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Rick meets Grand Master Fu

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
This last weekend I was fortunate enough to find a small window in my hectic schedule to meet Rick and get some quality time with Grand Master Fu. Rick had three days in and around Master Fu teaching various levels of Tai Chi and very a very high level Kung Fu system, Pa Kua.

So now Rick has seen waist steering up close and personal, has seen what the term "Shake the waist" means.

It would be interesting to hear Rick's report on his experience as it relates to "Waiststeering Revisted".

Personally I was amazed at the power Master Fu possessed and the fluidity of his movements. Again, I am very fortunate to have had my private lesson with him, he gave me years of concepts to work on in 90 minutes. His ending comments to me with a hearty laugh was "you need to practice to relax, relax, relax". No kidding!
post #2 of 23
Yep, that's right, I've just returned from a weekend of instruction with Master Fu. Tommy brought Fu down to Park City from his home in Vancouver to conduct a seminar for his (Tommy's) students, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a trip over to meet Tommy and Gary, and to start my exploration of Tai Chi.

First, I want to say that the whole trip was a pleasure. Tommy and Gary are great guys, and any of you who come out to train with us at one of our camps are going to find their enthusiasm for the sport and for what we're teaching motivational and contagious.

As far as the Tai chi, it was my first introduction, and I've come away from it with renewed empathy for the trials and tribulations of new skiers. The arm goes here, the hand here, the foot turns this way, knees out, hollow the chest, tuck the pelvis, chin back, breath, balance, step this way, look that way, weight goes here, lead with the waist, flow your movements, etc, etc, etc. Then after all that you get, "why are you so tense, relax, relax."

Seriously though, it was much fun even though attempting to learn a few weeks worth of progressions in a couple days left me kind of dizzy. It's a great experience for us instructors to learn totally new skills from the ground floor every so often. It's humbling, and it allows us to better relate to the mental and physical hurdles our students encounter every day.

As far as the waist skills are concerned, the concept is very simple. The waist is the engine that powers all movements. Power is not generated from the ground, it comes from the bodies core. Without trying to explain this too much, it's an art of opposites that creates an internal level of power beyond what can be created through a ground levered action, while leaving the body in a post move state of superior balance. The implications for skiing are significant.

I hope you'll all come out and train with us this season in this new exploration. You don't have to travel to do it. Just organize an interested group at your home area and we will come to you. This stuff is very effective and fascinating. And it's ground floor.
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
... As far as the Tai chi, it was my first introduction, and I've come away from it with renewed empathy for the trials and tribulations of new skiers. The arm goes here, the hand here, the foot turns this way, knees out, hollow the chest, tuck the pelvis, chin back, breath, balance, step this way, look that way, weight goes here, lead with the waist, flow your movements, etc, etc, etc. Then after all that you get, "why are you so tense, relax, relax." ...
Best lesson I ever received on how to teach beginners (or more appropriately what it feels like to be a beginner) was my one and only snowboarding lesson with Lowell Hart at Jay Peak in 1988. The memory has remained vivid to this very day and effects how I handle myself with every beginner class.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

The Crux

Quote:
Power is not generated from the ground, it comes from the bodies core. - Rick
What a fabulous observation. What is interesting is how Grand Master Fu (GMF) gets you to "see" how the power released from the waist in coordination with proper breathing (Dan Tien) fires power down to the ground then back up to the top of the head or, if so desired, out to the arms and hands.

GMF is a probably 5'7" and I'm guessing 150 Lbs, he can deliver a punch of a man twice his size with no effort and with lightening speed - total relaxation. He demonstrated a straight punch for me that was reminiscent of Bruce Lee, the power he delivered to the end of the throw was unimaginable and would cut a guy my size down - easily. Having 30 years background in MA I was no stranger to the straight punch (no turn of the body in delivery) but how he generates his power from his waist down to the floor then back out the arm is so evident when he is standing right in front of you.

I have seen much discussion of how many coaches and instructors analyze from the feet up. I analyze from the waist down to the feet then back up. A slight twist but significant.

Rick's observation above is very note worthy and I will bet that Rick will never look at a skier the same again.
post #5 of 23

Many Definitions and Descriptions

As a practical matter, I want to make a point that there are just as many, probably more, debates within martial arts as there is within skiing, regarding technique and fundamentals. I studied martial arts for 16 years, earning 2 black belts, one a second dan (degree). I also competed and trained amateur and professional kickboxers. I have studied Shorei Ryu Karate and Aikido, both black belts, and also Chinese Kenpo, Shotokan, and Jeet Kun Do.

Each of these has variations to what they teach because their belief in the "absolute" fundamentals and the importance of them varies. The other thing that is rarely brought up is that a large amount of mysticism is mixed in with kinesiology. Power of the "mind" is highly emphasized, sometimes at the expense of physical reality. Most martial arts have their foundation in the study of nature and particularly animals. Shaolin Monks would observe animals and insects for years on end and try to simulate their movements, particularly in survival and combat situations. When I hear a description such as Rick's, it only reinforces that observation, as much of what he describes as an "art", would leave an athletic trainer scratching their head for a biomechanical method to actually train someone in that fashion.

Most professional athletic trainers and coaches would argue with the premise that the waist holds more power in all things than the legs. Quarterbacks, Long Snappers, Pitchers, and Basketball players all derive the essential power from the ground through the proper use of the legs. If you want to argue that the power actually starts in the waist and is transmitted to the ground and then back up, that's fine, but you will be arguing a belief system, not quantifiable science. Otherwise we need to make double leg amputees compete against non disabled shotputters. Since the power is derived in the waist, it can be transmitted through any device to the ground and back up.

That said I do agree that core strength is an important and often overlooked element in sports, particularly in relation to balance. Martial Arts is a valuable way to improve balance and improve body control while increasing awareness of physical feedback within the body. I believe it was a critical element for me to reach high levels of succes in other sports, college football and basketball, semi pro and arena football, and most importantly skiing. But you can't simply redefine other activities through the lens of a particular martial art. Especially since you don't even have consensus of application of biomechanical absolutes within martial arts.

Are there absolutes? Sure. But those transcend the activity and reside in laws of physics and kinesiology, and reality. Tommy makes mention of what I perceive as a core tenent of what he teaches for skiing as "the outward rotation of the knee joint". He bases that on the principles of Tai Chi. Yet I have studied and observed many other martial arts that teach foundational stances with inward rotation of at least one leg, such as the "front stance" taught in some form by the majority of martial art styles. My preferred fighting stance in over 200 tournament and full contact fights was this very stance, with inward rotation of the front leg. With less than 10 losses I would say I had some success.

Rick mentions being enlightened to what a new skier goes through with his introduction to Tai Chi and Gary mentioned Bruce Lee. Yet Bruce Lee railed against this kind of regimentation as a method of mastering martial arts. Gary talked about Bruce Lee and I assume what Bruce described as the "1 inch power punch". Yet even in the book Bruce Lee wrote describing how to develop this punch, he highly emphasized developing this power from the legs, as well as a huge amount of mental rituals with a foundation in Eastern mysticism, particularly Buddhism.

Just a Note:

I have purposely avoided the issue of waisteering and the 20 pages of thread as before. I have read through about half of this thread and found some interesting concepts and some questionable. (obviously all of TCS's post fall into the latter). I will reserve judgement of the finished product until there is one. Martial Arts may improve someones skiing, as well as other sports, but let's be realistic about Martial Arts redefining skiing as a whole.
post #6 of 23
Mike C, thanks for that interesting insight. It helps me with my interpretation of all of this new (and often confusing) information. Thanks.
post #7 of 23
Thanks for your input, Mike.

From my short but intense intro to Fu style Tai Chi, and in a broader sense the Martial Arts, I very much concur with your observations about the debate that takes place between individual discipline's. I saw some of it first hand this weekend. But that's really not a critical factor in what we're trying to do here.

We are not attempting to redefine across the board the core fundamentals of skiing. What we're doing is incorporating the central elements of Fu style Tai Chi, mainly the waist skills, in a way that acts as a supplement to the foundation skills and enhances end performance levels in skiing. The efficient application of waist skills can be added to the skill package of skiers at every level, from the first timer to the racer, with immediate and noticeably positive results.

The power that can be generated at the waist is enormous. You mentioned a couple examples in other sports. Imagine a baseball pitcher that didn't generate power with his waist, but instead just faced the batter and threw with his arm. And what about the batter? Does he not open his hips toward the pitcher then use that waist turn to help power the bat head through the swing? Same principle when a quarterback throws a pass. How fast do you think Andy Roddick could serve if he didn't utilize his waist to generate power? I know there are some experienced canoe and kayak folks out there. Where does your paddle stroke power come from?

Just a few examples, but it should be enough to peak your interest. There are multiple ways waist skills can be utilized to ramp up performance in skiing. Should be a fun winter spreading the word.
post #8 of 23
I agree with you Rick about the incorporation of the core in those activities you mentioned. Yet the legs vs. core is central to that issue. As a football coach I can attest that the issue with the waist for a quarterback throwing is one of accuracy more than strength, particularly in the open vs. closed position of the hips. Yet the power does come from the legs.

I agree wholeheartedly about taking this as another tool in skiing and not trying to redefine but "ramp up performance in skiing", as you say. Yet from what I have read in the waisteering thread, particularly from Gary and Tommy, seems to be an entirely new "methodology". Gary even states in this thread a few posts earlier that he views the biomechanical chain in his movement analysis from the waist down and back up. This is a dramatic and distinct difference that is more than just a tool. We are adjusting student's movement patterns from day one using movement analysis. That movement analysis should be rooted in solid biomechanical concepts that follow the kinetic chain. I would gather to say that Gary and I would often see different "causitive" movements because of how we view movement analysis. While we may see very many of the same resultant visual cues, we would approach the remedy differently because of this.

Sounds like you are approaching this solidly Rick.
post #9 of 23
Most batters step into the ball off their back foot.
The power in a tennis serve starts with flexed ankles, knees and an arched back. It flows through that chain (through the waist) to the shoulder and arm. Pronating the wrist and snapping the racket through the ball increases the velocity. The ball takes off just like in the physics experiment with the five balls that swing.(energy out approximatly equals energy in)(swing three balls in and three swing out)
post #10 of 23
Sensible comments Mike C. Without debating the usefulness of ˝properly˝ adding in ˝power˝at any stage in a kinetic change I question some of the claims about the ˝roots˝ of movements that have been expressed.

Watching my son serve in a tennis tournament a number of years ago I commented to a friend that he was initiating his serve from the waist as opposed to the feet as Slatz described. As he has great natural core strength he could still serve well over 100 mph. However, before the end of the match he pulled his hip flexor and had to serve with an isolated arm motion to finish the match and the tournament.

There was no way he could accelerate is torso and back starting from his hip flexors. He needed his legs, which are strong enough to initiate such explosive movements involving large body mass, to smooothly, efficiently, and safely intiate his service chain of movement.

In the same way it is my subjective opinion that skiing movements initiated at the feet and carried up through the legs are most efficient and effective. To appropriately add in or subtract along the way, activate muscle groups for stabilization, and/or relax for reduced impedance/better flow is fine.

I have no argument with someone using a ˝philosophical˝ approach to conceptualizations of how to move. However, be careful about the relationships to true biomechnaics (which are ultimately objective and measurable).
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

a once more over

Its alive! Its alive!

As this fork in the road progresses I just want to remind everyone that skiing, unlike football, baseball or even tennis, our feet are nailed to boards that "slide" underneath us.

Let's take Andy Rodick's tennis serve. It is painfully obvious that he uses his legs against the ground to accerlate his CoM upwards towards the ball. Sure, a momemt later he uses his core to uncoil, if you will, to whip his arm then wrist through the strike zone. But be sure that without the initial upward force created by his leg muscles accerlating his CoM vertically he would not have the power he has to deliver a 150 MPH serve.

We can see some similarities when Roddick crosses his rear foot (left) over and jumps into the court after contact to a skier making his X-over move, but there is a biomechanical difference in the ends to both motions as they continue to the next sequence of movements (whether landing in a athletic stance, continue forward to rush the net or "cut" to move to a service return).

If I were going to coach a tennis player I would absolutely look at the foot work first before dealing with core movements (as in tennis MA I consider foot work to be the most critical in the sequence), however, in a skier, since there is no locomotion (stepping, running, cutting) I concentrate on what causes affects the CoG and its affect on balance. Suffice it to say if the feet are where I want them (shoulder width apart) I really don't have to deal with them directly, the cause will get me the effect I am looking for - carving on tipped skis.

Hope this makes sense.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

Bruce Lee's one inch of power

Quote:
Rick mentions being enlightened to what a new skier goes through with his introduction to Tai Chi and Gary mentioned Bruce Lee. Yet Bruce Lee railed against this kind of regimentation as a method of mastering martial arts. Gary talked about Bruce Lee and I assume what Bruce described as the "1 inch power punch". Yet even in the book Bruce Lee wrote describing how to develop this punch, he highly emphasized developing this power from the legs, as well as a huge amount of mental rituals with a foundation in Eastern mysticism, particularly Buddhism. MikeC
Also having a deep background in MMA, mostly American Kenpo (Ed Parker) having 2nd to 3rd Dan in multiple styles I paid close attention to JKD in my formative years. My only point with Bruce was that he was aware of the internal styles as much as the exeternal styles I practiced and fought with. Bruce's thing was a compilation of external martial arts (Korean, Japanese, Okinowan) and internal martial arts (Chinese, Kung Fu, Pa Kua Hsing Yi, etc). The question with Bruce, when he demonstrated his 1 inch punch was what would you look at first? His feet? Or his Waist? I'd be looking at his Waist, his core and his breath (exhale, Dan Tien). This is too esoteric and OT, my apologies.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Just organize an interested group at your home area and we will come to you. This stuff is very effective and fascinating. And it's ground floor.
I'm still in ireland.....


will you guys come here?
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
I'm still in ireland.....


will you guys come here?
If you can get me on St. Andrews or Carnustie(sp), you bet, be right there (its only next door)!
post #15 of 23

Kinesiological principles

There are several of us here with more than
20 years of experience in both skiing and
martial arts. Me too.

I also studied performance training, both
bodybuilding and aerobic (I was a triathlete,
a bodybuilder and a long-distance runner).

I studied kinesiology at the university
level under a PhD.

The "solid principle" you are seeking is
called the Serape Effect. Obviously,
anyone can Google it and study that
kinesiological effect with diligence.
I recommend you do.

Then, when you want to actually learn
how to develop and apply the Serape
Effect to sports such as skiing, tennis,
and golf, please come see us to learn
Fu Style Internal Martial Arts.

Karate, Aikido, and whatever else you
can come up with do not have the same
kind of training techniques Fu Style does,
nor are those "arts" anywhere near the
same ballpark as Fu Style. The reason
Gary and I can say things that seem
so boisterous is because we both have
more than 20 years of experience in "other"
kinds of martial arts; we study Fu Style now,
which most of you have not been subjected
to as of yet.

If you haven't yet seen Master Fu peform
a demonstration, you would have no basis
to argue what his skills are. Please download
the "Liang-Yi" video on the front page
of www.fustyle.org

post #16 of 23
no no... next door is surely Ballyhooley, or Castletownroche, or a couple of other places I can't remember in english spelling let alone in the local gaelic....

I'm in Mainistir Fear Moi (missing a couple of accents there) or Fearmoy....

Mind you I can travel on every second weekend.....

The Irish Ski Club is having an intensive training session (dryland) in November could you go to that? (near dublin) - I'll drive
post #17 of 23
Slatz and Si, my mention of those other sports was just to emphasise the power potential of the waist, not to make it an either/or thing. I of course agree with you on the role of the legs involvement in those activities. And of course again, the legs do play a role in skiing, they're our connection to the ground. It's through that connection that the power of the waist can be put to work.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Gaelic and ski racing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
no no... next door is surely Ballyhooley, or Castletownroche, or a couple of other places I can't remember in english spelling let alone in the local gaelic....

I'm in Mainistir Fear Moi (missing a couple of accents there) or Fearmoy....

Mind you I can travel on every second weekend.....

The Irish Ski Club is having an intensive training session (dryland) in November could you go to that? (near dublin) - I'll drive
Neer da ducch twas by the loch an I der naught go der - In plain english, we'll miss the dry land but we should certiainly hook up on snow
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Dranow
Neer da ducch twas by the loch an I der naught go der - In plain english, we'll miss the dry land but we should certiainly hook up on snow
Or please come to our race camp!
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
I'm still in ireland.....


will you guys come here?
Hey, disski, I planned on being there this winter anyway. You and I have a housing deal, right?
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike C
.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike C
Just a Note:

I have purposely avoided the issue of waisteering and the 20 pages of thread as before. I have read through about half of this thread and found some interesting concepts and some questionable. (obviously all of TCS's post fall into the latter). I will reserve judgement of the finished product until there is one. Martial Arts may improve someones skiing, as well as other sports, but let's be realistic about Martial Arts redefining skiing as a whole.


Interesting, even though you have such good understanding in martial arts and wrote such excellent expose, you couldn't control the urge to take a potshot at TCS, yet, dchan has warmed me to "cool it with the confrontational type posts, ..." well, see if I can dance around... Probably going to be difficult, given the human nature and the confrontational nature of the "truth," so, I'll just toss up my "Yojimbo" and see where it lands.

The martial arts/sports techniques (appearances) that you described remains in the lower realm/external of the martial arts, which are methods to build superior techniques; however, by the time one gets to the black belt level, every body would know how to punches and kicks, and all the counter-attacks and counter-defenses stuff, what makes one better than another? Clearly, just having the external techniques/skills won't be enough, a true martial artist trains beyond forms.

The mysticism arises when an "outsider" fails to see the transformation of how an "external" techniques to become an "internal" discipline. Let's take a look of the explanation of the "western" way and the "eastern" way of a simple punching.

The western way to explain, so is the execution, of a punch goes something like this: the brain issues a command "punch," (I'll skip the neurons part,) the body execute its command by tracing the force through the shoulder, upper arms muscles, and coordinates the elbow movement and straightens the wrist and makes the fist into a "solid" instrument, then drives the force through to punch. While the brain still has to navigate to remember which name is for what part of the body, the punch is "linear" (follow the arm structure), and "slow" (like too many Adwares in a computer that the CPU has to process "slow" down its performance).

In contrast, the classical oriental martial arts trains with "mind over matter" method, which is, through repeated practice, to use mind drives Qi and Qi moves the body. The punch is not based on the measurement of distance, or power in poundage but Ki-Ai, translated back through Japanese Kan-ji means, "harmonized Qi," which means the fist, the target, and the cry all meet together at the same time. The punch is not longer linear but a hyper-dimension, where mind reflects, body moves spontaneously, and the punch is done, at the manifestation of Ki-Ai, without even referring to the muscles and bones. As the internal Qi cannot be seen by an "outsider," a few transmission later, such simple "harmonized Qi" is slipping into a mysticism. Between external forms to internal Qi to wield them, you do have a big gap to catch up. Your questionable is understandable.

As to how martial arts training disciplines our mind to rid of fears, transcends the notion of life and death and slips into a serene peaceful existence, and etc., is really out of the scope of this forum, as well as out of most people's mind/comprehension here, so I'm not going to bother with it.

I used to called my skiing "Kungfu Skiing," because I trained my skiing [techniques] as I trained in Kungfu/martial arts practice. The transformation from skiing to Kungfu is quite simple, just image the witty old man gravity is your opponent, skis are your weapons, and your techniques and skills become your fighting style, how well do you "fight"? At the some highest level, even thinking about the "HA" or "WS" would be too slow let alone executing them, and worse, if you were already confused the terms, how would you ski to respond? The way Tai Chi Skiing flows with gravity, using the Tai Chi technique "Push Feet" to deflect and to ride the gravity maybe is too far fletch a Kungfu technique and idea for a common skier to perceive.

Hmm... guess I am wasting my time here... ok, let me get out of here, and see you guys later in the mountains, alligators, oops, you barking bears.

|) )
IS
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 

Is nothing sacred?

Sheesh :

Thank you for the ignore list
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Hey, disski, I planned on being there this winter anyway. You and I have a housing deal, right?
Sure thing.....

if you want to come over soon you can help choose the housing as I think I am in the market for one(I hate paying rent)
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