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Spontaneous Solo Forms Training DVD
Solo Forms Training
Our first seminar for 2012 was on Spontaneous Solo Forms Training and how to create your own endless flow using 9 Hand Actions, 9 Foot Platforms, and 12 Weapon Methods.
The goal was to give everyone a toolbox of motion for the upper and lower body that they could then combine freestyle on their own. The idea was about learning *how* to move and not about learning a specific sequence of movement.
The advantage of learning to arrange and rearrange your own motion rather than relying on set choreography is that with no set sequence there is nothing to forget. Memory is the enemy of classical forms!
Seriously, how many of you reading right now have forgotten more forms than you know? It sounds funny or like you're bragging to say it, but it's not uncommon!
Luckily, even though you might not remember the entire forms I'll bet you still retain their essence. For example, even though I don't remember all the moves to every Praying Mantis form I once could do, I can go and make up a form doing a bit from this one and a bit from that one and show the general nature of the style.
Another difficulty with Classical forms is they are a constant source of frustration and disagreement between people, because many think there is "one true way" of doing them. People get in blood-feuds over this stuff!
(How many times have you heard the phrase "In our school we do it a little differently..." used with a disparaging tone?)
In this sense, each style is it's own worst enemy. If you've been around long enough you've probably noticed just how many schools hate other schools that teach the same style because "they do the forms wrong."
A Kung Fu sifu might get along with a Karate sensei, but just ask him about another school teaching the same style of Kung Fu and get ready for an ear-full about why they suck rocks...
How sad that people can get so caught up in petty negativity over the position of a block, how a punch is thrown, or the sequence that they are done in. There are bigger fish to fry!
Let us instead be unified as martial artists who all strive to better ourselves through discipline and practice. Let us celebrate the nuances and variations that exists within the same form, learning from each what we can.
Paradoxically, by training in the spontaneous expression of forms like we were doing you gain a better appreciation of motion and so when you go to learn a traditional (structured) form it is much easier. You recognize the shapes of motion being utilized and have both a physical and technical vocabulary to describe them that transcend the cultural terminology.
For example, you might describe a section of a form as using "transverse hand circles right-left-right" rather than by it's classical name of "Whirling Dragons Churn The Waves". In this way you can more easily learn the lessons that have been passed down and make them real for today.
And this understanding is vital, for truly without each of us the traditional martial arts do not exist. You can not put a form on a shelf for posterity! A picture or a scroll, yes, but the real thing no. Only when people manifest the forms do they exist.
All my very best to you,
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