Monday, March 30, 2015

Unique Striking method of Internal Chinese Martial Art

Earlier I wrote a article comparing striking and grappling where I mentioned the Chinese internal style and how it can strike in close range and still cause internal damage. Today I am going to give some more details of how Baji's internal power works and how in theory it is going work.

Striking, as what most people understand, it is punching or kicking like you see in kickboxing. This form of striking is powerful, but it lacks penetrating powers. Most of the punches are for knockouts or causing swelling, some of the perfectly timed body shots do break ribs, but most of the punches won't cause internal damage while leaving the surface clean. That's because how physic works. 

Boxing strikes come from a distance and will always need distance. Although at the beginning of the launch, the power comes from the ground and the hip turn, the arms and shoulders at the same time turn, making the power a lot like swinging a baseball bat, it needs distance to strike and it can crush bones.

There is a different kind of punch that comes from Baji style, which is known for it's devastating power at very close distance. This punch requires the arm to be completely relaxed yet not stiff. Unlike boxing punches where the arm goes from bent to straight and back to bent during the whole process, Baji punches requires the arm to not move at all during the process. Arm and fist in this case are truly just objects that the body uses to strike with. You can almost look at the arm as a stick that's attached to your shoulder and one end and touches opponent's body on the other hand. All you have to do just rapidly turn your hip to one side and the other side automatically will push the stick into your opponent's body, causing internal injuries. To get an idea, you can feel free to experiment with a stick at home with very gentle hip turn and compare that with the strikes of boxing, you will know the difference immediately. 

The idea of the Baji strike is that the power comes from the turning of the hip and it propagates through the arm and into the opponent. In order to completely propagate all of the power, the upper body should be completely at ease and letting the power from the hip moves through every joint. Think of it as you snapping the whip. The part of the whip that will eventually make contact with the target moves after the force from your snapping pushes it so, the tip of the whip never moves before the force that you produce gets there through the length of the whip, or it will cause the disconnect. If you whip slowly, you can also see a wave being created by the whip, it's always coming from the source and propagate in the form of wave to ensure the originating force is the only acting force in this effort. 

So many of our striking are completely and solely arm movements, because we let our hands go before turning the hip, or at the same time, making our punches for like a smashing strike similar to hammers, rather than penetrating strikes like spears. This is why traditionally, Xingyi and Baji always use spears as a training tool for developing the strikes due to the elasticity of the spears making it a perfect media for propagating powers from the hip.

Through the training of taiqi pushing hands, the arms are trained to be a like frame, it maintains it's strong frame without having to use muscles, making it acting like a stick during the strike. Therefore, if you think push-hand is a form of sparring exercises like Wing Chun Chisao, it's a mistake. There is no desires to strike someone during push-hands or 'get' someone with techniques, it's all about developing the arm's frame by letting withstand constant moving pressures from the partner and moving with it without changing it's frame. 

If you put all these elements together, you will be able to throw a Baji punch that is completely different from boxing and doesn't need much distance to inflict tremendous damages and it is hard to block. 

Below is a video of Baji master demonstrating his punch on bag, The demo starts at 3.50. Notice how his body moves during the striking process, refer to what I mention about the whip and waves, you will notice something similar on his body movements. You won't find the same body waving movement on any boxers. At 4:31 minute, notice the bag was completely knocked over. We don't know how heavy the bag is, but you can hear the water inside the bag, and it is very hard to knock the bag over with boxing punches due to its lack of penetrating power. Lastly, just as this master said, the internal power should be effortless, after all of the strikes, for a person with an overweight shape, he was barely breathing any differently. If a young boxer has to throw this many strikes and trying to knock the bag over, he will at least be a little bit winded. 

All these illustrates the difference between Chinese Internal Style punches and conventional punches. 

Ok, enjoy the video:


By no mean I am comparing Baji with Boxing. These are two different styles of punching. I am sure Pacquiao can destroy this bag just as fiercely. In fact, I do believe that in order for Baji to beat boxing in a fight, Baji will have to train and get used to dealing with boxing combinations and footworks. However,that's not the point here. The point here is that I do believe that Baji's punch will be much more effective against grapplers since it doesn't require much distance to do great damage. The rapid and explosive hip twisting movement also generates great counter-power that will make it challenging for any takedown attempts. Just as i mentioned in the before, this works great in theory and I do see it as a great alternatives for strikers against pure grapplers. Until it is put to a true test, we simply can't count Chinese internal Kung Fu completely out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What's really behind racism in general?

Gaining self-confidence isn't an easy and quick process. The reason our self-confidence level is where it is has a lot to do with what we have been doing in our lives as well as what's been like around us all the time. A discriminating environment definitely contributing a lot to our own self-esteem. This is another great example of how environment shapes our conscious mind.  

Racism is common in a discriminating environment, if the environment doesn't have that many races but people can still discriminate each other based on regions or family backgrounds, you can replace racism with other words but it's the same idea. So in our society, when we hear the term 'racism', we tend to think of it as the common behavior of treating people of other ethnic backgrounds unfairly solely because of their race. This usually implies treating other race less equally; not offering them help or services like you would to people of your own;  ignoring people of other race completely; or to the extreme, perform explicit violence on them. So the idea is that being a racist means that you think of yourself superior to other races. 

However, I'd like to purpose something differently here. All of the above-mentioned typical racist behaviors that we commonly identify are just manifestation of certain core mentalities from the inside. In our society, we have labelled that manifestation 'racism', but we didn't know that the core mentality behind can manifest something entirely differently, which won't be considered 'racism' but it actually is the same story. I also believe that this core mentality is the root of not having the true confidence that you want. 

For the lack of better term, I will call this core mentality 'judgment', with single quote throughout the rest of the article or possibly in future posts as well. In my definition, 'judgment' is an acknowledgment of difference between oneself and other beings, yet letting this acknowledgment dictate its decisions by discarding the similarity and connections among one and another at the same time due to fear of the unknown. I know it sounds abstract, but let me give a few examples so you know what I mean.

1. I look a minority race and immediately decides this person should not get my respect and attention, I just don't want to nor I feel like talking to that person because i think that race are annoying/bad/stupid/lazy/calculating/and so on. I think I am too good for this person.

2. I look at a person of my own race and immediately decides that I won't take this person seriously in this interaction solely because I think this person is the same race as me so he or she must be shady/dirty-minded/manipulative/untrustworthy/full of dirty tricks/arrogant/ and so on. I can't let this person tell me what to do and make me look dumb simply because we are the same race and I can't let him or her get on top of me. 

3. I look at a person from a race that I admire. I immediately decides to do whatever this person says because I am dying for their acceptance so that i can show off to my own race and make them jealous. I know I am shady/dirty-minded/manipulative/untrustworthy/full of dirty tricks/arrogant/, but this person is from a better race, so he or she must not be the same way, so I'd better show my bright side to them and hide my insecure side. In other words, let's pretend to be classy/confident/wise/modern/worldly/progressive/multicultural.

So if you look at these 3 above examples, you will be surprised to see that 'judgment' is quite common among many parts of the world, not just for westerner. 

Take Asians for instance, it is very common to see all 3 examples being manifested in Asian countries. The numerous conflicts between HK natives and Mainland Chinese tourist illustrates point 1. Asian people often give each other a lot of hard times in business, social interactions or even job interviews. Lastly, Asians tend to act polite, submissive and kind towards White people. 

The question is, how can you have different level of confidence when interacting with different race? I have had Indian telling me that when they just landed in India, they got their long lost confidence back immediately by the way to summon a taxi, which they would never dire the act the same way in their working western countries. A lot of Asians when it comes to personal services, like mortgage, taxes will act very hard on the agents if they are the same race, but will back off (usually means becoming quiet and having less questions) if dealing with a White agent. It is not uncommon to find Asians that aren't proud of being Asians. 

Now, you will see that as long as this 'judgment' is our core mentality, we will never look beyond physical forms and appearance, and we will continue to be judgmental. Maybe we won't be called a racist by the current social standard, but we really are indeed. 

So the question remains, what is it like to interact with all kinds of people from the same place of heart? Can you feel so great about yourself and your life that you absolutely don't need to judge others or worry about being judged by others? If you are Asian, ask yourself that what would Bruce Lee do? Does he treat all his students with fairness or does he play favoritism based on what skin color his students have? Is he afraid of being racist by over-compensating one race and then treats his own race poorly wanting to avoid being called Asian Supremacist? 

No, a truly confident person doesn't even register this 'judgment' in their mind. They are so focused on creating the life they want without needing acceptance from others that they really don't see race, status and fame, nor would they let those things affect the way they interact with the world.

The reason of having 'judgment', the cradle of racism is our education, which encourages comparison, superficiality, and it's lack of faith. This requires some level of awareness and a life-time of effort to develop our characters to transcend beyond the physical forms of 'judgment'. We just have to have faith in our ability to achieve it.
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