Archive through April 10, 2008

Tim's Discussion Board: Ba Gua Zhang : Bagua and MMA: Archive through April 10, 2008
   By Joshua S on Saturday, March 08, 2008 - 04:36 am: Edit Post


I was curious to hear your opinion on the differences between top level bagua men today and top level MMA fighters. Given their inherent differences how would one or the other hold up agaisnt each other etc?


   By Kelly Crofts-Johnson on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 01:53 am: Edit Post

under what venue?

   By robert on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 09:34 pm: Edit Post

one disadvantage bagua would have in the mma ring is the lack of ground fighting techniques considering that everbody and they momma knows bjj nowadays... but i think in "standup" or the clinch, with the right conditioning, a good bagua practitioner would most likely stand with the best of them

thats why cross training is essential imo if you want to enter an mma type thing.

if you can, you should train or at least familiarize
yourself with everything thats out there...

you're better off defending or countering against a technique that you can predict.

   By Kelly Crofts-Johnson on Sunday, April 06, 2008 - 05:21 pm: Edit Post

You can use bagua on the ground by the way. It all comes down to how experienced they are. If the person trains bagua correctly, he will be able to use it in the ring just fine. If not, hell get taken down and submitted. If the mma guy trains correctly and is against the latter bagua fellow, he will win. if he is against the first bagua man, who knows.

   By Tim on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 03:07 am: Edit Post

I'd be interested to see some of this Bagua ground fighting.

It doesn't exist in China.

   By Backarcher on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 02:17 pm: Edit Post

Sorry, I have to respectfully disagree. I think your better Bagua fighter would be humiliated by a good MMA fighter on the ground, in the clinch and at striking range.

I think if a good Bagua fighter trained "full contact" hard muay thai, wrestling and BJJ for six months, along with good conditioning training, he would be a nasty person to contend with.

All speculation. I could be wrong. It's not about style but training method and conditioning.

In a 30 second fight, in a bar...pretty even.

   By Jake Burroughs on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:28 pm: Edit Post

As usual great points! Even the cats who do not train CMA see the inherent weakness' in it. As far as I know, not one CMA has developed a comprehensive clinch game. Not even Shuai Chiao!

   By Kelly Crofts-Johnson on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 07:25 pm: Edit Post

Tim, haha. If that that message wasn't one of total disbelief, I dont know what is. Its all good.

I am not insinuating that their are bagua "ground forms" where you are rolling around in circles. What I am saying is that, bagua, hsing yi, and tai chi all have principles that can be applied on the ground. Whether it is adapted chin na, sensetivity, short power, or whatever, it can be applied. Of course it has to be trained and drilled for it to work, just like anything else.

   By Backarcher on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 11:35 pm: Edit Post

I would say that many of those principles you speak of are already in groundfighting systems.

Jake, I think Shuai Chiao has a better overall clinch game than any other style of fighting.

   By Tim on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 03:50 am: Edit Post

Backarcher is correct.

You could first spend years mastering Bagua, Xingyi and Taiji, then spend the next 50 years adapting their principles to groundfighting, and you would still be behind a guy who spent a year practicing BJJ.

   By Jake Burroughs on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 10:06 am: Edit Post

Not sure I agree with the SC comment. Majority of guys I have trained with know little about it. Never seen them pull any of it.

   By Backarcher on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 12:59 pm: Edit Post


I'm looking at the art, not the artist.
You know I've explored anything and everything that has to do with the clinch. The art of Shuai Chiao and Combat Sambo encompass most of the throwing techniques of Judo, BJJ, freestyle, traditional sport Sambo and greco wrestling. Moreover, they are one of the few standing clinching arts (besides Muay thai) that considers striking.

Greco doesn't have leg tactics and freestyle wrestling, which is closest to Shuai Chiao in my opinion, uses a posture not condusive to the MMA clinch, nor does it consider striking. Judo doesn't consider striking, nor do they have grips and ties that translate to MMA as well as Shuai Chiao or Combat Sambo.

These arts have a more comprehensive toolbox that translate better to MMA clinching.

I'm not just looking at the Shuai Chiao guys I've clinch with, for they were not as experienced as myself.

I've "crushed" a lot of BJJ guys, but a blackbelt in BJJ like Tim would crush me (several BJJ blackbelts half my size have embarrassed me on the mat). So I don't judge BJJ by the BJJ guys I've beaten, but by the art as a whole and by the guys that have beaten me.

Unlike Judo and wrestling, Shuai Chiao doesn't have the popularity and talent pool to truly demand that its fighters grow. Competition is what makes an art and its artist expand to its true authentic self. Shuai Chiao doesn't have that. Sanda, a close cousin to Shuai Chiao, comes close but still lacks the competition to truly explore its potential.

   By Jake Burroughs on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 03:41 pm: Edit Post

True points. Perhaps we are talking definition differences. SC unto itself does not allow strikes, nor sacrifice throws, but all else is pretty much game.
I have trained with the top SC cats in North America (David Lin / John Wang / Dave Pickens / Victor Ke / and my teacher Hu Xi Lin) and I have never seen any of them go into the detail of any clinch work as Tim has. I see your point about the art / style, but that is mine too...I have seen little clinch work in SC across the board. But maybe we mean something different.

   By Backarcher on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 04:02 pm: Edit Post


Maybe I got carried away. Sorry!

How do you define the clinch?

I define it as a range within striking range in which you can tie your opponent up using ....

traditional lapel grips

Over and Under

single collar tie

double collar tie


double underhook


double overhooks

2 on 1

inside 2 on 1 (two versions)



pinch headlock

front headlock

front bodylock

double wrist grab

Reverse Khabarelli or over the back lat grip

inside and outside double bicep tie

Also, "...SC unto itself does not allow strikes, nor sacrifice throws..."

I didn't know that. Is that sport or the traditional art?

   By Jake Burroughs on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 04:50 pm: Edit Post

I see your point. But do you really feel they have developed it more so than say Judo or Sambo with all their grips, and variations on takedowns?

Tim can correct me, but in traditional SC sacrifices were allowed, but striking never. Some do "Combat Shuai Chiao" which is basically San Da with an emphasis on throws. That is a newer creation by David Lin and his guys here in the US.

   By Backarcher on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 06:39 pm: Edit Post

You have much more hands on experience than me. I've only worked with a couple SC guys. Yet, when I study the DVDs of Wang Wenyong from China and Yuan Zumou who is in France. I see so many of the wrestling ties of freestyle and greco wrestling, moreover I see the same leg tactics you'd see in Judo or Sambo. If you don't have an extensive background in wrestling, you could miss it. The thing I like about Chinese wrestling over Judo is that they don't depend on the gi for many throws. That's what I like about Sambo also, for Sambo is very much influenced by the traditional Russian folk styles of wrestling. When I wrestle Judokas without a gi, the fact that I have a healthy choice of ties to go to gives me a big advantage. Even the ones who were former wrestlers are not use to the greco type ties for they were mostly free and folkstyle wrestlers.It's very evident in MMA, historically when judokas enter the sport most of their takedowns are via foot tactics for most are not use to the upper body ties without a gi to take advantage of their Judo skills. Now, more Judokas are learning upper body ties.
I do think Combat Sambo and Sanda are just as good SC or better.

Wouldn't you say Tim's style of clinching is Chinese wrestling, via Bagua or Tai chi...isn't it all consider an element of Chinese wrestling?

Maybe, I should of said Chinese wrestling rather than SC.

   By Jake Burroughs on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 10:17 am: Edit Post

Good points bro.
I suppose Tim would be listed under Chinese wrestling instead of SC since he never technically studied SC, but again I think we are arguing over definitions. You make excellent points regarding leg attacks, and in general you have much more experience with wrestling overall than I do.

   By Backarcher on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 11:08 am: Edit Post

I think "I" made the mistake in using the name "Shuai Chiao". "You" are more right than me.
I should of used the generic term of Chinese Wrestling.

I'm just glad I had the chance to meet and work with you.


   By Jake Burroughs on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 06:28 pm: Edit Post

Their is no "I u" or otherwise. You have good points and very valid experiences.
And the pleasure was all mine getting tossed around by you! Hopefully we can convince you to visit Seattle sometime.

   By Kelly Crofts-Johnson on Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 12:24 am: Edit Post

"You could first spend years mastering Bagua, Xingyi and Taiji, then spend the next 50 years adapting their principles to groundfighting, and you would still be behind a guy who spent a year practicing BJJ."

You see though Tim, you are still separating bagua, xingyi, and taiji from ground fighting. If the principles of taiji or bagua or xingyi are the same as those of other ground stystems, why does it matter if it is considered a ground art or not. Body mechanics are body mechanics. Certain joints only move certain ways. If one cannot get oxygen to the brain, the body shuts down. In certain positions, one has more leverage for certain techniques than others. Yadayadayada. All of these things are universal. In Brazilian Jujitsu, one knows that a rear naked choke will cause someone to tap or nap right? Okay. In Taiji, one also knows that restricting the air pathway from behind and putting pressure on the arteries will cause someone to tap or nap. Why does it matter what system it comes from or what the technique is called?

Helio Gracie took judo and Japanese jujitsu and then took the time to discover how to make it work for certain situations, in what was his opinion, better. Why is it so hard to believe someone can do this with other arts?