Imagine having learned 8+ sequences/matching sets over the years and working on the most basic one 4-5 times per week for 3 months. Would you get bored? How would you deal with it? Sure, I did get a little tired of it at times, but for the most part I enjoyed breaking it down by techniques and sections and making it better. Going all out was tiring and since this was the easiest sequence, there was no way I was ready for the more difficult ones. In ancient times, they probably practiced the same sequence for a few years before moving on. Talk about patience and determination.
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The sequence as you first learned it is dead. You learn it a certain way and you practice until you develop a good foundation. When we reach 400, we start to change angles and we can use bricks or other markers on the ground as targets. This is when the sequence becomes alive. Just as there are multiple applications to each technique, there are multiple ways you can train the sequence. To really understand, feel, and be able to execute the techniques with speed, precision, power, spirit, and intent, you have to examine them from different angles. There is no end to the learning process.
- 1-100: Break the sequence down by techniques or sections. Take your time to get the movements right. Don’t increase speed too soon or you could develop bad habits.
- 100-200: Movements are memorized so practice for speed, fluidity, power, stances, endurance, and spirit. Start linking techniques together (e.g. block/seal while you strike as you would against an opponent). Find a partner and cartwheel with them. As soon as one person finishes, the other begins immediately. The goal is to complete Lian Bu Quan in 30 seconds each (other sequences vary in duration).
- 200-300: All of the above and try practicing on the opposite side from time to time. After 300, the Long Fist flavor finally started coming out for me. (key word: “started”)
- 400-500: All of the above and change angle / stepping. I use 2.5 lb ankle weights sometimes. Be very careful when using weights.
- 700-800: All of the above and use bags as targets if available.
These numbers are just a reference. At the Retreat Center, we start changing angles at 400-500 and use bags at 700-800. The other numbers only reflect my personal training and experiences. I learned Lian Bu Quan a long time ago and I started counting at 0 when I arrived at the Center. We also did mountain running with weights and other drills to condition our legs. If you are just starting out, you may want to increase your numbers before you move on to the next step. Develop a good foundation first. Go forwards and backwards with the steps.
#454: Slower & sloppier as I’m still adjusting to changing angles and ankle weights.
It’s the Journey, not the Destination
If the destination is perfection, you’re in for some bad news because you’ll never get there ;) You won’t be able to see improvements from day to day, but one day you’ll notice. I didn’t really start working on Gong Li Quan until November last year, but it improved because of all the time and energy I spent on Lian Bu Quan. Similarly, my Yi Lu Mai Fu improved without me working on it because of Gong Li Quan and Lian Bu Quan. Each sequence gets more and more difficult but they provide stepping stones for the next.
Good Luck and Happy Training!
Related post: Lian Bu Quan 1000 Challenge