Ch’an Dao: Heavy-Bag Impact Training
The three videos presented here, were filmed around 2007. Shifu Adrian Chan-Wyles is ‘striking’ a heavy (professional) Muay Thai Kick-Bag. This was acquired from a group of university students who had studied for three-years in Bristol, and who had trained in Thai Boxing in various clubs in the area. This bag was kept ‘outside’ in their backyard. When they had finished their degree course – and were returning home – they offered to sell their bag – which I accepted. On a warm Sunday afternoon, myself, Liz, Gee and Sue-Ling drove to Bristol to pick-up this extraordinary training device! The bag was very heavy and absorbent – as it was packed full of rags! This allowed for very hard and full-on power shots with the hands, feet, shins, elbows and knees, etc, and possessed a ‘ridge’ at chest level that could be used for under and upper cuts! This was a very good all-round traditional, Longfist training aid! The metal frame of the bag was around 8-foot tall with its triangular base held firm in-place by weight-lifting weights, or equally heavy bags of sand or gravel, etc. Between training sessions – the bag was covered-up with a waterproof sheet.
In the Ch’an Dao System, a practitioner is taught a) external, b) internal and c) integrated hitting and striking. All three types of power on display throughout these three videos. As I get older, the ‘integrated’ method of continuously striking with both ‘external’ and ‘internal’ power is normal and I have to deliberately ‘limit’ the manner in which I strike to demonstrate the ‘one-sided’ nature of striking routinely employed by beginners and intermediatory practitioners. The point is that each individual can only exhibit the type of power their minds can comprehend and understand. Therefore, a limited perspective generates a limited (and predictable) type of power. This is why a Master can understand exactly what move an opponent will do next simply because they can fully understand the entirety of the combat conditions that are present. Although some try to sully this advanced ability of perception by falsely associating it with some kind of ‘other worldliness’, in reality it is a matter of the evolution of human consciousness existing in a material environment that it has learned to thoroughly understand here and now. There is absolutely NOTHING mystical about this ability. Work hard, train diligently, and follow a path that is progressive and continuously advancing the mind and body!
I am slowly but surely increasing the ‘tempo’ through-out these three videos. What is the ‘tempo’? I interpret this as reducing the time that exists between each individual striking technique. As the bag-work continues – the time interval between each striking technique diminishes – and yet the ‘quality’ of the ‘form’ of the technique ‘increases’ as does the ‘refinement’ of the power produced. In other words, as I voluntarily reduce the ‘choice’ available to me, the structure of each individual technique becomes ever more efficient, so that the power (rebounding bodyweight) becomes ever more centralised to the bone structures the power is travelling (and being emitted) through! Essentially, the rebounding bodyweight (the product of ‘rootedness’) is traversing the bone structures of the human skeleton as it moves through (and ‘stimulates’) the bone marrow (ensuring that the outer bone structure is both ‘hard’ and yet ‘absorbent’ and ‘flexible’! The bodyweight is dropping into the ground (through the feet) and is rebounding up throughout the skeletal structure – generating an instantaneous ‘power’ not dependent upon a forceful muscular contraction. In combat this power must be ‘harvested’ and directed around the bone structure (to serve as an ‘Iron Vest’ that deflects any incoming power), so that it can flow unhindered through an aligned posture out of the hands and feet! The external blow hits and disperses across the surface structure of the bag. The internal blow ‘pierces’ the bag like a sharpened knitting-needle passing straight through the outer layer and straight into the inner structure of the bag – it barely registers on the surface area and causes massive internal damage, trauma and disorganisation to the nervous system and neural network – so that a victim of this type of blow suffers the effects before they are ‘aware’ they have been hit. An integrated blow has a ‘double-hit’ associated with it. The first blow is an impact that disperses across the outer structure of the bag (causing significant tissue damage on a human-body), whilst simultaneously a ‘piercing’ power traverses straight through the bag into its inner contents. On a human-body, this is designed to scramble and confuse the ‘firing’ of the synapses through the neural network – preventing the opponent from thinking clearly and responding in an effective manner. These three types of power-hitting are taught within the Longfist gongfu and traditional (Old) Yang Styles Taijiquan.
With external hitting, the inherent ‘weight’ of the opponent is moved around the skeletal-frame and ‘released’ (as a massive burst of power) into an opponent through an appropriate technique. External hitting ‘rejects’ ALL external force so that no outside ‘force’ can enter the skeletal frame from the outside. External hitting (and external conditioning) generates a tough and robust mind-set and exterior which forms a very effective ‘self-defence’ structure. With internal hitting, the ‘weight’ of the bag (or ‘opponent’) can be allowed to ‘enter’ and ‘permeate’ the skeletal frame of the practitioner so that there is a momentary ‘over-load’ of the force available at a given moment. Obviously, although the weight of the opponent can be momentarily ‘absorbed’ into the shafts and marrow of the bones (as well as the interconnected rounded areas of the ‘joints’) - this situation cannot exist for very long. Such a build-up of ‘force’ in unnatural and must be constructively ‘released’ through an appropriate striking technique. Therefore, the internal blow not only directs the practitioner’s bodyweight toward the opponent through an appropriate striking technique, but also supplements this power by adding to it the weight of the opponent being struck. This means that an integrated technique not only disperses across the outer structure of the bag (or living opponent) upon impact, but ‘penetrates’ deeply into the inner structures of the bag (or opponent) to cause the maximum (disruptive) damage. The bodyweight of the practitioner disperses across the outer structure of the bag (blow number one), whilst the ‘piercing’ component of the integrated strike is comprised of the previously absorbed bodyweight of the opponent being robustly ‘returned’ to that opponent only in a highly focused and damaging blow to a single part of that opponent’s anatomy. Although all this is highly complex and requires years of effective practice and good instruction, at no time is it ‘mysterious’ or the result of some kind of ‘divine’ external cause. This type of physical ability requires physical training in the material world that stimulates and develops ordinary human perception to a very degree of evolutionary development! Keep training and new skills and understanding will manifest!