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#310308 - 12/24/06 10:21 AM One flavor, multiple styles
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
For kung fu guys, it is quite common to do more than one style. For those of you that do more than one style, do you feel like one of the styles give the "flavor" to your forms and fighting, even when you are practicing anotehr style?

And what are your thoughts on that?
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"Now use head for something other than target!" Still never attacked by trees, 18lohans

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#310309 - 12/24/06 09:37 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: 18lohans]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
I think that's only natural. It's not bad to have some experience with different styles and methods, but what is most natural to you will always come through. When you're learning, the teachers might tell you to do everything a specific way...taijiquan must be this way, shaolin must be that way, praying mantis is another way. Ultimately it all comes down to your personal nature, what fits you best. You might not know what fits you best until you throw yourself into practice completely for a prolonged period. Eventually the rules go away, and you develop your own personal method.

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#310310 - 12/24/06 09:58 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: 18lohans]
scottt Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Winnipeg, MB
Most people are heavily influenced by the first school they make a real commitment to. I have lots of transient students. The ones that have been to 4 schools in 4 years might as well be beginners - they have no style really. The ones that have spent a couple of years or more in a single school usually have a style that is recognizable.

Usually I don't try to change someone's style unless I really think it is wrong. I always teach them how to do our techniques correctly, but if they have a loyalty to a previous master then I won't ask them to break it. Often these people have changed schools because the old one shut down, or because they are new to the country or something like that.

I believe people should stick with one style (almost any will do) until they have a very good grounding. After that, they can learn other things that will either enhance their initial effort, or will be enhanced by their initial effort. I don't think that training in multiple styles at once does the same thing.
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you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

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#310311 - 12/24/06 10:30 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: scottt]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
intersting how both of you touched the exact topics I had in mind. I too have changed styles simply because of relocation. And my shaolin is said to have a praying mantis feel to it, etc. I'm still trying to decide how that affects my training/kung fu. Overall, I think I'm with you guys that I just do what seems to come natural, or how I think each form should be played like. No big corrections so far, other than the obvious... so I hope that means Im'doing ok.

So in the end, I guess there's no "switching styles" like in the movies? (ie, say, how jackie chan switched from hung gar to drunken in drunken master?)
_________________________
"Now use head for something other than target!" Still never attacked by trees, 18lohans

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#310312 - 12/24/06 11:44 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: 18lohans]
scottt Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Winnipeg, MB
I think the difficult part is trying to learn something different without letting go of your old training. Your new instructor will not want to constantly hear "this is how I was taught to do it..." with every technique, but at the same time, any techniques that you learned well will really stick. Before you make something your own, you have to really learn it, then you can do it your own way. After all, even Bruce Lee did a thorough job of learning stuff before he would "throw away what is useless".

As always, be patient, make an effort at learning, and don't forget your old training. Interestingly, I have found that I am still learning from teachers that I have had no contact with for several years. Maybe I'm so thick that I am just now figuring out what they were trying to teach me. Maybe only now do I finally have the context to learn the lesson from back then.
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you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

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#310313 - 12/25/06 07:20 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: 18lohans]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
I find that most of the time all my styles blend together. The sparring drills that are always hard for me are when my teacher would say "only use lohan techniques now" or "only use tiger style". Many of the styles have techniques which are the same or similar, and they all flow into one another. I may intend to be doing crane, but I end up with mantis, tiger becomes crane, crane becomes taiji.
When someone tells me to "switch styles", I end up doing a single pose or technique, and then continuing to fight in my normal way *lol*
I had around ten years practicing karate before I started learning various Chinese styles, so my style is definately different. Karate really hasn't influenced my actual fighting style so much, it mostly provided a solid foundation of basics, stances and transitions, punches and kicks. That foundation meant I was able to comprehend and make use of more complicated techniques right away, I already had done my time practicing a horse stance and throwing punches. After praticing taijiquan for a few years, this has really become the "base" of my fighting strategy, it works its way into everything else I do. I think that's mainly because I connect with taiji in personality, and in heart. That's what I mean when I say it's "natural" for me...my style exhibits my nature, the nature of my mind, and my spirit. What's natural for you will reveal itself with time and experience.

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#310314 - 12/26/06 12:42 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: WuXing]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
Beautiful post wuxing.

It's really comforting to hear that even someone who's been doing this for over a decade ends up just blending things in fighting. (and maybe this is why we have styles such as hung gar and choy li fut, and even praying mantis which are "mixed")

On a closer note, I have also found that taiji seems to fall into my other styles easily. More so than because of personality, do you think it's because taiji is more "formless" than most styles? Or is it that taiji is almost by definition an evolution of these styles (making it natural for it to fit into the others?)
_________________________
"Now use head for something other than target!" Still never attacked by trees, 18lohans

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#310315 - 12/26/06 01:15 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: 18lohans]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
Yes, all the different styles we have now are "mixes" of techniques and styles that the founders had integrated. We're doing the same thing all the time, it's inevitable.
It's a good point, that taijiquan's "formless" philosophy does help it fit with different techniques. Maybe that's why it is the "Supreme"...

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#310316 - 12/28/06 08:16 AM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: WuXing]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
This has been a very interesting topic to follow thus far.

I have had similar experience with sparring and what comes out as far as style is dictated by the situation. Having trained strictly bagua and xingyi for the past 5 or so years that is what comes out, but bagua being my primary area of focus that is what primarily comes out. Strangely enough, the other things I trained in prior to that do not come out. My guess is that the bagua and xingyi have taken over my brain. It is interesting to see that others have had similar experiences.

I used to use the 5 elements of xingyi to help me train the body mechanics of some of the post heaven bagua forms that I do. There are certain movements that are virtually identical as far as body mechanics and structure are concerned. This worked great for me for a while. It gave me a way to look at certain movements in great physical depth.
Lately I have been trying to differentiate between how bagua attacks and how xingyi attacks. What I have noticed that sets them apart from each other is the intent used while attacking. Xingyi has an intensely fierce intent that is put forth at a moments notice in the most direct way possible. While bagua also has a fierceness to it, it is much more subtle and clever in the way it attacks.
It has been an interesting evolution of sorts thus far. At first I couldn't tell one from the other, they both look identical. I now understand that the type of intention put in the attack is what makes these styles different. Lately I train my bagua and xingyi in a completely different manner than I used to. Now that I can differentiate between the two, I feel that I can can get more out of each specific style because I am training it as it was intended to be. This provides a great deal more clarity in what I am doing when I am training. This also has me understanding a little bit more why xingyi and bagua work so well together.
Xingyi is an excellent way to get big power quickly and bagua is a great way to use that power in a more subtle and clever way once the power has been developed.

Once again, nice thread and some nice posts WuXing!
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#310317 - 12/28/06 12:11 PM Re: One flavor, multiple styles [Re: Fisherman]
18lohans Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
First of all, kudos for being one of the rare bagua / xing yi guys. Even more since you actually use it in fighting/sparring.

I like how you brought up another two points that are just right on my question. First one was how previous styles just don't come out anymore, even if they were once your base style and even if you still use them to think aobut stuff. I started off with wing chun, and I definitely must say that other than maybe the idea of sticking, my techniques, frame and feel just aren't wing chun anymore. What does come out is what I train the most, and that would be long fist/praying mantis type stuff.

The second thing is the intent thing. I really liked that you brought up cuz I really just started thinking about that as a way to differentiate styles. At first, it was rather easy to distinguish styles. I figured, hey, tai chi has the round movements, and if I do something like white crane spreads wing or parting the horse's mane, that's tai chi. If I do the mantis hook hand, then that's obviously mantis. But then, I realized this was just as deep as how the forms looked like. In a sparring/fighting context, long fist does a lot of the mantis hand, praying mantis actually has a lot of movements that look like parting the mane, and the shuai jiao movements in tai chi were totally similar to stuff I learned from long fist.

My training got to the point where external and internal styles started feeling so similar. That is when I had one of those "finally HEARD what sifu said". And that is similar to what you wrote about bagua and xing yi. Tai Chi would be the more merciful one, that merges with the opponent's movements, while praying mantis totally jumps at them and shows a no mercy policy. And indeed, I noticed that the two started to look very different when applied. If I was trying to do praying mantis, I'd think "mean". And if I was doing tai chi, I'd think "nice".

The second epiphany was when we started learning some new stuff in tai chi. It's kind of a habit to spend mroe time on what I'm currently learning. So thinking and training wise I was doing a lot more tai chi than the rest for a while. What I realized is that it is my own intent really affected what came out in sparring. Being that I was in tai chi mode at the time, the moves that came out where very tai chi like. A lot of sticking, pushing, etc...

So I'm thinking... maybe the movements in each style really are catered to its "intent"? The slight variations in the very similar moevments really make a big difference when the intent is different. But then again... what happens with someone that only trained in one style, but switches off intent?
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"Now use head for something other than target!" Still never attacked by trees, 18lohans

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