|Chinese martial arts|
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Practiced since the dawn of human civilisation, Chinese martial arts have influenced martial arts development throughout the whole of Asia.
The fighting skills have been developed and refined with each generation.
The Chinese have used martial arts for the last 4500 years. Their skills have remained relevant and functional throughout the ages.
The speed and versatility of Chinese martial arts makes them ideal for armed combat, unarmed combat and self defence.
The modern off-shoot of Chinese martial arts is called 'wushu'. It combines martial arts-style movements, gymnastics, acrobatics and dance choreographed to look exciting.
Wushu is all about aesthetics, theatrical displays and entertainment. Traditional Chinese martial arts are not performance art, nor sport.
Internal & external
Most martial arts rely on strength, tensed muscles, speed, force against force, locked joints, aggression and using the arms independently of the body. This is thought of as being 'external'.
A handful of martial arts use the body in a very different manner, relying upon timing, balance, relaxed muscles, whole-body strength, whole-body movement and whole-body power.
These arts are called 'internal'.
Internal martial arts (neijiaquan)
Neijiaquan cultivates a very different attitude in the student. It necessitates an unfamiliar approach to body use, combat and living:
Health and combat are equally important
Age is less of an obstacle
Significantly more refined, detailed and sophisticated than mainstream martial arts
Strength is built using unconventional means
Cross-training: core strength, massage, leg stretches, cardio work, yoga, qigong, neigong, form, partnered work, martial sets & drills, combat and weapons
Physically and mentally challenging; but in a very different way to mainstream martial arts
Body must be trained to move in a manner that is unfamiliar
Organic, natural, flowing
Striking and grappling are trained together
Hidden, restrained, subtle
Uses 4 ounces of pressure, stickiness, sensitivity
Incapacitation is the aim
Composure is vital
Allowing, leading, misdirecting, listening, sensitivity, adaptation
Reliance upon spontaneity and timing
Being in the body and sensation-oriented
Blending rather than blocking
Feeling your vulnerability
Loose, fluid and relaxed musculature
A highly developed technical understanding is cultivated
An understanding of the meaning and application of the martial classics
It is a vehicle for exploring the many insights offered by 'Taoism'
The training is done carefully, gently - in a controlled manner - without exertion or strain
The most common internal martial art is taijiquan. However, when modern people say 'tai chi' they usually mean tai chi for health: the peaceful slow motion exercise and that is not martial.
If all you learn is a lot of
forms, you just become a good dancer.
(James Wing Woo)
Taijiquan fighting method
Taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) training is thought-provoking and insightful; with lessons about living, as well as about combat.
There is nothing macho, aggressive, confrontational or competitive about taijiquan. Health, wellbeing, character development and philosophical study are just as important as combat skills.
Stamina & endurance
Taijiquan training is renowned for improving stamina and endurance. Students can concentrate longer and sustain prolonged physical activity without fatigue.
They gain the ability to withstand hardship and cope with difficulty.
Adapt, change & improvise
Modest and understated, taijiquan is the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life.
The training encourages people to consider how they live their lives and open-up to new choices, options and alternatives.
Taijiquan is ultimately a journey of discovery; simultaneously uncovering the art and ourselves. The subjects and insights revealed in our training have ramifications beyond class.
We can take new skills, methods and attitudes into all aspects of life.
When to start?
The young are impatient and expect instant results. The old are lazy and just want to talk. The best age for learning an internal martial art is after the teenage years and before the onset of decline.
Sifu Waller offers chin na, shuai jiao and taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist).
Page created 25 March 1994
Last updated 26 January 2020