How do you beat snake style? (Nam Pai?)

Discussion in 'Kung Fu Resources' started by Alistair Sweeting, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    So going back a few years, I was in a Nam Pai Kungfu group at university, a form of southern Shaolin style. Because of the situation, they encouraged us to train using whatever stances and principles of martial arts we had learned previously, as long as we were able to follow what they were teaching. I had learned Karate to almost brown belt level and what we called ninjutsu (actually it's called budo taijutsu and is basically a modified jujitsu) to 8th kyu most recently, so of course I was using a ninjutsu stance. We sparred for most of the sessions (for the most part a type of sparring where we were told to hit a particular body part with a particular body part in order to score a point), and while I could confidently fight most of them including the instructor - but he was usually sparring with a girl who was worse than someone that's never trained martial arts before because she was given a black belt by a kung Fu teacher who didn't have a clue what he was doing - there was one brown belt who used a snake style stance that I just couldn't land a hit on. When I tried being patient and waiting for an opening, there wasn't one, and when I tried creating an opening, he found one first. I realise that my style is very direct and hard, which snake is supposed to counter, but how in the hell do you fight something like that? I watched the sifu fight him with interest several times and they seemed about as well matched as myself and sifu, but when I myself was against the snake style guy, I was just picked apart like I hadn't trained at all. So if I'm ever against a snake style user in the future, how on earth do you deal with it?
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Sounds like he was simply better than you.

    I believe it is a myth to hold that there is a certain way to defeat a certain style. That is nonsense. But you need to be good enough at what you do, to beat him when he does what he does. Beyond that, the sky is the limit.
     
  3. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    Normally I would think this was the case, but his way of fighting was very clearly a perfect counter to the way I usually fight, and while everyone in the class did hold him in high regard, most people were able to at least land a hit on him, and the instructor was able to spar with him on more or less exactly the same level as he did with me. (he was landing more hits but I was able to keep up pretty well) There's no question that he was better than me, but there's also more to it than that. My style is exactly the kind of style that Snake is supposed to work against, and having proven that it did, I really need something to cover that weakness.
     
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Have you tried to use "foot sweep" on him? Doesn't matter what MA system that your opponent may train, his legs still have to connect on the ground.
     
  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Please explain how your style is exactly what snake is supposed to work against? I really don’t believe in such a thing.
     
  6. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    Kinda. My style uses a lot of leg traps and throws, but Snake heavily emphasises distancing and he was incredible at it, so I wasn't really able to get close enough to touch his legs either, and quite often we were told to score leg kicks anyway. It's not quite as easy as you make it sound.
     
  7. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    It's supposed to work against direct and "hard" styles, because it emphasises patience, speed and distancing, and focuses more on defense and counters than offence. My style uses a lot of counters too, but it's more offensive, looking to create an opening rather than wait for one. It plays straight into the snake's strategy, and there's not really a way to do what I do that doesn't. He wins by essentially creating a stalemate I can't escape from. While I'm not trying to find an opening, there's nothing he can do either, but as soon as I try my usual methods of creating an opening, he's got perfect distancing and just the right amount of speed to catch me when I bait an attack or counter when I go for an attack of my own. It's to the point where even though I know what should work in theory and know what other people do to get around it, it still seems impossible for anyone to beat it. I even almost paid for snake style lessons just so I could understand it enough to know how to counter it, but I know I'm not patient enough to learn snake.
     
  8. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Shoot a double leg. Take him to the ground, hit him until he quits!
     
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  9. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    You do realise basically everyone trains takedown defence these days, right?
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Ok, who is telling you this? That snake works the way you describe and therefor counters what you do? Where do you get this info? Seriously, I don’t buy it. It sounds like something out of a movie, or someone’s fantasy.
     
  11. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    I don't know anything about it, so I am forced to get my information about it from the websites of places that teach it, so admittedly it could well be nonsense, but I do try to collate information from multiple places at least, so this is what every page I could find is saying. It also makes sense from what I have experienced myself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2020
  12. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Yes but not everyone does a good job at it. Get better at shooting double legs!
     
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  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Ok well seriously, I believe it is nonsense. Different systems can operate on different strategies, but that doesn’t mean they are the answer or the counter to X or Y or Z system. Part of your problem may be that you believed that hype and then psyched yourself out when you sparred against him, created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or he was just that much better than you and he dominated. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t let yourself fall into an endless quest of trying to amass the “solutions” for everything out there. Instead, if your training has been quality, you ought to be able to find solutions within what you have learned.
     
  14. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    I actually went in thinking "ha! This guy is using snake style, that's not a real martial art" But I guess the fact he was better than I expected could've thrown me off and then admiring his skill from then on would've made me treat him differently as an opponent and probably psych myself out. It wouldn't have helped that I used to spar in karate tournaments and was pretty confident in myself. I'm learning Xing Yi currently and they have five elements and twelve animals, and traditionally they're each taught to combat each other as a simplified process, but yeah, the intended way to learn it is to focus on an animal strategy that suits you and either find ways to use that to do what the others are known for or to use parts from other animals and adapt them to your own style. But then even Xing Yi doesn't seem to have anything at all that's quite as good at defense as what this guy was using. Like, I still can't think of anything I could've done except just keep the stalemate, which I'm far too impatient to do.
     
  15. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Since your opponent uses the "fire strategy" (fast footwork). you may try to use the

    - "earth strategy" and move in inch by inch. Since your opponent can't move back forever, soon or later the distance will be closed.
    - "water strategy" and play the defense and counter game. Let your opponent to attack you, you then respond to his attack.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    Alistair Sweeting likes this.
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    It is difficult for any of us to give you concrete advice here. We don’t know you or him, and haven’t had any chance to really assess your knowledge and skills, and then make meaningful suggestions. So any advice here is a shot in the dark.

    Ive not trained Xing-I and am not familiar with its material and approach to training. So I can’t give you pointers there, nor support or challenge your description of it.

    I will say that I am a kung fu guy, I train the Tibetan White Crane system. In my experience, the goal is not to imitate the animal, but rather the animal has provided for some kind of inspiration in how to move or engage the body in developing power and technique. But we definitely do not imitate the bird, we don’t fight from a one-legged stance and we use few Crane beak strikes. We use punches and kicks and other strike variations like many other systems do. But the bird has inspired our concept of how we learn to develop power, so it is in the training methodology that the concepts come to the surface.

    That being said, our system tends to take an aggressive approach, part of which is philosophical and part of which is just an effective approach to fighting, but I certainly don’t HAVE to be aggressive in a fight. I could wait and work to cut off or counter what my enemy does instead. That is all up to me. I am not forced to fight in any particular way just because my system has something of a reputation for a certain approach. So if someone believed that system ABC was the solution against a Tibetan Crane guy, well no it isn’t. However, he might be simply better than me, or he gets lucky that day, or I was distracted or I slipped on a rock or I was just having a bad day, and so he won. Or else I won. We cannot make meaningful predictions based simply on what system we are training. Hopefully we are training in something that we believe is viable and useful and effective, or else we would be training something else. If I believed that I was an automatic loser against someone who does ABC style, then I might decide my system is faulty and I ought to train something else instead. But I don’t. I train in my system because I find it interesting and I believe in the method and I trust that my Sifu is teaching me quality stuff.
     
  17. Alistair Sweeting

    Alistair Sweeting New Member

    Yeah, within the styles I train, I could fight in any way I wish. However, I have a particular way of fighting that I am best at and prefer, and I usually pick styles to learn that are known for a similar way of fighting, and I think that is the way it should always be. That's not to say there aren't other strategies within them, but that they aren't preferred by the people who train the style and thus aren't emphasised as much. For instance, Karate excels at powerful straight punches and ninjutsu excels at rotational force and joint locks. They both do everything else, just not as much nor as well. I've not seen anything that was quite as good at defense as that guy's snake style, but although he was worse at it he could go on the attack perfectly well enough to take advantage of opportunities. My issue is that the defence was just so good I can't think of any possible way to get around it, not even with the style I know that is best at opening defences.
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Active Member

    Well, I’m going to assume that this was a friendly sparring match and as such the participants were not trying to actually injure each other. So there was some amount of holding back. If it had been a real fight, then there would be no holding back. Striking to injure his limbs is one way to open his defenses. But then you need to commit to really injuring him. Some of these things cannot be done in a friendly sparring match, even one that allows heavy contact. There are lines we cannot cross in a training session. Not everything can be tested in sparring.
     
  19. aaradia

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

    Welcome to MAP. Mod Note: Please note that we are a family friendly forum. So, no profanity is allowed. Please try to make your points without it. Our terms of service can be found by clicking on the "terms and rules" button on the bottom right hand corner of every page. :)
     
  20. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Don't get so hung up on styles. It's just an illusion. The only thing that matters is timing and distance. Get those two down and the techniques will get you that last bit.

    Also work on your double leg.
     
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