How does it feel to cross hands with Adam Mizner?

Introduction

In the following text, I will endeavor to describe my experience crossing hands with Sifu Adam Mizner. My motivation for writing this article is due to the vast amount of questions received from those who have watched my interview with Sifu Mizner and are curious about how it feels to be on the receiving end of Adams's skill. Having spent several weeks contemplating how to approach this subject, I decided that the best way would be to try and break down certain parts of the video and explain what occurred during the practical elements of the demonstration. I have no intention of trying to promote or exaggerate Adam's skill in this article, but merely to give an honest account of what I felt at that time. For those of you that are not familiar with my martial arts history, I will offer a little insight into my background. I began training martial arts more than 20 years ago, having practiced Wing Chun intensively for more than ten years, I then decided to relocate to Thailand so that I could train and compete in Muay Thai. I later began to study some ground fighting methods from various grappling arts alongside learning other fighting styles, including some weapon arts and other TCMA's. I consider myself to be a serious martial artist. The reason for me mentioning this is not to sing my praises, but to make the reader aware that I have enough experience to justify my comments below, allowing the reader to have a clear understanding of what took place.

Qin Na

During the first part of the interview, Adam encourages me to apply Qin Na (locking techniques) on him, offering me his arm and giving me an open invitation to begin. I decided that I will start by trying to execute a simple wrist lock, a technique that is often taught in several traditional martial arts and is known as the Nikyo technique in Aikido. Adam let me apply the lock to his wrist, which had an immediate effect on him, causing pain and discomfort to his wrist joint as expected. When I tried to reapply the lock for the second time, the outcome was not the same. The moment I began to use the technique, the lock was reversed, causing adequate pain to render me immobile. The more effort I applied, the more pain was channeled through my wrist joint. Knowing that my attempts at using a wrist lock were not working, I decided that I would switch technique and attempt a standing armbar, attacking the elbow joint of Sifu Mizner. Adam immediately countered the lock, sending me back several meters away from him. Feeling confused about how someone could throw me around so quickly with what seemed to be a small movement, I continued to try and lock Adam with little success. Each time my attempts at applying Qin Na were neutralized, and I repeatedly found myself thrown out several meters. When attempting to use the locks, I had an awareness that Adam's joint was not locked or affected by my efforts. Also, it is worth mentioning that the quality of Adam's strength is something worth noting. Unlike raw muscular power, which can be felt and understood when used against you, it is challenging to know the source of Sifu Mizner's strength.

Striking

Taking into account my background in striking from studying various martial arts, I wasn't expecting to find anything too unusual from Adam's striking methods. However, I was pleasantly surprised at what I experienced when filming the 'striking' part of the interview. The distance in which Adam positions himself when waiting to engage is very confusing for the person who is attacking. It appears that Adam is within punching distance, when, in fact, he is just out of your range. His ability to control this distance allows him to take control of the situation and place his body in the optimum position when countering. Distance management is a skill developed from years of practice and transcends itself smoothly into the combat side of Yang style Taijiquan.

As a consequence of this skill displayed by Adam, I found that my attempts at throwing a jab-cross combination had very little success, as the range I was trying to engage in was controlled even before my strikes had started. During this exchange, there were several times when Adam countered my attacks with hits of his own, this was undoubtedly the most painful part of the interview, and I was impressed with the amount of power generated from Sifu Mizner. Looking back at the footage, I was surprised to see that Adam had only used what appears to be light palm strikes to my face during the interview, at the time of filming it felt like something resembling an iron bar.

Na Jin (seizing)

Since the start of my show, Na Jin has become both a fashionable and controversial term circulating in the martial arts world. The vast majority of people who have seen this skill demonstrated in videos find it very difficult to believe that it is possible to seize and capture a person, without physically grabbing and holding on to them. I have to admit that before I started my show, I also thought that the ability to seize someone in combat was too good to be true, and it was a skill that had somehow been exaggerated by some. However, after having had the first-hand experience with this subject, my opinion on this matter has changed, and it is something well worth me mentioning here.

During my interview with Adam, there is a section of the video that addresses the meaning of "Stupid hands, Smart hands, and Mysterious hands." These are terms used by Sifu Mizner to describe the different stages a practitioner goes through when he begins his journey in the study of Taijiquan (Tai chi) and is most relevant to the push hands parts of the training. "Stupid hands" being the first stage of development when the student is using "stupid" force in his practice, forcing his techniques and resisting the strength of his opponent. The second stage is thoughtfully named "Smart hands," as this implies that the student is no longer using "stupid" force. Instead, he is using the techniques of Taijiquan to answer the questions his opponent presents to him. Lastly, "Smart hands" is the ability to show the changing of techniques no longer, as the changes are done internally on the inside of your body. When crossing hands with Sifu Mizner and he engaged with me at the level of "Smart hands," I was very aware of how and when he was yielding to my energy, and I had some sense of when he began to change and generate his force. However, once he began to demonstrate the use of "Mysterious hands," I became completely stuck and unable to move or change. The feeling was as if my whole body had become captured. The freedom to change and yield was instantly taken away from me, and the more I tried to fight back and resist, the more it became very uncomfortable for me to move. You can often hear a wincing sound during various videos of Adam demonstrating this skill. This sound is from the partner Adam is demonstrating with, and is caused by the feeling of their body being twisted and squeezed as they try to resist. This is the skill of Na Jin and is something quite rare in the martial arts world.

Zhong Ding (Equilibrium)

Adam displayed a clear understanding of Zhong ding numerous times throughout the practical demonstrations, including answering a dedicated question on the meaning of Zhong ding in part two of the interview. I will try my best to explain how it feels when I attempted to attack Sifu Mizner's center of equilibrium during filming. First of all, this may sound strange to anyone that has not had first-hand experience in working with someone with this skill. Please bear with me as I try to explain. Each time I attempted to push Sifu Mizner, my force seemed to remain on the outside of his body, making it feel impossible to find his center and affect his balance in any way. Usually, when pushing a person, you are aware if they are bracing to resist your force, and you can feel the moment they begin to fold and yield. However, with Adam, that is not the case. You can not detect any bracing or the use of holding a fixed structure. His center is hidden. It is an experience that is very difficult to put into words, as it is unlike anything else I have previously encountered. No matter how hard I attempted to push or pull, my force did not affect him. Even with Adam sat on a wall with his legs dangling off the ground, he continued to display the ability not to be pushed backward and continued to retain his 'Zhong Ding.' If you think this is some trick or possibly the use of core strength, I will invite you to grab a partner and give it a try for yourself.

Are Adam Mizner's skills real?

Of course, this is a silly question and is one that should have been answered by itself from the video alone. The fact that Sifu Mizner can apply these high-level skills to persons that are not cooperative and not his students speaks volumes. It should serve to inspire anyone interested in martial arts and practicing Taijiquan. My advice for anyone that is still curious and possibly unsure about Adam's skill, attend a seminar with Sifu Mizner and experience it for yourself, you won't be disappointed!

Where can you watch the video?

The full video interview is uploaded and released in two parts, with over 42 minutes of in-depth insights into Yang style Taijiquan and practical demonstrations. This is a must-watch for anyone interested in Yang style Taijiquan and the Internal Arts.

Click here to watch the full video interview.

Learn more about Sifu Adam Mizner

To learn more about Sifu Adam Mizner and Heaven Man Earth Internal Arts International, please visit his website, Facebook page, and Youtube channel by clicking on the links below.

Website: www.discovertaiji.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HeavenManEarth

Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/hme

11 comments

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  • Hi Kieren,

    Thank you for this article and for the videos related. It is good when people have critical approach while getting new information. It is natural when people who had not experienced nothing like the material shown tell thing like “not true”, “it will not work” etc. Anyone who had possibility to practice Taiji (Bagua etc) understanding and following basic principles like “Song”, could feel something already known, could feel that the material provided is related with things more or less experienced in the real life (same with videos about Liang Dehua’s skills ). Though for sure, skills like Na are so rare that it is too hard to understand it ) That’s why your work – video, and this article where you share your personal experience is very precious. Thank you.

  • Hi Kieren, I’m a fan of your work, and especially appreciative of your video interviews with Sifu Mizner, and this companion article. As a martial artist, taiji practitioner and teacher with over 40 years of experience, I have on rare occasions experienced high level skills like Mizner’s, which are of course delightful and inspiring to encounter. Beyond the level of “smart hands,” what I’ve noticed is that the quality of deep “sung” — which is the basis of Mizner’s higher skills — is to some degree innate. Everyone can develop some measure of it in themselves, but there’s a threshold beyond which one cannot go without greater innate aptitude. I’ve never seen a school where the students of masters who have this rare ability reliably and evenly manifest it themselves. Mizner’s skills are exceptional, but, like every other master, he cannot simply transmit them willy-nilly to whomever he wishes, because to some important extent, the “knack” that produces these skills is innate.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thanks again for your work!

  • Hi Kieren, you may not remember me but I used to train at the same Muay Thai gym as you in Bangkok during the same period you were preparing for an upcoming fight. I came across this article after it was shared on Facebook by a friend. It’s nice to read about your experience and hear good things about tai chi from someone I respect. I always thought tai chi was a fake martial art and something old people did for health, I was clearly wrong.
    Props to you man.

    BTW. I stopped training Muay Thai as I started having issues with my hips, I’m really missing the training 🙁

    All the best,
    Marco

  • Great interview, looks like two humble and skilled people reasoning together for the greater good, I love how there’s some humour and yet it’s serious. Seems that the respect with which the interviewer approached the subject brought the best out of the interviewee. Inspiring.

  • Sorry I had to ask. Prior to the interview, you had no background in internal martial arts? So everything that you experience from sifu mizner is something that is completely different… You did not feel any tension from him at all? No actual muscular force?

  • I have seen every single video of Adam Mizner posted on youtube. His perspective and insights about Tai Chi is great. Has helped me in my practice of Tai chi which I started 5 years back. When you realise and learn to abandon the actual muscular force you progress in Tai Chi practice to a very large extent. The key lies in everyday regular and disciplined practice.

  • Hi,
    Thank you for your video with sifu Adam Mizner. It introduced me to sifu Adam Mizner.
    The series and then some interviews of sifu Adam Mizner with other people have answered a lot of questions that I have in my practice.

    I have practiced Qi Gong (Chi Kung) for many years, can withstand intensely cold up to -12 C degree on Rocky Mountain in Colorado, swim in lakes on Rocky Mountain in winters, can go many days without eating and drinking. However, I have never been able to use my Chi to generate any force in martial arts application.
    During recent years, I have found 2 masters who provided me with some guidance and I had a moderate level of success of releasing (very small) force with my Chi.
    But they did not explain things as clear as sifu Adam Mizner clip and interviews.

    Those videos help me a lot in concepts and the path that I must seek next.
    Thank you very much.

    • I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed my interview with Sifu Adam Mizner. If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge further, I highly recommend checking out Adam Mizner’s ‘Discover Taiji’ website and online training. Sifu Adam has created a comprehensive course that systematically teaches you the method needed to attain the skills you can see him demonstrating in his videos. https://discovertaiji.com

THE MARTIAL MAN
Kieren Krygier

about

"For the last six years, I have been traveling across S.E Asia, researching the ancient arts and filming countless interviews for my channel so that I can share the 'secret knowledge of the Grandmasters' with my followers. I often spend days or even weeks with the masters I interview, leaving with hours of precious footage that gets edited and released as a feature on my YouTube channel. After the YouTube video is released, I'm left with a surplus of clips that are never released publicly. So what happens to the remaining footage? The leftover clips are carefully selected, edited, and uploaded to the members' area of my website. This gives my subscribers a rare opportunity to watch exclusive unseen footage from the show."

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