Those of you who have been following this blog for a while would know that I value relevance over effectiveness.
I have a very simple reason for doing so. I simply do not deem a martial art effective if its teachings are not relevant to everyday life. This is because fighting in itself is subject to the same laws that govern the universe as is everything else under Heaven.
Understand this and debates over which system should be studied or which technique should be preferred becomes of very little concern to you.
I have once again found a lot of photos with which to decorate my post so that it looks a bit more appealing than just a mass of text that I want to drop onto you during the weekend- so I'll just ask you to enjoy the photos as you scroll down to what I have to say...
Okay! We are here!
The idea to write a post on subtlety has come to me during this week. I have realised how I had yet to apply one very valuable lesson from the martial arts to my daily life.
When we fight we do not want to telegraph our intent to our opponents before it gets carried out. For a student of internal arts like myself it means that one needs to develop impeccable control over one's energy. The result is an absence in the change of one's facial expression when he's about to hit, absence of telegraphing as a shoulder that pulls back or a visible shifting of weight.
It means movement that is light, decisive and unencumbered by thought or emotion.
As Bruce Lee would say: "I do not hit- it hits for me." :)
Still- throughout my life I have been an open book all along. Part of this was that an earlier version of me was not always brave enough to speak his mind and did not feel free enough to act as his heart dictated.
When I have finally developed the courage to act on my emotions and to say what is on my mind I wasted no time enjoying this freedom and taking every step possible to protect it. Still- I found that in life itself I have always found that someone still had the better of me. Details are not important here, but suffice it to say that this is the expected result of wearing one's heart on one's sleeve. This is true in work, family life and in matters of the heart (of which Crouching Tiger's Bei Lao Ye once astutely observed even the greatest heroes to be a consummate idiot...).
Keeping one's thoughts to oneself or not showing your anger at something that annoys you- regardless of how brave you feel- is not weakness at all. It is smart.
Sure- there are times when immediate action is required, but many a soldier will tell you the disadvantage of giving away your position before you have begun to engage the enemy.
An enemy that sees your attack coming will not stay in place for it to find its mark. To add insult to injury- an attack's failure has a demoralising effect on the attacker as well.
Just as we can maintain control of a fight as long as your opponent does not know what you will do next so our lives have a way of spinning out of our control when those within the circle that pressure us (I won't really say "enemies", but definitely people who can willingly or unwillingly do us harm) can easily perceive our intentions.
So- if you find that you are still an open book. Take some advice from Lady Gaga and work on that poker face. It will change your life for the better. :)