In ancient times, when people lived among the animals, their strength was poor and they were in constant danger. They needed to develop skills to avoid and resist the dangers. It used to be that the strong lived and the weak died. Yet the old sages took it upon themselves to study all things. In the world at large, they examined people, how cats hunt, dogs chase, rabbits avoid, and eagles bind. In the microcosmic world they sought to combine the pre-natal and postnatal aspects. They gathered together and combined all these skills and abilities and developed the principles of the martial arts. These were fixed in the eight trigrams and combined with the five elements to increase the technical arts. They have been passed down for generations. The sages gained benefits from this and so can we, if we follow their path. We should practice the Way of the martial arts.
When first studying, it is proper to go slowly, be frugal, practice only one art. When one has practiced for a long time, it is proper to expand the studies more. From many directions, they all converge together. They are smelted in the furnace. Use desire to penetrate and then permeate through them. All who practice martial arts must know the training process. First, desire to
open up. Then seek to pull it all together. Arrive at the forging of pure skill. Bravery lives in the front; suddenly then it is in the rear. Empty and full, true and false. No form, no shape. No separation, no blocks. The art is also all in this.
When men practice the martial arts, they first need to find a teacher who will impart the knowledge. A teacher who knows the meaning of the martial arts from the beginning to the end. One who knows the arrangements of movements. The foundation of the martial arts is qi transformation. It is not big on the outside. It is not small on the inside. Far away it lives in the six combinations. Nearby it lives in the one body. One action, one stillness. At once spoken, at once silent. There is nothing that is not combined with the forms of the trigrams. Then you must get the heart of the oral teachings. It is not easy to get this mystery.
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