View Poll Results: What to do about the 'Is Shaolin-Do for real?' thread

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  • Unlock IS-Dfr. Merge all S-D threads together so it clears 1000 posts!

    22 38.60%
  • Unlock IS-Dfr. Let all the S-D threads stand independently.

    13 22.81%
  • Keep IS-Dfr locked down. All IS-Dfr posters deserved to be punished.

    5 8.77%
  • Delete them all. Let Yama sort them out.

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Thread: Is Shaolin-Do for real?

  1. #19981
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCBG View Post
    Wow Shaolin Wookie, this is one of the best posts I've read on this thread! Thanks for your insight. I tend to agree with what you've said and as a longtime practitioner of SD, I do believe the art CAN be effective IF properly trained. Great post!
    Probably not. Thanks tho.

    I think once you've PRACTICED the difference between the original version of a form and the changed version (as in JQ and LWZ), you realize exactly how and why the forms were changed. Different foundations (and a lack of the proper ones). For Example: One of the opening motions of Jie Quan comes from 12 ROADS Tan Tui #3 劈砸 (Pi Za) SPLIT & CRUSH. This motion is featured in quite a few of the basic 10 Chinwoo Forms, and also occurs twice in the most basic form of Chinwoo, Gong Li Quan (Power Fist). This motion, like Tan Tui #4, is one of the more subtle and difficult Tan Tui motions (and also more abstract on the face of it). Pi Za: https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufil...&v=eyxzknCNa1M. It's easy to do physically, but more difficult to do with perfect balance, and form etc. Tan Tui isn't even, on the face of it or in its purpose, a martial form. It teaches foundations and principles of moving etc. This is why it features a toe-kick that stretches the hamstring and steps straight up instead of snap kicking. It aligns your leg to land in perfect placement for a transition into a horst stance. That's also why it kicks below the waist, usually, with a flat foot. It's as much a step as it is a kick. But as one instructor told me: "It's springy legs, not springy kicks. So stop kicking). SD folks would likely look at it and say: "that's flowery legs and embroidered kicks" because they never learned that foundational principle, which is actually MORE important than learning to throw a good snap kick with power. Get that position / balance right every day in practice, and your snap kick will be better than any SD practitioner going forward. My kicks are better BECAUSE of Tan Tui. You have to learn both, and you can learn them in separate order (kick, then Tan Tui). But your kung fu needs both.

    If you'd never done Tan Tui and rep'd out #3 a thousand times, and you tried picking up Jie Quan from a video or some other means, you might try to turn it into a hammer-fist into the palm, a xie bue (cross-stance) elbow, and a backwards elbow in a bow stance. Why? Because you'd never done Tan Tui. See [2:42-2:54]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufil...&v=FT4OwZyVqzk. Then see [0:09 - 0:12] of Jie Quan (forgive the wushuized version of Chinwoo here, but it is an excellent demo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufil...&v=cQz9taUeDu0)

    You can certainly do what SD teaches in its 3-motions for 1 Tan Tui exchange. It's just not Jie Quan anymore, because it's not even in the same lineage of the form that's being taught. It doesn't stress the transitions you practiced in Tan Tui to begin with. It's true, SD's Jie Quan IS rooted in SD's short forms, perhaps more than any other form taught. But it's not Jie Quan at that point. It's something else. It has different roots and the same name, even if it moves "like" Jie Quan. It's like dancing a Tango with a Waltz's footsteps. It's just not connected at all, which is kind of ironic for "Interconnected fist." Lol.
    Last edited by Shaolin Wookie; 09-22-2020 at 08:59 AM.
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  2. #19982
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    Lian wu zhang

    One of the other interesting things about Lian Wu Zhang. When I was taught in SD, it was stressed that as you execute the spinning motions, you should form an "X" with your hands and keep the motion on a horizontal plane, instead of the big wheeling circles that have a vertical element with the leading hand that you see in the free form I posted before. The "X" is actually a characteristic of the two-man form, and not the free form. And neither one keeps the circling of the hands on a horizontal (level with ground) plane. There are lots of hints in the forms that peek through to show their parentage. When you do the form correctly, however, some of the motions get easier.

    For example, think of the double-smash (whirlwind) kick at the end of one of the lines that then immediately transitions into a backsweep. Lots of good practitioners in SD struggle with that motion. Why? Because it's practiced incorrectly. See here at [00:26 - 00:30]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufil...&v=pdfh9jqapII. It's not your fault if you can't do it clean. And if you can, congrats. I was always able to, but it felt weird. Why would you smash kick and immediately backsweep without a pause? But there is still a better way with cleaner technique. They're connected in the form, but not in the application.

    Anyways, food for thought. I'll probably check back in on this thread at some point. LOLz. I don't remember the SD forms anymore, but I remember the "OHHHHHHHHH! That's what that was supposed to be" moments when picking up the Chinwoo originals of the forms.

    Keep practicing.
    Last edited by Shaolin Wookie; 09-22-2020 at 09:30 AM.
    No, no, no. You're not thinking. You're just being logical---Niels Bohr

    Oh yeah!??!! Well, my dad could beat up your dad!--Lineage-Haters

    For all nonsense there is an equal and opposite nonsense---Wook

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  3. #19983
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaolin Wookie View Post
    One of the other interesting things about Lian Wu Zhang. When I was taught in SD, it was stressed that as you execute the spinning motions, you should form an "X" with your hands and keep the motion on a horizontal plane, instead of the big wheeling circles that have a vertical element with the leading hand that you see in the free form I posted before. The "X" is actually a characteristic of the two-man form, and not the free form. And neither one keeps the circling of the hands on a horizontal (level with ground) plane. There are lots of hints in the forms that peek through to show their parentage. When you do the form correctly, however, some of the motions get easier.

    For example, think of the double-smash (whirlwind) kick at the end of one of the lines that then immediately transitions into a backsweep. Lots of good practitioners in SD struggle with that motion. Why? Because it's practiced incorrectly. See here at [00:26 - 00:30]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufil...&v=pdfh9jqapII. It's not your fault if you can't do it clean. And if you can, congrats. I was always able to, but it felt weird. Why would you smash kick and immediately backsweep without a pause? But there is still a better way with cleaner technique. They're connected in the form, but not in the application.

    Anyways, food for thought. I'll probably check back in on this thread at some point. LOLz. I don't remember the SD forms anymore, but I remember the "OHHHHHHHHH! That's what that was supposed to be" moments when picking up the Chinwoo originals of the forms.

    Keep practicing.
    This is why I love coming to this forum, because I'm continually learning so much! It's amazing to me this thread has been around as long as it has, LOL!
    When I learned the form I didn't learn to execute the hands in an "X" but more like a double side hand strike with the left hand slightly extended out in front of the right. That's another one of SD's big weaknesses - There are so many deviations on form and technique from school to school. I remember the first time I saw students from another school doing the same rank advancement I was doing and it looked significantly different, although you could see the same "thought" and principles behind them. I asked my instructor about it later and he said that's a common issue with our system. I also see that other schools teach material for rank advancement at different times. Some schools teach Black Tiger Flies Out of the Cave at yellow belt and others at blue. It's the same with the brown belt forms as well. It doesn't make sense to me but I really try not to look too much into it since I don't attend other schools and just focus on mine.

    Thanks for the YouTube links, I've enjoyed watching the videos! You can definitely see some similarities but tons of differences.

    As a side note, I do believe effective applications can still be found from the techniques in most SD forms regardless of if they're "knock offs" of original forms. The problem is that many of the SD students AND instructors don't bother to learn them, or if they do learn them they don't practice them enough to become effective with them, so a watered-down martial art keeps getting passed down through the generations. It's not ALWAYS their fault as their instructor likely didn't take the time to teach them either, but I do feel like that at some point in a martial artist's training he/she is responsible for themselves and should be taking the time to learn them. I've heard some stories (sadly) about students asking their instructors, some of them even high ranking instructors, for explanation of form application only to be told that they either "aren't allowed to tell them" or "just think about it". I think if you're going to teach a martial art you should not only be able to answer questions about applications and demonstrate them, but you should also routinely make it a part of your classes. This is one of the main reasons I've stopped worrying about rank altogether. A lot of my training time now is spent dissecting forms and finding applications; seeing what works and what doesn't, testing some of them during sparring practice, etc. Luckily for me, our school incorporates application practice into many of our classes. That's the fun part to me! It's also something that IS required as part of rank advancement tests. I've seen students fail tests because, although they could do perform a form as beautifully as Jet Li in a classic Kung Fu action movie, they failed to be able to apply what they learned in application.

    I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else that's trained in SD had ever been taught application as well. I know it seems there are more schools that haven't than have :/

  4. #19984
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaolin Wookie View Post
    1. Shaolin-Do is definitely not original material (in terms of actual forms) from Shaolin. It doesn't mean that techniques and some foundational principles are not conveyed. But it isn't THE shaoiln or even "a" shaolin. But it will be related more or less to other styles because someone taught GM Sin and GM Ie something kung-fu-ish at the Chung Yen School in Indonesia. This is now my only interest in SD, since I don't practice it. Jie Quan and Lian Wu Zhang are taiwanese (or more importantly, come from the Chinese nationalists who were exiled to Taiwan with the Kuomintang govt). One of them is Chin Woo (sometimes Lian Wu Zhang makes it into ChinWoo as a side-form), which means it comes from the republican era of Chinese MA (early 1900s) and can't be "original Shaolin from the Southern Temple." We can research these forms and disprove the lineage with ZERO doubt quite easily now thanks to the internet and Google Translate.

    2. I doubt Shaolin-Do is a "system" in the way we would recognize it. Youtube "Siaw Lim" or "Siauw Lim" and look at the multitudes of "Shaolin" in Indonesia--all of which are some hodgepodge of Kuntao, Silat, karate, and Chinese Martial arts. Nevertheless, the core basic forms that GM Sin taught the longest actually have quite a bit of Fujian flavor to them, as a distillation of techniques, and therefore are closest in originality to the kung fu/kuntao he probably learned in Indonesia--whatever that hodgepodge was.

    3. GM Sin did not "shorten" or "make easier" any originals. In my opinion, he made them harder and worse; and if he did "shorten" them with this intention, it was because he wasn't competent to teach them. I think Siu Meng Bao Lieh is a decent form that simplifies Fujian kung fu and passes on the sequences of its "Se Mun" forms (see Goh/Ngo Cho Kun). But I'm betting that distillation came from one of his teachers, and not GM Sin--given that it is so good as a distillation of Fujian techniques. But this "he made it easier" explanation is false. Westerners can learn Tan Tui, Jie Quan, and Lian Wu Zhang without having the techniques shortened and made simpler. Though that first judgment sounds harsh, here is why I am so harsh: Lian Wu Zhang (his brown belt form) is actually a 2 person form (dui lian) practiced in Taiwan, sometimes called Martial Arts Sparring Palm because the chinese characters for 連五掌"5 Continuous Plams" (lian wu zhang) and 練武掌對打 "MArtial Arts Sparring Palm" (lian wu zhang dui lian) sound pretty close if passed on orally. The difference between them is simply tonal on the "a" in Lian and "u" in Wu; this turns "Continuous" (lian) into "Art" and "Five" (wu) into "Martial" (as in Wu-shu). Lian Wu Zhang teaches VERY basic techniques as a two-person form. I've been practicing the corrected version for 4 years. It's the same form, just "un-fu*&ed" from whatever GM Sin did to it when passing it on. The form is patterned to teach basic techniques, and the "fu*&ed" version he teaches confounds one's ability to apply those techniques when the second partner is standing there with you doing the other side of the form (There aren't many well-performed sets on YOUTUBE, but here's one demo from some kids (kid in white hoodie is doing SD's version correctly, but also at a beginner level): https://www.youtube.com/watch?index=...&v=TrNyyBpPOJ4). Another version from the 高芳先 Gāo Fāng-Xiān lineage pretty identical to the one I learned: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?index=...&v=pdfh9jqapII). I can tell you, having practiced this form for years--it is the same form. But where GM Sin shotgunned in some solutions to the form, he lost the techniques and principles of the second partner. In sum, Westerners can do Chinese MA as long as the teacher is competent.

    4. It was "totally made up." More likely, it was his attempt to teach what he originally learned, and which was not well-systematized in Indonesia. He then wanted to build on that, or else he got bored. He had some natural athletic talent, was ****ty at forms; but somehow decided to make forms his thing. The rest is ****ty marketing.

    5. The new forms came from videos, very likely (Qiang Shu/White Ape Mantis & 7-star). The rest was created from his base of knowledge. His Liu Shing and Ching Pao-- they're definitely not learned from video or chopped up from videos. They're his originals. His 7 Star is shotgunned in places and missing the subtleties of technique. How much anyone values what Sin created very much depends on how competent and trustworthy one finds GM Sin. Given the misrepresentation in advertising, that's not much. Also, his tai chi and bagua are really bad. So is his brother's.

    None of these are intended to say that the The' brothers can't fight and weren't strong guys, and couldn't teach people to punch and kick. They could. And they could do it well. But based on what I've seen firsthand...their "Chinese" kung fu is pretty bad and not very "Chinese," and unfortunately what was pretty good is also what was pretty ****ed basic. They should have stuck with what they had learned instead of building up a bad marketing strategy and then adding 5,000 forms to back up the marketing instead of being honest. The more complex forms are often done wrong and have shotgunned sequences placed into the cracks in memory like silly putty holding the forms together.

    None of this means that SD can't teach you to fight. It can. It does mean that SD is an "original" art in the sense that it was created by Sin The and his brother from whatever their basic studies were. The rest is dishonest in its presentation, and sometimes in its composition. You could create an application for the shotgunned sequences in Jie Quan and Lian Wu Zhang. I did that as a student. But they're not the forms that go by the name utilized, even though the forms move in the shadows of the originals.
    Thank you for the reply and the detailed form comparisons.

    My list of 6 explanations wasn't meant to say that they were all true.

    The list was the 6 possibilities that I have seen offered that *possibly* could be true for any given form.

    Separate from what is "true," I don't even know what the current official explanation from Shaolin Do even **is** for the lower belt forms.

    Let's take the short kata. Or the first two long forms. Officially: Were they taught in the temple? Did GM Sin make them up for instructional purposes (influenced by temple forms)? Did he adapt them from longer temple forms, for instructional purposes?

    I enjoyed my time in Shaolin Do. I want to believe its claims! But whatever the official explanation is, this forum has many examples (such as your posts) that suggest explanation #5, which is that many forms came from somewhere besides direct temple lineage to GM Ie and then GM Sin whether or not they were then adapted.

    I don't (and can't) dispute any of your comparisons. You also said "Shaolin-Do is definitely not original material (in terms of actual forms) from Shaolin." I wonder however if there isn't a core of some Shaolin descended material that GM Ie acquired (whether from GM Su or somewhere else if there was no GM Su).

    The problem is finding what that core would be.

    If it is only in material that hasn't been taught publicly then that's not much of a selling point for the average student.

  5. #19985
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCBG View Post
    This is why I love coming to this forum, because I'm continually learning so much! It's amazing to me this thread has been around as long as it has, LOL!
    When I learned the form I didn't learn to execute the hands in an "X" but more like a double side hand strike with the left hand slightly extended out in front of the right. That's another one of SD's big weaknesses - There are so many deviations on form and technique from school to school. I remember the first time I saw students from another school doing the same rank advancement I was doing and it looked significantly different, although you could see the same "thought" and principles behind them. I asked my instructor about it later and he said that's a common issue with our system. I also see that other schools teach material for rank advancement at different times. Some schools teach Black Tiger Flies Out of the Cave at yellow belt and others at blue. It's the same with the brown belt forms as well. It doesn't make sense to me but I really try not to look too much into it since I don't attend other schools and just focus on mine.

    Thanks for the YouTube links, I've enjoyed watching the videos! You can definitely see some similarities but tons of differences.

    As a side note, I do believe effective applications can still be found from the techniques in most SD forms regardless of if they're "knock offs" of original forms. The problem is that many of the SD students AND instructors don't bother to learn them, or if they do learn them they don't practice them enough to become effective with them, so a watered-down martial art keeps getting passed down through the generations. It's not ALWAYS their fault as their instructor likely didn't take the time to teach them either, but I do feel like that at some point in a martial artist's training he/she is responsible for themselves and should be taking the time to learn them. I've heard some stories (sadly) about students asking their instructors, some of them even high ranking instructors, for explanation of form application only to be told that they either "aren't allowed to tell them" or "just think about it". I think if you're going to teach a martial art you should not only be able to answer questions about applications and demonstrate them, but you should also routinely make it a part of your classes. This is one of the main reasons I've stopped worrying about rank altogether. A lot of my training time now is spent dissecting forms and finding applications; seeing what works and what doesn't, testing some of them during sparring practice, etc. Luckily for me, our school incorporates application practice into many of our classes. That's the fun part to me! It's also something that IS required as part of rank advancement tests. I've seen students fail tests because, although they could do perform a form as beautifully as Jet Li in a classic Kung Fu action movie, they failed to be able to apply what they learned in application.

    I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else that's trained in SD had ever been taught application as well. I know it seems there are more schools that haven't than have :/
    Because of business travel I saw a lot of Shaolin Do schools if only for a couple of classes at a time.

    Some were Soard-affiliated and some were Leonard-affiliated.

    It was surprising how differently the forms were taught between the Soard and Leonard schools. It's been a long time but I remember more consistency among Leonard schools than among Soard schools.

    I was taught applications for forms but they weren't often practiced in class. I remember more applications taught in Leonard schools than Soard schools.

    My impression was that few students practiced forms outside of class. So a typical class became exercise (warmups and workouts), reviewing past forms, learning new forms, sparring. Doesn't leave a lot of classtime to work on live applications. But class is the one time that you have partners to practice those!

    And as you say, the constant stream of new forms makes it hard to refine application and technique from prior ones.

  6. #19986
    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Dinosaur View Post
    Because of business travel I saw a lot of Shaolin Do schools if only for a couple of classes at a time.

    Some were Soard-affiliated and some were Leonard-affiliated.

    It was surprising how differently the forms were taught between the Soard and Leonard schools. It's been a long time but I remember more consistency among Leonard schools than among Soard schools.

    I was taught applications for forms but they weren't often practiced in class. I remember more applications taught in Leonard schools than Soard schools.

    My impression was that few students practiced forms outside of class. So a typical class became exercise (warmups and workouts), reviewing past forms, learning new forms, sparring. Doesn't leave a lot of classtime to work on live applications. But class is the one time that you have partners to practice those!

    And as you say, the constant stream of new forms makes it hard to refine application and technique from prior ones.
    You're 100% correct about the deviations between the Soard and Leonard affiliated schools. My school in particular is affiliated with Leonard so maybe that's why we learn more applications. I've seen a lot of schools rush students through form to the point where they barely even know it well enough to pass their rank advancement. For example, to test from blue to green belt there are 5 forms you have to learn. One school I saw in particular would teach those 5 forms in a 3 month period to the point where students were learning the last bit of their last form maybe a week or so before their belt test. So they'd barely have even learned a form, test on it, pass their test, and then the next week was the first week of their new rank where they then started learning a NEW form already. And then the cycle just continues over and over again. That's why students don't ever learn application - because form is so heavily pushed to get to the next rank. Luckily with my school our instructor isn't as concerned with sticking to a particular timeline. He tells all of us that "You'll test when I feel you're ready and not before". I saw one student wait almost 9 months just to test from yellow belt to blue. I had a ton of respect for this kid. He was 16 and had a hard time learning in the beginning. But he didn't give up and even when he saw others he started with getting their next belts before him he still didn't give up and kept going. We do lose quite a few students because of this but I feel like it also means we have more serious students in our school than many do (at least in the SD schools).

    Most of the serious students do practice applications outside of class, in fact we have "free gym time" specifically for this reason where we can come in on our own time and work on whatever we want, but it honestly should be emphasized a LOT more inside of class as well. So in my school, a typical class is about an hour long. We start with a 5-10 minute warmup (pushups, squats, jumping jacks, stretching, etc), then do some punching and kicking drills for another 5-10 minutes, then work on form for 15-20 minutes, and then the rest of the class is usually spent working on applications from your forms, and then a quick cool-down. My instructor has always been willing and able to answer any application question given to him and he's always said that he doesn't hide knowledge; he wants to pass it on to us so then we can remind him of things when he's old LOL!

    Yes, the excess number of forms really does make it hard to ever become proficient enough in all of them to really "know" them. Anyone can memorize the movements of a form from beginning to end, but to me, you don't really KNOW a form until you can explain the applications of each movement and why it works the way it does. I've seen a lot of students in SD who can beautifully perform their forms. They can kick high, punch hard, get low into stances, etc, but when it comes to actually applying what they've learned in the form they're *mostly* clueless. I say mostly because a lot of them can give you some very basic applications from one or two forms but they're the very obvious ones anyway and even then half the time they aren't doing them correctly. I understand that there are many martial artists who don't necessarily "care" about learning applications or how to fight; they're doing it for the physical health benefits and to stay in shape, but this is still a martial art and you should still understand WHAT it is you're learning.

    Overall I think SD can be a good and effective system (I say system and not style) IF you have the right instructor who's willing to teach you correctly AND if you're a student who is there for the right reasons and not just wanting to look good in the black belt you got in 15 months. We had this kid years ago, who was maybe 11 or 12, and he kept talking about how he couldn't wait to get a black belt and once he was a black belt he'd be able to spar everyone and win, etc etc etc. I think he even complained a couple times that he didn't get to test when he had met the minimum requirements... I think he was maybe only a yellow belt at the time so he hadn't been there long anyway and I was only a couple months away from testing to first black. So one class my instructor told us to take off our belts and put them back in the locker room. We came back out to the mat in just our gi's and he had each of us do our form one at a time. Then we each sparred 1:1 with everyone in the class. Afterwards he told us "Now, how many of you were still able to do your forms just as well as you were before?" Everyone raised their hand. Then he said "How many of you felt just as comfortable sparring as you were before?" Again, everyone raised their hand. Then he said, "It's not the belt around your waist that makes you a good martial artist, it's what's in here (pointing to his head). If all you want is a black belt then go out and buy a black belt." Everyone's jaw just dropped. LOL from then on this kid never said a word about testing. He's still with us now and he's a very proficient martial artist. Once he stopped caring about the belts it was like his mind was suddenly able to be opened.

    How long did you train in SD Purple Dinosaur? Just curious

  7. #19987
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    Is this discussion STILL going on?

    It's like a 20+ year old thread! WOW!
    Those that are the most sucessful are also the biggest failures. The difference between them and the rest of the failures is they keep getting up over and over again, until they finally succeed.


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  8. #19988
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCBG View Post
    You're 100% correct about the deviations between the Soard and Leonard affiliated schools. My school in particular is affiliated with Leonard so maybe that's why we learn more applications. I've seen a lot of schools rush students through form to the point where they barely even know it well enough to pass their rank advancement. For example, to test from blue to green belt there are 5 forms you have to learn. One school I saw in particular would teach those 5 forms in a 3 month period to the point where students were learning the last bit of their last form maybe a week or so before their belt test. So they'd barely have even learned a form, test on it, pass their test, and then the next week was the first week of their new rank where they then started learning a NEW form already. And then the cycle just continues over and over again. That's why students don't ever learn application - because form is so heavily pushed to get to the next rank. Luckily with my school our instructor isn't as concerned with sticking to a particular timeline. He tells all of us that "You'll test when I feel you're ready and not before". I saw one student wait almost 9 months just to test from yellow belt to blue. I had a ton of respect for this kid. He was 16 and had a hard time learning in the beginning. But he didn't give up and even when he saw others he started with getting their next belts before him he still didn't give up and kept going. We do lose quite a few students because of this but I feel like it also means we have more serious students in our school than many do (at least in the SD schools).

    Most of the serious students do practice applications outside of class, in fact we have "free gym time" specifically for this reason where we can come in on our own time and work on whatever we want, but it honestly should be emphasized a LOT more inside of class as well. So in my school, a typical class is about an hour long. We start with a 5-10 minute warmup (pushups, squats, jumping jacks, stretching, etc), then do some punching and kicking drills for another 5-10 minutes, then work on form for 15-20 minutes, and then the rest of the class is usually spent working on applications from your forms, and then a quick cool-down. My instructor has always been willing and able to answer any application question given to him and he's always said that he doesn't hide knowledge; he wants to pass it on to us so then we can remind him of things when he's old LOL!

    Yes, the excess number of forms really does make it hard to ever become proficient enough in all of them to really "know" them. Anyone can memorize the movements of a form from beginning to end, but to me, you don't really KNOW a form until you can explain the applications of each movement and why it works the way it does. I've seen a lot of students in SD who can beautifully perform their forms. They can kick high, punch hard, get low into stances, etc, but when it comes to actually applying what they've learned in the form they're *mostly* clueless. I say mostly because a lot of them can give you some very basic applications from one or two forms but they're the very obvious ones anyway and even then half the time they aren't doing them correctly. I understand that there are many martial artists who don't necessarily "care" about learning applications or how to fight; they're doing it for the physical health benefits and to stay in shape, but this is still a martial art and you should still understand WHAT it is you're learning.

    Overall I think SD can be a good and effective system (I say system and not style) IF you have the right instructor who's willing to teach you correctly AND if you're a student who is there for the right reasons and not just wanting to look good in the black belt you got in 15 months. We had this kid years ago, who was maybe 11 or 12, and he kept talking about how he couldn't wait to get a black belt and once he was a black belt he'd be able to spar everyone and win, etc etc etc. I think he even complained a couple times that he didn't get to test when he had met the minimum requirements... I think he was maybe only a yellow belt at the time so he hadn't been there long anyway and I was only a couple months away from testing to first black. So one class my instructor told us to take off our belts and put them back in the locker room. We came back out to the mat in just our gi's and he had each of us do our form one at a time. Then we each sparred 1:1 with everyone in the class. Afterwards he told us "Now, how many of you were still able to do your forms just as well as you were before?" Everyone raised their hand. Then he said "How many of you felt just as comfortable sparring as you were before?" Again, everyone raised their hand. Then he said, "It's not the belt around your waist that makes you a good martial artist, it's what's in here (pointing to his head). If all you want is a black belt then go out and buy a black belt." Everyone's jaw just dropped. LOL from then on this kid never said a word about testing. He's still with us now and he's a very proficient martial artist. Once he stopped caring about the belts it was like his mind was suddenly able to be opened.

    How long did you train in SD Purple Dinosaur? Just curious
    I trained long enough to see all the core material for third black. I maybe was taught half those third black forms before I quit. The other half I wasnít taught but had seen other students do.

    You mentioned all the forms. One morning I woke up and thought "I really don't want to do any forms any more, ever." I skipped classes for a week and still felt that way. I called my instructor to tell him why I was quitting. He actually sighed and said something like "I feel that way too sometimes but I canít quit because itís my job."

    Wherever SD comes from, I agree that it can be good and even great *at what it does*.

    One of my classmates called SD a buffet because you get a buffet selection of:

    conditioning and flexibility

    stances, blocks, punches, kicks, and other movements that appear in every popular Westernized Asian martial art

    self defense

    short fighting techniques and combinations

    long empty hand and weapon forms

    light and in some places medium sparring if you want

    and internal arts.


    You get buffet breadth but not depth however. If you want depth, go somewhere specializing in what you want. And unfortunately you might have to unlearn some of what you learned in SD.

    That was my personal experience with tai chi after SD. I had to unlearn. Other posters on this forum have reported similar experiences.

    In SDís defense, literally 9 of the 10 schools offering tai chi within driving distance from me offer worse tai chi than SD. Itís either ďmeditation in motionĒ or New Age crap or senior citizen recreation or no martial application wushu flavor despite good lineage. But the 10th school is just better in every way.

    Anyhow, as you say, the instructor makes a huge difference for SD and any martial art. So depending where SD students live, they will be lucky or not depending on their local instructor. The material is basically the same.

    Of the teachers I saw, the Leonard school instructors were better than the Soard ones in my experience. And Bill Leonard himself always impressed me more than the Soards themselves did. I only went to one Soard festival (those were all-day form seminars) and that might have been the worst SD experience of my life.

  9. #19989
    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Dinosaur View Post

    In SDís defense, literally 9 of the 10 schools offering tai chi within driving distance from me offer worse tai chi than SD. Itís either ďmeditation in motionĒ or New Age crap or senior citizen recreation or no martial application wushu flavor despite good lineage. But the 10th school is just better in every way.
    I bet the tai chi instructor you found learned kung fu before learning tai chi...

  10. #19990
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    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    I bet the tai chi instructor you found learned kung fu before learning tai chi...
    That happened in a way.

    When my tai chi instructor first learned tai chi, he had no kung fu training and wasn't interested in the martial side or kung fu.

    Then he found a new teacher who made him relearn tai chi from zero and also made him do tai chi martial applications and learn some kung fu (stances punches kicks and some forms).

    My instructor said the martial lessons combined with his new teacher's emphasis on foundational tai chi principles led to huge improvements in his own tai chi.

  11. #19991
    Quote Originally Posted by Royal Dragon View Post
    Is this discussion STILL going on?

    It's like a 20+ year old thread! WOW!
    Haha, yeah, pretty crazy, right?

  12. #19992
    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Dinosaur View Post
    I trained long enough to see all the core material for third black. I maybe was taught half those third black forms before I quit. The other half I wasnít taught but had seen other students do.

    You mentioned all the forms. One morning I woke up and thought "I really don't want to do any forms any more, ever." I skipped classes for a week and still felt that way. I called my instructor to tell him why I was quitting. He actually sighed and said something like "I feel that way too sometimes but I canít quit because itís my job."

    Wherever SD comes from, I agree that it can be good and even great *at what it does*.

    One of my classmates called SD a buffet because you get a buffet selection of:

    conditioning and flexibility

    stances, blocks, punches, kicks, and other movements that appear in every popular Westernized Asian martial art

    self defense

    short fighting techniques and combinations

    long empty hand and weapon forms

    light and in some places medium sparring if you want

    and internal arts.


    You get buffet breadth but not depth however. If you want depth, go somewhere specializing in what you want. And unfortunately you might have to unlearn some of what you learned in SD.

    That was my personal experience with tai chi after SD. I had to unlearn. Other posters on this forum have reported similar experiences.

    In SDís defense, literally 9 of the 10 schools offering tai chi within driving distance from me offer worse tai chi than SD. Itís either ďmeditation in motionĒ or New Age crap or senior citizen recreation or no martial application wushu flavor despite good lineage. But the 10th school is just better in every way.

    Anyhow, as you say, the instructor makes a huge difference for SD and any martial art. So depending where SD students live, they will be lucky or not depending on their local instructor. The material is basically the same.

    Of the teachers I saw, the Leonard school instructors were better than the Soard ones in my experience. And Bill Leonard himself always impressed me more than the Soards themselves did. I only went to one Soard festival (those were all-day form seminars) and that might have been the worst SD experience of my life.
    You make some very good points Purple Dinosaur. I do agree that you get somewhat of an overview of various systems rather than an in-depth study of a specific system in most cases; however, you really CAN dedicate yourself to deep-diving into the forms to learn more of what they're about than just the tip of the iceberg that's taught for rank advancement. I basically had a very similar revelation as you one day when I decided I just didn't want to learn any more forms. I actually get tht feeling from a lot of current and former SD students that they feel the same way as well. I do enjoy working with what I've got and spending time learning/discovering more applications in the forms I care most about. I really don't care much for the weapons forms and never really have other than staff.

    Again, I really think SD's biggest weakness (other than the clearly false history) is the way it's taught. Take out half the forms it takes to get to black belt, increase the time in-between rank tests, require more practice/knowledge of application (especially to get an instructor certificate), and have regular sparring practice, and I think it would be more respectable than it seems to be.

    The Tai Chi in SD intrigues me because it's NOTHING like any Tai Chi I've seen anywhere before. Again, this doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing, but it's interesting that it's totally different. I have learned various applications from it and enjoy practicing it but I feel as though it isn't "authentic" as such. It's definitely good to do though during my "recovery days" or as a good warmup/cool down exercise and just something to kind of settle down and relax your mind once in a while. And yeah, the only Tai Chi school within driving distance of me is that New Age crap you mentioned so I think the SD wins over that one, LOL!

    I also keep in contact with many friends from different martial arts systems and get together with them to cross train once in a while. Not ever as a formal class but mostly to bounce ideas off of one another and see what they have to think about an application. I may show them a piece of a form and the application I came up with from it and ask them how they would interpret it with the philosophy of their style. It's a really fun and informative exercise that I think anyone can benefit from.

  13. #19993
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    the thread goes on and on

    Quote Originally Posted by JCBG View Post
    Haha, yeah, pretty crazy, right?
    It is amazing. I hope the thread continues until we have all the answers!

    For example

    Was there a GM Su and if not, who is the hairy guy in the photo? People say the Netherlands martial arts school with some roots in Chung Yen also has GM Su pictures. That suggests that GM Ie or someone else from Chung Yen and not GM Sin is the source if it is fake. One poster says GM Su is really Li Baoshu from the 1920s (google the image but add the word "hairy" or else you get a lot of pictures of an author).

    Was GM Ie the brothersí grandfather and what year did he die but more importantly why would the brothers have different answers to these two questions?

    What material did GM Sin learn before coming to America? We know from his translated certificate he learned certain schools and forms. We know the specialties of each of the masters at his Indonesian school. American students who visited Indonesia saw Indonesians perform some of the forms taught in the US. Hiang The teaches some material in his Kentucky school that includes some material GM Sin claims to have created (such as some of the pre-first-black material, thatís from one of the depositions, according to a couple of earlier posts on this forum). And there is the Netherlands connection from the Dutch martial artist who learned forms from Chung Yen at the Indonesia school.

    I donít think we will hear from either of the only two people who could give definitive answers that would silence everyone.

  14. #19994
    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Dinosaur View Post
    It is amazing. I hope the thread continues until we have all the answers!

    For example

    Was there a GM Su and if not, who is the hairy guy in the photo? People say the Netherlands martial arts school with some roots in Chung Yen also has GM Su pictures. That suggests that GM Ie or someone else from Chung Yen and not GM Sin is the source if it is fake. One poster says GM Su is really Li Baoshu from the 1920s (google the image but add the word "hairy" or else you get a lot of pictures of an author).

    Was GM Ie the brothers’ grandfather and what year did he die but more importantly why would the brothers have different answers to these two questions?

    What material did GM Sin learn before coming to America? We know from his translated certificate he learned certain schools and forms. We know the specialties of each of the masters at his Indonesian school. American students who visited Indonesia saw Indonesians perform some of the forms taught in the US. Hiang The teaches some material in his Kentucky school that includes some material GM Sin claims to have created (such as some of the pre-first-black material, that’s from one of the depositions, according to a couple of earlier posts on this forum). And there is the Netherlands connection from the Dutch martial artist who learned forms from Chung Yen at the Indonesia school.

    I don’t think we will hear from either of the only two people who could give definitive answers that would silence everyone.
    I doubt we'll ever have ALL the answers but hopefully we can get close.

    1. I personally doubt there was ever a GM Su. It just doesn't make sense to me and if he was as talented as he supposedly was then you could pretty much assume that there would be much more info on him and he'd be very well known. The fact remains though that there are VERY few people in the martial arts community outside of SD actually know who he (supposedly) is. I can't remember the dates he seemingly lived but the only picture you ever see of him was taken with an actual camera (as opposed to being a drawing or painting) so he must have lived not too terribly long ago. If he was the martial arts prodigy GM Sin makes him out to be then he would/should be as famous as someone like IP Man, whom EVERYONE knows.

    2. The debate as to whether or not GM Ie is the brothers' grandfather or not perplexes me as each of them give a different story. On one hand, you'd think it would ADD some credibility to the system if GM Ie was their grandfather as it would show direct lineage to the art. In the early days a lot of family's systems were passed down through the generations to their children so that could make the story more believable. On the other hand, some would see him being their grandfather as giving LESS credibility to the system. It's really difficult to say for sure but I tend to believe that he is, mostly because Huang seems to be a little more forthcoming with his information.

    3. It's really hard to say for sure what material he learned before coming to America but it almost certainly wasn't "traditional" Shaolin martial arts. I say this because after having been involved with the system over many years I see a lot of Shotokan Karate, Taekwondo, and tiny amounts of "Kung Fu" elements inter-weaved into the material. Maybe a few bits and pieces of some of the other karate styles like Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu as well... SD is basically an American style of Karate in my opinion. This wouldn't be a bad thing if GM Sin was honest about its origins. There are many successful American Karate schools around the country from instructors who decided to just create their own systems. After all, *technically* all systems were made up by somebody at some point. Even Bruce Lee completely created Jeet Kune Do. The difference was he was honest about it from the beginning and didn't rely on heavily fabricated stories to push his school. Seeing as how GM Sin claims to have been a fifth degree black belt (which from what I can tell so far, IS true), when he came to America, this would also support the theory that he didn't learn traditional Shaolin martial arts since most, if not all schools at that time didn't have ranks or belts.

    We'll likely never have every answer we want unless for some reason GM Sin suddenly has a change of heart and decides to come forward and tell the truth about the true origins of SD. Still, for me at least, this doesn't take away the effectiveness of the system if practiced correctly, but it DOES definitely make it look bad.
    Last edited by JCBG; 10-02-2020 at 07:50 AM.

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