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Long Fist: The Origin of Chinese Martial Arts

Jason Tsou and Art Schonfeld discuss the value of Chang Quan (Long Fist) training as a fundamental way to understand the principles of combat. Long Fist training was originally designed to teach the mind and body essential fighting skills, not to simply demonstrate athletic prowess. The authors describe the origins of the style, methods of training, and the crucial differences between forms practice and application of the techniques in a real fighting situation. They contend that an emphasis on athletic performance, such as in tournaments and competitions, leads to a loss of understanding of the functionality of the movements. In turn, this leads to predictability and hesitation on the part of the fighter. The martial aspects of the style eventually become diluted and the true purpose and effectiveness of the training is lost. Weapons techniques are illustrated and their similarities to empty-hand postures are shown. Qinna and wrestling techniques are covered. Footwork is discussed as a crucial part of the effectiveness of kicks, punches, throws and holds.

Baji Quan and Pigua Zhang

By Tony Yang (Yang Xiaodong) and Robert Figler
Historically, the art of Baji Quan/Pigua Zhang was employed by the imperial bodyguards. Although relatively well known among military personnel, serious martial artists, and indoor disciples of Liu Yunqiao (1909-1992), it was not available to the public. Liu, serving at the highest level of security at the palace, founded the Wudang Martial Arts Development Center with the goal of making traditional Northern Chinese martial arts more widespread. Through the emigration of his disciples, including Tony Yang, by the late 1970s and early 1980s the style had spread throughout the North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. Yang and Figler discuss three phases of training, apparatus such as the dog skin for hand training, and the principles related to body structure, coordinated power, breathing, and stomping. A detailed pictorial sequence illustrates Liu Da Kai (Six Big Openings), a set of six moving postures designed to train both long-range bridging and short-range striking.

How To Improve Your Jumping Skills

Dynamic jumping and leaping skills are an essential part of Northern Gong Fu training for performance and for combat. Scott Jensen describes four parts of a successful jump: preparation, lift off, the jump, and a proper landing that maintains your root. He offers practical tips and drills to develop stability, body alignment, and fluid coordination of arms and legs. He describes the importance of using the ground for takeoff and for landing, controlling your descent with awareness and correct orientation. The drills are described in detail with step-by-step photographs. By including them in your workout you will increase cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and core strength.

Chén Zì Qiáng (陈自强) on Chén Tài Jí, Tuī Shǒu (推手) and Sǎndǎ (散打)

By Nick Scrima, Journal of Chinese Martial Arts Chén Zì Qiáng is a 20th generation descendant of Chén family Tài Jí Quán and Chief Coach of the Chén Jiā Gōu (Chén village) Tài Jí Quán School in China. A multiple national champion in China, Chén has coached many students who achieved national tournament success. He is skilled in all Chén style hand and weapons forms and actively promotes Tuī Shǒu (Push Hands) and Sǎndǎ. This wide-ranging interview covers the many historic influences on Chén style Tài Jí Quán and Chén Zì Qiáng’s early training as part of an illustrious family. He discusses the essential training for building a solid foundation in the style (including post standing, silk reeling, breathing exercises, and the basic forms - Lǎo Jià Yī Lù and Lǎo Jià Èr Lù), and offers his ideas on Chén Tài Jí as compared to other Tài Jí styles. He describes the health benefits and stress-relieving properties of correct Tài Jí practice, as well as the principles and practices of Tuī Shǒu and the application of Fā Jìn. He notes the training methods for his Sǎndǎ team and his thoughts on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Subscribe