IRON-WIRE AND FREE SPARRING COMPETITIONS
This is Grandmaster Wongs answer to Eric Shannon's post in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Froum.
Thanks for your detailed and inspiring post. I am proud of your progress. Your post will help to clear the doubt of many of our students as well as some instructors who still feel trepidation about taking part in free sparring competitions.
If you or most of our students and some of our instructors were to enter free sparring competitions now, you would have about 30% chance of winning. But if you follow the programme I have devised for our school, implemented by our Free Sparring Competition Committee, you and the others will have 95% chance of winning and, more importantly, come out unhurt.
I do not make public judgments lightly, and so far, for which I am grateful, all my public judgments have been proven correct.
There are, of course, many reasons for my judgment that our students and instructors will have 95% chances of winning free sparring competitions, but the most important is that as scholar-warriors we will not engage in combat unless we are sure of winning. But we allow 5% for unforeseen circumstances.
More important than winning is that our competitors come out of the competitions unhurt. Otherwise it would be irresponsible of me to send them into competitions.
We have a systematic and excellent methodology to achieve this aim. Ther 3 requirements for winning free sparring competitions and emerging unhurt are as follows, in order of importance:
- Confidence and experience
- A lot of internal force
- Appropriate skills and techniques
The just-concluded Kungfu against Other Styles and Choy-Li-Fatt courses at the Winter Camp 2012 provide excellent skills and techniques for winning free sparring competitions. But even if they did not take these courses, it doesn't matter. Our students still have sufficient skills and techniques. What they need is a lot of internal force and confidence and experience.
We have a lot of methods in our school to train internal force. The most powerful method is the Iron-Wire Set. Its tremendous internal force is tangible immediately after training! Then why don't I make Iron-Wire a core force-training method in our school?
The reason is that it is easy to train Iron-Wire wrongly -- even amongst advanced practitioners. You can find much evidence on the internet -- if you know how to find it. Look at pictures or videos of those who have trained Iron-Wire. Many of them have big muscles. Look at their eyes. They lack sparkle. These are two tell-tale signs of wrong Iron-Wire training.
Yet, the most important factor for winning free sparring competitions is confidence and experience in uncontrolled, full-contact free sparring. This can be attained with our 30-Opponen programme.
A crucial difference between how most people train for competitions and our 30-Opponent programme is that the former is haphazard whereas ours is systematic. Also the other types of training are time-consuming and result in many injuries, whereas ours is cost-effective and injury-free.
At the start of the programme your most formidable opponent may have 90% chance of beating you, yet at the end of the programme you have 90% chance of beating him. Like many things in our school, such as overcoming so-called incurable diseases or sparring for a few hours and not being tired, it sounds incredible but is true.
With this background information, let us now answer your questions.
1. Would someone still continue to practice golden bridge after learning the Iron Wire set?
Yes, he would.
If he prefers to practice either one only, he can too, and derive good result. But as Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire complements each other, and especially in ou case where we benefit from breadth and depth, practicing the two in a same unit of time will give us more benefit -- as much as two times the benefit.
2. Is the Iron Wire one of the most efficient ways of continuing to develop internal force?
Yes, if it is learnt from a real master. It is also one of the easiet ways to practice it wrongly, yet still give a false impression of force. It is easy to practice Iron-Wire as isometric exercise instead of as chi kung.
How do we tell a master who practices Iron-Wire correctly from one who practices it wrongly? An excellent way is to see the benefits or the adverse effects practicing Iron Wire correctly or wrongly have manifested in them.
Look at pictures of Grandmaster Lam Sai Weng. a famous master of the Iron-Wire Set. He was a picture of tremendous internal force. His limbs were smooth, not muscular. His eyes sparkled and he had a beautiful ball of energy at his dan tian.
One who practices Iron-Wire as isometrc exercise has big muscles and is also powerful. But he lacks vitality and become tired easily. Despite his strength, he may be sick physically or emotionally.
You can efficiently continue to develop internal force with Iron-Wire training. There is no limit to the amount of internal force developed, and its training is also not limited by age, size and gender.
This is not so with practicing Iron-Wire as isometric exercise, or with other physical training. There is a limit to wich muscles can develop (which means there is a limit ot muscular strength), and its training is limited by age, size and gender.
3. Are there any additional benefits to internal force training possibly different to anything I outlined correctly or incorrectly above?
Internal force enables you to do better in whatever you do! Take a minute to reflect on this statement of truth, and you will realize what great benefit we can get from the relatively little effort we put in in internal force training.
With internal force, when you eat a meal, you will enjoy it more. You will be able to digest the food better, resulting in better life maintaining processes. When you work, you will be more efficient, resulting in better economic and social life.
Internal force will also strengthen you spirit. You will be peaceful and happy, wherever and whenever you are.
In the sparring with your colleagues, there are many other benefits which you have experienced though you have not mentioned or even noticed them.
Fighting with a martial artist known to your colleagues to blow opponents up against walls can be a stressful task, yet you remained calm and relaxed. Despite being hoodwinked into a rough fight though it was meant to be a friendly sparring, you were not angry at him. Perhaps you even pitied him while he was bending over out of breaths.
Again, despite being hoodwinked to play his game according to his rules, you still had the mental clarity to turn the tables round.
Many kungfu practitioners, including advanced ones, make this mistake, without realizing it or realizing the disadvantages involved. When they perform Pushing Hands, they follow the rules their opponents dictate. When their opponents bounce about, they throw away their stances and bounce like their opponents. Jet Li sometimes did this in his modern kungfu firms.
There are two big disadvantages. One, you fight according to the rules of your opponents. Two, you fight in a way you are unfamiliar with. It is very easy to overcome this situation. Just tell your opponents that as it is friendly free sparring, both can fight the way they and you find is best, but both sides keep the sparring friendly, i.e. avoid hurting each other.
Back to the unsaid benefits of internal force at your sparring session. You could go back to work, take a girlfriend for a date, or do whatever wholesome things without distraction. Others would have to lie in bed to nurse their injuries, or at least sit on a sofa for half an hour to regain his breath.
You can look back fondly and thank Darragh for an opportunity for improvement. Buy him a beer when you next see him. Others might curse Darragh for the event, despite shaking hands after the fight.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
19ih January 3012, Sungai Petani.
Grandmaster Wong will teach the Awesome Iron-Wire Set on 11th and 12th February 2012 at the Valentine Festival in Ireland.
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Fantastic Iron Wire / Western Boxing vs Kung Fu in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.