The best martial artists understand form training, and use it.
As a beginning student, you experience a lot of form training or Tao Lu from day 1. Most beginning level students can feel overwhelmed with the amount of material we present. And, as they progress through their first few ranks; they may start to wonder how much choreography and form practice occupy the training before the real fighting starts. How do I use this stuff? Does it work?
The upcoming seminar for lower belt applications will cover the following points. We will introduce ways to think about your form training going forward, show hidden applications, spar, theory and spar. Bring all sparring equipment.
There are 3 main steps to have your form training solid, and then to start using it:
1) Best way to learn new material and condition-Time to eat bitter.
Tao Lu is essential at all (especially beginner) levels to introduce theory, flow, combinations, application and movement, conditioning, and spirit of that particular training. It is an incredible way to link pieces of material together without having to list hundreds of individual movements in a numbered check list of techniques. It is far easier for the student to learn “Black Tiger Tao Lu” then a,”Tiger List Numbers 1-800, appendix B”. It is also a great link from masters of the past to connect and teach spirit, emotion, meditation and intent. Once the form is learned, condition it into your muscle memory and start learning to use it. For example, if you are learning our beginner tiger Tao Lu, then you better be able to do your finger tip push-ups (tip-as in the TIP of the finger not the flat!), hold your horse and cat stance in proper posture for minimum of 2-minutes, palm-tear strike, powerful kicks with ball of the foot, knuckle push-ups, and complete the form with full power, snap and spirit. If not, the beginning form training is not complete!
2) Application and Spirit-Listen to your form
The form itself will have hundreds of applications within. Some are very easy to recognize, and some are hidden. The form itself is not necessarily meant to be literal move-for-move in a fight (although it can!). You can take combos, individual techniques, theory and spirit from the training to call-on in fighting. If you have a solid understanding (step 1), the application, conditioning, foot work, mechanics, etc. Will come with ease, and it will flow naturally in a fight. If you have not taken the time to truly develop and listen to your form, the application will look like forced-choreography and your sparring partner will easily overcome you. Before you start application, you have to eat bitter and take the time to learn the form/conditioning or else your Tao Lu training will never speak to you. Further, once you bow, you are making a commitment to that form…If your spirit and intent/heart are not into the form for that moment, then you are still missing a key component. Intent, spirit, will, and heart guide and complete your Tao Lu, and it is even more important in a fight. If the mind and intent are lazy, it is easy to manipulate and trick. Stay focused in your Tao Lu so you do not lose focus in the fight. Also consider the following areas that are present in ALL forms, and have applications or understanding in the following areas:
-Ground fighting (incl. Chin Na)
-Chi Kung and Meditation
So you know your tiger form inside-out. You have been conditioning, rooting, stretching and gaining power and speed. You have thought a lot about the possible applications and even tried to use some in sparring. Great! Now is the time to make it work for you. Think about your body type, height, etc. And how the form will make YOU the most effective fighter, modify the applications to fit your height and style. Pick a few applications a week and try them in sparring every day against various opponents that are out of your weight class. Do not stop until you can successfully get in your application on the majority of your opponents. Once that is achieved, move on to the next application. Also think about power and speed, for example; if you are short and smaller framed; consider the power and distance you need to generate in order to put the bigger guys down with that particular application. Check your distance and make sure you are throwing techniques within range.
See you at the seminar!