Chinese inner or soft style martial arts do not work against an attacker‘s strength, rather they work with the strength of the attacker. In other words the principle is to use an attacker‘s strength against him.
According to the toaist world view, all extremes are only a perceived portion of the whole. Therefore it can be said, an attacker’s agression is one element (Yang) of strength which searches for its opposite or passive element (Yin). This can result in the target being met, and subsequently destroyed. Lets use the example of a pot of boiling water. If you remove the lid for only a second, the pressure will be lost, but again replaced in a short period of time. However, if the water extinguishes the flame below, then the pressure cannont be replaced. The system has now been harmonised. In order to neutralize the energy of an attacker, the defender must completely adapt to his opponent‘s action and reflect his force like a mirror.
The tree that does yield to the storm, breaks.
(Lao tse Tao te king)
Learning Lung Hu Chuan is often compared to building a house. Learning the techniques provides the foundation. The mental readiness builds the walls, but the most important element is the space in between that makes it useful. The space is a metaphor for emptiness of mind. It is without intention and without intention, it is possible to truly be in the present. Emptiness is the essential element of Martial Arts as well as life itself.
Only without intention is spontaneous action possible.
Only without judgment is intuition possible.
Only through non-fixation is natural expression possible.
Only where there is nothing is there place for something.
Only where emptiness rules can fullness find its place.
Thirty spokes share one hub.
It is just the space (the Nothingness) between them
That makes a cart function as a cart.
Knead clay to make vessel
And you find within the space
That makes a vessel as a vessel.
To build a house with doors and windows
And you find within them space
That makes a house function as a house.
Hence the Being (substance) can provide a condition
Under witch usefulness is found,
But the nothingness (space) is the usefulness itself.
(Tao Te Kin)
It is a paradox that the present is the actual only real point in existence, and yet, we remain unable to perceive it.
Our perception of things as they are, is prevented by our individual interpretation of the things we have observed. For example: If you are watching a formula one race, and at the moment you see the first car cross the finish line, it is not actually the moment that the car crosses the finish line rather the moment in which your mind has interpreted the crossing of the car over the finish line. This is due to the time that is required to think about what has happened, and the continued motion of the race car. Therefore we live in the past because our thoughts are part of the past.
In situations which require instant decisions, and it is necessary to act without hesitation, our consciousness must be in the present. Consciousness in the present doesn’t have any pre-conceived notions, and therefore cannot be faked. We can reach the present by distancing ourselves from the continuous flow of thoughts. You must observe without the chatter of your own mind, so your actions will follow a strong intuitive impulse as opposed to consideration and indecision.
Martial Arts are a metaphor as well as a method of human experience. If a Martial Artists takes the time to decide on the right course of action, this is a momentary advantage which his opponent can capitalize upon. As the old Viennese saying says, “First it comes different, and second, as you think.”
It also does not make sense to stay in the past and think about which course of action one should have taken, because you will be hit again while you are thinking.
One can neither change the past, nor the future. All actions can only take place in one moment- NOW!
The ability of spontaneous action is a basic requirement for survival. Everyone has it, although it is often repressed by bad habits.
A Martial Artist who hesitates, gambles with his own life.
I do not mean that we do not need to think, or should not think. Rather, that it is important that we do not allow our thinking to hinder our spontaneity and intuition. As I said in the beginning, our perceptions are determined by observation and to think about it at the same time is a contradiction. To remain conscious without giving up our ability of consciousness we must find a way to combine our thoughts and perceptions in the present. By observing your thoughts you bring your experiences of the past into the present. The moment of remembering is in the present, but that which you remember lies the past.
It seems that the use of intuition in our society has become uncommon although it is our most trustworthy way of action. The practicing of Martial Arts is a method of reactivating our seemingly lost skills. It is a way of rediscovering and furthering the development of our natural abilities.