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In what kind of style do we train

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I am asked every once in a while as to what kind of martial arts style do we study? 

 

Most people are familiar with karate, taekwondo and jiujitsu. Nowadays when you mentioned jiujitsu, most people think of Brazillian jujitsu which emphasizes a lot grappling and ground work.

Shuri-te is an eclectic style of martial arts that encompasses strikes, take downs, joint locks, arm bars and grappling. It is designed to be applicable in any situation.

 

However, another way of looking at the various kinds of styles is whether they are hard or soft martial art styles.

 

A hard style will emphasize external or muscular strength in the performance of techniques and applications. There is less emphasis on internal or chi power. The practitioner is encouraged to develop strong muscles and will use the muscular and skeletal structure as the primary delivering mechanism for strikes.

 

A soft style will take the opposite approach. Styles such as Tai Chi and Aikido focus on blending energy and using chi as opposed to physical strength. The development of the practitioner is somewhat slower as developing internal power takes longer than developing external power.

 

Shuri-te is a blend of the two but will fall more to the soft style. If you think if a spectrum with hard on one end and soft on the other- Shuri-te will be in the quadrant closer to full soft style. 

 

In developing a softer style martial art, emphasis is placed on the internal side as well as the external delivery through the alignment of the skeletal structure and then through the muscular system. Building the awareness of chi and then harnessing that chi for our purposes is what we strive for in our system. 

 

In VFA I also bring in concepts from silat, kuntao and Xingyi and in doing so, try to keep the focus on the internal side. 

 

By relaxing and becoming aware of the internal movement and harnessing of chi, we can add more penetrating power to our strikes and movements.

 

This is why I encourage everyone when we start to go slow- to feel the body as it moves- pay attention to the energy within you..it makes a difference!

 

Use your intention to move your body and limbs and you will begin to see improvement on a regular basis. Intention comes from the harmony of the heart and mind. The harmonizing of the emotional part of us and the wisdom/ processing aspects of our being create a force that is formidable. 

 

As you grow comfortable with the physical movements of a technique, then employ intention- NOT power- INTENTION- you will see a marked difference in your practice.
 
Have a great day and train with intention!
 

Jeff White, Renshi


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