The Forces Of Nature

Calligraphy of twin couplets, described in the Introduction to Part Four.

The heart of a general, The mind of Con fat ins

The braver)1 of a hero, The cotttpassioti of a Bit dill hi

The original calligraphy of these twin couplets is reproduced on the opening page of Part Four (page 102). The two scrolls were composed and hand drawn as a gift to me by one of the personal bodyguards of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China who became the country's first president.

The couplets offer heart advice for anyone contemplating the martial arts. In many places today the martial arts tradition has been misunderstood and reduced merely to a collection of punches and combat movements. Of course, the invincibility of an accomplished martial artist is well known. But that power does not come from aggressive techniques. The source of true power is found in these lines from Dr. Sun Yat Sen's bodyguard.

The "heart of a general" refers to the qualities of a good leader: open-mindedness, generosity and the ability to work with, understand and motivate people. The mind of Confucius" signifies deep learning, wisdom and knowledge. The meaning of this line is not restricted to that one philosopher, but to all who have devoted themselves to the path of profound understanding. " The bravery of a hero" is born of fearlessness, the essence of human freedom. "The compassion of a Buddha" blossoms from an open heart and a mind as vast as the universe itself.

Understanding these four qualities is particularly important at this stage in your training since Part Four introduces you to the martial application of your power. You will be learning and practicing the five power movements from the Da Cheng Chuan tradition. But it would be a serious mistake to think that what you will learn is how to be violent. "With profound knowledge," wrote Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai, "this helps to mold your temperament, cultivating you in faithfulness, sense of justice, benevolence and bravery." The whole point of this practice, he declared, was not victory or defeat, but to achieve "comfort, increase your strength and put zest into your life."

When teaching his disciples, Grand Master Wang said that his art could not be understood only through scientific explanation. He stressed that it must be intuitively grasped through direct practice. "What can be explained are the mechanics of strength; the inexplicable lies within your mind," he said.

Those who admired Grand Master Wang called his system The Great Accomplishment because instead of teaching them a fixed set of movements, he communicated the essence of the human power that was being expressed. This gave his students great freedom, enabling them to move with new strength without being constrained by the repetitive imitation of dead forms.

The five movements described on pages 108 to 127 reflect the traditional Chinese system of the Five Energies. These are the five principal directions in which energy moves. The Five Energies are said to direct all natural cycles such as the seasons and to express themselves in the forces of nature. It was these forces that Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai learned to unleash in the art of Da Cheng Chuan.

Water Power Flick through the following pages with your thumb (ending at page 129) to see Master Lam demonstrate the arm movements that express Water Power (pages 112-115). 1


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