Saturday, February 19, 2011

To become a master

In my younger days I had always dreamed of one day becoming a master. After enough exposure to the many arts including Bagua I began to feel that it was an impossible task. So many moves that need to be perfected from any given circumstance in order to be effective at all times. How can one person master 8000 movements when each of the movements should be practiced tens of thousands of times. In my mind, I was convinced that I would never be a master.

Yet, in my time training in Asia I have met many masters. All worthy of the title master, specialized in different arts, weapons, skills, knowledge and achievements. After spending enough time with them I began to understand what a master is.

"You must have an epiphany about your style." Master Chen said to me one day as we were doing a private demonstration together. His meaning was that you must make a connection between your style and yourself. In essence you become one with your fighting style and the concepts it contains. Becoming a master is synchronisity, not perfection.

These last years I had been trying every type of training idea that I could think of in order to better understand the depth of my the movements. Continually reading the Chinese scripts that my master and others have handed down to me. Diagrams that are encoded in song, classical Chinese characters that can't be found in any dictionary. The task of becoming a master still seemed to be insurmountable.

Only a little more than a month ago I woke up in the morning to train as always and something changed. As I awoke I felt that something in me had grown deeper within. I had a feeling of peace that I usually have not had. Every worry that might come was batted down by a pulsating energy channeling from my soul. And somewhere in the back of my mind I heard God whisper, you are a master now.

As soon as I began training that day, I realized that everything about the way I moved had changed. A new balance, a far deeper connection to something I had not been aware of. The thing I could see in my master but could never understand. Something that he could only give me clues about because this is something that can not be taught.

All of us have the potential to become masters. It is not something that is impossible because it is not perfection. In short it is the perfect harmony of your style and you. And you will never be perfect. Nor can any master. It should never be a goal to become God but to work with everything that he's given us in order to achieve balance. What ever your skill is cherish it and nurture it until you can bring the best part of you out. Becoming a master has shown me that my learning has only begun. So much more training before I can grasp yet a deeper understanding. I am honored and excited to start from the beginning.


joshart said...

Such an amazing post. There is a lot to think about here.

Mark D. said...

Having achieved the black-belt-apprentice level in kung-fu, I never was able to examine for my black-belt, because my temple shut down in my province here in Canada.

Disappointed, a couple of years later, one of my former instructors started his own classes. I went to attend and felt good to be in good familiar company. Now, he was a second-degree black-belt from my former temple. After a lesson, I asked him the question, "Because the temple closed down, I feel like I'll never get my black belt, having trained for 10 years to the black-belt-apprentice level." He then took a brief moment of pause and then replied, "being a black-belt at anything isn't what you wear around your waist or test for, it is what you feel you've achieved and accomplished in your heart. Being a black-belt is what you feel in your heart." It finally made sense and I felt a lot better.

After my temple closed down approximately 4 years ago, I continued to train. The teachings and I became one. The martial art of Kung-fu and I became very intimate and it became a part of me; not what I was striving for. I realized after examining for my brown-belt that everyone of us that achieved that level had now developed their own style. The years of kung-fu that we learned, trained, and practiced now became a part of who we are.

Being a black belt is truly about my inner passion to continue exploring the martial arts and expand on what I've learned. This article reminds me of why I train and why I train others in self-defense at my work for free, three times a week, for 25 minutes each session, during my lunch break. Why train alone when I can ask others to join me, I thought.

Thank you so much for a great blog, becoming a true master, and being my inspiration to learn Gao Bagua from the multitude of great videos and resources on the internet. When I first saw Gao Bagua, It was a video of you on youtube that I stumbled upon from another search. The martial art of Gao Bagua's fluid motions and harmony between mind, body and opponent, reminds me of what Bruce Lee famously quoted, "Be like water." This is what I see and now explore. Master "Warren Fox", It would be an honour to be able to train under your instruction sometime in the very near future, if and when you return to the United States.