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Richard Clear
Works at Clear's Tai Chi
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Do your form while working to stay in the current moment. Not thinking about what you have already done and not thinking about what you are going to do. All of the focus is on what you are doing right now.
Most folks will get in a hurry through the form transitions and start thinking ahead. Instead enjoy the transition for each part of itself (into it, the change from into it to going back out of it and then going out of it).
For most folks this is much harder than it sounds. But, still great practice for discipline of the mind, body and spirit. 
Do your form while working to stay in the current moment.  Not thinking about what you have already done and not thinking about what you are going to do.  All of the focus is on what you are doing right now.  

Most folks will get in a hurry through the form transitions and start thinking ahead.  Instead enjoy the transition for each part of itself (into it, the change from into it to going back out of it and then going out of it).  

For most folks this is much harder than it sounds.  But, still great practice for discipline of the mind, body and spirit.  :)
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To focus on the moment is the key to contenement and also the key to avoiding distractions. Well said man! 
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I was sent the following message from a person looking for info and thought it would be worth posting here as to me the full answer to this could easily fill a heavy book:

I wanted to ask from your personal knowledge what is the difference between the xing i and the bagua vs the taichi? it always seemed to me that the xing i is the most direct in your face like wing chun and the bagua is half combat and more body movment , and the taichi is more health or chinna oriented.
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"Masters and Methods" was Robert Smith.  Wile wrote "Tai Chi Touchstones" .    
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Training never reaches an end point. All a black belt really means is that you have "achieved" something not "become" something.

We are always in the process of becoming and along the way we are achieving. You are who you are today. Holding on to what was is an illusion. We can remember it fondly (if we so desire) and keep getting better or we can choose to stagnate and live in the past.

Like an apple. It is great today but next month it is great compost and no longer fit to eat in its current form.

As for me, each day I learn more new things and become who I am NOW. 
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Gliding vs Mud Stepping

I was asked a question via email about the difference between sliding and gliding.  Following is my answer:

Gliding is for maneuvering.  
IMHO, You need and want gliding the most in any real situation.  

The sliding (mud stepping) is designed to help build body connection power and is important but will only be used briefly in a real situation as most of the time it is to slow to be used for real applications.  

Also, ideally, you learn how to use body power when gliding for the best of both worlds.  
                  In Kun Tao Silat we call this Floating Root.   :)
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Aware, Ready & Responsive for Survival Against Surprise Attacks

I recently saw and posted a video on my Face Book group & page showing surprise knife attacks.  In almost every encounter the victim was either stabbed before they ever knew it was coming or they were simply to slow to react because they could not honestly believe that they were being lethally attacked.  

In the attacks where it took the victim awhile to believe, adjust and respond to the attack, the time it took for their mind to adjust to the situation was simply too long.  They were lethally stabbed before they could adjust.  Had they been able to “instantly” realize and adjust to and for the seriousness of the situation they might have survived.  There are a number of tricks for being aware and ready fast enough to survive this kind of situation.  I will cover a couple of them here.  

The first skill you must have to survive a lethal surprise attack is to train to be Aware of your surroundings.  Are you aware of what is going on around you when you are out in public?  For most people, unfortunately, the answer is no.  The immediate second thing to train is to be responsive and ready for whatever it is that you become aware of.  

Contemplate for a moment how you can do that.

At first it seems almost impossible to be immediately aware, ready and responsive to something that has not happened yet.  It is important to realize that even surprise attacks do not materialize out of thin air.  So, proper awareness followed by responsive action due to your readiness to take appropriate action can remove you from a bad situation before it fully develops.  This is pre-emptive and key to surviving a lethal surprise attack.   Even if the attack still happens, at least you are mentally as prepared as you can be and responding as fully as you can without the several second lag time (time that you simply do not have) if the attacker intends to severely harm or kill you.    

For me this skill came easily.  I grew up in very bad neighborhoods where you could be attacked at any time and you got used to being aware of that fact and responding appropriately by being aware, ready and responsive if something did start to happen.  

The question is:  How can someone train this.  Of course I teach it in my Street Self Defense Programs.
The next one here is July 8th, 2014 and I am working on a video for the program for those of you who are long distance.

 
How can you train this at home?
  
The best training is to learn and practice being aware of your surroundings for more than 30 feet away from you every time you are anywhere out in public where you could potentially be attacked.  This means not talking on the cell phone, ignoring your surroundings because you are talking with a friend, thinking about a good or bad experience you have had or are about to have such as a good or bad date, discussion, argument with someone or in any way being distracted from your immediate surroundings.  I think of it the same way that you want to be when driving at 60 miles per hour in heavy traffic.  If you ignore the traffic even for a moment then you will most like be in and the cause of a very bad accident.   

The other thing you can do is to train scenarios that involve an element of surprise in them or sparring with more than one person where your primary goal is to keep both attackers in front of you and learning to move in a way that does not let either one of them get behind you.  Of course your sparring partners are trying to flank you.  We do teach and train this in our programs.  This kind of sparring is involved and does require quite a bit of training to do well.  

Our Ba Gua does this quite a bit.   
You can watch my free videos on it here:       
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrNPUBAMZb8UzWNp8ngKf_cYBL_B_eSCg  
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Sense & Mind Development

What is the most extreme example of sense development that you have ever heard of?

Example: 
A mechanic being able to hear 2 car engines that sound the same to most folks and by sound alone being able to tell which car is malfunctioning and exactly what is wrong with the car.    


Other examples:

1. A Doctor takes one look at a patient that looks normal to everyone else and being able to tell that they are ill, what the illness is and what specifically will fix the illness.     

2. Dogs that can smell cancer in someone with no other apparent symptoms.  
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The ability to identify people by their backside (buttocks)! This be somewhat disturbing when works so well even with members of the same sex ;-p

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Nice! I've been trying to apply internal principles in my Uechi-Ryu Karate. It's also Southern Kung-fu based style, and sparring begins with sticky hands. Thanks! 
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Wing Chun arm breaks.  These techniques are also used by Tai Chi and Ba Gua.   http://youtu.be/KsMd3zC9J04
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Here's a look at combining different types of spring power in Xing Yi.

Students start working on combining these after about 6 months of training.

The Xing Yi program closes tomorrow (friday)
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Gliding vs Mud Stepping

I was asked a question via email about the difference between sliding and gliding.  Following is my answer:

Gliding is for maneuvering.  
IMHO, You need and want gliding the most in any real situation.  

The sliding (mud stepping) is designed to help build body connection power and is important but will only be used briefly in a real situation as most of the time it is to slow to be used for real applications.  

Also, ideally, you learn how to use body power when gliding for the best of both worlds.  
                  In Kun Tao Silat we call this Floating Root.   :)
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Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Have fun & Be safe!
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Complexity to Simplicity

For each technique I find as many possible uses as I can so that I can do more with less and so that 1 technique flows into and becomes many others without any extra effort.

First complexity. Then, complexity becomes simplicity.

I approach many arts this way as well.  I did not start out with this but it happened over the course of over 25 years of training.  In sparring a student asked me what I was doing when I moved a certain way.  I had not been thinking of a style and so I looked at the position I was in and the movement that I had been doing and said, “Well, if I do this from here it is Wing Chun.  If I do this it is Tai Chi.  If I move in then it is Xing Yi and if I start to walk around a bit more it is Ba Gua.”  

Of course, I have oversimplified it here but the idea is that there are only so many ways to move and style mattered only if I tried to make it matter.  Defense and Offense was happening the entire time.  

To acquire functional skill when you begin training a hand technique needs to be simple.  As you understand it better it can become increasingly more complex and you learn to use it many more circumstances.  Ideally you keep expanding your understanding of the technique and the amount of possible uses also continues to grow.  Eventually, this becomes comfortable.  Then, it becomes second nature.  Then, you tend to think of the technique as a technique even though it can be much more.  

A move you can easily see this with is what Xing Yi calls Pi Chuan, Tai Chi calls Strum the Lute, Wing Chun calls Extending arm & protective hand and Ba Gua calls Single Palm.  They are very much the same while at the same time being different.  

Do you have a favorite move that you see a lot in other styles and methods of fighting sometimes used the same and quite often applied differently or simply done with a different flavor?     
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