Seeing the Whole Picture

Learn Real Kung fu

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Lao Pai

What we attempt here in this first introductory article is to broaden the perspective of both the novice, the specialists, as well as the traditionalist.  In the evolution of the civil martial arts in society it can be stated with a high degree of confidence that the way we practice Wushu in the Chinese systems, and Bushido in the Japanese systems is not the same as the way those who dedicated their lives to the practice 100 years ago.

A collective delusion

Because of the contagion of competitive martial arts and the mixing of various systems of martial combat sports there is a delusional and arrogant assumption that we have now reached a pinnacle and that what masters did in the old days does not work and certainly does not apply at present.  The argument is based on assumptions that have their root in the modern athletic competition based on a particular design and controlled environment.  When we add to this common assumption, the impressions made on when we witness such amazing skills and special stunt combat that is displayed in theatrical representations of Wushu or any other choreographed portrayals of martial arts fighting and stunt work, it is not at all surprising what kind of conclusions people make for themselves.  However, like in many things we take for granted, it can be profitable for us to take a step back and examine the issue of what is true martial arts with as much intellectual honesty as we can and to reach our conclusions without bias, or not.  Understandable it may be, but to pierce through the veil of the true science of martial art  requires more than a casual look.

the Quan fa  (fist method)

It will be impossible in this short introductory article to cover every aspect of this subject as it is too broad and deep to lend itself to a short article of this sort.  What we hope to accomplish however is to set the stage for examining the ground encompassed by both Wushu and Bushido, their common history and origin and thereby gain greater insight as to what is and is not civil martial science, and by means of that make our steps secure and well directed and by means of a rational and scientific study of the subject matter.

Don’t [blindly] follow in the footsteps of the old masters but rather seek what they sought…Matsuo Basho

There is too much to know, too much to learn, to much to say and no ability to put it all down in writing even if there were 100 volumes to do it in. But we may take a few steps at a time, learn a little bit here; grain of rice a day, and gradually build up knowledge through the dedication of effort over time.

It takes great courage and skill to face a determined and violent adversary with a calm mind. There is no time to psych yourself up and train for a fight when someone walks up to you and for no apparent provocation hits you unawares leading to your injury or even death as has recently occurred in the news. The awareness and courage necessary require a certain type of training. We are all responsible for our own wellbeing and how we act with regard to the social contract between people.

Each step of the path of a true martial science must be made with proper introspection and deep commitment in order to have the best success.  The foundation of Wujido training requires the study of various training methods based on certain theories, exercises, methods with form patterns as prescribed by the established science and certainly not according to modern fad or contrivance.  Reason will be applied and every theory analyzed and challenged for its applicability and its veracity.

The basic hand formations

The basic tools for striking or effecting a result in the Quan methods are the 7 stars; these are the head, the shoulders, the elbows, the hands, the knees, the hips, and the feet, each has their method and the special training.  The human body is made of flesh, muscles, tendons and ligaments, the vessels, and bone.  Everyone has these and so there is nothing special about muscle and bone against muscle and bone.  This is why a modern competitor wraps his hands or conditions his legs hitting bags.  It can also be brought to the attention of a casual observer of the particularly noteworthy instances of individuals who break their own “conditioned” legs upon making contact incorrectly upon an adversary.  It is really quite easy to injure oneself when using the modern methods of striking and kicking. Proper hand formations, methods for their development, and the science of their application is a life-time study and cannot be casually approached or viewed in a cavalier way.

The examples provide above are the following:

  1. Monk Fist
  2. Iron Bone/Snake Hand
  3. Dragon Claw

Each has it’s way and method and is governed by its own law.

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These next examples are as follows:

  1. Iron Tendon Tiger Claw
  2. Crane Wing
  3. Leopard/Eagle Claw

The same is true of these as the methods require diligent study and training to bring them to maximum effect.