The realms of Possibilities!
Some stories than can give a glimpse of what is possible and can give some insight into real IMA...i have tired to find stories that are not completely in the realms of fantasy but rather things that, i believe, are attainable.
Yang Luchan (taijiquan)
Having refined his martial skill to an extremely high level, Yang Lu Chan came to be known as Yang Wu Di (杨无敌, Yang the Invincible). After emerging from Chenjiagou, Yang became famous for never losing a match and never seriously injuring his opponents. Several noteworthy episodes worth mentioning illustrate his level of attainment:
The House of Prince Duan, one of the royal families in the capital, employed a large number of boxing masters and wrestlers -- some of which were anxious to have a trial of strength with Yang Luchan. Invariably, Yang politely declined their challenges. One day, a famous boxing master of high prestige insisted on competing with Yang to see who was the stronger. The boxer suggested that they sit on two chairs and pit their right fists against each other. Yang Luchan had no choice but to agree. Shortly after the contest began, Duan's boxing master started to sweat all over and his chair creaked as if it were going to fall apart; Yang however looked as composed and serene as ever. Finally rising, Yang commented in a gentle tone to the onlookers: "The Master's skill is indeed superb, only his chair is not as firmly made as mine." The other master was so moved by Yang's modesty that he never failed to praise his exemplary conduct and unmatched martial skill.
Once while fishing at a lake, two other martial artists hoped to push Yang in the water and ruin his reputation. Yang -- sensing the attacker's intention -- arched his chest, rounded his back, and executed the High Pat on Horse technique. As his back arched and head bowed, the two attackers were bounced into the water simultaneously. He then said to them that he would be easy on them today; but if they were on the ground, he would have punished them more severely. The two attackers quickly swam away.
Yang was invited to the abode of a rich man in Beijing called Chang who had heard of Yang's great skills to demonstrate his art. Yang Lu Chan was small of build and did not look like a boxer, when Chang saw him, he thought little of his ability and so served him a very simple dinner. Yang Lu Chan was fully aware of his host's thoughts but continued to behave like an honoured guest. Chang later questioned if Yang's Tai Ch'i, being so soft, could defeat people. Given that he invited Yang on the basis of his reputation as a great fighter, this question was clearly a veiled insult. Yang replied that there were only three kinds of people he could not defeat: men of brass, men of iron and men of wood. Chang invited out his best bodyguard by the name of Liu to test Yang's skill. Liu entered aggressively and attacked Yang. Yang, employing only a simple yielding technique, threw Liu across the yard. Chang was very impressed and immediately ordered a banquet to be prepared for Yang.
When Yang was at Guangping, he often fought with people on the castle wall. One opponent was unable to defend against Yang's attacks and kept on retreating to the edge of the wall. Yang's opponent, unable to keep his balance began to fall over the edge. At the instant before the opponent fell, Yang, from about thirty feet away, leaped forward, caught the opponent's foot and saved him from falling to his death.
One day a monk arrived unannounced at his doorstep in Peking, powerfully built and over 6 feet tall. The monk saluted and expressed his great admiration. But during Master Yang´s reply the monk suddenly shot at him like a cannonball with clenched fists. Master Yang evaded with his chest and lightly patted the attackers fist with his own soft palm, and as if struck by a bolt of lightning the monk flew back to land behind a wallscreen. Taking a long amount of time to get up, he said very solemn : I´ve been extremely rude, please forgive me ! Master Yang still invited the monk in for a chat. His name was Ching-Te, he was a shaolin boxer. The Monk asked: Why was I surprised and unable to display my prowess? Master Yang replied : This is because I´m always on my guard. The Monk asked: How were you able to respond so quickly? Master Yang said: It is called issuing energy like shooting an arrow (Fa Jing). The Monk said: I´ve roamed many provinces and met many masters, but I´ve never met your equal, Sir. Please teach me. Master Yang did not reply at once, but saw a sparrow fly in through the window. He quickly caught the bird and said to the monk: I´m going to play a bit with this bird. He removed his left hand after stroking the bird to assure it he would not hurt it, and let it sit freely on his right. When the bird tried to take off , it could not, for Master Yang listened to its ever so slight energy in straightening its legs to push off, and lowered his hand accordingly, making it impossible for the sparrow to take off, even as his wings were beating. After the bird tried this for 3 times, the Monk exclaimed: Master Yang your art is truly miraculous! to which Master Yang replied: There is nothing to be called miraculous; if one practises Tai Chi correctly for a long time, the entire body becomes so light and sensitive that not even the weight of a feather can be added without setting the whole body in motion, and not even a fly can set off. This is all there is to it. - The monk stayed for 3 days, then quietly departed.
Takeda Sokaku (Daitoryu)
His strong posture with his feet spaced a little apart made him appear really large. His eyes were blood-curdling as they stared at his best student. A moment later his opponent attacked him with all his might. He ended up on the floor having been thrown easily by Takeda Sensei whose shout was like a bolt of lightening.
The student then uttered, "I surrender."
The technique was so perfectly executed it left one somewhat unsatisfied. I was shown about ten matches of this type but the techniques were so quickly applied I couldn't see how he managed the throws or pinned his adversary to the point he wasn't even able to moan.
"It looks like a rigged match, doesn't it."
"Yes, it does," I blurted out without thinking.
"Have you ever practiced ‘yawara' (jujutsu techniques)? Stand up."
I stood up.
"Squeeze my neck tightly."
I am a pretty large fellow and I strangled him with all my might. Then, he said, "Are you ready now?" As soon as I heard him shout, my hands, which were around his neck, felt as if they were broken. He then asked me to grab his right arm with both my hands and to push against his chest and various other things. I did as I was told and was thrown without understanding how he did it. He pinned my neck and both arms with his legs as if tying a knot. My arms felt almost like they were broken and I was out of breath.
When I looked up at Master Takeda from my vantage point on the floor he had his arms folded across his chest and was saying to his student, "Hey, the tea has been spilt!" I couldn't believe it!
When Takeda Sensei applied Sankajo on a certain 6th Dan in Judo, his tenouchi was such that he ran the man in circles around the dojo while the judoka was unable to neither get up or fall down. He was caught in a manner where he could apply no power. Of course, this was not something that could be done by anyone else at the time so it became the thing of legends
Morihei Ueshiba and Tenryu (sumo wrestler) (Daitoryu/Aikido)
Ueshiba Sensei brought Mr. (Noriaki) Inoue with him. After they showed some techniques,Ueshiba Sensei said: "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man." However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, "Yes, I will try". Ueshiba Sensei replied: "You are Mr. Tenryu, aren't you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won't be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: "You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!"
I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn't just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn't move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down.
Chen Fake (Taijiquan)
Master Chen Fake decided to show the principles of Chen Style push hands with master Liu Musan. On initial touching, the students already saw the difference. Master Liu acted like an invalid infant. He could not hold his stance. Master Chen declared that he would within one minute put master Liu in a chair that was situated far away from them in the corner of the courtyard. Master would fall into the wicker chair. If the chair fell down, or master Liu fell down outside of the chair, Chen would admit defeat. This was an outlandish claim. Chen Fake was not talking about ability to fight at all. He was talking about precision only.
A martial art instructor had been hired by the district administration prior to Chen. When he heard Chen had arrived, he went to challenge him. Chen was sitting on the left side of the ‘bashen table', a Chinese table enabling 8 people to seat around it, which was inside the main chamber of the house. In his left hand Chen was holding a bag containing tobacco and in his right a paper fire-lighter. The martial art instructor entered the house, stepped forward and punched Chen with his right fist while at the same time shouting, "See how you deal with this!" Chen had seen him entering the house, and was half way standing up to welcome him, when the punch reached his chest. Chen intercepted the fist with his own right wrist and pushed slightly forward. His opponent was sent flying backward out of the door and landed on his back. Chen returned to his room, packed up and left with no farewells.
The following taken from Hong Junsheng's book:
When we practiced tuishou with Master Chen, where the body touched didn't feel any power or strength but also when you practiced the action, you felt he had a very powerful spirit/strength, like you were going to be blown away by a big wind. When Master Chen used "cai" or "lu" even the hand he used to do this didn't feel like it had any strength in it and you couldn't help but follow his movements. When his hand turned a little bit his "chansijin" has already reached my hand, shoulder, waist and feet. If you used power to push back you will naturally spring back without any feeling. Just like strength passing through your cloths, I personally saw Xu Yusheng , Li Jianhua and others being bounced up several feet and fall down.
When Master Chen met someone who was very strong or powerful he would "fajin" instantly and with tiny movements all of this used the waist, groin, knee, hand and naturally "Chansijin" all connected properly. Thus the power is incredibly strong. The defender's balance will be broken and he will be thrown back so even if he tried to regain his centre by jumping back 3 times he will still be thrown to the ground. If Master Chen was in a playful mood he would draw 2 lines on the ground and predict where his opponent will jump back to and where he will fall down. He did this many times and never failed! Even if the person was "yin" and fell forward the opponents "jin" from waist to head would make him flip head over heels in the air and fall on the ground.
Hong Junsheng (taijiquan)
Once he was practicing taijiquan applications with a student on one side of a building which was about the size of three bedrooms in total. Hong's wife was squatting down in the middle of the
room to do some housework. The student attacked with his right fist, Hong then used the hand intercepting technique from the first posture of Chen style taijiquan routine - "Buddha pounds the mortar" (jin-gang dao dui), where one hand was used to intercept the opponent's wrist and the other hand to intercept the elbow. As soon as Hong used his right hand to intercept the external side of the student's wrist, the student was sent flying over Hong's wife, falling at the other end of the room about 5 to 6 meters away from his original position. This gave Hong's wife a shock. From then on, whenever Hong practiced push-hands with someone, she would walk off the area. Hong said that this student was originally a practitioner of the xingyiquan (form and mind boxing). That particular punch from him was extremely powerful and swift, and consequently he was bounced back in such a long distance.
On another occasion, my martial arts brother, Mr. Jiang Jia-jun, came to Jinan from Xuzhou to visit Grandmaster Hong. Jiang previously trained under many famous Chen style taijiquan teachers like Master Chen Zhao-pi (1892 -1973, 18th generation of the Chen family), Master Chen Zhao-kui (1928 - 1981, 18th generation of the Chen family,son of great Grandmaster Chen Fa-ke) and Master Chen Jin-ao (18th generation of the Chen Family, learnt taijiquan from Chen Xin). Jiang later learnt taijiquan from Grandmaster Hong. Jiang also raised some questions regarding push-hands. This time Hong and Jiang were in a bigger room. No matter what techniques Jiang used, once his both hands used force, Hong turned his body and Jiang was being controlled and was put into a disadvantaged position.
Sometimes Hong stepped forward. Jiang was being uprooted and thrown off one to two meters away. As Jiang used more force and became quicker, he was being uprooted faster and was thrown away even further. The sounds from both of his feet as he landed on the ground became louder. However, Jiang could still maintain his body in an upright position, as if he was ready to attack again. It was very fascinating and amusing to watch. I started to laugh loudly.
Before I met Grandmaster Hong, I read an article by Jiang regarding his push-hands experience with Hong in 1971. In the article, it was stated that "When I pushed hands with Grandmaster Hong, I always felt as if my hands were shorter, whereas the hands of Grandmaster Hong's seemed to be longer'. I inadvertently asked Hong, 'If the opponent suddenly push you against your chest, can you counter without using hand techniques ?'. Hong smiled and then said,
'You can try me with force and I will not use my hands to intercept'. With a puzzling mind, I then really pushed Hong's chest abruptly with great power. I felt that my hands were pushing against a wall of springs. Suddenly I was being sprung and pushed back about 4 to 5 meters away. After this incident, I was so scared that my whole body began to perspire".
Sagawa Yukiyoshi (Daitoryu)
One day during November of '85, a certain Shihan from one of the modern Budo associations came to enroll into Sagawa Sensei's Dojo. He claimed that he had held down the people most central to his style, and even the head of the organization was unable to raise his hands when held down by him. But he found in the Sagawa Dojo, it was he who was handled quite easily by all the students. This person had studied non Japanese martial arts before, and had a habit of
taking a peculiar stance. Sagawa Sensei said of this "That's no good, Get en guarde." But as soon as he put his hands up, Sagawa Sensei would cause him to catapult several meters back after seemingly barely touching his hands. Perhaps it was the bitterness of this that caused him to do this, but he suddenly launched himself at Sagawa Sensei and grabbed his wrist very strongly with both hands. At that very instant Sagawa Sensei's reaction was of a Bujutsuka personified. The man plunged headfirst and cracked his head on the tatami.
The suddenness surprised him so much that he had no time to take ukemi, causing him to crack his head. He cradled his head, his face contorted with pain.
(Sagawa Sensei had me punch his stomach so I gave it my all) Sagawa Sensei did not dodge it at all, instead I felt my <fist> make contact with his belly which felt extremely soft, and in the next instant I felt myself flung backwards several meters with my arm still extended. He didn't use his hands or feet at all. "When I was younger I would often have my students rush me from afar and have them strike my stomach. I would try many things <in this way>." Some of the inner
students would exclaim "But didn't it hurt?!" to which he would reply "Of course not. There's plenty of ways <to deal with that>"
The following happened the first day I met Sagawa sensei (Nov 28, 1978, 4:00pm.)
"Grab me firmly by the chest."
I had no idea what would happen, but I still grabbed Sensei's sweater. I did not grab his body, only his sweater. In that instant the teacher made an almost imperceptible motion, and I found myself lying on the floor. I had no idea what had just happened, and in fact thought that it was a fluke. I then asked him
"Let me try one more time please" and this time made sure to put power in my legs and took a posture so I could resist him in the best way possible. However, it ended in the same result, with Sensei not using his hands and his body barely moving.
"I'm very sorry, let me try one more time." I said, and so saying tried again and again without success, despite changing the manner in which I resisted. I never felt anything actually happening to me, but before I knew it, I was always deposited <on the floor>. No matter how I thought about it, I couldn't think of how he could send power to his sweater, of all things. This was indeed amazing.
Dong Haichuan (Baguazhang)
Dong stretched out his right arm and said, "Attack me!" Yin punched like lighting, but the moment that his arm made contact with Dong's, his punch was deflected and Dong's right hand followed with a thrust to Yin's mouth which knocked out his front teeth. The tobacco pouch was still gently nestled in Dong's left hand where it had been at the onset of the action.
Yin Fu (Baguazhang)
In his school, Yin Fu was developing the reputation of the thin, stern, new teacher with the calm and deliberate attitude. This reputation brought martial arts master Yang Chun Feng to Yin Fu's door. Yang's reputation was fading and he hoped to enhance it at the expense of Yin. Yin confused Yang by politely inviting him in for tea and highly praising Yang's martial reputation. Yang decided that this man was decidedly too calm to actually fight with, so he proposed a martial contest instead. In this contest, Yin would demonstrate his famous defensive footwork, by letting Yang attack him while Yin's hands were tied behind his back. Yin agreed! Yang Chun Feng began with controlled attacks, but as it became apparent that he couldn't get near Yin, his frustration grew. Soon, Yang was attacking full blast and yet he still couldn't lay a hand on Yin Fu. Yang tried his best technique, The Poison Hand, but still to no effect. Eventually Yang collapsed on the ground from sheer exhaustion. When he could speak again, Yang begged to become Yin's student and Yin agreed.
Yin Fu's reputation grew to such a height that when a local wrestler, named Hei Hu, became such a bully as to be recognized as a neighborhood nuisance, Yin Fu was called upon to discipline the young man. When they met, Hu was dismayed to find his opponent to be such a thin man. Hu entered quickly and grabbed Yin's arm, anticipating an easy throw. Yin countered by seizing Hu's wrist between his thumb and index finger and using his internal strength in the Iron Bracelet. Hei Hu fell screaming to his knees and begged to become Yin Fu's student. As a gentleman, Yin Fu accepted him.
Not long after, a contingent of Yin's students came to him to complain about the behavior of Hei Hu. It seemed that Hei was still acting like a bully, just not to Yin Fu. In the next class, Yin Fu called on Hei Hu to assist him in a demonstration of technique. Hei attacked with lighting speed. Yin, Pa Kua side-stepped and applied force in the direction that Hei was already headed; sending Hei, in a shower of splinters, through a window with closed shutters. Hei picked himself up off the ground and climbed back in the window, stating, "The skill of my teacher is very difficult to anticipate!" From that point, Hei Hu became one of Yin's most modest students
Cheng Tinghua (Baguazhang)
Because of his many Hsing-I friendships, Cheng received a visit from "The Divine Crushing Fist", Hsing-I master, Kuo Yun-Shen. Kuo was the famous master of Half-Step Crushing Fist, which had sent many men to heaven, hence it was known as Divine. Kuo had spent time in prison for killing an opponent without first checking his political connections. During his confinement, Kuo practiced his Half-Step Crushing Fist while dragging his ball and chain along. When he was released his primary technique was more powerful than ever. Now he wanted to test his skill against the famous Pa Kua of Tung Hai Chuan, but first he wanted to talk to Cheng, an impartial Pa Kua boxer.
Over dinner, Kuo expounded his theory that Half-Step Crushing Fist could defeat everyone under heaven. Cheng begged to differ that Pa Kua Chang might be of, not under heaven and Tung Hai Chuan was not like ordinary men. Kuo tried to demonstrate his hand speed, but found his hand pinned to the table by Cheng's chopsticks. Infuriated, Kuo marched out into Cheng's garden and challenged Cheng to come out and taste the power of his Crushing Fist. As Cheng cleared the door, Kuo exploded at him. Cheng was suddenly behind him. Kuo wheeled and again exploded with crushing fist. Cheng effortlessly circled behind him and calmly went back in the house. He then called for Kuo to come in and finish dinner with him. His rage spent, Kuo complied. As they finished dinner Cheng explained that he didn't want to really fight the famous Kuo Yun Shen, but that if he could avoid two of Kuo's blows, perhaps Kuo shouldn't risk his unbeaten record on Master Tung. It was only because they were all from Hebei province that he didn't want to see anyone's reputation tarnished. Kuo thanked him, rethought his position and returned to Hebei province.
Cheng also became known for his ability to make the best out of a bad situation and to make a friend out of an enemy. While teaching basic circle walking to his students, one afternoon, Cheng was interrupted by the laughter and heckling of a rather large young man. "This is kung fu? It looks like a blind man feeling fish" bellowed the young giant. He was known as "Tiger Zhou" and was from the south end school of Wang Shen. Wang was a famous swordsman who was called "Fast Broadsword Wang". He had faced ten martial masters of Beijing, and they had all tasted his sword blade. Reaching the position of Wang's number one student had made the Tiger quite confident.
"Strong Gentleman, please bestow a lesson upon us", called Cheng. Zhou looked with disdain at the short middle-aged man with the glasses. "I'll show you something!", he arrogantly quipped. He then walked over to a huge stone plaque, which was half buried in the ground, and with a grunt, he wrapped his arms around it and pushed the thousand pound stone over. Cheng looked over at the Tiger and said, "You're certainly a strong young fellow, but I don't think that you could push an old fellow like myself."
Zhou couldn't believe his ears.
Cheng continued, "If you can push me I will bow to you as my teacher!"
"Today, I accept an old disciple." countered Zhou. The Tiger pushed Cheng three times in rapid succession, but to no effect. An infuriated Zhou, screamed and attacked. The stocky man seemed to simply raise his palm and Zhou shot away and fell to the ground.
Wang Peisheng (taijiquan)
Wang fought many times, even at his young age, and by age fifteen he had already beaten many people, even a few famous masters. One of the
early stories about him was in regards to a saying: "Don't let your big mouth get you in trouble with the young boy." One day, while walking around Tian An
Men Square, he saw a large group of people watching some masters practicing martial arts. So he stopped to watch as well. One of the masters said that
no one can move his feet even one inch. No one else present challenged that, since they knew from experience that this was true. But the young Wang
never let a chance go by to try out his techniques. Many in the audience laughed because they did not believe this young boy could do anything. But he
surprised everyone by throwing the older master back three times. From that point on, in this area, people began to say: "Be careful, never have a big
mouth, or you may run into a certain young boy."
Hope you enjoyed the above, i belive that with correct dilligent practice all of the above are attainable, the reason that there are more Chinese gents mentioned that Japanese is simply because i come from a taijiquan back ground myself and so simply don't know many stories about IJMA. So feel free to add...
Re: The realms of Possibilities!
Try this one: it is simply about the meshing of jin forces, aka "aiki":
Re: The realms of Possibilities!
A fun read, thanks Allan.
Re: The realms of Possibilities!
Re: The realms of Possibilities!
Ah, Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies!
I remember it, well .. erm, I think I remember ...
It was the Seventies after all.
What were we talking about?
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