Saturday, September 17, 2011

Denver Luo De Xiu Seminars, 2011

Last weekend we were privileged to have an incredible four days of workshops with Luo De Xiu of Taipei, Taiwan.
I am always blown away by Luo Laoshi's ability to transmit knowledge to people no matter where their skill level is.  I have seen people that are relative beginners to Yi Zong arts come away impressed by how much they have improved in the span of a few hours.  The more experienced people have much to gain as well, even if it is material you have been training for a decade or more there is always some new insight to be had.  Hell, I have even seen people that don't even train in our school have a great time and learn tons!

This year I had the pleasure of seeing the Xing Yi Ba Shi form for the first time.  This form is a mix of four of the five elements and four of the twelve animals.  It uses Beng (crushing), Tsuan (drilling), Pao (pounding), and Heng (crossing) along with Chicken, Swallow, Horse and Sparrow Hawk.  The form is very dynamic and definitely more advanced in how it is done than the other Xing Yi linking forms that I have learned.
As is typical with Luo Laoshi's seminars, there was a tremendous amount of application work.  The form was broken into three sections.  Each section was loaded with clear and effective applications!
I really appreciate how Luo Laoshi can clearly demonstrate the difference between the Xing Yi, Bagua and Taiji that we do in the Yi Zong school. 

On Saturday, we did the first line of the Houtian palms.  I have been doing this set of forms and their applications for at least 10 years now and I still picked up some invaluable information.  Luo Laoshi was touching on the use of the circles found in the single palm change that are contained within first line of the Hou Tian palms.  For me personally I got a lot of mileage out of this.  

On Sunday Luo Laoshi presented two different subjects.  In the early part of the afternoon we worked on the first three of line eight of the Hou Tian palms.  The second portion of the day was spent focusing on Su Ping Tui Shou.
I have not had the opportunity to learn any of the eighth line from Luo Laoshi.  The eighth line focuses on the changing of the mind and is largely intent driven.  The three forms that we worked on were Bear, Badger, and Monkey.  The applications were sweet!  Bear has some powerful crashing and arm trapping techniques.  The Badger contained some nasty, close in drilling type of striking.  The monkey was intersting in how it sucks in the power of the opponent away and returns it viciously.  
The Su Ping Tui Shou part of the day was intense and incredibly insightful.  Luo Laoshi use of small refined circles is incredible.  The layered approach that he took to teaching this workshop was great!  We started with some simplified single hand methods and then progressed to simplified body methods.  These were eventually fused together as we progressed into the actual format of Tui Shou that we do.  At this point we were shown several ways to apply techniques from the Tui Shou format.

On Monday we wrapped up with the Wu Lung Bai Wei palms.  This set of forms is very smooth and fluid and some of the mind training involved was very interesting to say the least.  One of the things I learned at this workshop was that the first three palms are considered one palm.  Not only was this an interesting way for me to look at how I am training the forms, but it was kind of a humorous thing as well.  There are seven different forms in this set, not the typical eight that are in the other two sets that I have learned.  I always thought it was a little odd, but whatever.  Then Luo Laoshi says the first three are considered to be one palm and the light goes on!  Duh!  Wu = Five!  Anyways, by stringing the first three forms together seamlessly you really begin to dive into the mind training aspect of the set.
There is a process of lengthening the mind that takes place which transfers over to application incredibly well.  While training the forms you seek to walk and lengthen the duration the changes are done while walking.  This in turn makes it so your lower and upper body can move at separate speeds but in-sync as far as tempo goes.  I liken this to using different beat counts at the same time.  My feet will move at 16 or 32 counts per measure while my arms only move at 4 or 8.
The application work at the Wu Lung workshop was killer.  The applications varied from the use of hits and throws and had some very cool head use for multiple opponent application!  I must admit I was very impressed with Luo's demonstration towards the end of the workshop.  He was showing us how to use the movement of the head and lengthening of the body to remain in control of an opponent while moving to deal with others.

All in all, I had a great time in the four days that Luo was here.  I enjoyed the company and hard training of everyone that attended and thank Luo Laoshi for his generous teachings!

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