It's Sunday evening over here as I type this. Tomorrow I won't be working as we have been graced with a public holiday and I am graced with a job that allows me to have a day like that off.
This morning I have practiced Taiji. I visited Shairley (or Shirley- I never asked her why she spells her English name so funny...) and had a great lunch.
Now I am in the mood to relax and to get philosophical. So- get the kettle boiling for tea and join this discussion.
Long before my time- before I was busy studying the principles of one style of karate and trying to integrate them into my being a man called Li Xiaolong (we know his English name very well) went beyond the teachings of the styles of his time to create a concept/ style/ form (he was intentionally very vague on what it should be called) by which he could attain the most natural expression of combat. That meant the most natural response to an attack- the most efficient attack in a given scenario and the most effective use of one's energy.
Centuries (or millenia) before him a man said to be an "Immortal" by the name of San Chan Feng took the teachings of Shaolin and devised a fighting art from that, but in accordance with the Taoist principles to have techniques and training methods based on the universal laws of the Tao and called this fighting art the "Supreme Ultimate Fist"- or did someone else name it afterward? I am not sure...
Before this man's time (history experts can say when) a group of monks took the teachings of Buddhism (Zen or Ch'an to be specific) and the exercises taught to them by Ch'an's founder, a Middle Eastern (Persian?) hermit called Bodhidharma (Da Mo in Chinese and Daruma in Japanese) and created a martial art which is said to be the precursor of every martial art under the sun. Before anyone jumps up I will point out I said "martial art" and not "fighting method".
In the Book of Enoch (one of the books of the Holy Bible referred to as the "Apocrypha" we read of a fallen Angel who taught man the blows with which to kill their enemies.
For those who have never heard- Zen Buddhism and Taoism are both excellent sources of guidelines according to which any activity under the sun can be undertaken. This includes fighting. Not only does it provide the moral and ethical checks and balances that can help the martial artist prevent being the source of his own downfall, but it also provides the way by which fear and assumptions are cast aside to enable the fighter to perceive his situation with the utmost clarity and to act with optimum efficiency.
My karate teachers never taught me this. This was something I have learnt through my own research and experimentation. So- I shall not be amazed to find a large number of dojos and martial arts gyms that do not teach any of this either. I find evidence of this fact in a number of comments to martial arts posts on social media. (I'm on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and QQ).
Before I proceed to tell you my theory for discussion I want to refer us back to my post about the elephant. In that story the elephant was combat and each style that currently exists is a blind man that got his hold of
the part of the gigantic animal that was within his reach.
So- my theory is this:
If you start your study of combat with the techniques of any given style you are bound to find gaps that need filling or weaknesses that require remedying. Should the purity of Zen or the eternal truth of the Tao be your standard you may find obstacles in your art that stand in your way to attaining perfection. So- you will want to remove these.
After all adjustments and all the required dilligent practice and study your art will have attained the status of what I call "The One Absolute Martial Art". Maybe you want to call it "Original Zen Fist" or "Primal Taoist Palm". Hey! I'm not stopping you...
Maybe an art like that already exists. Maybe we have yet to see it.
To me- Wenhsiuquan is the only art I can fully rely on. It may sound funny coming from its creator, but I have not yet achieved ultimate mastery thereof, but know the way thereto.
Tell me now-
What are your requirements for the perfect martial art?
Is that the art which you are currently practicing?
What do you regard as signs of mastery?
Get the tea and let's chat!