOTION because standing still gets you killed.

Movement and Evasion is Bagua’s first response.

Even if it could aggressively take out the attacker (like Xing Yi will) Bagua ALWAYS assumes AT LEAST 6 attackers and so Movement and Evasion is FIRST.

Moving your center through space…

(because you’re walking like we talked about)

…but also moving it INTERNALLY.

Twisting and turning and rotating and moving your center around inside your body.

5. Multiple Attacker Fundamentals

All this evasion and movement we’ve been talking about keeps you from getting killed.

It also allows you to control the space around you.

With a little practice you can use techniques like Single Palm to segment the space around you and control when where and how attackers have access to you.

You must end the situation as quickly as possible!

The problem is, if you commit to a technique or try to make something happen you leave yourself exposed to the other attackers.

The key is to let the attackers do all the work.

Learn to use timing and position so that the attackers must expose themselves to reach you.

Then you can let the attackers do all the heavy lifting and use their offensive techniques against each other.

So those are 5 fundamental Bagua skills you should start with BEFORE you start learning any forms.

You will learn these basics in the Bagua section of our Internal Combat Arts Course.

http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts

And of course we’ll take these skills to a much more advanced level in our full Bagua program.

…as well as add a whole bunch of other more advanced Bagua stuff.

Fist Fights VS Floods

The Weekend forecast for Nashville, TN…

(about 3hrs from our headquarters here in Maryville.)

…Called for two to four inches of rain.

By Saturday Afternoon May 1 2010 some of the city had seen more than six inches of rain.

By Saturday night the Cumberland had risen 15 feet, to 35 feet, and the Army Corps of Engineers were predicting it would crest at 42.

But the rain didn’t stop Sunday.

The river didn’t crest until Monday at 52 feet.

Nashville saw more than 13 inches of rain that weekend.

Twice the previous record (6.6 set in ‘79.) And over 3 times the original forecast.

So what does this have to do with a fist fight?

We’ll they have one thing in common and one very important difference.

First, the forecast. (what they have in common)

It was too low. If it had been higher folks could have been better prepared and a lot of damage and suffering could have been avoided.

But if it had been too high, say the forecast was 13 inches and only 2 inches fell, then you’d get the ‘cry wolf effect’ and people wouldn’t prepare next time there was extreme weather on the way.

In a fist fight, there is also a forecast.

  •  Is this a friendly boxing match with medium power?
  •  Are we going to end up wrestling around in the mud and gravel?
  •  Is this a knockdown drag out pound on each other ‘till we’re both exhausted kind of thing?
  •  Or is someone going to pull a knife and start cutting off pieces?

And you’d better be right.

The first time your forecast is too low, you’ll end up cut to pieces before you even realize they drew a knife.

If your forecast is too high you’ll end up in jail.

The problem with weather is that we’re stuck with it. (at least in the short term) We just have to learn as much about it as we can and get better and better at predicting it.

Fist fights are easy though:

Just don’t engage.

For a fist fight to occur you need at least two people who are willing to fight.

If you refuse to be drawn into a fight, that leaves only 2 options:

1. Nothing happens. 

This is great! Everybody lives, No injuries, no legal consequences or paperwork.

Or 2. The other guy attacks you.

This is not ideal.

But, there are no decisions to make. You don’t have to worry about which techniques are justified and which are not.

Your life is in immediate danger. Simply do whatever it takes to stay alive.

Of course you try to make sure option #1 is the only one available.

Unfortunately you don’t always get to pick. The other guy does.

What you CAN (and should) do is this:

  1. Make sure these are the only two options (no fist fights.)
  2. Make the attacker choose long before he gets close to you.
  3. Make the attacker announce his (or her) choice both to you and to anyone nearby.

It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Of course you need to practice, but it can be learned in a day or two.

The tools you need are:

  •  Positioning skills. (where and how you position your body)
  •  A little bit of timing and a little bit of movement. (nothing refined or fancy though)
  •  Communication skills. (verbal and nonverbal)

Those 3 things allow you to take charge of a situation and keep you safe.

(legally, morally and physically.)

You can learn how to use them on our Street Tactics DVD.

http://www.clearsilat.com/silat-dvd/clears-silat-phase-1/street-tactics

Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 30: Kuntao Sticky Hands

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 29: Spring Power

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 28: The Thorny King

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 27: Fortify the Center

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 26: Grabs Crossing

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 25: Grabs Pounding

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30 Xing Yi Lessons & 7 Qigong Lessons

Internal Combat Arts 16 Week Course:

Kuntao Xing Yi Quan (Weeks 5 – 8)

 ** Lesson 1. Xing Yi Quan

In our Xing Yi training we focus on the Internal Principles and the Fighting Methods first.

We find this is a much more effective way to learn Xing Yi than starting with forms and postures.

  ** Lesson 2. The Five Elements

The 5 Elemental Fists are the core of Xing Yi. All other forms (animals, weapons, linking) are just variations & combinations of the 5 Fists.

** Lessons 3 – 5. Pi Chuan – The Chopping fist

You learn how to add more power & body integration to what you already learned
You learn how to overwhelm the opponent with a rapid barrage of continuous Pi Chuan strikes.

** Lessons 6 – 7. Tsuan Chuan – The Drilling Fist

You learn the powerful ‘drilling’ method of this fist and, just like with Pi, you learn a continues fighting method. (not just the application of a few techniques)

** Lesson 8. Chopping & Drilling

You learn how to combine the Pi and Tsuan methods and use them together.

** Lessons 9 – 10. Beng Chuan – The Crushing fist

You learn the fighting method of Beng Chuan

  ** Lessons 11 – 16. Pao Chuan – The Pounding Fist

You learn another aggressive, overwhelming, powerful and continuous fighting method.

You also learn some important strategic principles you can apply to all of your Xing Yi.

  ** Lessons 17 – 20. Heng Chuan – The Crossing Fist

You learn how to fight with the Crossing Fist.

  ** Lesson 21. Run Over Your Opponent

You learn to use the primary strategy of Xing Yi.

  ** Lessons 22 – 26 Responding to Grabs 

You learn how to destroy a grappling, tackling, takedown type attack with each of the 5 Fists.

  ** Lesson 27. Fortify the Center

You learn how to ‘Fortify the Center.’

This principle is one of the key distinctions between Xing Yi and the other internal arts (Tai Chi & Bagua.)

We will build on the understanding you develop here and add a lot more power and skill with it in the full Xing Yi program.

  ** Lesson 28. The Thorny King

You will learn how to make every contact painful to the opponent.

This principle is important in many Kuntao & Silat systems. Xing Yi in particular uses it very well and very often.

  ** Lesson 29. Spring Power

You learn another way to generate power. You’ll want to drill this to the point where you can combine it with all the power generation methods you’ve learned so far.

  ** Lesson 30. Kun Tao Sticky Hands

You learn a two person freestyle game. It uses the principles you learned to build your skill & power.

Whew, that’s a lot for an introduction.

If you practice all that you’ll build a lot of power and you’ll be able to fight with all 5 Fists.

Sure, it’ll be a little rough at first but you can use it AND you’ll have a solid foundation on which to refine your skill and build advanced ones.

You’ll also learn this Qigong stuff too:

7 Qigong Lessons

  ** Lesson 10. Three Dan Tiens Linear

You learn this important internal alignment exercise. For now this is just an energy building & activation exercise. Eventually this has martial uses as well (Xing Yi for example uses this a lot.)

  ** Lesson 11. Balance and Correct the Meridians

You will learn how to put away and store the energy you build from your qigong practice. You will also learn to balance the meridians.

  ** Lesson 12. Foot Breathing

You learn to breath down to the bottoms of your feet. This is very healthy and it’s also a prerequisite for more advanced breathing methods.

  ** Lesson 13. Bone Marrow Washing & Breathing

You will learn a very powerful energy building, bone strengthening, rejuvenation method.

  ** Lesson 14. Building Physical Constitution & Chi

  ** Lesson 15. Squats & Wall Squats for Kidney Breathing

The exercises you learn here is very good for your kidneys.

  ** Lesson 16. Packing & Storing Chi

You will learn more about storing Chi and you begin learning about ‘packing’ chi.

So, when you’re ready to start learning all that stuff head on over here:

http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts

Here’s the short outline of the entire 16 week program:

Weeks 1 – 4: Kuntao Silat & Qigong part 1 (I outlined this section a few days ago.)
Weeks 5 – 8: Xing Yi Quan & Qigong part 2 (Includes everything I outlined in this email)
Weeks 9 – 12: Bagua Zhang
Weeks 13 – 16: Tai Chi Chuan

I’ll talk about the Bagua and Tai Chi sections soon.

Grab them by the insides! (Internal ‘Na’)

The ability to Na (hold or control) is important in all martial arts.

But it’s application is profoundly different between Internal and External systems.

(This is the same ‘na’ in ‘Chin Na’)

The external version is simple.

Just grab the opponent and you’ve done it.

You can then use that grab to break something or pull them into a strike or whatever.

INTERNALLY this gets a little more interesting.

We’re now talking about holding or controlling something INSIDE the other person.

A simple example would be to grab someone’s wrist and yet be able to control their shoulder.

If the person you grab is tense this will be easy. The more they relax the more skill you’ll need to do this.

With training there are many things you can ‘na.’

– Tension (one of the easiest)
– their root
– their balance point
– their breath

In the Internal Combat Arts course you’ll learn how to find and ‘na’ someones center.

(Tai Chi Chuan Lesson 16. http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts)

Have you ever heard Xing Yi and Bagua folks talk about touching the opponents spine anytime you make contact?

This is another example.

Any time you make contact (anywhere) you make sure that contact effects the opponents spine.

How?

The key is to build the ability to feel inside your opponent.

You need to be able to put your hand on their wrist and feel the tension in their lower back, or their spine, or their kidney.

That’s why we do so many hands on, tactile games.

Like this one:


And each of the 4 sections in the Internal Combat Arts course includes various games that will continue to build this skill (and many others).

You must KNOW YOUR OPPONENT.

(and they must not know you.)

Being able to see where their head is so you can throw your fist at it is a start…

…but it you want to practice an INTERNAL art you need to go a little deeper than that.

http://www.clearsilat.com/internal-combat-arts

Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 24: Grabs Crushing

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Intro to Xing Yi Lesson 23: Grabs Drilling

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