The Purpose for Practicing the Martial Arts

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1. It does not matter whether we speak of the inner or outer family. Why do martial arts? They all have a brilliant people. They all desire a famous teacher. Search out a skilled man. Go wherever you can get the mysterious techniques. The skills of a brilliant man and an average man are not the same. Find out the teacher's natural disposition. Whether in sitting, lying, talking, chatting or moving does he use energy? Each and every action of man is different. You need the teacher's attentive natural desire to help you.

The brilliant man does not injure men. He is not selfish nor boastful. The natural ability of the true man is not shown in forms. If he shows forms, he is not a true man. Then, when first studying, practice for ten years. You may not yet know the energies of movement and stillness. Perhaps you have many techniques. Yet without someone to show the fine point you will never understand the principles of the martial arts. People practice martial arts until the habits are deep. Try to avoid frauds.

2. When you find a brilliant teacher, then you must totally empty your mind and heart in order to get the doctrine. Investigate it deeply. Be wary of other teachers. Correct instruction makes for practicing true martial arts. From of old, the arts are not easily transmitted. Therefore suspect the teachings of vagabonds. On the outside it is false. Receive instruction in the school of a famous person. Therefore the teacher will be able to correct what is wrong. You must not get upset if praise is seldom imparted. In practicing the art, it is proper first to get the correct series.

3. When you have completed your study of the art, do not treat men with contempt. A strong China will naturally have strong citizens. An able man, behind his back, has able men. Use personal loyalty to attract people. Do not be boastful of natural ability. Maybe you will compare your martial skills with other experts.

When points are made then stop. You will naturally know who has the victory. Others may find it difficult to make that distinction. However it is convenient to maintain the opponent's good name.

4. When people practice the martial arts it is very proper to emphasize the Daoist virtues. Be absolutely loyal to your country. Be obedient to both of your parents. Other friends must speak. Other teachers must be respected. When you see righteousness it should make you brave. You should be benevolent, but not be humble. Do not be ashamed of martial arts. Its righteous knights are the root of excellence.

5. After completing your skills, it is important to avoid the following items: Criminals do not come to a healthy end. Do not fornicate. Do not oppress the virtuous. Do not steal. Do not injure others. Why do false actions? Do not disregard or twist your teachers words. Do not become intimate with bandits. Do not open your mouth to curse people. Do not abuse public power to retaliate against a personal enemy. Do not lie. Note the above items. It is important to guard against them.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PRACTICING THE MARTIAL ARTS

The martial arts are all part of the one Dao. There are many different schools. But in speaking of them, there are only the two skills of soft and hard. The soft school esteems softness and the hard school esteems hardness. Hard and soft mutually cross over. Proper training is the genuine essence of the martial art. The Wudang system corresponds to the inner family. It uses soft to arrive at hard. The Shaolin system corresponds to the outer family. From hard, it develops to soft. You must know hard and soft, and in initial practice, distinguish it. When you arrive at its end, and create its ultimate, then hard is also soft and soft is also hard. Then there is no separation of hard and soft. The proverb says, "The Long Fist is not long. The Short Fist is not short." This is what it means.

Currently, practicing fighting skills daily benefits everyone. Each is what it is. Each is not what it is not. It is good to use sectarian bias to probe the great depths of its cause. You must know that below heaven, martial arts are basically one family. Do not worry whether it is short or long. They are all martial arts. Recently Xingyi, Taiji, and Bagua have been classified together. They are taught everywhere and studied by every one. Still, most only study it on a shallow level. If the martial arts practice is easy, then the fighting principles are difficult to understand.

What are the martial arts? What are the methods and the art of fighting? What makes the methods? What makes the art? Practicing the postures makes the method. Bringing the proper techniques to the enemy makes the art. In the beginning posture, the tongue rolls up so that the Ren and Du channels are

Sun Xi Kun executing a movement from "Behind the Body Palm"

connected. The heart is empty like a cave. There is no form and no shape. This is Wuji. It is like moving, yet not moving. It is just about to expand, without expanding. Finally, the Mind begins to move and the Will is created. The body begins to go forwards, the hands and feet move. This is Taiji. From Taiji comes Liang Yi [the two polarities], Si Xiang [the four phases], and Bagua [the eight trigrams] and ultimately the 64 hexagrams. From one aspect we arrive at 1,000 ways and 10,000 clues and each type of martial art. It rarely goes beyond these bounds. The methods of the martial arts and Daoism are derived so.

When confronting the enemy, if the enemy moves, then get his movement. If the enemy is still, then you be still first. It is spoken of as 'waiting at one's ease for the exhaustion of the enemy.' If he is high, then I am low. If he is hard, then I am soft. In speaking of being near the power, you must change. This is the art of fighting. You must understand the principles of fighting. Then weapons are not difficult. It is imperative that the martial arts be one with the Dao. Still more, using the palm method is difficult. And the eight trigrams are one school. All are related to the palm method. If you do not have a famous teacher to point out the way, you will not be able to spy out his secrets. You will have no one to indicate the fine points.

Sun Xi Kun executing the standing posture "Double Embracing Palm"

Moreover, in practice, it will also be difficult to get his true foundation. Looks have, for this reason, caused muddy strength. And it can injure the internal organs. Also, when practicing the martial arts, the location cannot be disregarded.

When first practicing, it is better to go slow, better to train well. Gradually increase the speed. After a while the qi descends into the dantian. The hands and feet become coordinated. The muddy strength goes away by itself. There are no blockages, no separations. You are not late nor broken. The waist is like the axle of a wheel. The qi is like the wheel turning. Changing postures has to be like moving clouds. The appropriate stepping is flowing water. Empty and full must be distinguished in both feet. Shrink the body to change its image. Overturn like a startled goose. You must change randomly. It is mysterious and unfathomable.

When practicing the martial arts, no matter which fighting art you practice, they all still use the waist and body as the root. You cannot only rely upon uncertain strength to get the victory. The internal energy in the dantian must be pure and even. When the fist goes out, it must be natural. It is like emptiness in the middle of full, and fullness in the middle of empty. Fullness instantly is in the striking hand. Emptiness is in the changing hand. The hand goes out like a tongue licks. Striking a man is like blending with him. Truly rely on the subtle understanding of the striking method.

Act according to the functional methods of Bagua Quan. They are: Push, uphold, subdue, lead, parry, hook, split, advance, seize, hold, join, strike, seal, close, dodge, and expand. If you can advance, then you can retreat. You can transform, but still more you must create. You must be hard and not blocked, soft and not dispersed. You must be still like Tai Shan and move like a swimming dragon. There must be reeling silk energy. Layer upon layer, it is unfathomable. It has circles inside of circles. Everywhere there are changes. This is Chinese Bagua. The mystery of the martial arts.

The martial arts proverb says, "Martial arts is the practice of pre-natal qi. Hard and soft mutually cross over and delicately push each other." Take a careful look and note the Bagua palm method. You do not need to be afraid of fierce people with the strength of 1000 pounds. Know yourself and know him. In one hundred battles you will have one hundred victories.

When practicing the martial arts, outwardly emphasize the hands, eyes, body method and stepping. Inwardly practice the minds thoughts full. The mind is the original teacher. The eyes are the first points. The feet are the battle steed. The hands are the weapons. Therefore the eyes must be sharp. The body follows. The mind is steady. The hands exact. Therefore the eyes are prepared to search for understanding. The hands have the skill of parting and turning. The feet have the skill of speed. The spirit has the ability to lead the way. The energy is broken the will is unbroken, the will is broken the spirit is connected. The outgoing hand is like an ox's tongue. Changing hands are like piercing needles. The fighting are is pure and subtle. Get the person's roots and extremities. This is instantly the principles of the martial arts.

Also the practice method of this martial art is divided into three basins: upper, middle, and lower. When the three basins are pure, internal energy will be naturally understood. Then no matter what sort of weapon he has, long or short, single or double, he can not hurt you. Also transform and create from all of this. If one point is already understood, then all the material will be at your finger tips. Naturally, it is not difficult.

In speaking of the first teacher, when Grandmaster Dong was alive, he could hang a picture on a wall when his knees were coiled and he was sitting by raising his qi and leaping up into the air. Master Cheng Tinghua could travel many hundreds of miles at night. With his bare hands he would catch birds. These are not empty words. These skills have been handed down today. Just observe Cheng Xiangting, Jiang Xinshan, Wu Junshan, all masters who have received the mysteries of Bagua. This is real skill. They did not get there in a day and a night. When we study the martial arts, how can we not be anxious to start the true investigation. If you have the will, then study. Why not start now?

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