One-Finger Shooting Zen

One-Finger Shooting Zen


I have been training the art of traditional Okinawa-Te for as long as I can remember. I think that my fighting ability is at a good level, but in order to keep it, I have to practice at least two hours a day. When I practice less, even for a week, my responses and reactions become inadequate.

I would think that after more than 10 years of training, daily physical exercise should not be so crucial to my fighting ability. Or was there something wrong in my training? With a job and study I can no longer train as much as I would like to and I do want to grow.

-- Jan, Czech Republic


You are right to say that after more than 10 years of training, daily physical exercise should not be so crucial to your fighting ability. In other words, having built a foundation over 10 years, your fighting ability should not drop drastically just because you have trained less than two hours a day for a week.

Something is wrong in your training. You did not have accumulative effect from your past training. What you train today, you lose tomorrow. Hence you have to training daily just to maintain your present form.

An analogy will make this clear. Suppose you need 30 dollars to live your day. And each day you earn 30 dollars, just enough to survive with nothing left for saving. Therefore, if you stop working for a few days you would go starving.

But if you earn 50 dollars a day and use only 30 dollars, after working for 10 years you would have accumulated quite a lot of money. Even if you stop working for a year, you would still have enough money from your saving to live comfortably.

If you are a smart worker, you would have increased your daily income over the years. After a few years you would be earning more than 50 dollars a day. Your expenditure would also be more, but if you have managed your account wisely you would be saving more per day than at the beginning.

The same principles apply to martial art training. Therefore, after 10 years of training, not only you would have developed substantial combat skills, you would also be more cost effective in your training. You would gain more in 15 minutes than what you gained in an hour 10 years ago. Even if you stop training for a month, you would still be more combat efficient than you were a few years ago.

The main reason for your ineffective training is that you use what we call “water-buffalo methods”. A crucial aspect in “water-buffalo methods” is that the training involves only the physical level, without the energy and the mind levels. Other aspects are that the training involves a lot of tough and rough work but is not cost-effective. You may train for two hours but gain little, yet your body is painful all over.

As a comparison, another student using a smart method to train “One-Finger Shoot Zen” may get more force in 15 minutes than what you get in 2 hours. He will also get mental freshness and spiritual joy which you may never get in “water-buffalo methods” irrespective of how many years you may train.

Hence, to overcome your problem, you should learn genuine chi kung from a real master, and incorporate it into your Okinawa-Te training. This is a good way for you to grow.

Reproduced from Feb 2005 Part 2 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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