Plant Willow in Front of Camp

“My simu pitied me,” my sifu said. “So, she taught me the Seven-Star Set (七星拳) as a compensation. This Seven-Star Set is her specialty. It is excellent for the small-sized against bigger, stronger opponents. It is excellent against Muay Thai.”

Muay Thai fighters were very formidable then. Many martial artists were scared of fighting against Muay Thai stylists.

“How would a cute, elegant girl counter a sweeping kick of a ferocious Muay Thai fighter?” My sifu asked me.

It was a rhetoric question. Before I could answer, my sifu continued, “Many heroines in movies use both hands to block a powerful sweeping kick. This only happens in movies. In real combat, their hands will be fractured, and the kick will continue to hit their face.”

“In his daily training, a typical Muay Thai fighter kicks a pinang (areca) tree two to three hundred times a day, until the tree shakes. You can imagine how powerful his kicks are. He is also very fast,” my sifu disclosed.

“Then, how should a cute, elegant lady block a powerful Muay Thai kick, sifu? She seems to have no chance.”

“She should not block! There are many techniques in the Seven-Star Set that effectively deal with Muay Thai kicks and other attacks from powerful opponents.”

My sifu then demonstrated some counters from the Seven-Star Set against Muay Thai and other attacks. They were beautiful and sophisticated.

Besides the powerful Muay Thai sweeping kick, the Muay Thai knee jab is also very formidable. A Muay Thai fighter would clinch your neck with both his hands, and throw numerous knee jabs at your ribs. Not many people know how to counter such attack.

I remember that years ago, when I was a small boy training in Uncle Righteousness’ school, some classmates were talking about a fight amongst some Punjabis. My classmates recounted that a favourite technique of the Punjabis was to hold the opponent’s neck with both hands, pull down the opponent’s head and simultaneously thrust up the knee to hit the opponent’s face.

My classmates discussed how to counter such an attack. They could not come up with a good solution. A poor one they thought out, which I still remember, was to stop the knee thrust with both hands.

It is amazing how far I have progressed in combat application. Now my students, or even their students, can easily come up with half a dozen effective counters, regardless of how powerful the attackers may be! Much of the credit for the progress was due to my sifu’s explanation and demonstration of how to counter a ferocious Muay Thai knee jab.

“A Muay Thai knee jab is very powerful,” my sifu elucidated. “You must not try to block it.”

“Then how could I stop it, sifu?”

“Deflect it. You need much less force to deflect an attack. While you deflect the knee jab, you must also at the same time deflect the opponent’s hands holding your neck, otherwise he may release the hold and attack your head. After deflecting, you can throw him upside down. Let me show you.”

A classmate was present at the time. So my sifu asked him to attack with a Muay Thai knee jab so that I could watch.

My classmate held my sifu’s head with both hands on the right side of my sifu’s neck, pulled it down and jabbed up the right knee at my sifu’s face, in a pattern similar to Jade Girl Kicks Shuttle. My sifu lowered his stance slightly to neutralise the force of the attack, and simultaneously deflected the right knee jab with his left hand, and brushed off the opponent’s both hands with his right hand. My sifu placed his right leg behind the opponent’s left standing leg, and with a turn of both arms, my sifu threw the opponent upside down with his head almost hitting the ground.

“This pattern is called Plant Willow in front of Camp,” my sifu said. “Now apply the knee strike on Ah Wong.” As Wong is my surname, Ah Wong was the name my sifu and my classmates called me.

My classmate applied the Muay Thai knee jab attack on me. I responded with the same counter that my sifu just showed. Although my movements were not as elegant as my sifu’s, the counter was effective. I held my classmate upside down with his head just a few inches above the floor. Unlike most martial artists today, our control was very good. We never hurt our opponents in our sparring practice.

A Muay Thai fighter would just hold your neck, without gripping it because gripping the neck, which is more dangerous, is not allowed by safety rules in Muay Thai fighting in a ring. But what would you do, if in a real fight an opponent grips your neck while throwing Muay Thai knee jabs at your ribs?

You can easily release his grip using a pattern called Scholar Presents Greetings as follows. Place your forearm firmly on his two hands that grip your neck. Press in tightly and simultaneously bend your body slantingly forward. This will create much pressure and pain on your opponent’s wrists. He will have to release his grip on you and go down to the floor due to the pain on his wrist.

He will also be unable to use his knee or any part of his body to attack you, while you can use your free hand to strike him, like on his head. He is in quite a helpless position.

Scholar Presents Greeting

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The Way of the Master -- Overview