Monday, August 07, 2006

Beng: The Explosive Technique

A friend suggested over the weekend that there is a certain kind of strength and peace you receive from training within a group. He said it helps you realize part of your path and your place in the world by learning to work with, and having the support of others with similar goals. I empathize. I certainly miss the time when I attended a regular martial arts school, and much of my training and learning, this blog included, goes toward recreating and possibly even improving upon those nostalgic memories.
In particular, there are some things that are better learned in groups. Some techniques require the context of the dynamics of person to person interaction to understand adequately. You can see them, sure, but to properly learn and appreciate the move, you must feel them. The last two techniques we'll cover in our research fall into that category. They are so subtle, so structurally and mechanically complex and variable, that one must practice with a partner to learn them. It is also why we have saved them for last.
The first of the two is called Beng, or exploding. Very much like the Beat in fencing, it is simply when your sword snaps out with a burst of energy, often striking the opponent's blade and then bouncing or skipping onward to attack. If fencing, the Beat is usually only used to knock the opponent's blade aside to the left or right, but what if we could use that energy fully in three dimensions? Imagine if you could paralyze your opposite's blade with a sharp, forward Beng against their blade, collapsing their defense and preventing them from extending? What if you could pull your opposite's blade out straight by sharply hooking the back of their blade, causing them to become overextended and off balance? What about Beng up or down, or multiple Bengs in succession?
Begin practice by standing in guard against your opposite. With a quick squeeze of the hand or a flick of the wrist, bounce your blade off your opposite's blade. Your goal is to knock their guard off line while the bounce of your blade conveniently causes your blade to come to rest exactly where it started--on line, ready to attack, and now totally unobstructed! Once you've mastered this basic Beng, try variations with all the different directions: up, down, left, right, forward, and back. Then try multiple Beng combinations: forward-down, left-right, back-up, etc.

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