Spoiler: I won’t get to 46.
Hyung are the core of our martial arts practice. They are entire fighting systems distilled to their essence. For me, ideal practice revolves around the study of hyung. Breaking down combinations and techniques, we see what secrets hide beneath the demonstration surface.
For previous generations, the study of only one, maybe two hyung was commonplace. The approach to striking, locking, throwing, kicking was boiled down until all that remained was a solo mnemonic students could practice and keep fresh when a training partner wasn’t available.
Now, we collect many examples from across styles. We may study them for their aesthetic or combative themes. We might even discard them over time. After all, Bruce Lee said that forms were useless and we should all just box. For some, the forms are a checkbox on a list of rank requirements. For others, they are the path to tournament glory.
I appreciate the beauty of a hyung performance, as long as it adheres to a good balance of martial and art. Freestyle XMA and modern Wushu just don’t do it for me. To paraphrase Potter, I know it when I see it.
Some say the forms contain secrets. Others say the only secret is hard work. Most agree that there is a surface level of understanding, followed by less obvious. Most also agree that solo training the hyung will only reveal a small piece of the pie.
It is my belief that the hyung contain everything we need to know about defeating our opponent. But to defeat our opponent we must understand how they move. The best way to start with this is to develop sensitivity to movement. Our own body should be the testing ground for this theory, and that’s where the solo hyung shines. Once we understand how our body moves, we can understand our opponent’s movement (something something Art of War.) Once we understand how both of us move, we can learn to affect and influence our opponents movement.
Now isn’t that a wonderful way to describe efficiently beating the hell out of someone ?
Over the next few posts, I’m planning to show a few different ways we can practice our hyung. None of them are unique to me. I’ve freely stolen from YouTube Sensei, internet forums, seminars, clinics, books, peyote-induced spirit quests, and just about any other source you can imagine. I even managed to listen to my instructor once or twice!
I think each of the methods presented are more than entertainment. Yes, they will spice up a “boring” training session. They should also make you stop and think about movements you may take for granted.