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Scott In the original article I attempted to introduce the origins of Taikiken in Kyokushin. In this excerpt he talk about his introduction into yiquan. I hope you enjoy and it peeks your interest in this forgotten part of Kyokushin, but still practiced by some, including Shihan Hajemi Kazumi and Kancho Hatsuo Royama. Chinese hand-to-hand combat schools may be divided into two major categories: the inner group and the outer group.
Though there are problems inherent in the very act of making such a division, an understanding of the difference between the inner and outer groups is of the greatest importance to an understanding of Chinese hand-to-hand combat in particular and of all the martial arts in general. In the schools of the outer group, practice is devoted to training the muscles of the body and to mastering technical skills. On the surface, this method seems to produce greater strength.
Since the techniques themselves can be understood on the basis of no more than visual observation, they are comparatively easy to learn. The schools of the inner group, however, emphasize spiritual development and training. They develop progress from spiritual cultivation to physical activity. In general, the inner schools give a softer impression than the outer schools; but training in them requires a long time, and mastery of them is difficult to attain.
His disciple Kuo Yun-shen became still more famous for his overwhelming power. It is said that of all the men who participated in combat bouts with him only two escaped deaths. Kuo Yun-shen himself killed so many martial-arts specialists from various countries that he was imprisoned for three years.
While in prison he perfected the mystical technique that is known as the Demon Hand. In this way, a conservative school was established. He also believed that, unless a person learns to control and use ki, he cannot master any of the combat techniques.
In order to develop the needed mastery, Wang concentrated on standing Zen meditation. He was a small man with a most ducklike walk. But he was extremely difficult to study with. When people came wanting to learn his system, he ignored them. They had no recourse but to observe his actions and, practicing together, try to imitate his techniques. Fortunately, being a foreigner, I was able to ask questions and do things that would have been considered very rude in another Chinese.
Since at the time I was a fifth dan in Judo, I had a degree of confidence in my abilities in combat techniques. When I had my first opportunity to try myself in a match with Wang, I gripped his right hand and tried to use a technique.
But at once found myself being hurled through the air. I saw the uselessness of surprise and sudden attacks with this man. Next I tried grappling. I gripped his left hand and his right lapel and tried the techniques I knew, thinking that, if the first attacks failed, I would be able to move into a grappling technique when we fell. But the moment we came together, Wang instantaneously gained complete control of my hand and thrust it out and away from himself.
No matter how many times I tried to get the better of him, the results were always the same. Each time I was thrown, he tapped me lightly on my chest just over my heart. When he did this, I experienced a strange and frightening pain that was like a heart tremor. I requested that he pit himself against me in fencing. We used sticks in place of swords; and, even though the stick he used was short, he successfully parried all my attacks and prevented my making a single point.
I did succeed in studying with him; and, acting on his advice, I instituted a daily course in Zen training. Gradually I began to feel as if I had gained a little bit of the expansive Chinese martial spirit.
Since I am Japanese, I shall use the Japanese reading throughout this text. And this is the way the name Taiki-ken came into being. It is something that you must master on your own strength. This surprise was the rebeginning of Taiki-ken, to which I intend to devote myself for the rest of my life. He had many disciples, but among them Kuo Yun-shen was the most famous. He was said to have no worthy opponents in the whole nation.
In one bout, he employed this technique and killed his opponent, with the result that he was thrown into prison for three years. Since he was chained, he was unable to spread his arm wide. His shackles made it necessary for him to raise both arms whenever he raised one. Ironically, the apparent inconvenience enabled him to develop a technique that was at one and the same time an attack and a steel-wall defence. He learned to maintain a sensible interval between his own body and his opponent and to counter attacks and immediately initiate attacks.
It took him the full three years of his term in jail to perfect this technique. Although he was not a big man, Kuo Yun-shen was very strong. Once a disciple of another school of martial arts asked Kuo to engage in a match with him. The man rose and asked for another bout. Once again Kuo did as he was requested, but this time the man did not rise, because one of his ribs was broken. As a person practices using these techniques in training sessions and bouts with opponents, he gradually learns which suits him best.
People striving for progress in the martial arts must be aware of this point and must keep it in mind throughout their daily practice. Instead, the individual must always move toward his opponent and counter his moves as he attacks. Nor is there any need for restraining the opponent with one hand while kicking. At all times, maintaining a perfect defense, the person must conform to the motions of his opponent.
This, as I have said, leaves no time for mental strategy.
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