I had a ‘spirited discussion’ recently with a friend who also studies bagua. He’s being trained by his shifu in what I suppose we may call the “traditional IMA” manner: keep practising your techniques, and the ability to apply the art in a fight will develop naturally.
I know and respect his shifu, who’s very widely known, and highly regarded – but I still can’t bring myself to believe this, not any more. I feel a bit conflicted, actually, precisely because this teacher is so well known, and I know that he can fight very effectively – and yet I know for a fact that many of his disciples can’t. At all. This is why I’m training more and more in yiquan. I love bagua, and I respect my teachers deeply. I will keep training in it. However, I want to train in an IMA that will give me practical training, and so far the yiquan schools are the only ones to do that.
Like I say, I’ve felt a bit guilty about this – but well, what else to do? Anyway, I’ve just read this article on Formosa Neijia about why he’s training in
Brazilian Ju-Jitsu Judo – and I think he’s completely right. I wrote some time ago, I think, about an episode that happened just after I arrived in Beijing – I saw two men dragging a woman into a deserted side-street late at night and start beating her up. I felt I had to intervene. It ended well – but if it had turned nasty, I’m not confident that that all of my training in forms would have been of any practical use whatsoever. that was a turning point for me. I’m sorry if I’m being disrespectful, or non-traditional, but now my requirement is: show me that it works, and show me how to use it.