More about the fabric cloth training
After having introduced the most important of the fundamental technical practices of 6 Dragons Kung Fu (read), we want to deepen the topic.
In this article we aim to share some of the most important details that we have not discussed previously (read Basic tools: the cloth).
How to reach the best results
On what to focus our practice to quickly reach a good level:
- Let’s be honest with the throws – First of all, let’s do not fool ourselves, if during the practice we throw the cloth too near us, if we slow down the pace, if we stand still or if we throw it in a predictable manner, we will never gain good martial skills
- How to throw the cloth? – At the beginning it is correct to randomly throw the cloth, following then its motion; in a later stage (after, at lest, 1 year) we will have to voluntarily throw it in the hardest possible way
- The focus must be on managing the unexpected – It is important to stress that the goal of the exercise is not to control the way we throw the cloth but to address its unexpercted consequences; one day (probably after 3-4 years), even at high speed, we will be able to instictively decide the motion of the cloth (in relation to the scenario where we are training)
- How many sessions? – This exercise is so important that it should be done almost every day from a minimum of 5-10 minutes to a maximum of 60-120 minutes for the special sessions (eg. after the first year, once per month)
- When the exercise become useless? – When it does not guarantee us a reasonable margin of failure (we are not jugglers, our goal is exactly the opposite); we are not good 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s practitioners if the cloth never falls (or we’re cheating, or it’s time to increase the difficulty)
How to perform the exercise:
- The correct sequence of execution – The best way to condition our body to the dynamics of this exercise is to perform it starting with the upper limbs only, passing then to the lower ones and finally with both in combination
- Never step on the fabric cloth – When the cloth falls, we must never step on it, for any reason (this teaches us to stop abruptly, to avoid obstacles and to quickly balance our body)
- The characteristics of a good execution – A good session of this exercise can be recognized by the type and variety of the motions of the cloth (eg. if it closes, opens completely, stiffens, wraps, turns on itself, goes far, low, it slides over our body, etc.)
- Do not follow the target – Use the overall view instead of trying to look a the fabric cloth trajectory only (read The overall view: see everything, do not look at anything)
Tips with weapons
A few details about the execution with the weapons:
- With rigid weapons (sticks, swords blunt, etc.) – If compared with the difficulty of flexible weapons, the exercise will seem much easier but when we will learn to give blows from the bottom to the top, let’s also focus on giving them even from top to bottom (that is much harder)
- With flexible weapons (for advanced-expert practitioners) – At the beginning it will seem almost impossible to keep the cloth in the air, even just for 2 times; let’s do not get discouraged, let’s try to use gentle upward strokes (the rest will come with the acquisition of reflexes and spatial intelligence, read The most important skill in combat)
How to solve the most common problems
Some tricks and ideas to overcome the most frequent difficulties:
- How to avoid to grab the cloth – Especially at the very beginning, to avoid the uncontrollable desire to grab the cloth, we have to hold our hands open, relaxed and flexible but leaving the thumb motionless
- Kicks are slows, clumsy and out of time? – At the beginning we will have some difficulty using kicks (but also shoulders, head, knees and elbows), it does not matter, let’s maintain our weight frontally and let’s insist (this practice is born exatly to evolve our body dynamics)
- We fall too often to the ground – We have to learn to move the lower limbs before the upper ones, to foresee the consequences of our blows, to guess the possibilities of movement of the fabric cloth and to always maintain the weight in direction of our imaginary opponent
Variants, handicap and facilitations
When the exercise becomes too repetitive or not tyring, we can (temporarily) replace the cloth with other objects and (when our skills become truly good) we can even practice with 2 cloths simultaneously.
Variants for the cloth
Here are some variants of the fabric cloth to experiment:
- Use an empty plastic or paper bag (slower and more predictable, perfect for novices)
- Use a plastic bottle (empty for intermediate, *full for advanced / expert practitioners)
- Use pillows (even bulky)
- Use undergarments (socks, underwear. etc.)
- Use balls (stress, tennis, football, baseball, etc.)
- Use our gloves
- Use books or magazines
- Use objects of elastic fabric filled with polystyrene pellets (their trajectories are incredibly inconstants)
- Use any object that reasonably (in relation to our ability) seems appropriate
Important – The baseball and the full bottle require the acquisition of the soft touch skill (read How to acquire the Soft Touch skill). Let’s do not use dangerous objects (eg. things that can cut, made of glass, etc.).
Variants for the environment
- Once we have reached a good level, we can perform the exercise even in low light up to complete darkness (for advanced practitioners, read Advanced training: gradually learn to fight in the dark)
- Once we learn how to fall without suffering damages (read Everything you should know about breakfalls) and earned a good balance, we can perform the exercise on water soil, on ice, on uneven ground and finally on a blanket of plastic soaked with oil (very hard)
- We can also put hanging hurdles (eg. oscillating bungee cords) and / or obstacles on the ground (balls, plastic bottles, etc.)
A note by Master Kongling – In our Kung Fu, the exercise of the cloth is absolutely crucial: it increase our dynamic equilibrium (read The concept of Dynamic Equilibrium) and speed up in an amazing way our reflexes (it is for this reason that it accompanies us from the beginning to the end of our martial path).
It is interesting to stress that, with the time, we will notice big differences even in the perception of everyday life (read also 10 things that change for 6DKF’s practitioners (physical)):
- We will see the world moving more slowly (eg. watching a martial arts movies, sport competitions, we will begin to distinguish clearly every move)
- More unlikely we will slide, or at least, we will not badly fall to the ground
- More unlikely we will lose sight of the insects’ flight (gradually even the smallest, fast and unpredictable)
- More unlikely we will let fall to the ground what pops off our hands
- We will lean on our knees more easily
In-depth video courses
- Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises – A deep visual explanation of the Fabric Cloth training and of the other fundamental practices
- Shaolin training for reflexes – How Shaolin monks start to develop their reflexes
- Basic tools: the pole – Another fundamental dowel of the 6 Dragons Kung Fu preparation
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- What is the biggest difficulty practicing the Fabric Cloth training?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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