When he was young, my father studied Western boxing, but he saw that many people who boxed ended up with scars and injuries and he thought there must be a better way to train (translator's note: Ahney literally said that his father was "afraid of having his nose broken"). He started training with Hong Yi Xiang, practicing Xing Yi Quan. After he had reached a certain level in the art, he taught at Hong's school. My father could speak Japanese and English and he helped Hong interpret for the foreign students. At the time there were quite a number of American soldiers practicing. Since my father did a part of the actual instructing, he had a lot of opportunity to test his skill. In order to get more detailed explanations from Hong, my father would often tell Hong that this or that technique didn't work as well as it was supposed to. Hong would ask my father what he did. My father would demonstrate the technique and then Hong would go into great detail as to how the technique was to be properly applied. My father said Hong's skill was very great and the best way to learn was to feel the technique first hand. My father also read many books about martial arts in Chinese and Japanese. He was especially interested in the actual fighting applications of the art. He also learned a little Ba Gua, but not much.
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