Rollaways

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Roll-Aways

If you have read everything so far and have practised diligently, you will be building up a sufficient stock of information and experience to enable you to cope with the majority of situations that may arise. In any combat situation it is impossible to predict what will happen until seconds beforehand. Thus, to ensure that you are fully equipped, you need to know what to do, how to do it, and what the results of your actions will be. The correct reactions must be natural and completely instinctive, and this comes only through constant practise. So, all that remains for you now is to get in as much practice as possible, both in a strictly controlled situation, where you are dealing with pre-arranged or specific moves or trying to improve your technique, reaction, and split-second timing in a situation which has not been preset. This latter situation is the sort of practice session where you and your partner do not stick to a set routine, and you have not arranged beforehand what you intend to do. You can resort to the many variations of ward-offs that you have learnt so far, and put them into practice when the opportunity occurs, or when you feel that you should try a certain move or deviation. By doing so, often enough, you will find that every situation covered in this book will come up from time to time, so you will be able to practise every way of attack, defence, and counter attack that you have learnt so far. Eventually the right reactions to any given situation or mode of attack will become second nature to you. The finest foundation for this spontaneous movement comes in our 'roll-away' (Chuan Shen) system, which is copyright and only the International Wu Shu Association and its members have the right to use or teach it. It is a progression of continuous movements, which involves attack, defence, and counter attack, by both you and your partner, and it is executed in a non-stop, constant flowing motion. No other kung fu system in the world incorporates this unique system of training, for it was devised by myself from the basis of the Three Star Principle (San Hsing Kang Ling) laid down by the Lee family, and passed to us from Chan Kam Lee. It is unique within the Chinese Arts, and I have therefore handed it over to our Association for safe-keeping; it is now universally adopted within all clubs of the Association and it is an integral part of their training schedules. Before you begin, remember that your first priority must always be your own personal defence, and never even think about or plan an attacking movement until you have successfully defended yourself. To do otherwise could be extremely dangerous, until you have had a lot of practice in the art of warding off all types of blows.


First of all we are going to practise our ward-offs from attacks that are aimed at the head, or the chin in particular. If blows are aimed at your face in general, then treat them all the same, and apply the same technique. We mention the chin as simply a target in this early stage, for if something disastrous should happen — like your partner misjudging his reach, or if you did not execute a perfectly timed ward-off, then the chin is the least sensitive point of the face, and therefore no damage should be sustained. As we have said, this is the system whereby you can put into actual practice your defence requirements, and adapt to any particular situation or variation of attack, without having to stick to a preset code of rules. So that you can get an idea how this can be done let us start you off by telling you what to do. Then, once you have acquired the feel of 'Rolling Away', you can use any of your defence techniques at any time, as you think suitable for that particular situation. First you and your partner should face each other, both in right stance and with your hands in an 'on guard' position, and standing about a yard apart from one another.

  1. Your partner steps forward with his right foot, and moves into right Dragon stance, and as he does so he aims a straight right hand blow at your chin. As the blow comes towards you, move your body back until the weight of your body rests on your rear leg: you should now be in either Cat or Monkey stance. Now turn your body to the right, swinging your shoulders and, as you do so, bring up your left hand and ward off his blow with a Sun Palm. Sweep his arm past your right shoulder and, as the blow goes harmlessly by, step forward with your right leg, move into Dragon stance, and aim a straight right hand blow to his chin.
  2. As your blow comes towards him, your partner should move his weight onto his rear leg, moving into Cat stance. He now starts to turn his own shoulders away to his right, and as he does so he brings up his own left hand and wards off your striking arm with his left hand Sun Palm. As your blow is swept past his right shoulder, he now steps forward with his right leg and moves into right Dragon stance, and again he aims a straight arm right hand blow directly at your chin.
  3. As his blow zooms in on its target, again move your weight directly back onto your rear leg, so that you are in right Cat stance. Turn your shoulders to the left this time, and ward off his blow to your left by using a right hand Sun Palm against his arm, so that his blow passes harmlessly by your left shoulder. Now step forward with your right leg into right Dragon stance, and once again aim a straight right handed blow, such as the open hand (Chang Shou) or closed fist (Ch'uan T'ou) at his chin.
  4. Your partner moves his weight back onto his rear leg as soon as he sees your blow coming at him. As he turns his shoulders to the left he raises his right hand and places his Sun Palm on your arm making your striking unit drift away into space beyond his left shoulder. He now steps forward into right Dragon stance and aims another straight right blow at your chin.
  5. You now move your weight back onto your rear leg, turn your shoulders to your right and raising your left arm this time you execute an arm ward-off, making contact with the little finger edge of your left arm. Step forward into right Dragon Stance and aim another straight blow at his chin, but this time why not make it a Poisoned Hand (Tu Shou) technique?
  6. As your blow is delivered, so he moves his weight onto his rear leg, and he can reverse the previous sequence by turning his shoulders to the left. By warding your blow off with his right arm, he ensures that your strike goes by his left side. Now it is his turn to strike again so he moves into his right Dragon Stance as he aims his blow at your face. In the next few ward-offs, why not try a few of the double hand or double arm techniques? This means that you can bring up both units simultaneously to make an effective shield for yourself; you can utilize two different techniques at the same time — for instance, an arm ward-off with a Sun Palm for ease or convenience; or you can allow one technique to start the ward-off whilst the other arm or hand can finish the sequence of defensive action. This will give you a greater fluidity or move­ment, and allow you to adjust your defences, not only within a split second, but also quite naturally and quickly to any particular situation that may arise.
  7. So, as his blow is executed, you move your weight onto your rear leg and bring both arms upward. Ward off the attack by using both arms together to nullify his attack, and to send his blow to your right by contacting the outside of his arm.
  8. Now step forward into your own attack, and aim at his chin. He then moves his weight to his rear leg, and fends off your blow by using an upward arm ward-off, together with a left Sun Palm that follows a fraction behind the arm action, and wards off on the outside of your arm. He then follows through with his own attack.
  9. Shift your weight immediately onto your rear leg to increase the range, swing your shoulders to the left, and as you do so bring up both hands simultaneously, to ward off his blow, making contact on the inside of his arm on his forearm. Gently guide it away to your left side. Then step forward into right Dragon stance, and strike back at him.
  10. Your partner's reflex action will take his weight back onto his rear leg as soon as he sees your blow coming towards him. He will then bring up both hands for his personal defence: why not try a combination of Sun Palm and Cloudy Palm harmonized together, on the outside of your forearm? Then he strikes back at you.
  11. After you have taken your body to the rear keep your palms fairly close together as you raise your arms, and come under his forearm to ward off his blow over the top of your head, through the use of a Double Sun Palm Up action. So you can carry on this unique system of attack and defence, each one should take it in turn to put his knowledge into practical application with a real live opponent. You will therefore get first hand experience of the feeling of having blows coming straight at you, and also obtain the instant feel of using your techniques in the personal defence of yourself. Don't forget to practise all the ward-offs time and time again so that you can start to move instinctively, no matter what angle the blow might come from, and at what force it might be delivered. If you and your partner work in close harmony in this system of training, you will both gain a strong foundation for the vast amount of work that is still to follow. Once you have attained a good feel of warding blows off away from your chin and face, then start to practise the same system together but this time aim your strikes directly at each other's stomach. Be careful, for the angle of the blow is entirely different, so practise slowly at first so that you can give yourselves time to think about it, adjust to it, and consider what ward-off you want to try. Here are a few ideas:
  12. Move your weight back onto your rear leg, and slide the front foot back into Cat stance, and at the same time turn your body to the left. Then raise your right elbow so that it points at your opponent. Then, keeping your right wrist directly under your elbow, sweep his arm past your left hip. Step forward and aim a straight blow towards his stomach with your right hand.
  13. Your partner will immediately take his weight back onto his rear leg, pulling his tummy back slightly too. He can then ward off your blow with his right arm, making contact with the outside of your arm on your elbow side, and sweep your blow to his right.
  14. As your partner aims his next blow at your stomach, automatically move your weight back onto your rear leg, and ward off his blow with your open left hand to the outside or elbow side of his right arm. Keep all your fingers close together and make sure that they point downwards. Having taken his blow past your right hip, advance into Dragon stance and strike back.
  15. Your partner, seeing your blow coming towards his stomach, will move his weight back onto his rear leg, and bring up his left arm with his elbow pointing directly at you, and his arm hanging down in a Willow Tree ward-off. He makes contact to the elbow side of your arm, and directs your blow past his right hip. Now he will advance and strike back at your stomach.
  16. Again without a second thought, move your weight over your rear leg, and as his blow comes within your range, ward it off with your left hand — but this time place it on the inside of his arm, the thumb side, and move his blow past your left hip. Once the danger has been controlled then advance your right leg and strike back at his lower abdomen.
  17. He should immediately shift his weight to his rear leg, and this time he could try a Double Sun Palm ward-off to the outside of your right arm on the elbow side, so that the force of your blow is deflected past his right side. But he should take care that all his fingers are kept close together and that they point directly downwards to the floor. Once the deflection is completed, then he once more steps forward and strikes back at you.

These few movements should help to give you an indication of how you can adopt this unique system of training to acquire the benefits and insight of the vast field of ward-offs and parries, and will enable you to practise every technique and movement under a very harmonious and happy atmosphere with a friend. So when the time comes (and let us hope it never arrives) that you have to practise self-defence in reality, then you will have had the enormous experience of meeting all possible contingencies before they actually arrive, and your preparation will have been proved well worthwhile. Don't forget, that whilst practising this roll-away system that you try every type of ward-off and parry, on the inside and the outside of the arm, so that you can acquire the skill so necessary in an unexpected situation, and can react within a split second, and can do the correct thing at the right moment. All this does depend on an instinctive reflex, as do all techniques in Feng Shou kung fu, so practise very slowly at first. In this way you will have time to think, time to watch out for your own mistakes, time to correct any faults, time to watch the weaknesses in your partner's stances, time to see the openings for a counter action, and time to gain sufficient experience in all these. All these techniques are extremely important, especially where there is no Feng Shou Master or Feng Shou club near to you, so that you can watch and learn, and be guided through the initial stages. You will have to learn to correct yourself, and remember at all times to keep soft, inwardly and externally. Softness starts within yourself, and no one can tell you how it feels; it is only something that you can acquire. Unfortunately it is easy to get harder and harder, without realizing it, so you will have to make a special effort to watch out that you are not becoming stiff and tense, for this would be found to be a handicap when you meet members of our association. Even one second lost somewhere within a technique or evasion movement could mean that you might be caught with a counter technique. So once again, let us remind you to: KEEP SOFT. Your natural movement, combined with our dynamic techniques, will enable you to have an effective as well as a practical skill. Eventually you will learn to 'feel' your opponent's intentions through the medium of hand and arm contact, and this will give you an enormous advantage. Later on, such will be your hyper-sensitivity that you will be able to execute our roll-away system completely blindfolded, as our higher grades are expected to do. When you get to this stage then your 'feel' becomes extremely acute, so that you can feel your opponent's intentions without being in physical contact with him whatsoever. Let this be one of your ultimate aims.

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The Taoist Art of Feng Shou Hand of the Wind kung fu

by Chee Soo

Copyright ©Seahorse Books 2006 reproduced with permission