What’s different about Choy Li Fut?

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by Monkey_Magic, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    What’s Choy Li Fut doing right?

    I’ve noticed that CLF is one of the few Chinese martial arts that’s often described as effective by non-CMA practitioners.

    People who kickbox or do MMA rarely praise forms-based traditional arts. So what makes CLF different?

    I should add that I’m not a CLF practitioner. I’ve not come across it in the UK, so am merely asking out of curiosity.
  2. Simon

    Simon Back once again Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Our very own Sifu ben teaches it in Swindon. Very good he is too.

    Just do a search for Swindon Kung Fu.
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  3. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    I see that Ben’s school teaches San Shou alongside CLF. If San Shou’s generally taught in CLF schools, perhaps that’s why CLF has a good reputation?
  4. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    The parts that tend to work for CLF are the basic 12 seeds of the art. Which include hooks uppercuts overhands elbows spinning back fists knees etc which sounds a lot like kick boxing no?

    Plus a large number of schools spar and compete that helps.

    CLF was used a lot during the rebellions and internal struggles which also helps as it has a proven history of working in battles.

    It's also a blend of northern and southern arts and to be honest the northern arts were always more straight forward and seemed easier to make work in sparring and fighting less complicated trapping and close range stuff and more long arm strikes.
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  5. aaradia

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

    Or one could say that kickboxing is a lot like CLF. :p

    Just looked it up. Various sites show kickboxing to have it's beginnings with the following dates. (See links below)

    Choy Li Fut started in 1836. It is older than Kickboxing.

    Various websites list the origins of Kickboxing being from traditional martial arts. So, when people say "[insert art here] looks like kickboxing" they have it backwards.

    Kickboxing - Wikipedia
    The History of Kickboxing - Vision Martial Arts
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
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  6. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Yep, also looks like dutch Thai, MMA and other things such as lama king fu and the bits from hung gar that actually work,

    Point being what works in a fight is pretty universal so the good arts tend to share the same techniques saying it looks like kick boxing is simply saying it looks like what is effective
  7. aaradia

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

    Agreed. There is a lot of crossover of basic fight fundamentals. My point of annoyance with the whole "looks like kickboxing" is that this is often used to say that traditional arts don't look like their art in a real fight - be it street or sport.

    No one gets to lay claim to say a roundhouse kick or straight punch. These are basic fundamentals in most striking arts. So, when I or another CLF practitioner uses a roundhouse kick that we learned in CLF training, it is me using my traditional art. Therefore, it looks like CLF and if you don't think so, you just don't understand CLF. (Or karate etc.)
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  8. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    You might not see it as a valid criticism but if someone spend hours training but looks totally different sparring than when performing their forms or drills we can say at the very least their training is inefficient if their goal is to be able to fight with their art.

    One reason CLF is given respect is because their are countless clips of it sparring and fighting but it tends to be the bread and butter basic techniques that we see used which begs the question how best to train CLF if you want to be able to fight?

    At least two lineages one of which is very respected for turning out fighters went down the route of reducing the forms,increasing resistance and sparring practise.

    As you say there are uniformed basics which cross over fighting arts one of which is to be able to fight you need to well spar and work against resistance.
  9. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    I'm always joking with Sifu Ben Gash about how long the forms (kata) are though.
    Its generally him sending a 15min video with a caption..."heres a shortened version"
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  10. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Yep, a lot of the beginner forms repeat the same movements or even combinations and since you only tend to see the bread and butter basics in a fight whether you need all their forms is debatable:)
  11. aaradia

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

    You miss my point. My point is that people discount lots of moves in CLF (or other arts) as "kickboxing", when they are actually CLF moves. Kickboxing gets the credit of a lot of moves being part of it, when it is a rather new art and those moves existed LONG before it did.

    Well, I am sick to death of the forms argument, so I won't spend much time on it. But so that others don't take one opinion as fact, I will say this.

    I think you state things in a limited way, when it doesn't fit the whole of CLF. And others might get a skewed view of CLF from that. The whole of CLF as a style seems to have this respect, and as a whole, CLF has forms as an important part of training. To state otherwise is to misrepresent CLF and is misleading. Even the two lineages you mention, you don't say they eliminate forms. CLF as an overview whole has forms as an integral part of its training, and to make it seem otherwise is IMO misleading. I invite anyone wondering to Google CLF on various mediums and you will see I am correct on this.

    As far as I know, any other lineage of CLF that I have been exposed to (from here and other online sources, like websites etc) there is indeed an emphasis on sparring and drills and all. So I do agree that that is part of why it gets more respect than some other arts.

    CLF is just awesome is all! ;) It is a fun art with a lot of variety that makes one want to spend hours and hours practicing. Some of it is more practical than other parts. One can focus on the more practical and skip things like the archaic weapons if one wants. Me, I enjoy all of it.

    Even my GM says you don't need nearly all the forms to become a master of the art. I think he says something like 20% to reach Sifu level? The forms come from different lineages, I am not aware of any CLF practitioner saying one needs to know "all" the forms in CLF.
  12. aaradia

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

    :D:D:D:DOh man, you aren't kidding about that though. I have been shocked on here when I see other styles posting a form and many of them are quite short.

    We do have different length of forms, but I am now at the level where I am learning some of the longer ones. I am learning one called Sup Ji Kau Da and I have heard people say it has somewhere between 250 and 270 moves. It is a cool form though and I am enjoying it. My instructor told me there will be lots of parts that look like the form is ending, but it won't be.:p"
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  13. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    The longest forms I have done were the wushu compulsory forms which were about 2-3 minutes long, I've no idea how many steps they were, but these CLF forms sound a lot longer!!
  14. aaradia

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

    Sup Ji Kau Da done in a video by my GM is 4 minutes and 25 seconds long. Even if you shave time off for him being known as not doing his forms as fast as some others, it is still going to be really long! That is I believe one of the longer forms in CLF, although I think Sifu Ben and another CLF practitioner told me there are others that long or longer. But those are on the longer end of the spectrum as far as I know. The average is shorter than that.
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  15. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    The argument is never where the techniques come from but whether the art can use them effectively, it has nothing to do.with origin and everything to do with an arts training methods

    The whole look our arts had these techniques before kick boxing is as tired and sickening as the forms arguement because it misses the point entirely.

    People outside of tcma give CLF props because of its sparring and fighting footage period not because of its forms, weapons or wooden man sets.

    To state that respect is because of anything other than the sparring and fighting is what's scewed and limited, because the whole of tcma can post form and weapons work, that doesn't impress those in kick boxing or MMA success in fighting does and that's what CLF can post.

    Now I post the above as someone with a foot in both cames, with both a CLF/TCMA and MMA background I know what sets CLF apart from the other Chinese arts I have trained and it's not the extensive forms or weapons which they all have and I also know why my kick boxing and MMA friends give it respect and it's not for those parts either.

    Your experience of course is different but to state imy opinion is scewed and limited simply because it differs from yours is a bit much
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  16. aaradia

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

    o_O Most of what you say here is not what I was saying. Straw man argument. I am not going to spend time arguing against the straw man.
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  17. aaradia

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

    Ok, I am going to comment a bit after all. Changed my mind.

    What I actually said is you downplay the role of forms as being an integral part of CLF overall as a martial art. And it is misleading to those that don't know the martial art of CLF. People talk about CLF and it's efficiency in general as a style overall, not specifically just the two vague samples you keep citing. (And even in those, you only say they reduce the # of forms, not eliminate them.) Overall, forms are a part of CLF training. Again, I invite anyone to google CLF and decide for themselves who is representing this particular aspect of CLF more accurately.

    People can decide for themselves the efficiency of forms in the style, but to downplay it as one important aspect of Choy Li Fut training as practiced by many practitioners is absolutely misleading and I totally stand by that. I think aforementioned googling will show most members here I am correct. The efficiency of forms in the art is not what I commented on either way in this particular thread. Except to say that when you talk about the style, acknowledge all of it's training methodology that is a part of the style. (Argue about what is better or worse about it, but don't deny what it is.)

    Also, I repeatedly said that pressure testing in various forms is an important and integral part of CLF's effectiveness. We have never disagreed on this matter.

    You quite obviously don't think forms training is efficient and you have every right to your opinion. But don't try to misrepresent what CLF is and how it is practiced to fit your narrative. :)
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  18. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    In Pak Mei, our forms are about a minute long. (Depending on how you personally pace yourself)

    The weapons forms are usually longer, like 3-4 mins...then Sifu Ben Gash laughs.
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  19. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I agree with Aardia. The forms are essential. Otherwise people would just mistake it for bad kickboxing :D
  20. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I think there's various reasons. Socio-culturally it was a pretty blue collar style so was always perceived as rougher. Indeed there's a school of thought that this is one of the reasons for the creation of the Wing Chun creation myth and a lot of the stylistic culture of Wing Chun, it was to separate it from the blue collar Choy Li Fut that was a strong force in Futsan and appeal more to better paying middle class patrons. Also most of the first generation were pretty heavily involved in the Taiping rebellion (Chan Heung even had to leave China for a while) so we know that it was combat tested and refined in probably the last war where H2H combat was a major factor.
    Stylistically it is a high concept system based around jab, cross, hook, backfist, overhand and uppercut, emphasising strong waist engagement and active footwork. That's a fairly good starting point.
    The aesthetic of the style is typically strong, athletic or both which again helps.
    Fundamentally though my Sifu competed full contact, I competed full contact, my students compete full contact. You get respect by getting out there and doing it.
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