Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chin Na

This has been one of my favorite grappling videos lately, for a lot of reasons. Mike Martello is only 5'2" and it is fascinating to see him manipulate a much larger opponent. Sure, the attacks are controlled, but remember, so is the response.
This video illustrates something I have been examining for some time. My hard-style background is Tae kwon Do and Kenpo Karate, but that's mostly in the past now. During my Kenpo training I also trained for two years in Aikido, and since then have been heavy into Yang-style Tai Chi. I am planning a serious thesis on the comparison of techniques between Aikido and Tai Chi. Most people have never experianced the martial techniques within Tai Chi, and view it as a "new age exercise". But the experianced eye can see many, many similarities in strikes, joint locks and takedowns between Tai Chi, Aikido and the hard style arts as well. The difference is, the internal styles do not go head-to-head, power against power. They yield, find an opening, then come in to take the opponent out.
We are currently training in the Yang-style San-Shou two person 88 movement form. This is a complex form that many students never see, yet learn. In it, there are forearm smashes (much like Aikido's irimi-nage), pressure-point strikes and takedowns.
The difference with the Aikido methods is they generally use more spiral movement, while Tai Chi tends to be a little more centerline oriented like Wing Chun.
And speaking of Wing Chun, the sticky-hands and slap-sparring drills along with joint-lock flow drills from Small-Circle-Jujitsu fit right in with Tai Chi push hands.
The video of Martello, above, is a perfect example of how all these arts have a common ancestry. More on this later...

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