Sunday, 14 December 2008

Thoughts exchange: The one detail.

Kung Fu has always been a bit different than any Japanese Martial Arts, the Japanese are experts in applying a skill as many times as possible, until they turn it into art. One of the criteria to master a skill is the complete dedication on one technique by the practitioner.  The positive side of this kind of training is that the practitioner will be able to reach good structure in his training (that is, with the guidance of a good teacher). However, there comes a point, where the practitioner is no longer a beginner and embarks his journey as a fully trained martial artist. The question is, what's next? A good example would be the one where I left Karate school after I realized that the sensei doesn't know how to adjust the training for those who have reached the 1st dan. To those who were beginners in karate, he told them to make their stances as low as possible, to train their leg muscles. Of course it is a good training, but after 4 years or so, Some of them have done the training needed for getting a proper karate basic structure. And yet, they were never allowed to stand higher, so the purpose of the low stances changed from muscle training to actual self defense, which is unrealistic. This is a classic example of one of the problems with rigid thinking as a martial arts practitioner.

Kung Fu instead, is all about individualism. When I saw Mike Laoshi and the other teachers, I can see they all perform the same technique, yet all three of them would do it differently, with their own flavour. Depending on the styles they have done, their bodyweight and structure, their philosophy on life, all this changes that one simple technique into three different interpretations. And yet all three are equally powerful. That notion of individualism, is Kung Fu.

Understanding this, makes it also understandable why Kung Fu is much harder to learn. Kung Fu is about self expression. But how to achieve that if the student doesn't even know how to begin? So the Japanese way, erm... actually the Chinese way of learning in a rigid way, has its place in correct martial arts training. It should not be underestimated for the beginner student in any arts. Unless one can walk, one shouldn't learn how to fly.

It is with this thought I came up with the idea to ask each fellow student at the Belgium Wu Tan club, who has trained for more than a year, the following question: "Which detail, should be trained and improved upon after a year of training, according to you?"

The question is to challenge the fellow students to think clearly for themselves and express it in a way, that could be helpful for others. Thus classic answers like "body alignment", "movement",... will not be good enough. Masters like Mike Laoshi truly understand words like alignment, movement, the notion of the body... But for us, students, the mind needs to be in tune with the body and not ahead of it.

For the following weeks, I will ask several fellow students the question as written above and as exited as I am, I will put the results up for you to see. To other students, I hope we can do some exchange and learn from eachother and to teacher Mike, your correction is much needed!

Name student: Ken
Student Wu Tan for: 3 years
Which detail most important to you: Backfoot in Kon Po (attacking stand)

Name student: Magaly

Student Wu Tan for: 3,5 years

Which detail most important to you: Knee alignment (Kon Po as example)


Bailung e.V. said...

Great Article, when there will be more?

I would love to see some more inputs ....

Wu tan Belgium said...

coming soon....