AHA MOMENTS AND BENEFITS OF TAMING TIGER, 30 PUNCHES AND ONE-FINGER SHOOTING ZEN
Taming Tiger, Art of 30 Punches and One-Finger Shooting Zen have formidable combat benefits. Many would not believe the internal depths. Please can you tell us about any "A-ha!" moments you had when Sigung transmitted these practices to you and also how the benefits of these practices transcend combat application?
Sifu Andy Cusick
Many martial artists may not be aware of the formidable combat benefits in these three arts –- Taming Tiger, Art of 30 Punches, and One-Finger Shooting Zen. Many people think, wrongly, that the only issue in combat is techniques.
The irony is that techniques are probably the least important factor to decide victory in combat. This does not mean that techniques are not important, but they are not as important as skills, being relaxed and calm, and fighting experience. Yang Lu Chan, the great Taijiquan master, used only a few techniques from Grasping Sparrow’s Tail in all his fights, and he was always victorious. In the Xingyiquan course at the UK Summer Camp 2013, I explained to students that one could use only one technique from Xingyiquan, pi-guan, to handle any attack!
The great contribution to combat efficiency of these arts – Taming Tiger, Art of 30 Punches, and One-Finger Shooting Zen – lies not in techniques but in skills, and in enabling practitioners to be calm and relaxed. Not many people, understandably, could understand such depths.
Of the three arts, the Art of 30 Punches and One-Finger Shooting Zen develop speed and internal force, which are two of the three basic skills in combat, the other being picture-perfect form. They also contribute much to combatants being calm and relaxed during combat.
How do the Art of 30 Punches and One-Finger Shooting Zen attain these combat benefits? They do so because of their internal training, especially in chi flow and Zen mind. Applying combat techniques in chi flow enable us to be very fast. Consolidating chi flow into internal force enable us to be very powerful, yet not tiring and not panting for breaths. Being in Zen mind enables us to be calm and relaxed.
Taming Tiger is basically an external art, though we in Shaolin Wahnam may train it internally because of our general skills and understanding. It gives us powerful grip, which enhances our combat efficiency. As the physical and the mental are closely related, though not many people may know this fact, a powerful physical grip also enahances our mental grip of any intellectual concepts.
My “aha” experiences occurred not at the time my sifu transmitted these practices to me, but later during my own training and realization.
My first “aha” experience in Taming Tiger was my realization that performing Taming Tiger with tiger-claws was more difficult than I thought than performing push-up with open palms. I could perform push-up quite well, easily performing more than a hundred times when many untrained young men had to struggle to 20. This training was a continuation of my scouting days in school, where performing push-up was part of the Tenderfoot Test, the first test of a boy scout.
So when my sifu showed me how to perform Taming Tiger, I thought it was easy. But it was not, yet my sifu, who was more than twice my age then, could perform it effortlessly.
I had two “aha” experiences with the Art of 30 Punches. The first one occurred when I was surprised I could develop so much internal force using this external method. The second “aha’ experience was when I dropped my stone-locks, which were similar to but less elegant than modern-day dumb-bells, to perform kungfu sets, I could perform a sequence of many patterns forcefully and fast in just one breadth – a basic requirement for combat efficiency, though not many people may know it.
I had many “aha” experiences with One-Finger Shooting Zen. One was my discovery that not only I had internal force at my index fingers, but my palms and punches were also forceful. Another “aha” experience was my discovery that I became fast and agile with my One-Finger Shooting Zen training. I did not know the reason then. It was much later that I discovered it was because of chi flow.
Another “aha” experience was when a Shaolin master of another school who boasted of his Iron Arm, could not last 3 hits when performing 3-Star Arm Knocking with me. But my most memorable “aha” experience was when I could break a brick, and a few after that, when earlier I could not break one with my more than 2 years of Iron Palm training.
The benefits of these arts transcend combat application. My mental grip of concepts derived from the physical grip of Taming Tiger enables me to attain peak performance in intellectual activities.
Those who follow our three golden rules of practice doggedly may wrongly think that intellectualization is bad. No, it isn’t. In many situations, intellectualization and conceptualization are not only good but necessary. When you want to plan a marketing project, for example, you need to conceptualize, then intellectualize your concepts into statements that can be easily read and understood. But during our kungfu and chi kung training, we do not intellectualize, or do not intellectualize unnecessarily.
Developing internal force and performing a sequence of patterns in one breadth can be readily transferred to benefit our daily life. Internal force enables us to perform our tasks with energy and mental clarity. Amongst many other benefits, when it is necessary internal force enables us to be assertive.
Translated into our daily life, performing a sequence of patterns in one breadth inspires us to perform a complete series of actions in one go instead of performing its parts, often with lengthy intervals between the parts. This principle has enabled me to achieve many things in daily life, and provides an answer to those who wonder how I could accomplish so many things in a relatively short time.
For example, I have uploaded many videos to Vimeo. I do not upload a video, rest for a while, then upload another video. I upload all videos of a course,, which may range from 30 to more than 100 videos in one go. In this way, not only I save time, I become more effective as I progress.
One-Finger Shooting Zen provides a lot of opportunities to enrich our daily life. In general, it generates energy flow and consolidates energy into internal force, besides enhancing mental clarity. These three most important ingredients can enable us to perform better no matter what we do.
If we wish to perform any physical or mental tasks, like running a company or presenting a proposal, mental clarity enables us to be clear in our aims and procedure, energy flow enables us to work the various processes smoothly, and consolidating energy enables us to perform our work with zest.
These arts -- Taming Tiger, Art of 30 Punches, and One-Finger Shooting Zen – not only improve our combat efficiency but also enrich our daily life.
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Legacy of Ho Fatt Nam -- 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
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