Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sun-Style Bagua With Tim Cartmell

Well, the Dojo Rats made the journey from our Secure Island Hideout to the Mean Streets of Seattle for a great seminar on Sun-style Bagua with Tim Cartmell and Jake Burroughs. Cartmell trained for over ten years in Taiwan and China, and has extensive background in Xing-I, Bagua, and Tai Chi as well as Brazilian Jujitsu. Jake Burroughs hosted the seminar and was the designated fall guy for Tim's heavier throwing techniques.
We definately picked up some finer points of this complex system, designed by the famous Master Sun Lu-Tang. Here is a brief summary of some great information:
Tim demonstrated a basic posture in the form, in this case "Green dragon turns it's head", and suggested this: If you look at this posture and try to categorize it as one technique, like choping with knife hands, that's all it will ever mean to you. However, at long range it may indeed be a chop. At medium range it may be a Peng (ward-off) as in Taiji. At close range it is a takedown. Tim proceded to demonstrate various applications for that same move or posture. This concept was tantamount to the theme of the entire seminar, as well as the function of the art of Bagua itself.
Another significant point was about the grappling nature of the art. Sun Lu-Tang was taught Bagua by Cheng Tinghua, who was himself a master of Chinese wrestling. Tim demonstrated that after a bridge and entry, one can certainly strike. But to achieve a deep knowledge of the bodywork in this art requires the whole-body utilization involved in takedowns. I believe this is similar to the idea of Tai Chi Chuan students learning push-hands before moving on to advanced striking techniques. Needless to say, the seminar involved a lot of takedowns, and Jake Burroughs took a lot of falls (as did the students that attended the previous seminars on Brazilian Jujitsu and Xing-I).
We came away with concepts that will improve the Bagua stepping patterns we had already been practicing, as well as many new techniques and applications from the Sun system. Tim Cartmell provided excellent instruction and Jake Burroughs was a generous host.
Anyone in the Seattle area that is interested in upcoming events can contact Jake Burroughs at 206-941-3232, or check out his Three Harmonies Chinese Martial Arts website at www.threeharmonies.com
Tim Cartmell's website is www.shenwu.com

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