Keith Roost applies a powerful Chin Na technique.
In my early training in the 1970’s it was customary for us to spar vigorously in the last half hour of the three hour lesson, we sparred with everyone, we fought hands only, feet only, with throws and chin na only and with all combinations of the above. Sometime we would don full contact equipment and go all out for a few minutes, as seniors we would spar against multiple unarmed and armed opponents, learning to use the weapons we seized according to their inherent characteristics, and to use positioning and tactics to good effect.. Without doubt it was tough, but it was also fun and we could not get enough of it.
Over time we progressed our ability grew along with our experience, and we began to see how much our seniors had preserved us when sparing with them. As your ability to exploit an opening, a momentary loss of balance or awareness increased, so did your understanding of the consequences. Perhaps it was then that you really understood the reason s for the many hours of practising the standard techniques, the endless committed attacks where you allowed a partner to execute a technique against someone (you) delivering a proper attack, on target and without trying to spoil the counter. I know that it was this practice, frequently painful, and often daunting, that truly enhanced my understanding of techniques. Being able to feel the difference between my classmates, and my teachers, when it was wrong, and what it felt like when it was right, opened the door to understanding the difference between enthusiastic but effortful technique and skilled effortless internal technique.
It is a fact that so many skills in the Internal arts, are really only acquired when you truly give yourself up to sincere practice according to the principles. This is true whether we are talking about the ability to relax our mental processes and our body, or execute high-level techniques at full speed without harm. I welcomed the opportunity to provide a focussed, committed attack against my teachers and seniors, to overcome the fear, not resist, or hold back, but commit fully, that is the way that I experienced the full potential and the many minute adjustments throughout the technique and subsequently gained the skill for myself. I hope you will also train sincerely and gain much.
All good things.
Keith has studied the Chinese Internal arts for over 40 years. He lives in England and Portugal with artist, designer and writer Gloria Dean and teaches in Portugal and the UK.