How to Classify Monkey Boxing Drills and Exercises
The hallmark of Monkey Boxing is simplicity. Thus, the method itself is arranged along certain theory; the class structure mirrors that theory.
Here are the seven parts of Monkey Boxing.
- Warm ups
- Rolling Fists
- Application of Rolling Fists
- Grab Arts
- Eight Sticks
- 40 Monkeys
The first part is logical, and common to all arts: you warm up, stretch out, prepare your muscles for action, and even rehabilitate any injuries.
One should remember that Warm Ups include stretching. The purpose of stretching is not to build muscles, but to stretch the muscles. Thus, warm ups should begin with very light movements, and an emphasis on relaxing, relaxing while stretching.
The remainder of the class is built along a simple concept: closing distance, or taking advantage of the natural weapons as they come within range. The only exception to this is weapons, they are taught last because a person needs to learn concepts before he can extend those concepts into weapons and disarms.
The second part of the class deals with kicks. Thus, group any drills having to do with legs and kicks in the kicking section, the first part of the class after warm ups. This will be easy to do, as the arrangement of stretches in the warm ups ends with legs, and thus you can move directly into kicking techniques.
The third part of the class deals with Rolling the Fists, which is sometimes referred to as Rolling the Wall. Thus, legs translate into arm techniques – you are closing the distance to the opponent – and you should group any drills having to do with the arms into the Rolling Fists section. There are a variety of techniques, but they are simple, and you needn’t unnecessarily worry about teaching the wrong arm technique out of order. This will become more obvious as you delve into the arm techniques.
The fourth part of the class deals with the direct application of the Rolling Fists. This is where you break down the individual arm techniques of the rolling fists and practice them on your partner. You should mar sure that you learn how and why the techniques work, and what the individual situations are where they will not work. You should group Rolling Fist Applications in this section.
One should understand that Monkey Boxing is like a funnel. You apply the legs (kicking techniques, etc.) as the opponent comes within reach. As the distance collapses, which it will tend to do in a fight, especially before you have mastered Monkey Boxing techniques, you will enter a ‘funnel.’ The Rolling Fists, theory and application, are the funnel. You travel through this to the grab arts.
In other words, the fight condenses into small and smaller geometries, until it expands into a takedown.
At this point one learns to use the rolling fists in a fight: theory leads to practice leads to reality. Thus, the fifth part of the class has to do with fighting.
But not regular martial arts fighting.
A Monkey Boxer does not fight, he analyzes, breaks things down, and scientifically renders a situation. He does not fight nor engage in any sort of contest, he simply takes apart the opposing body.
This scientific rendering is done through many drills and exercises, but the main one is called Lop Sau, which means ‘Rolling Fists.’
This exercise was derived from incomplete drills found in other arts, specifically JKD and Wing Chun, though there were small influences from other sources.
It is a very simple exercise – the beginning drill only has six parts – but it expands into a variety of very vicious and to the point…and combat usable…grab arts.
One should group fighting drills in this section.
The fifth part of the class deals with Grab Arts.
I teach these in two ways: piecemeal, growing from simple concepts, or specific fighting grab arts that come right out of the Lop Sau drill.
Actually, I shouldn’t teach the piecemeal Grab Arts (such as Sword Catcher, Foot Catcher, and so on, for they are better taught as one goes into the seventh section of Monkey Boxing, which deals with weapons. The reason I do it is because it allows me to dissect certain movements in detail.
That said, one can categorize the piecemeal grab arts for later, and include the Grab Arts which grow from the Lop Sau drill in the Lop Sau section. You will see the logic of this as you begin to accumulate the material of the art.
And, the sixth and seventh sections: the Blinding Steel course. This deals with the translation of certain arm patterns to the incoming flow of weapons, and is expanded to a whole new method of fighting, which method fits together with the beginning ‘Rolling Fists’ method quite well.
So those are the seven parts of Monkey Boxing.
When you are going through the drills, and any specific writing on the Monkey Boxing method, simply group the individual methods, concepts, drills, and so on, into whichever of the seven sections is appropriate.
Then sort through the drills and arrange from easiest to most difficult, and teach (learn/practice) in that order.
You may, of course, choose a specific drill if it is a appropriate to a specific situation.
Most important, however, is the fact that you need to understand the overall viewpoint of the class structure of Monkey Boxing, then you need to analyze in incredible detail the fine points of each section. The devil, or in this case enlightenment, is in the details.
Good skill, and let me know if you encounter wins or difficulties, or confusions, with learning and teaching in this method.