Skinned knee, bruised ego - Wushu!

Posted Mon May 15, 2006, 09:51 AM by Tracy

Saturday’s green+ advanced class consisted of two hour of grappling. Sifu said wear knee pads if you have them. I don’t have them. Now I wish I had them.

We worked through a sequence of wrestling positions: the mount, the guard, cross-body and back again. I partnered up with the only two other women in the class – not because we are all female but because we’re all the same height. Grappling is easier to learn (I think) with someone whose bones are the same length as yours.

This is a relatively new area for me. I haven’t done much grappling, certainly not enough to be comfortable with it, and I’ve never liked going to the ground. Here I had two people telling me everything I was doing wrong every move. Not exactly a confidence builder. Call me crazy, but I just don’t feel that smacking me on the head is going to help me learn to execute an effective cross-body.

After the first hour I began to relax and it got a little better. It even started being fun. Grappling’s the sort of thing that I just have to do over and over and over. It’s so much a body thing – talking doesn’t help you learn nearly so much as doing. Your body just has to figure it out. If I can keep my own ego out of the way, I can actually learn something.

One transition in particular gave me trouble, neutralizing the guard in preparation for cross-body. Sifu told me to pull my whole body back into one of those pretty Wushu stances. That worked for me. It put me into the correct position both physically and energetically.

That’s one thing I appreciate about my sifu as a teacher – he can give you a key to unlock your particular problem.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.