Led by Tom Bisio and Valerie Ghent, our small group of IAI instructors from New York City and Hamburg, Germany, traveled to Beijing this August. During the second part of our trip, we trained in traditional Qin Na with Master Zhao Da Yuan, who for forty years taught Qin Na’s practical and even deadly techniques to police, bodyguards and military personnel from many countries. Upon his retirement several years ago, Master Zhao has focused on passing on the full scope of the art of Qin Na to his very dedicated disciples.
Training was conducted on agricultural farm/hostel just outside of Beijing. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Master Zhao and his disciples. Many of Master Zhao’s disciples came from distant provinces. They had gathered at the farm to train intensively for a 5-day period.
We began the next day wearing karate uniforms (gi) so that we could practice seizing and throwing techniques without having to actually seize the tendons and fascia. The heat and humidity combined with the long sleeve uniforms was a challenge. We drank many bottles of water and literally wrung out our uniforms before hanging them up to dry in between training sessions.
Although the training was grueling, it was wonderful to share farm fresh meals each day, including freshly caught fish, with Master Zhao and his disciples.
Master Zhao is a methodical precise and exacting instructor. One of his top disciples Ms. Gao Yu Bing, put us through our paces each day under Master Zhao’s watchful eyes. We started from the ground up with basic foundational exercises, blocking drills and intensive practice of the Qin Na Hooking Hand (Diao Shou), which is used to seize sinews, flesh, channels and acu-points. Then we progressed to throwing and falling, including flipping off the thrower’s back to land on one’s feet.
Before learning specific Qin Na techniques, we practiced Yielding Body Training (Rou Shen Gong). Rou Shen Gong is a method of teaching the body to relax and flow with the opponent in order to escape joint locks. This was not as easy as it looked, but added greatly to our understanding of the Qin Na body mechanics and tactics.
Once Master Zhao saw that we had the basic skills for avoiding injury, we learned two Qin Na forms, Ba Ba Zhong Na “Eight Forms of Upper Seizing”, focusing on wrist Qin Na, and Ba Ba Shang Na “Eight Forms of Upper Seizing”, focusing on elbow and shoulder Qin Na.
Ba Ba Zhong and Na Ba Ba Shang Na are each composed eight basic techniques, which can be also practiced as a solo form. When training with a partner each of eight techniques has a least two variations, counter moves, and counters to the counter move. So eight techniques quickly became thirty techniques! Each night we furiously wrote down all the variations in our notebooks. By the end of our training we realized we had just scratched the surface of the art.
After five days of intense training, although our joints were sore and we ached in places we didn’t know existed, we all agreed that we wanted to come back and do it again as soon as possible.
If you missed Part 1 of Training in China 2016 – Click Here