Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Yesterday it was once again time to empty my cup (beginners mind) and fill my instructor's rice bowl, paying a visit to Jake Burroughs for more Xingyi training.
On the agenda was another animal form, in this case the Monkey. Jake knows several versions, the one we worked on was as taught by Tim Cartmell. This is the first Xingyi form I have learned that uses the corners rather than a simple "I" pattern.
Monkey is the smartest animal, and fights with deception. While appearing to be shy and defensive, the monkey explodes with power and frenzy. The energy is light and mobile, using a hand-pass to neutralize an opponent's punch. Fingers are extended to rake at the opponent's eyes with paws (palms) slapping both defensively and offensively. Monkey attacks low to finish high, or finger-strikes at opponents eyes to illicit a response - perhaps then going low with a kick. There is a very powerful jumping knee-strike, and some Bagua-type footwork in the turns that enable leg trapping.
Without a doubt, the Monkey form contains some of the nastiest, dirtiest techniques I have learned so far in our Xingyi style. I looked around on youtube but couldn't find a sample of the form suitable for posting. As in many Chinese arts, there are countless variations of similar forms, and I don't want to misrepresent this one.
Let me say that video is the single greatest training tool we can use. Jake is very open and encourages students to film training sessions, and it is invaluable. It's priceless watching myself stumble through the tricky timing of a form like this, and no matter how many notes we take after class nothing compares to the raw truth of video. Additionally, we can see the form as our instructor wants it to be performed, and strive to achieve that level.
Jake went through many, many applications of the form and we finished up with some more conventional Boxing concepts and entries to grappling take downs. It's going to take weeks or months of practice to smooth this form out, but I now have a significant chunk of the animal forms with Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse and Tuo (or Alligator).
If you are in the Seattle area and interested in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts training, contact Jake Burroughs at his websites linked HERE and HERE