Review of Essence of Shaolin by Sifu Zhang Wuji

Essence of Shaolin

The sequence, "Tang Soldier Holds Guest", should be practiced with picture-perfect form, continuous flow and good internal force

Sifu Zhang Wuji

Shaolin Wahnam Singapore

8th December 2017

In terms of techniques, my major takeaway is the Tiger Tail Kick and the roll. The odd thing is that I first learnt this technique 10 years ago and several times since, but for some reason, I never really got it. Maybe I am obtuse or something, but I chose to specialise in this technique for today, and I had a great time with it.

We were instructed to choose one sequence and practice it with form-flow-force. It may surprise some but I actually managed to get a nice flowing sequence from what would otherwise seem like awkward movements - simulating a leg being caught, turning around, putting the hands down and kicking before the roll, and repeating the same on the reverse side. In practising our chosen sequence, Sifu admonished us to flow, not re-start from a poise position. As I mentioned to another student, the poise and starting patterns are stylised "introductions", so we need not get all hung up about them.

A lesson about safety first for your training partner - remember that a training partner freezes for you to execute your technique and practice what you have learnt, and is not your personal punching bag. Without the artificial restrictions to shackle him for the purpose of practice, a trained Shaolin exponent is not a sitting duck.

Sifu said "slowly!" so many times earlier that I lost count. Going slow is for safety, but also so that we and others watching can learn. Leaving aside the other crucial factors like spacing and covering, going fast at the beginning just makes one not grasp the steps in the sequence, and practice just becomes a mess of flailing arms and legs. The Essence of Shaolin set contains marvellous patterns and applications, and there is no reason to rush to execute these exotic patterns and their applications.

An interesting training procedure was revealed today, using one of the patterns. We nornally use poise patterns to limit our exposure, but occasionally we can let ourselves be vulnerable at the start, so that we can train to react instantly to an attack (going from slow, to medium, to fast speed). I immediately thought of that dreadful movie, the original Karate Kid Part 2, where Daniel-san stands in front of the fishing hook, and side-steps at the last moment.

Essence of Shaolin

An effective counter against the above close-body grip is a tiger-tail kick

The above discussion is reproduced from the Posts 58 and 59 of thread Essence of Shaolin in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.



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