Chinese Martial Arts
ur club provides training in the
basics of Shaolin boxing but does not place special emphasis on any
particular Shaolin forms. This allows us to pursue other objectives
- such as Hsing yi or Northern Styles. Our view is that Shaolin provides
a good foundation for training. It opens the mind of the student to
the intricacies of other styles, contributing to a greater appreciation
The influence of
Shaolin martial arts can be seen through its many different styles.
Its training and techniques constitute a base from which the practitioner
can explore other techniques. At the Ottawa Chinese Martial Association,
training unfolds as follows:
Stretching - to improve flexibility and ensure full range of
your state of mind to how you breathe, from how you stand to how you
move, a substantial investment of sweat and no small amount of thinking
are required to raise your level of practice. But even before getting
there, it is essential to consider just what it is we are training.
are no secrets. Only Hard Work."
Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA), despite a curtain of mysticism, in fact
offer a very common sense approach to developing your mind, body, and
fighting ability. Although the various traditions of TCMA may vary to
some extent in their training methodologies, the careful observer will
note a great deal of commonalities between both the essential foundations
of the training and the end results.
obvious goal of training is the development of martial ability. A deconstruction
of what is involved provides some interesting insights.
it is true there are many equally valid approaches to this goal, TCMA
adheres to a body of thinking which, to anyone knowledgeable in the
fields of engineering or biomechanics, is recognizable as stemming from
the principles that govern our natural range of motion, conservation
of energy, and energy transference. Engineering-minded people, in particular,
will note the heavy reliance on the proper structural integrity of the
body to effect the desired result.
reason for stretching is that it increases the range of body movements.
It is very important that there be enough time available to warm up
and warm down the muscle and ligaments before any extensive physical
activities take place.
- Turn the head from side to side
- Move the head up and down
- Lay the head to the side
- Roll the head around
- Roll the shoulders to the front
- Roll the elbows
- Roll the wrists
- Flex the wrists
- Rotate the hips in a large, loose
- Twist to the side with one outstretched
- Roll the knees
- Roll the hips and the ankles
- Palms to the floor, feet together
- Reach up, crouch down and hold
your ankles, and straighten your legs
- Step out to one side and down.
- Let whole leg touch floor and
push other knee out
- Move side to side from above
Lee was an advocate of dynamic tension training.
tension, or isometric exercises, consists of movements executed against
imaginary resistance, and integrated to controlled breathing techniques.
The idea of isometric training is to train the muscles using static
contraction, i.e., to cause the muscle to produce a force without moving.
The two primary methods of achieving this are to push against an immovable
object (like a wall) or to use muscles against each other so that they
flex without bending any joints. The premise is that muscles can actually
exert their maximum forces when they are not moving. The advantages
of isometric training are that it requires no special equipment and
can be done virtually anywhere, at any time. In practice, however, Western
science has found that isometric training is not the most effective
method for strength training and, as a consequence, serious athletes
do not practice it much any more. However, dynamic tension exercises
still play an important role in the curriculum of Martial Art practice.
Typical examples of dynamic tension exercises can be found in the Tenchi
Kata in Okinawan Karate-do Gojyu-ryu, "Dynamic-Tension Course", by Charles
Atlas, in the 1950's, and in the exercises promoted by the late Bruce
Shaolin Kung Fu, there are many sets of exercises that use the concepts
of dynamic tension. Hung Gar, a Southern Shaolin style, is also noted
for its isometric exercises.
stretching involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing
reach, speed of movement, or both. Dynamic stretching is not ballistic
stretching. Dynamic stretching involves controlled leg and arm swings
that take you to the limits of your range of motion. In comparison,
ballistic stretches require the practitioner to force a part of the
body beyond its range of motion. In dynamic stretching, there is no
bouncing, no "jerky" movement. An example of dynamic stretching would
be slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists. Students
should take care in performing those exercises and make sure that the
body is warmed up.
training is perhaps the most fundamental type of training for almost
all forms of martial arts. Our training also places a great deal of
emphasis on acquiring the appropriate feeling of balance and stability.
- Bow and arrow
- Twisted Horse
- Half Horse
- Seven Star
- Three Pillar
trains movement. There are set series of moving exercises that develop
body coordination, leg strength and reaction. Some examples of the basic
training positions include:
Horse stance to Horse
- Swinging horse (pivot on ball
and swing into opposite facing horse stance)
- Swinging horse variation (shovel
step then pivot)
- Advancing horse (kick up with
heel, spring off back leg and kick down to horse)
- do NOT raise in height as
you kick up and as you move
- do NOT move your body to
your support leg as you kick up with heel
- advance forward with each
Horse stance to Bow
and Arrow Stance
- Side to side
- Sink, pivot on ball of right
foot (or left)
- Drive off ball, do not raise
heel, turning to left (or right)
- Front foot does NOT move
- Rear foot points 45 degrees
to front and back leg is straight
- Triangle Stepping
- Start in horse, turn to bow
- Step up with rear leg, then
out 45 degrees to horse
- Stay low as you move
- Turn to bow stance (front
leg is leg you just moved)
- Four corner Stepping
- One leg remains planted (some
pivoting on ball of foot of course)
- Start in horse
- Side to side (facing one
corner of the "Square")
- Step up rear leg and step
out to next corner in horse stance
- Side to side
- Step up rear leg
combinations of two or more techniques train the student to think in
terms of a series of techniques. Kung fu techniques should flow in a
continuous manner, and this type of practice allows the student to learn
in several, easy-to-remember sets of exercises.
students in the Martial Arts study and know the importance of forms.
The diversity and variety of available techniques available are truly
endless. Each teacher and each school adds their own flavour and interpretation
to their teachings and practice.
school does not practice any of the recognize standard Shaolin forms
because our experience is not in that area. We still practise of the
basics of Shaolin, but our interests are elsewhere.
don't worry about being unknown; I seek to be known in the right
tudents of the Martial Arts study
the history, theory and practice of forms. A few students seek to understand
the correct applications. On one level, correct application simply means
the ability to use the techniques in a self-defence situation. On another
level, application also means how the practice of changing the mind
people describe Shaolin fighting, as well as some of the esoteric ideas
that are often associated with it: the deadly iron palms, dim mark,
and secret techniques known only by a 98-year-old monk somewhere near
you. As far as our school is concerned, however, it offers none of the
above- we simply train in the basics. Our approach to application is
to learn the how and the why - not in a test of ego. Too much time may
already have been wasted arguing whether the Incredible Hulk can take
on Mighty Mouse. Time should be-and can be-better spent appreciating
the joy of practice and finding like-minded individuals to share your
interests. There is so much to learn in the vast universe of the martial