What do Taichi and Jiu-jitsu have in common? No, this isn’t a joke and no, I’m not crazy. When you look past the surface images of elderly people doing slow-moving patterns, there are many fundamentals that are alike. And not just with Jiu-jitsu, but many other martial arts styles as well, as many students discovered at the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists camp I recently attended. At one of the classes I took when I attended this year’s PAWMA camp, Sifu Debbie Leung, instructor at Chinese Healing & Movement Arts, related some of the fundamental principles guiding the practice of Taichi (a.k.a.- Taiji). She didn’t simply teach us a pattern from her style. She had all the students choose a particular sequence from their styles then we applied each Taichi principle to that move.
When it comes to seminars, this type of format in which the instructor teaches concepts from their style in ways that are applicable for a variety of styles, is one I love. This makes the concepts more relevant the students’ own styles, allowing the students to take that concept home and continue using what they learned. I usually try to teach principle-based seminars myself as described in my blog post, My Approach to Teaching Martial Arts Seminars. (more…)