Saturday, July 23, 2011

Breaking things apart... Part 4

In the last posts I covered how I train my form, solo hand methods, and solo body methods.  Now I will discuss drills and two person work and how we can use the previous methods of isolating training pieces from a two person aspect.
In my experience, there are three general ways that I train with a partner.
- Drills
- Rou Shou
- Application/sparring
I find drills are an incredibly useful tool for training isolated aspects of the houtian forms, as well as other things we do within the Yizong system of martial arts.  Drills allow us to take the isolated hand and body methods and train them against resistance in a controlled and cooperative way. 
We will use Li (1.5) as our example for this discussion seeing as how we have used it for our point of discussion in previous posts.  Li means to encircle.  In breaking down the form we see that there are two main ways that we are 'encircling'.
1.  Encircling my opponent's body
2.  Encircling my opponent's arms
To train the encircling aspect of Li, we can use the exercises that we had in the solo methods.  Examples of each are below:

In this clip I am drilling the hooking motion from a fixed stance, feeling how the hooking/dropping motion works against the resistance provided by my partner.  I can then take the drill and add movement of the feet to see how the hooking/dropping motion leads me to encircle my opponents body.  This can be done outside as well as inside.  All aspects of usage should be trained.  The key to gaining skill through drills is repetition!

In this clip I am working on the 'arm encircling' part of Li.  As with the hooking part, I can do the arm encircling from a fixed stance to simplify things and then layer in the application of footwork.  As with most of what we do, different methods of applying the method should be explored.  Here we see an example of an inside application and outside application being trained in a drill format without much movement from the feet.

In this clip I apply footwork to the circling of the arms.  I can apply this at varying ranges.  I can stay at an approaching range to test my opponent's reactions to what I feed him, I can move in slightly so that I can gain control, or I can move to within a hitting or throwing range. At the very end of this clip I show a brief application for the arm hook.

In the following clip we see the inside and outside application being worked on from a rou shou format.  This eliminates the initial phase of going from a point of zero contact to a point of engagement.  Applying things from a rou shou format creates a situation where I need to be able to apply my methods from a point of contact/control.. This requires the ability to stick, adhere, connect and follow.  At first I do them from standing in the roushou format but generally start to move around and 'play' with the usage more.  I need to become more and more comfortable using my methods and be able to o them clearly from different situations.  It is vitally important when training to be clear in your methods.  Clarity in your methods translates to clear, smooth and steady intent and that translates to having good power.
Circling the body...
Circling the arms

The final aspect to plug in is sparring.  With sparring I take all of the different aspects that I have trained with my drill and rou shou and marry them to my different opening methods.  At first it is good to work in an A-B format where one person is working on the applications and the other is offering resistance.  Gradually you should work to increase the level of resistance and intensity and decrease the level of cooperation so that you work to a open/free form format.