Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheng Hsin: Elusive Boxing Method

Last Post we looked at Peter Ralston in a really great push-hands session. The thing I clearly saw is that Ralston was elusive and mobile. The only time I saw him dig into his "Root" was when he was transfering power into his opponent, in some cases taking the opponent clear off his feet. Otherwise, he was extremely elusive and "cagey".
My Tai Chi Chuan instructor Michael Gilman (who is a push-hands champion) makes this comparison; Most Martial arts behave like a big dog- Dogs respond to touch by jumping on you and wanting to wrestle. Tai Chi Chuan push-hands should be more like a cat- you reach out to pet a cat and they are elusive, they back just out of reach and come to you on their own terms.
The video above is of Ralston's students demonstrating the slipping and dodging method rather than hard blocking against a Boxer. I'm sure there are some Boxers out there that will have some criticism, but let's face it; the objective is to not get hit.
Tim Cartmell told us that trying to block your opponent's punches is like throwing rocks at the rocks your opponent is throwing at you- at some point one of his rocks will get through and bean you. Tim's students are trained to slip and deflect from a covered position, a more modern approach compared to classical Kung Fu.

The thing I have taken away from these two Ralston videos is that his Cheng Hsin relies on evasive movement, whether in stand-up Grappling, or in Boxing.


Martial Development said...

Slip, absorb, deflect...anyone can do these things with relative success. Whereas nobody can do Kung Fu properly without intensive training. So by "modern approach" I guess you meant "cheap"?! :)

Frank said...

These are some skills I'd like to incorporate into my own practice, especially when we spar. To be that elusive and slip punches seems to tie in nicely with the principle of striking when the opportunity presents itself. Right now, as a rank beginner to Isshinryu, when we spar, I'm only thinking, Attack! Attack! Attack! and I end up getting clobbered. Haha..

Zacky Chan said...

I checked out the videos on Ralston's site and wonder if anyone ever told him that you're supposed to wear a hakama around your legs and not your shoulders. hahahaha
Anyway, he explains concepts apparent in zen and martial philosophy better than most others I've read. Maybe I'll pick up one of his books.

Dojo Rat said...

I would only recommend his second book, Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou. The first book was re-inventing the wheel. See my reviews.

Chris @ Martial D:
Well, Tim Cartmell has been to a few Rodeos, and he finds the slip and cover method to be superior to long-range blocking.
I have mixed feelings, I like an extended bridge and the safety it affords, but you can still draw a punch into your cover position.

j said...

Great posts Rat.

In my experiences training with Tim Cartmell and his teacher Luo De Xiu, things like slip, absorb, deflect, etc are all part and parcel of "traditional" Chinese kung fu. Pretty much everything Tim does for training his students for stand up MMA is based on IMA.

I totally disagree with Martial Dev that this is easy, against a trained opponent being able to lightly evade, slip and counter attack can be incredibly difficult.

This way of training is based on the traditional forms, two person drills and combat applications of the IMA. Luo De Xiu teaches it in terms of different ranges, as you close with your opponent, your San Ti posture closes down to fit the situation, more like a boxer's guard. This isn't modern, this is just the result of training against good opponents.

Just a few thoughts from me!

Jess O

Dojo Rat said...

Very cool, Thanks Jess!