Saturday, December 19, 2009

The One Thing




Two years ago I finished learning the movements in the system of Gao Bagua and was very excited to begin my journey of developing. Learning all of the movements is only the beginning of our quest. I have spent all of my recent time refining and perfecting all of the techniques. The sword, spear, footwork, combat, conditioning have all been a daily routine for me in finding my understanding of the art fully. I have mapped out new training techniques and ideas that will revolutionize the way people train or perceive the martial arts. My training has been going very well but progress as always has been slow and steady.

I have trained everything that my master showed me. Well, almost everything. There is this one exercise that I just hated practicing. It made every part of me ache so much that I didn't have energy to do the rest of my workout. I have never been a lazy person, but this one exercise just took everything out of me. So every time I have set up my workout schedule for the day, this technique was "forgotten". Later when I started teaching my own classes about six months ago, I had to teach this technique to my students. My style of teaching is to go through the pain with the students no matter what the exercise is. So of course I am giving myself a good dose of this technique that I have been avoiding. Slowly the pain of the technique starts to subside, I am able to almost relax while I am doing it. I found a way to get through it and eventually made my peace with the technique.

After practicing this technique I found that everything that I was trying to develop had taken an explosive jump. Techniques that I felt I could never do completely correctly felt so simple. I was much faster, stronger and even discovered a few "lost techniques". It turned out that this techinique was the last piece in puzzle I needed to level up.

Even when we are diligent in our pursuit for truth we can often put off the things that we need the most to complete us. It is always the one thing that seems unnecessary that we put to the side that is the very thing we need the most. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and do the one thing that we hate in order to get to the next level. It might be doing a job, it might be quitting a job, but whatever it is it isn't easy. One step closer to being a better man, one step closer to becoming a master.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Attack the Cold


Today when I woke up and felt how cold the floor was, I was tempted to crawl right back in bed. This is the time that the weather can make us want to change our plans around a bit. "Let's not work out today because its raining." It's hard to push yourself to your goal and it's twice as hard when it's raining. But if we have to be at work or school at a certain time, we can still get up and get there. We all push ourselves for financial reasons, job security or a "secure future."
But training is something that is important for the future of our mind and our body. Is our body not as priority as making money? 9 to 5 at a desk and not an hour or two for ourselves.

Well I always view the weather as another opponent. The heat, cold, rain and snow are all additional ways to improve our technique. In fact training when the weather is nice, is also the time when our progress is the slowest. These are some training tips for cold conditions.

When it's cold outside it is very important to do a thorough warm-up. Slowly give your joints enough time to lubricate and adjust. This is especially good for practicing your chi. The cold can give your body more sensitivity to feel where your chi is. Tai Chi or any soft art is great for working with the cold. You can also use the hard style approach which is fast combinations, running, and foot work training. If you are lucky enough to get some snow then take advantage. Snow up to your ankles is a great way to work your stances. Making sure they are deep and stable. If you have any part of your movements that is uncertain, the ice will be your best teacher. For my fellow Bagua practitioners, the ice is a tool for training your circle walking. Practice the whole Pre Heaven form on the ice to find your stability.

As warriors of the new age we must turn every obstacle into our advantage. Look forward to the cold floor, it lets us know we're alive.