The thing that helps me personally is to focus on maintaining uninterrupted smooth breathing (there should be no moments when you can not breathe)
We've talked about this subject before (you might want to do a search under "conditioning" and related topics).
In Taiwan and China, virtually every Xingyiquan and Baguazhang group I trained with (especially those that participated in fighting competitions) spent a fair amount of time on supplemental conditioning exercises. There were lots of push ups, ab exercises, variations of squatting exercises, partner resistance work, isometrics and bag work, along with the standing, forms and sparring (and in some schools, training with heavy weapons).
Forms teach the body how to move in the appropriate rhythms to generate power in specific ways. Forms are not enough conditioning to prepare students to actually fight (just like shadow boxing is inadequate to prepare a boxer to go in the ring, there is always plenty of supplemental conditioning).
Isn't there specific training within your bagua that addresses cardiovascular, endurance, accuracy, power, timing, etc. that eliminates the necessity to supplement or cross train?
Josh, I think if you are patient, you will eventually learn these things from your teacher. Maybe he/she hasn't introduced them to you yet. You can always run or swim for the cardio. My favorite is basketball which let's you practice bagua at the same time. LOL
On a side note, we will sometimes go to tournaments with the commitment that we will only fight using techniques from a specific form win or lose.
The exercises I mentioned are included in my Bagua (but that doesn't mean you don't have to cross train).
Thanks for the information, one and all. Anvar, the breathing while doing excercises seems very useful. Tim, thanks for the information about the training in Taiwan and China; it's rare that anyone mentions pushups, etc... in the context of IMA though it does make alot of sense (in the context of realistic sparring) to do so for speed and power reasons. I am curious, in Taiwan and China,was supplementary training(in competition and otherwise)an equal part of training along with forms and drills and standing or was it sort of an afterthought? I guess it's another one of those "find a balance" questions but I am curious I guess as to the intensity and ratios of training for competition in these places. It sounds like you have a great deal of experience in this arena and I would be grateful to hear more about your experiences with this subject in the context of your competetive fighting career and regular training. Anyhoo, thanks and sorry to ramble; I like to type alot. Josh
The mix of training depended on the particular school and the proximity of a tournament. Most schools will begin class with conditioning exercises, followed by forms and then techniques/sparring. Closer to competition time there is less time spent of forms and more on conditioning and sparring.
after seeking for it in the database and not finding, I would like to ask you here your personal complete training (weekly) schedule. Is it possible? I'm very interested and it could teach me a lot.
Sure, my training varies a little week to week, but it is usually like this:
I grapple in my teachers Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy three or four times a week, and teach classes there as well when he's away. I spend an hour or two just about every day on basics and conditioning exercises (body weight calisthenics, ground exercises, footwork, bag work etc). I spend about eight or ten hours a week sparring with my students and friends. And I teach about 25 to 30 hours a week.
Should I/we assume whatever formwork you still do is during your teaching time?
Right, I do forms with my classes, and some during my private training.
And Tim, are we also to suppose that you do standing/circle walking practice as part of your basic conditioning exercises?
I practice some standing regularly. I walk the circle in class with my students.
thanks for your time: you're a very busy man indeed!
I'd have few more questions.
Do you use or suggest any weights/machines training?
Do you practice weapons?
Do you utilize Furey's royal court( which I got to know via ShenWu)?
Do you practice any chikung/breathing patterns away from forms? In case, which ones?
Do you regularly practice integral sparring, grappling+strikes? And how?
Do you personally believe in touch-sensitivity exercises (chisao, tweisho etc.)?
Can you explain me the practical use of circling?
Although I don't lift weights, lifting is obviously a superior method of getting stronger. I prefer body weight exercises and exercises with a partner because I feel these types of exercises are better at developing functional strength (and the attendant attributes) for the martial arts I practice. Whatever the method of training, stronger is always better than weaker.
I teach classical weapons on occasion to interested students, but I rarely practice with them. We do work with knives and sticks (although not to the degree of schools emphasizing Filipino or Indonesian arts for example).
We don't do the Royal Court per se, although we do many varieties of squats and ground exercises.
I talk about natural breathing and the importance of coordinating breath with movement, but the breath occurs naturally with the movements of the exercises.
We spar every day. I have a lot of variations of sparring drills and students will stay after class to spar as well. Our theory is that noncooperative, contact sparring drills are the key to developing real fighing ability.
We practice sensitivity exercises. I believe (correctly done) they are of great value along with sparring training (which can also be seen as "sensitivity" exercises).
Circling (in basic Baguazhang training) is designed to teach a student to maintain his balance and focus while remaining always in motion. The strategy and technique of Baguazhang is a kind of "guerilla warfare" advocating avoiding direct confrontation of force and always seeking to attack from a superior angle (a position from which you can attack your opponent while remaining safe from his attacks). Circle walking is the fundamental solo training for the stepping and body method of this tactic.
I can't say that I can comprehend your supplementing your training in internal martial arts with heavy muscular exercises. Do you think that bagua can be bagua entirely bereft of any internal element? I realise that the techniques are still functional without any kind of ethereal force backup - but surely one is nonetheless discarding one's primary advantage, which will allow optimal application. Does your school focus on using internal force to motivate motion at all?
Before I can answer your questions, I need to clarify your use of concepts.
What do you mean by "heavy muscular exercise?"
What do you mean by "internal force?"
It would appear that Burby is under the mistaken impression that Internal strength and muscular Strength are two different things.
Fact: Muscles are the things that change the angle of our joints. they are the only things that moves our body and keeps us upright. If you have doubts just sleep on your arm one night and when you awake the next morning and it's completely numb, move it with your qi. You cant, because the muscles are not responding.
That is a good point Chad,
But as far as the Yizong system, there seems to be methods of push hands or Rou Shou that are done "muscularly" until the muscles fail (as they will in sustained conflict)in resistave situations.
Mr. Cartmell, I speak of say, the exercises of huo tien 1.1 Kai, "open". The supplemental exercise with heavy resistance and intent seems to coerce the muscles into exhaustion so that one has to rely on structural means to get the job done.
Am I off base, or do you feel that some of the exercises, per my example, serve that purpose?
I probably am way off base here but all the 'vague' concepts preheavenly, post-heavenly, 'internal', etc, have no place in combat as we know today. Most of these terms need to be redefined especially for the sedentary lifestyle that most of us live today.
All combat (wether self defense, or other sceanrious) for efficeincy require cardiovascular conditioning. If one does not possess it, all the neijiquan is useless! At least for me, afetr all the usual conditioning, things like tui shou/rou shou, circle walking, etc have a lot more impetus behind them because all the necessary mechanics are in place.
just a different view!
The character Qi can mean air- as in aerobic.
'No Qi= no strength' can mean that you need to practise qigong, or mean that without cardio you will have no strength because only external strength exercises without cardio are useless once you get fatigued! The 'heart and lungs' are the internal training (CV). The muscles are external.
I agree, forcing the muscles into exhaustion means that the body loses all unnecessary tension and creates the most efficient body usage possible. Most peoples idea of 'heavy muscular force' is one muscle fighting another, but internal arts teach us to use the body in the most efficient way possible. Visualisations like using Qi and no muscular effort can be very useful for reeducating the muscles and nervous system to work in a more efficient way- of course we are still using our muscles to move our limbs- but the feeling is different. When you have caught the feeling you no longer have to exhaust the muscles first!
This is the way I believe "proper mechanics" to be taught.
It's one thing to think "Internal" and another to rely on it.
Long after the overt muscles have burn out, one relies on tendon and skeletal strength to keep going.
Train it long enough? The "Internal" (as I have described) will be the first choice under stress.
It is reminiscent of how the body protects fat and burns muscle... but that is another tale.
All good answers.
"It's one thing to think "Internal" and another to rely on it."
Like it or not, your body depends on hundreds of internal processes every second. These occur on electrical and chemical levels that are of a staggering level of complexity. The body's own intelligence knows what it is doing and functions most efficiently when the conscious mind gets out of the way. To rely on the internal is the only sane reponse, otherwise you would be continually checking blood sugar, hormone levels etc. every time you ate sandwich!
i agree with you and I think we are really arguing the same point. As far as the internal processes go, They are definatly more reliable than the external ones. The way i devide them is useing the local and global muscle paradigm. The Global movement (exertion) of the muscles is very powerful but has a reletivly short period of life. The local (suportive) function of the muscles does not create a global change in the joint but rather holds the postion. When the Global weakens and gives out, the local should take pover. The better trained this response is, the less exertion you have use for the same amount of energy produced. When you said "Tendon stregnth and Skeletal support hods us up," that is true to a certain extent, but the skeleton still needs a bit of suspension to remain upright. Ligaments hold the joints together and the tendon transfer the force of the muscles to the bones. If your muscles are completely un-opperational you will fall into a pile of meat.
Like i said I think we are really in agreement but i wanted to clarify my position.