Two things from classical training that gets A LOT of criticism are:
Chi Gung / Meditation and Weaponry. I would like to quickly address these things.
- Mediation/ Chi Gung aka Qi Gong (Mandarin), Hay Gung (Cantonese)
People say Chi Kung is woo woo, its for hippies and it has nothing to do with helping you fight better.
Well, in modern times, all sports trainers have realized how important recovery practices are to improve students’ performance, things such as rehab exercises, flexibility training, right rest and diet, etc.
Chi Gung, meditation offers huge health benefits, from improving one’s immune system to reducing stress hormones, anxiety and depression. Anyone interested in this can look up and read countless scientific studies and clinical trials on this
Aside from the health benefits, Chi Gung can DIRECTLY affect one’s martial abilities – ie it improves one’s non-telegraphic ability through concealment in direct attacks, it improves the selling of fakes in indirect attacks, it improves reading ability in counter-attack, it creates a deep calm for emotional control, it increases timing and non-touching sensitivity, it improves accuracy in all tools, it improves speed by improving co-ordination – the through the ability to feel inside the body and project lines. It has helped me a great deal in non co-operative work through the example I gave above and much more I didn’t mention in this short article
Learning basic breathing exercises and meditation and post-training is great for health but it is not specific enough to be used in a martial context with the examples I gave above. So unless someone has a teacher that has specific practices for using it in a martial context, they will not feel or be able to use chi gung in a martial context. So it is understandable that they say it doesn’t work or have anything to do w fighting. You don’t know what you don’t know. Not knowing is fine, being a douchbag when you don’t know however is not good.
There have been many times throughout the years where people will ask me how I move fast, how I develop my speed, accuracy, and coordination. Sometimes, it is hard to answer, if I tell them it has a lot to do with some of the Chi Gung I practice, they will say I am lying which I find insulting. So why ask me? A question like that puts me in a difficult place.
- Classical Weapons ie spears, Sticks, staff, whips, knives, axe, swords, sabres, canes, etc The main thing people say about the impractical learning of classical weapon is that they would not be carrying these ancient weapons in today’s streets. Perhaps they are overlooking what “practical” means.
I’ve found that the practice of classical weapons has greatly improved my calmness level. When you get used to a sword or knife coming at you, empty hands become a lot easier. I also found that it has improved my accuracy since a long object amplifies mistakes. Swords have improved my footwork, the exploration of angles. Weapons are a lot faster than empty hands and so it REALLY improves visual reflexes to a higher degree. Really heavy weapons force you to develop proper mechanics as you can no longer just muscle it.
Most importantly it makes you question common empty hand tactics. For example:
– Unlike empty hands, it would be stupid to bounce around at long range with an on-guard position like in most sparring matches: all that does is telegraph your intention and give someone distance and therefore time to quick draw a weapon.
– Unlike empty hand, it would be suicidal to choose to grapple when someone has a blade.
– Unlike empty hand it would be stupid to cover and shield, to “take one and give one back”, you cannot “take” damage well from a good weapon without taking a lethal risk.
– Unlike empty hand you cannot extend your guard in a “non-threathening posture”, an extended arm guarding position only gives a good blade man a limb to cut off.
The examples are endless but it points to one simple idea: most popular practices are useless against weapons. And the thing is, in real life you cannot see the weapon, anyone good with a weapon will not let you see it till it is already coming at you when it’s too late.
So how can you switch from an empty hand skill set to a weapon system midstream, mid-motion, in a tenth of a second??? You can’t, most “experts” cannot.
The only thing most people CAN do is make sure they are always assuming someone is armed, and that what they practice works for both empty hand and weapon, instead of having two entirely different skillsets and expect that in real-time they can make a switch on the fly when things are happening in nanoseconds.
I’ll stop here I just wanna say that classical training is not a waste of time if one thinks a little bit about things