Training Chinese Martial Arts - do we train enough?

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by Xue Sheng, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Been thinking about training as it applies to Health, Taijiqun, Xingyiquan and Yiquan. I have the time due to injuries and sickness.

    In the past I have talked to lot of old Chinese martial artists about their training when they were younger. All seem to have trained hours a day. I talked with a student of Wang Peisheng who said Wang trained half the day in his youth. My first shifu would train 4 to 6 hours a day and my Yang Taiji Shifu once told me the best vacation he took he got to do Taiji 6 hours a day, but he use to train it more back in Hong Kong with his Shifu. And his shifu recommended that you do just the long form at least 3 times a day and you needed to train all the other forms as well.

    That same student of Wang Peisheng also told me that no one has that kind of time anymore, in the 20th century (we talked a while ago), especially in America. And he made the statement, in reference to Santi Shi, that 30 minutes was better than 20 minutes and 20 minutes was better that 15, 15 was better than 10 and 5 was better than nothing. Basically very few people have time to stand in Santi for 2 to 3 hours a day these days.

    My wife, who is from China has talked about the old days in China where marital artists practiced all day long. In my youth I would spend 1.5 to 2 hours a day on cardio and strength and then a another couple hours on forms and striking practice. Of course I was single, had no children, and worked 2nd and 3rd shift at the time, so I had all day to train.

    I no longer train like I use to, some things I can no longer physically do, I am married, have a full time day job, and have a wife that works 12 hours a day. So I need to take care of everything inside and outside of the house as well. And with a teenager still at home that takes a lot of time. Now throw in the one in college, although as the years have gone on he as taken less and less of my time. But now we're applying for Grad school so I am once again needed.

    Over the years I have let many forms I once knew go. Some I do not miss at all and some I regret letting go (see the old style Chen form I use to do), but I would prefer to truly understand a few forms than do many I do not understand. I have never been into forms collecting, in CMA or Qigong for that matter.

    But, this has lead me to realizing that, even with all the time constraints, combined with some physical limitations that I could, and should, be doing the forms I know, and want to train, more than once a day. I should spend more time in physical exercise (strenght and cadio), and I to do this training justice I need to let some things go and focus on those things that matter most to me, benefit me the most, and that I truly wish to understand. Some of these things are incredibly hard to let go of, since I have done them for so long. But to continue doing them only impedes my training of those things I truly think I need to train now as well as stop me from progressing further in CM. and with those thins gone, I do have more time to train those things I want, and need, now.

    I also realize that I am spending to much time in a chair in front of a TV when I could be training. Some of this is habit from when I had to be around because the kids were to young to be left on own. There is time in my day if I look, no where near as much as there was back in the days of 2nd and 3rd shift work, but time to do more than I have been doing.

    So do you train enough, could you do more?
    axelb likes this.
  2. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Depending on my work schedule and how it coincides with my school schedule I can train anywhere from about 10 hours to 17ish a week. My average is 14-15. I work full time. On my day shifts, I head right to my school and stay until they throw me out. I have one night shift where I can't be there open hours. And then my alternate Friday/ Saturday off schedule does weird things. I tend to train Saturdays about 5 hours. Fridays, I mean to do the same, but I get lazy and it is 3 1/2 to four usually. Sundays I take off, just because I am tired!

    Keep in mind I have no relationship to maintain and no kids. I can't imagine how people with a family and/ or spouse manage to find time to train.

    I don't know, even if I had enough hours with my work schedule, I don't know that my body would stand up to much more training than that.

    I know a lot of forms in both CLF and TCC. And I have had to let a few go. I have others I wish I could practice more, but don't due to time constraints.

    I used to know the 24, Plum Blossom Fan and 32 Gim on both sides. I still break them out occasionally, but I wish I had time to keep up on those more regularly.

    I have been in a phase of particularly heavy forms training because I just learned/ am learning my current curriculum level materials in both arts. When I get them down, the time spent on them shouldn't be as long.

    But I do maybe need to cut back on them to focus on some other things. Some of this is influenced by my current thumb injury. I will get back to bag workouts when they heal. But for now.................
    I have been lagging on my kicking practice, no reason I can't be doing more of that right now.

    I have about 80+ self defense techniques I keep up on. Mostly because 3 of us practiced together to prepare for our black sash. Two of us got there, but we will keep at it until the third person tests too. I actually don't need to keep up on those any longer. As one doesn't test in those past black sash. But I want to. But I will cut back on the time spent on them once the third member of our little pact passes.

    And I need to spend more time on building my flexibility. That will make my forms and EVERYTHING better. But that is a matter of discipline. It isn't all that fun, so I need to "eat bitter" and prioritize it.
    axelb and Xue Sheng like this.
  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    When something is inherently inefficient then you have to invest a large amount of time in order to make it work.

    Likewise if you have enough time to spend every day on training something you can become good regardless off how poor some of the material is

    I honestly think that was the case with some Chinese arts people could invest so much time in them that they became bloated and lost sight of their main goal.

    Its probably also why sadly some styles have already died out, people simply don't have the time to put into preserving them.
    axelb likes this.
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Mod note: Moved from articles section to Kung Fu Section.

    Xue, if you want it moved to Tai Chi or Internal arts, let me know and I will move it again. I chose Kung Fu as the generic term, because your topic incorporates a concept of both external and internal Chinese arts.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Not going to argue the point, you very well might be correct. However by that logic, a 4 year MD degree in China is more efficient than a 8 year MD degree In America. Or a person who goes to China and spends 6 weeks learning acupuncture has trained in a program that is more efficient than a person who spent 4 years studying in Beijing University of TCM. Or someone who spent 3 years at a local Belt factory getting a black belt is training in a system that is much more efficient than one who spent 6 years or more at a dojo getting a black belt. Also since it takes so long to get a black belt in BJJ as compared to many other arts, the BJJ system is inefficient by comparison
  6. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    WHAT!!!! :eek: :D

    No worries, it goes wherever you feel is best
  7. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    Rather than asking ‘Do we train enough?’, perhaps ‘Do we train smart enough?’ is a better question for all martial arts.

    When there’s so much we could learn from modern sports science, I’d argue there’s less need to hark back to the past.

    For example, arts that compete in the Olympics (judo, wrestling, boxing, TKD) must have enormous learning for all of us about training programme design, rest and recovery, nutrition, strength and conditioning, etc. Yet I’ve seen little or none of this absorbed by many martial arts clubs and instructors. What a shame!
    axelb and Vince Millett like this.
  8. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    To get good at bjj for fighting and self defense doesn't take that long, to get a blackbelt takes years, mastery is different to developing a good skill base.

    Look at CLF it has hundreds of forms and takes a life time to master but when they had to train a lot of people to fight quickly they picked 5 forms some empty hand two weapons and off they went.

    It comes down to what you want if you want to preserve an art that's one thing and inefficiency doesn't matter then.

    Unfortunately in the modern era people don't have the time to put into training they used to so what is the answer? Train more which a lot can not do, or decide what is worth training and remembering and you do that based on what your goals are I suppose.
    axelb, Xue Sheng and Vince Millett like this.
  9. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    I remember a student of one of Chinese living treasures talking about this he said his master was still training with his primary teacher well into his 50s as a full time.student he was a lineage holder in lama ( 5 different lineages), CLF hung gar and also.knew wing chun bak mei

    He said he could never learn all his master knew so things died out, it is a shame
    Xue Sheng likes this.
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    We don't. We live vicariously through you by reading your training log. :)
    Mitch, axelb, Travess and 1 other person like this.
  11. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Not all Chinese martial arts styles are CLF and many do not have 100s of forms; Wing Chun, Xingyiquan, Sun Style Taijiquan to name a few. Admittedly many have to many and a style I have trained for close to 25 years (Traditional Yang Style - Tung Ying Chieh Lineage) I think has to many but it really only has 7. Another style I trained briefly, Baguazhang also has to many IMO and in all its versions I don't think it has more than 5 to 10, and some less. However admittedly, to me, baguazhang is very complicated and does take time, which also could be why many versions of Baguazhang are vanishing, even in China.

    And good self defense and fighting does not take all that long in many of the CMA styles either. Want to use taiji as self defense, understand the 13 postures. But give a person a year to work with and really figure out the 13 postures and put him against a BJJ guy who has bee training a year, my money is on the BJJ guy to win.

    I don't disagree with much of what you are saying, I do have disagreement with labeling CMA styles " inherently inefficient"

    But this is not what I wanted this thread to turn into..... I do not want a style vs. style thread I was simply wondering if those here on MAP felt they trained enough, because I know I don't at this time. And the training I am talking about is not purely martial arts, or related to any one particular style, but overall training including strength and cardio.

    I do realize that my putting this in the Taiji area did make it look that way, and I regret that decision. I only put it there because that is what I mainly do these days. And at this point I am regretting that it was but in Kung Fu as well, because that too puts the focus on Chinese styles. I initially did not mind, because that is what I have trained for the last 27 years and those are the people I talked to about it. However I don't doubt my old TKD teacher (Jae Hun Kim) and my previous Japanese Jujitsu teacher (sensei Kan) also trained a lot more than I do now and likely more than I did at my best.

    It might have been best to put this in the General Martial Arts section.
  12. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Depends on what you're training for man. If you're training for enjoyment and you're enjoying it, you're probably doing enough really.
    axelb and Xue Sheng like this.
  13. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Don't want to contribute to the derailing of this thread into yet another style vs style thread.

    Just want to point out that the claim about CLF refers to only one type of CLF, not all CLF. Buk Sing CLF is what is being referred to, I believe. Also, that is one interpretation only of Buk Sing's history of why it has so few forms. And no, I am not going to get into more details as it isn't the point of the thread. Also, not going to get into it for other reasons as well. Just know it isn't the only interpretation of why it has fewer forms.
    SWC Sifu Ben and Xue Sheng like this.
  14. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Nope not the buk sing version they have lesser forms for another reason
  15. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Since I derailed the thread I will answer. When I was younger and doing tai I did the long form every morning as well as at least 30mins standing trained in the evening as well as with my kung fu sifu who also taught tai chi, and yet when I talked to him and read old books this wasn't enough time if I actually wanted to be able to fight or use what I know. This lead me down another path and I feel has always been the case.

    If you read about the training in the Beijing pakua schools at the turn of the 20th century they were lamenting even then the lack of time available in the modern world to train as the arts need. Who can spend 3hrs standing a day for example?

    So it then comes down to how much time can you invest and is it enough for your needs? And do we ever feel we have enough time invested.
    Xue Sheng and axelb like this.

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