More Chances for You to Think Through

Taiji Staff

Grandmaster Wong performing a Taiji Staff set

Zhang Wuji

Sifu Zhang Wuji - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Singapore

30th October 2009

More Chances for You to Think Through

Hi Martin (Em goi anh Wuji la duoc roi)

I am sorry to disappoint you, if you expect loads of details for the weapons portion of the course. I think it was on this day that Sifu told us something to the effect that "as you are instructors, I will not spoon-feed you. There will be less material being taught and more chances for you to think through."

I will bet that the weapons course in the UK's Summer Camp went into far more detail on form, techniques and even training methods. We were expected to know the form or revise the sets later on. For the same reason, this post will be shorter than the previous ones, because much of the session was not verbal teaching of material but transmission and correction.

And Sifu made it a truly interactive course. He left us alone in pairs to work on counters, and then gave comments when we demonstrated our suggestions before the whole class. So to avoid looking stupid, we had to work out er, workable counters. Some of these attempts are shown in Sifu's video series on the "Glimpses of the Advanced Combined Course".

In the morning, we went through the Shaolin and Taiji Sabre sets, and practised using a sabre against a Guan Dao and a spear. Later in the afternoon, we practised the Taiji staff and if my memory serves me correctly, the Ho Family staff too. Of all the weapons, I was most looking forward to the staff, as I had never learnt it before. And here I was, with the privilege to learn both Shaolin and Taiji versions.

And I was even more pleasantly surprised when Sifu told us that the Taiji staff set also incorporated principles and techniques from the Wu Lang Ba Gua Gun (Fifth Brother/Son Eight Directional Staff), which I have heard so much about and always wanted to know (As a side issue, when I was at Wei Foong's wedding a few years ago, a wedding guest pulled me to one side and told me that if I ever had the chance, I should witness Sifu's performance of the Wu Lang staff set. Now, I get to learn the essence of the set itself!)

Plum Flower Sabre

Application of the Shaolin Plum Flower Sabre

I will have to share more about the lessons of Day 4 another time, as I am still slowly assimilating the lessons of the first 3 days. In fact, my daily practice now is going back to basics, including checking my stances and footwork. When I have reviewed the DVDs again, I will write more. Alternatively, another participant can contribute?

One principle I want to share and which Sifu never stopped reminding us was this: Don't let your guard down in a multiple attackers scenario. This seems so self-evident but we forgot it in the heat of battle. After taking down the first few opponents, we would either rush in or get careless with the last bad guy standing, and get zapped. Ironic, isn't it?

And in the last hour of training, we were introduced to more new friends (or foes) - whom Steve describes as the Army of Brick Warriors. For more details, read Sifu's book referred to above. What I can share is that fighting against this army forced us to pay attention to our footwork and all-round awareness, as well as how to strike and counter on the move. We also learnt how important it was to have a "plan" when initiating or even reacting to attacks. As for me, the session made the whole concept of "imaginary opponents" all the more tangible.

Persevere in correct practice
Qigong and Shaolinquan classes in Singapore

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread “ 2009 Advanced-Combined Shaolin-Taijiquan Course ” started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 6th October 2009.



Glimpses of the Advanced-Combined Shaolin-Taijiquan Course

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