“A good martial artist is a simplifier.” This is a statement all students at Do No Kai Martial Arts Temple have heard at one time or another. The pursuit of mastery in martial arts can get complicated, just as mastery of any subject can. Simplifying, in the sense of becoming a good martial artist, does not refer to conquering the subject matter itself. Nor does it mean eschewing complex material or memorizing only a few techniques. What we are talking about here is the ability to respond to a problem with the most straightforward solution.
Gone Are the Saber-Toothed Tigers
Let’s face it, in today’s world, we humans almost never need to defend ourselves physically as we did in the long-gone saber-toothed tiger days. Seldom are we faced with a sword-wielding samurai or required to enter into fisticuffs to settle a duel. In fact, most adult martial artists have probably never been involved in a physical altercation, outside the sparring ring.
Life does have a way, nevertheless, of throwing problems and obstacles in our paths. Our responses can be easy or difficult, simple or complicated, although this is perhaps one of life’s most difficult lessons for any of us.
Life’s Kung Fu Lessons Learned
The art of Wing Chun Kung Fu offers a direct response to a threat, one which cuts through the inherent complexities of many other martial arts systems. The Wing Chun student learns to respond to attacks through lin sil die dar, translated as “simultaneous blocking and attacking.” Essentially, the Wing Chun artist learns to block an attack at exactly the same moment they launch an attack.
This very simple concept doubles the practitioner’s speed. Wing Chun Kung Fu exemplifies the concept of simplification in martial arts. A good “simplifier” in any walk of life will find the most direct route to solutions, the paths that offer the fewest obstacles, set up the least resistance, and get the job done in the fastest, most efficient way.
Tai Chi Ruler — Simple Energy Practice
Through advanced studies in Tai Chi, one may also reach the heights of simplicity and hone in on the core of the art itself. One method makes use of the Tai Chi Ruler, a rounded, one-foot wooden stick, usually fluted, which is held between the palms.
The correct use of the Ruler enhances the user’s “Chi,” or life energy. With practice, one can find energy blockages and dispel them, and learn to direct the flow of energy to areas which would benefit from it.
The simplicity of the Tai Chi Ruler form is undeniable. Like the practice of lin sil die dar in Wing Chun, the practice of the Ruler’s predetermined movements is straightforward and nearly effortless. It can be employed to benefit just about anyone. Wheelchair-bound practitioners, for example, can easily perform the required movements and reap the same benefits as those who practice the form while standing.
The Tai Chi Ruler form incorporates ancient breathing techniques and uses the Ruler to complement and enhance them. Anyone who loves easy approaches to “energy medicine” will gravitate to this simple, effective form.