Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Louie, Sep 20, 2004.
Simply one of the best threads here at MAP.
Nice one Louie. An enjoyable read.
I'll pile on some more kudos. So far, this is the only old thread that I've taken the time to read from beginning to end. Really fascinating info here!
Thats interesting for me. My style is very similar to Martin's (the Tiger/Crane from Singapore he mentions in the article, Ang Lian Huat was my master's master). I've always noticed alot of similarities between my style and wing chun. Good stuff, cheers.
I've been reading about BNB recently and this thread just confirms my opinion that it is still a viable method of self defense in today's world. IMO
New member here. I'm very interested in traditional unarmed European martial arts but I'm aware that it's something still very much in development as it's being rediscovered and pieced back together. How closely does it actually fit with Wing Chun? Has anyone practiced both?
I was considering joining a European MA club to do both unarmed and weapons but to also take up Wing Chun if it would help supplement the unarmed European stuff? I'd like to do European styles as it feels more tied into my cultural heritage than Asian martial arts, but Asian arts seem better established.
Also how does Chinese Kickboxing compare? I understand many Wing Chun clubs also train Chinese Kickboxing.
I realise this is perhaps a poor example, being cinema and all, but I was interested in the way Robert Downey Jr (who practices Wing Chun in real life) fought in the bareknuckle boxing match in the Sherlock Holmes film. Very east meets west.
I just read through the whole thread, and I'm astounded at how similar old style bkb is to karate! Similar throws, punches, grappling techniques, Etc. very cool stuff.
I was thinking exactly the same as Grass Hopper.
No idea. I suspect you'll find the same level of similarities that you would with any other. It depends what styles you're looking at. European unarmed MA is quite diverse from Savate to Boxing to various living and recon grappling styles. See what clubs are in your area and go to a few and see.
If it's a good club, then it's a great idea. That being said, finding old school pugilism is rather rare, even more rare than Catch Wrestling. I've never seen it. You're much more likely to find a club that does sword for armed and grappling for unarmed since the two are complimentary, and good wrestling is more or less a prerequisite for excellent medieval/early renaissance swordsmanship. Our club does a fair amount of striking actually, but that's a rarity in HEMA. It's a result of having an excellent boxer/kickboxer as a primary instructor.
Given that few HEMA clubs focus on striking, I'd guess WC won't intersect your European MA negatively.
a lot of traditional boxing resembles wing chun. I think a great thing to learn from old timers is the drop step, or falling step. And also how they were masters of maintaining distance.
I suspect a lot of that comes from the influence of fencing on early boxing.
Falling step and fencing lunge use different mechanics but both demonstrate the same principle of converting downward force into horizontal force/power.
And the emphasis on maintaining distance likely comes from blade work, where any contact with the weapon is a big problem (versus impact, where only square hits carry the day).
Also, several forms of fencing involve thrusting alone. Making it a priority to "occupy the centerline" in wing chun terminology.
I remember Foreman using that cross arm defense. It worked pretty well for him. I would rather have both hands up and elbows tucked myself though.
Depends on the style of 'drop step' (this is what you mean right? And not a 'shift step').
The older style drop was heel first (ala most of the fence of that day). James Figg (also a full master at arms and grand fencer) used the heel to toe drop step to great effect. Bruce Lee allegedly preferred this one too.
More modern drop step - Like in the Welsh bareknuckle style uses flat of the foot to drop your weight into the motion - More like Dempsey's clatter.
You can hone your drop step to the point your jab becomes a ko punch in itself.
Joe Frasier too particularly liked that cross arm guard.
I'm talking the modern falling step like how Jack Dempsey describes it.
The heel-to-toe is a smoother method and works well with thrusting blades and battering rams because the weapon extends the body. However, I not so sure it is suited for bare knuckle striking with the exception of if the opponent is grabbing on to you or you are grabbing on to the opponent.
When you and the opponent already have a grab on each other, you are connected and become one system, so they are an extension of your own body... IMHO.
So speaking only of bare knuckle and not having a grab (e.g. some kind of physical contact already) on your opponent, I don't see the heel-to-toe method as being that practical. In fact, I trained only a few months in JKD/non-classical Wing Chun here in Seattle back in the late 1980s. I can't even remember the guys name but I believe he said his instructor had trained under Bruce Lee. The punches did not go heel to toe, as I recall it was more flat footed and if anything, more ball of foot to heel with hip rotation.
Edit: Clarification... what I am trying to say is that the heel to toe method is best for when you already have physical contact with the opponent. For long ranged punching, the flat footed or even in some cases, toe to heel method is better, IMHO. Things change when you have a weapon that extends your reach... you can have "contact" with your opponent from further away.
Ah I'm with you now...Sometimes I hear people referring to 'Drop Step' and 'Falling Step' interchangeably.
In Welsh bareknuckling the 'Drop Step' is a purely linear action. Done with the flat of the foot. Your foot lands a split-second after your jab/lead for that double-tap effect.
Other versions - Figg etc - favour heel down first (we don't). I always think of the heel down first drop step as being a fencing action.
The Falling Step (ala Dempsey) is done just as he describes in his excellent ('Championship Fighting'). Spring loading ('posting your weight') on the lead leg. You get an almost zig-zag action. Or rather due to your weight shifting your punch comes in from an angle.
In fact this thread and these posts have made me read his book again now.
Often this 'Falling Step' gets confused with the 'Shift Step'. Which is where you're stepping across the tramlines in a diagonal fashion and dropping your weight ('Falling Step' style).
I'd strongly recommend anyone reading this thread to get a downloadable (free off t'internet) copy of Jack Dempsey's 'Championship Fighting'. It is the missing link between old style boxing and the modern game. And is great.
I've gone back and forth in the years between different lead straight punch techniques. For a bit I was using a fencing lunge for a very quick strike. However, the only way I got it to hit with good power was to rotate my hand/forearm (ended up with elbow pointing up at about 30 degrees past horizontal). It worked fine as a surprise hit but I did not like my elbow up like that with me in the range of a counter kick. Hence having a sword or something longer and more deadly made more sense to me.
Besides the fencing lunge, I found the step with heel to toe type of footwork allowed for some closer in power. With the drop of the weight, I found it worked well with a hammer fist or forearm strike (again with rotation of the forearm) down and into the target. At the end of the motion, one can come up into an uppercut (power from hips and legs). This latter method does allow for hitting with a vertical fist and allows for a good hit from about the position that you would extend your hand when about to do a handshake. In all, this latter method I consider closer in striking and not particularly useful as a long ranged strike.
Dempsey's falling step method I found to work the best for me on a lead straight punch for longer ranged hitting power.
We tend to throw diagonal fists - So the forearm bones are in full alignment.
I've seen the corkscrewing elbow-over punching done in some bareknuckling. Not to mention Taiji etc.
Yes. You can definitely increase the power of your leads by as much as 100 % or more using the Falling Step. Particularly if you get a nice elliptical shoulder rotation at the end of your action.
These are the things I work on a lot. Proper bodyweight motion 'planting' when needs be. And crisp shoulder cranking. Same as in the Thai Martial Arts (particularly for elbows - generally their punching's not as well-developed)
Do you ever practice your Shift Step?
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