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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wang XiangZhai Combat Science

Notes from Master Wang XiangZhai

While learning martial art, you should think about why you are learning it. If you are clear about this, it is easy to achieve results. In most cases it is about health and self defense. Health is basis for all activities of human beings. So you shouldn't neglect the issue of cultivating health. When you learn in proper way, benefits are great, but if methods are wrong, it could even cause death. Among those whose training is based on fierce movements not many achieve longevity. There are numerous cases of people who became cripple because of improper training. Such martial art is cause for laugh and for sadness at the same time. Practice for health and practice for self defense are one thing and should not be separated. If one part is lost, it will create deviations and lead astray. 

First you should start from mind training, to reveal and develop natural human ability of using nervous system and body. First step in learning martial art is mind training as basis, experiencing subtle movements of body. Second step is shi li - testing force and shi sheng - testing voice. Third step is self defense. 

1. Basic training
You should start from zhuangfa - postural exercises. You can fit them freely into everyday life, practicing anywhere and anytime, standing, walking, sitting or lying on bed. You should assume the posture, body should be straight, there should not be any distracting thoughts, in the state of non-movement and calmness nervous system is positively stimulated, breath becomes even and calm, muscles are mildly stimulated, each cell is naturally taking part in movement, force is everywhere inside and outside. In this way, although you don't use typical form of training, bones and muscles are trained, mind is trained naturally too. You only need to observe all the subtle changes. If you practice for longer time, this seemingly simple standing will bring incredible results and satisfaction. If you want to learn essence of combat science, you should start from zhan zhuang.

2. Testing force and testing voice
After you practice basic exercises for some time, your natural potential develops. Very often, because illusory thinking, practice changes into something opposite to what I'm talking about. Pulling sprouts up will not make the plant grow faster. But you should understand the state of force in movement. Only then you can move further. If talking about introduction to combat science, shi li is most important method. Ability of using force is developed thanks to shi li. By testing you get to know force. Thanks to knowing you can efficiently use it. First you should make sure that the feeling of force is even in whole body, that your body feels agile, bones are supporting posture. This way you can use mutually related contractions and stretches, relax and tension. Force from inside is issued outside. In shi li there, shouldn't be partial, superficial force, especially there shouldn't be unbalanced one directional force. You should observe if the whole body force is round, full or not, if it is possible issuing force at any moment, if there is feeling of mutual reaction between body and surrounding air. Intention shouldn't be broken, spirit shouldn't be dispersed. Light and heavy are ready to be used. If one moves, whole body follows it. Force should be unified, swift and solid at the same time, round and full. There shouldn't be anything forgotten or lost on any side. Summarizing, if someone has not achieved satisfactory state of comfortable force, we don't call it combat science.

3. Self defense
Self defense is combat skills. You should know that big movement is not as good as small movement, small movement is not as good as non-movement. You should know that in nonmovement the never ceasing movement is born. Movement which has obvious form is expression of lack of proper force. The wonderfulness of using it is in using mind, intention leading, elastic use of joints working, stretching and contracting, strong point of support, spiral force, movement around pivot, moving center of weight in stable way, using elastic force of breathing. If someone can use it, he has basis for combat. What I'm saying sounds abstractive. But there are many things which it is difficult to express with words. If someone practices diligently, he will achieve understanding. Differentiating between big and small movement is actually depending on mastering basics, whether you achieved practical perception of various kinds of force. If you master basics of using force of whole body, movement can be big or small, it doesn't matter if it is big or small. When basics are not mastered, everything is wrong. Summarizing, dachengquan is not based on beauty of outside form, but on using mind. Shortly, when there is form, this is something not ripe. Only when technique achieves level of unconscious using, miraculous appears. This is what I'm talking about.