Thursday, July 7, 2011

Learning from the Saber


Weapons wise I am technically still in Spear season. The Bagua spear is considered the most important in regards of training to unlock more power. Being able to whip the spear in small tight circles teaches your body the root behind coiling. When practicing with my master Wu Guo Zheng I have to use all of my might to hold onto the spear when he's blocked my attack with his inner power. It is clear that I will have to practice my spear for at least ten additional years before I am even able to grasp the complete idea around the spear's concepts.

However I find that in order to compliment my body flow training it is vital to spend more time with the Saber. The saber from a Western point of view is a one-sided broad sword. The saber is more of a soldiers weapon while the Chinese sword is much more precise and technical. I eventually will have to make a season for the sword too, but let's take one step at a time. In our lineage we use the Stealth Tiger Sword and 6 Harmony sword styles.

I used to believe that my saber skills were at least ok until I met with a real saber master who made me feel like a clumsy 6 year old. It was my encounter with this master that allowed me to understand the connection between the flow of the body and the saber.

'The saber is like an airplane flying through the sky." My master said to me at one practice. "Though it looks like it is flying freely, there is actually an exact route that it must follow." He finished.

The route of the Saber is designed to maximize cutting power. I have found that the route is usually tighter to the body and when flung out with a precise yet relaxed motion it creates an energy that maximizes the cut. Like many other techniques we must first tighten and then release in order to find the perfect amount of speed and precision.

The heat on my neck continually taunted me to go indoors as I flung sweat from my sword. I could hear the sweat droplets sizzle as it hit the dark pavement. Sweat eventually flowed into my eyes and I was blinded, only able to hear the sound of my sword cutting the air and the buzzing of droplets that surrounded me through every movement. The stinging in my eyes tried to distract me from what I would soon discover.

"Tighten then release." I thought to myself continually as I swung my sword blindly in the empty parking lot. I eventually came to the end of my techniques as I wiped the sweat from my eyes things seemingly more clear than before I shut them. Tighten then release was the secret that Bruce Lee was trying to teach his students as he came into his level of mastery. "Be like the nature of water." The ability to flow from technique to technique without any thought of any technique. What he continually taught about was the "release."

What he did not touch on enough was the "tightening". The part where you must follow the rules of the movements continually until it becomes second nature. After all it is his Wing Chun that made him have the defenses to use his release. The release is a mirror of you, it is the nature of your personality and all of the things that you want. The tighten is the law or route, what needs to be done in order to be effective. Every art, career and craft follow under these two rules. The yin and the yang of life.

This means that if you are having problems with your creativity, or writers block that you must go back into doing something with guidelines in order to become free. Or if you are bound by rules to the point that you are under immense pressure, you must release yourself into the things that you desire.

Of course the tightening must come before the release if you wish to have any form of power. Continually doing what you want to do without first plugging yourself into a system makes you a slave to meaninglessness. Staying plugged into a system so long that you can't find yourself will eventually rot you at your core. Just as the saber you must release at the right time for the most effective attack.

Wow got all that from the Saber and some sun. Wonder what I'll learn tomorrow.



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