Re-learning Tensho, Teaching Quickflame and some Kicking Fun


Mike and I decided to train in a beautiful park on Saturday morning, I missed a brownbelt/blackbelt course which mainly focused on tensho and he wanted me to go over some of the Jo staff forms and mainly Quickflame.

We both warmed up slightly differently, me using Sanzhan and Shisochin and mike doing pressup’s/situps/squats. Then we did Sanchin a few times first loose then normal and we both felt really loose and ready to train and not exhausted to the state that we couldn’t train and learn on what we needed to learn for that session.


I won’t go into too many details, and as I told mike I took what he said with a pinch of salt, he had already just re-learnt the form we had missed so much from the first time we were shown it, the arms are much closer into the body (a lot like White cranes 1st three forms) and the tension is completely different to the body then Sanchin is, I found it a lot harder and a more of a full body workout whilst the movements themselves were so much more like tai chi. It really did tire me out.

The details of how we even start the kata were really shocking and it was weird to feel my butt clench so much. It really changes the way I do Sanchin and the other katas (including Sanzhan) and the kata is far more beautiful and devastating than I first realised.

Mike also noticed that I turned into the movements on my left side during tensho just as Cameron did when I was weight training with him on Friday. My right Lat is huge while my left is small (all my other muscles are well balanced) which started when I first did pullups nearly 10 years ago, the bar is slightly angled and I never realised until 2 years ago but obviously my right Lat compensates for my left, meaning my jab from my right is much more powerful than my left, it will be something I have to continue to balance out as to me Lats are the power through everything in punches (something I learnt in White Crane) and is an big weakness.

I was surprised how much like the wing chun form and 2nd/3rd form of White that this kata was from what I have observed (and I have tried out the Wing Chun form on two occasions), just the way the elbows are locked in, tension in the arms, the angles of attack they use, it was really exciting there was much that i had missed out when I first learnt it back in January, I can now see why it is a mid-higher level kata.

Jo staff

We Progressed to the Jo staff, I went over the geksai versions and showed him what I knew of Saifa, and with his fresh eyes was able to point out a problem I had with it, then I polished up on his Quickflame which he will need next year which wasn’t too bad he just needed to be more flowing with his legs and know what to do with his hands at key junctions.


Then looking at how tensho reminded me off Sanzhan so much I decided to show him the first part of Sanzhan but I told him only the first part. He was surprised at how much more difficult and tense it is compared to Sanchin and tensho and how much more relaxed the power is when you explode the arms. He didn’t quite get it but he got the idea and it tripled his punch power (ow). I was showing him how the tension was like a build-up of energy but not the power in itself, you must release that power with a hint of relaxation and turn it into a bullet from a gun. A main principle of White Crane is not to telegraph which means you don’t raise the shoulders or move the hips it all comes from the core and Lats.



Then I got into discussing with him the various versions of Sanzhan/Sanchin on how some develop one key aspect and have a certain weakness that Uechi Ryu’s version would be the closest version to a good balance and how I had heard rumours that there is one version with kicks (which would be devastating.

Before the session started I was on about a drill I do I call long range combo, I use it to drill my kicks because I am a close quarters fighter and I need to start introducing more kicks into the style I fight in. I have also been doing a lot of jumping kicks which I know is what is the next step in white crane that they use to get their kicks in closer, I just worked on it by accident (I really need to go back to China and visit my Sifu). Mike was showing me how to incorporate Jump kicks to close the gaps, I asked him to look at my roundhouses and he asked me to compare to my front kicks.

I have been drilling my front kicks a lot recently and I was surprised to see Mike drop from them (I didn’t add power. He asked me to aim for a front kick and then change at the last moment to a roundhouse and with little power it made a huge difference. He believes that all kicks come from the core and knee that we telegraph too much where it should so much more simple.

He watched my stance and because in my mind I have incorporated kicking I have lengthen it and turned my body at an angle which means there is so much distance that even if I don’t telegraph  they will see the kick coming from the distance. It means getting my footwork back to Sanzhan which is a nice balance of Neko ashi, zenkutsu dachi and Sanchin dachi.

I should use the same principle’s for kicking that I do for punching, it’s not back to the drawing board I have the ideas already I just have to simplify it, focus more on tensho and Sanzhan and adapt my kicking drills to include a better stance for me to use.

A beautiful day, training with my best mate and we both came away with loads of ideas and new perspectives it felt like we been on a course but could of trained longer if we wanted to. All we needed was a beer afterwards.

Keep Training, Never Give Up, OSU.


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