SKILLS ARE USUALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN TECHNIQUES

shaolin kung fu

It is not just the technique but the skill in executing it that makes the technique effective

Here is a common theme in kungfu movies. A challenger defeats a master. The master is defeated because he does not know how to counter a special technique the challenger uses.

The best student of the defeated master travels all over the country to find the counter-technique. At last he finds it. He returns to defeat the challenger using this counter-technique, restoring the glory of his school on behalf of his master.

This scenario is for the movies. In reality, every master knows the counter of any attack. If he is defeated, it is not due to his ignorance of the counter but due to his insufficient skill to apply it successfully. In combat, skills are usually more important than techniques.

The video series below, which shows a combat application of th Dragon-Tiger Set, captures some of these lessons on skills and techniques. Have some fun. Can you tell the occasions in the video clips where skills make the difference between applying the same techniques ineffectively or effectively? And do you know what skills are involved?

Please note: you can download the video clips onto your own computer and view them at your leisure. Place your computer pointer at the picture or one of the links, and right click. Choose “Save Target As”. Select the directory or sub-directory where you wish to keep the video clip. Click “Save”.

Developing from the Basic

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Here Eugene and Andy go over their combat sequence in details. As Eugene attacks with a Fierce Tiger, which is the start of the basic combat sequences 5 to 8, instead of responding with Single Tiger as in the basic sequences, Andy grips the attacking arm and counters with an arrow punch using the pattern “Pull Bow Shoot Arrow”. Eugene counters with a combination of “Hiding Flowers in Sleeves” and “Golden Axe Chops Rock”. But Grandmaster Wong says the counter is unrealistic if the opponent really grips the arm.

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Avoid Opponent's Strike Before Countering

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When Andy really holds Eugene's arm, it is not so easy for Eugene to apply his counter. Grandmaster Wong advises that he should first avoid Andy's arrow punch by sinking back and deflecting the punch with his other hand. Then he can release the grip with a circular movement, and counter with an organ-seeking kick.

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Effectiveness of Proper Stances

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How could you move back to avoid his punch when your opponent is holding your arm and pulling you? Here Grandmaster Wong shows the mechanics of this technique. Although he cannot move back because his arm is being pulled, Grandmaster Wong can avoid the punch by sinking his stance. Then he releases the grip and counter with “Yellow Oriole Drinks Water”.

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The Importance of Proper Balance

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Eugene follows Grandmaster Wong's advice and counters with a kick. Nevertheless, his is a sweeping kick, using the pattern “Naughty Monkey Kicks Tree”. Grandmaster Wong says that “Yellow Oriole Drinks Water” is a better choice as it gives better balance. In the video clip Eugene is hesitant, which means that could be struck by his opponent. But this is only a work-out session. When he is familiar with the sequence, he can be fast and spontaneous.

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Hiding Flowers in the Sleeves

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In his counter, Eugene could not release the grip completely. Grandmaster Wong explains that he did not turn his hand. Suspending the other aspects of the combat situation, Grandmaster Wong shows how by circulating the hand, he can easily release the opponent's grip. This pattern is called “Hiding Flowers in the Sleeves”.

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Releasing Opponent's Grip

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Andy grips Eugene's arm. Eugene responds by kicking Andy. Grandmaster Wong advises that Eugene should release the grip first. He can then strike Andy's face, or kicks him.

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Golden Axe Chops Rock

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After seeing Grandmaster Wong's demonstration, now Eugene can execute his Golden Axe effectively. The same technique is used. Can you see the crucial point that transforms Eugene's originally ineffective technique to become effective? Do you also notice that Andy's response is the famous Double Butterfly Palms, which are often performed by Shaolin students but their applications are seldom known?

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Importance of Stances

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Grandmaster Wong illustrates that having good stances is important in being able to move back a step in a difficult situation. If an attacker throws his body forward, as is common in some martial arts, it would be easy for Sifu Eugene to strike the attacker with his Butterfly Palms.

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You can view all the videos above by clicking the picture or the caption below

Skills are Usually More Important than Techniques from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.

LINKS

How to Think and Act as a Master

Click here for an Overview of the entire course

  1. Returning to the Basics
  2. Form, Force, Flow and Element of Threat
  3. Reviewing the Basic Combat Sequences
  4. Devising Strategies Using Combat Sequences
  5. Applying Strategies for Effective Combat
  6. Free Sparring with Prescribed Conditions
  7. Combat Sequences to Train Spontaneous Attacks and Responses
  8. Using Strategies and Tactics in Attack and Defence
  9. It is Heartening to see so Many People Using Kungfu in Free Sparring
  10. Felling and Gripping Techniques in Shaolin Kungfu
  1. How Sequence Training and Chi Flow Enhance Combat Efficiency
  2. The Tiger-Crane Set — Manifesting the Hard and the Soft in Shaolin Kungfu
  3. The Dragon-Tiger Set — Crystallization of Two Wahnam Traditions
  4. The Dragon-Form Set — Demonstrating that Softness Can be Very Powerful
  5. Shaolin Monkey Set — Symbolizing Spiritual Path from Cheekiness to Enlightenment
  6. Shaolin Five-Animal Set — Gist of Shaolin Forms and Essence
  7. Shaolin Pakua Set Set — An Exclusive Set Fit for Kings and Generals
  8. Combat Application pf Pakua — Sharing Secrets for Combat Efficiency
  9. Beginning to Learn some Monkey Tricks
  10. Refining Techniques in Combat
  1. Some Examples of High level Combat
  2. Collective Effort for Greater Benefits
  3. Can Sophisticated Kungfu Techniques be Used in Combat?
  4. Skills are usually More Important than Techniques
  5. One-Finger Shooting Zen — the Treasure of Shaolin Wahnam
  6. Raising Levels of Techniques and Tactics in Combat
  7. Bringing Combat Skills to More Sophisticated Levels
  8. Monkey Techniques are Flowing and Agile but can be Very Devastating
  9. Flowing with the Opponent's Momentum
  10. Beware of the Monkey Tricks
  1. Marvelous Techniques Beget Marvelous Techniques
  2. How to Raise your Level of Combat
  3. How you can Defeat your Opponents
  4. Employing Sophisticated Kungfu Techniques to Enhance Combat Efficiency
  5. Systematic Training is Essential for Combat Efficiency
  6. Raising Combat Efficiency from Basic to Advanced Levels
  7. Kungfu Philosophy and Swaying Willows
  8. Hands Pave the Way, Kicks to Clinch Victory
  9. Six Harmonies of the Double Tiger Claws
  10. The Amazement and Effectiveness of Monkey Kicks
  1. A Bag Full of Monkey Tricks
  2. Gentle and Flowing, yet Very Powerful
  3. Can your Responses still be Correct and Spontaneous in Real Fights?
  4. Incorporating Kicks into Combat Sequences
  5. Elaborate Patterns to Meet Complex Combat Situations
  6. The Benefits of Understanding and Applying Kungfu Philosophy
  7. Our Kungfu is a Training of Energy and Mind
  8. Ensuring Own Safety when Felling Opponents
  9. The Beauty and Profundity of Shaolin Felling Techniques
  10. Felling Techniques of the Dragon and the Monkey
  1. Felling an Opponent Without him Realizing What has Happened
  2. Pattern Analysis of the Tiger-Crane Set
  3. Tiger Patterns for Chin-Na, Against Kicks and Countering the Shoot
  4. Pattern Analysis of the Dragon-Tiger Set
  5. Revealing the Secret Tactic of Leak Hand
  6. From the Level of Techniques to the Levels of Tactics and Strategies
  7. Pattern Analysis of the Dragon-Form Set
  8. Effective Techniques for Fighting on the Ground
  9. Pattern Analysis of the Monkey Set
  10. Soft Techniques and Internal Force in Monkey Kungfu
  1. Interesting Monkey Patterns that are Deadly for Combat
  2. Pattern Analysis of the Pakua Set
  3. Pattern Analysis of the Five-Animal Set
  4. Variety of Techniques in Shaolin Five Animals
  5. Investigating the Combat Applications of Some Patterns
  6. Similar Patterns but Different Applications
  7. Effective Counters against Kicks, Grips and Knee Jabs
  8. Secrets of Skyward Cannon Punch in Continuous Attack
  9. Cannon Punch Towards Sky and Fierce Tiger Crouching on Ground
  10. Flowing Monkey Techniques against Powerful Tiger Claws
  1. Sophisticated Grips and Sophisticated Counters
  2. Breaking an Opponent's Elbow and Wrist
  3. Neutralizing Wrist Lock and the Three Harmonies
  4. Advanced Chin-Na Techniques and Counters
  5. Two Stories about Kicks
  6. How to Respond to Attacks Spontaneously and Correctly
  7. Can Beautiful Patterns and Flowing Movements be Effective in Combat?
  8. Linking Combat Sequences into a Set
  9. From Pre-Arranged Sparring to Combat Efficiency
  10. Crystalization of Combat Techniques from Past Masters
  1. Hei Sai or the Spirit of Energy
  2. Manifesting the Energy and Spirit of your Form
  3. Manifesting the Spirit of the Form
  4. Kungfu Practice is not just Physical Training but also Spiritual Cultivation
  5. Fluidity of Form, Energy and Spirit
  6. Shaolin Kungfu is Chi Kung and Meditation
  7. Revealing the Secrets of Shaolin Masters
  8. The Profundity of Shaolin Combat Application
  9. It is Easy to Fight against Boxers
  10. Avoiding a Boxer's Strong Points and Attacking his Weaknesses
  1. Some Effective Tactics against Boxers
  2. The Strategy of Not Allowing an Opponent to Escape
  3. The Strategy of Letting Trick Manifesting Trick
  4. The Strategies of Interception and of Striking Form
  5. Standardized Routines of Kick-Boxing Attacks
  6. Some Effective Counters to Kick-Boxing Attacks
  7. Felling a Kick-Boxer when he Kicks
  8. The Secrets of Two Tigers Subdue Dragon
  9. Shaolin Counters against Kick-Boxing and Karate
  10. Some Important Combat Philosophy and Principles
  1. It is Relatively Easy to Handle Karate Attacks
  2. Good Spacing When Executing Kicks
  3. A Variety of Taekwondo Kicks
  4. Effective Shaolin Counters against Taikwondo Kicks
  5. Trapping Legs and Subduing Opponents
  6. Making Expedient Changes to Surprised Attacks
  7. The Legacy of Sigung Ho Fatt Nam — Planting Willow in Front of Camp
  8. Having Fun in Throws and their Counters
  9. Sharing the Secret of Move Stance Change Step
  10. Some Unorthodox Felling Techniques Not Commonly Seen
  1. Felling Opponents with your Stances!
  2. Beware of Monkeys; they are Expert at Plucking Peaches
  3. Sophisticated Footwork and Leg Techniques of Monkeys and Gorillas
  4. Wrestling Throws are Found in Shaolin Kungfu Too
  5. Real Fighting is Different from Martial Sports
  6. Who Says there is no Ground-Fighting in Shaolin Kungfu
  7. An Incredible Secret of One-Finger Zen
  8. Understanding Muay Thai Fighting Strategies and Techniques
  9. Various Strategies to Counter Muay Thai Fighters
  10. Responding to Muay Thai Attacks Spontaneously and Correctly
  1. Avoiding Opponent's Strength and Attacking his Weakness
  2. Effective Ways to Counter Sweeping Kicks
  3. Effective Counters against Knee and Elbow Strikes
  4. Crouching Tiger against Grab Neck Elbow Strike
  5. Shaolin Kungfu for Combat Efficiency, Good Health and Spiritual Development

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