Essential Knowledge for the Practice of Martial Arts circa 1750
Craig (ARCtraining) posted the bellow except from a 18th Century martial arts manual from China. Some pretty good training tips here, for (as Craig says) movement explorers as well as martial artists. Craig's comments are in bold (as is the title). Enjoy:
" Essential Knowledge for the Practice of Marital arts by Dai Long Bang, 1750
Solo and Partner Practice - For those practicing martial arts, eighty
percent of the time is spent in solo practice, twenty percent of the
time is spent with others. Therefore, it is said, "The time
strengthening the body is long, the time defeating opponents is short."
[this can apply to us too with movement, we have plenty of partner
drills, this is a great split between partner and solo drills]
Daily Practice - One must practice every day, barring illness, without break.
Humility - One must not show off or bully others.
Quality vs Quantity - One who practices too great a variety will become
panicked and distraught , if one does not train the body with a
realistic foundation, in combat there will be no mature technique to
fall back on, one will have neither a well trained body nor a solid
technique. [this will apply for movement too, mature technique is
essential for more dangerous situations]
Perseverance - There
are those who have no perseverance, who study a little and think they
know it all, they are quite satisfied with themselves and rarely
practice, they think they are a great success, until they have to use
the art and find themselves useless.
Before practice - The
stomach should be neither too full or too empty, the mind should not be
preoccupied with other affairs, do not practice when angry. When hungry
one has no energy, too full and the stomach will be injured. Extraneous
thoughts harm the brain. Anger harms the spirit.
practice - Do not fool around. Do not spit. Do not be disrespectful. If
one is not serious in practice the spirit is dispersed, spitting
inflames the throat, disrespect weakens the practice.
practice - Do not eat or drink, do not relieve yourself, do not lay
down. Food and drink will not digest well, elimination causes qi to
scatter, laying down causes the qi to rise causing discomfort.
The Three Harms - Those who practice martial arts must avoid the three harms. 1 - Inappropriate use of strength 2 - Forcing of breath 3 - Sticking out the chest and pulling up the belly
If one uses strength inappropriately, the qi will not flow smoothly,
the meridians will be obstructed and the body will become bogged down.
If one forces the breath, one will become stiff and easy to break, with
the chest full of air the lungs will be squeezed and will suffer harm.
If one sticks out the chest and sucks in the belly, the qi will move the
wrong direction and will rise, it will not return to the dan tian.
[this talks about proper relaxation during movement, i.e. dont be so
stiff and tense during any movement]
Seeking Instruction - In
order to study martial arts, one must be diligent in two areas. First,
one must be willing to travel great distances in order to study with
those of higher ability and sincerely request instruction. One must also
be diligent in speech, humbling the self and asking for guidance. [Both Simon and I have traveled quite a way to learn what we know, and have
also spent quite a sum of money. Definitely worth it, much more so than
saving to buy a new car or something equally as boring. As a side
note, maybe next year I will attend Ido Portal's Movement X event
whereever it is if peeps are interested in going as a small group]
Force and Self-satisfaction - In practicing the martial arts there are
two things which must be avoided, the first is reliance upon force, the
second is self-satisfaction.
Start Practice Slowly - After a
period of practicing slowly, it is good to use more force and speed in
order to increase the internal power for practical purposes. [again this
is a great way to practice movement methods too - slow is smooth,
smooth is fast]
Sequence of practice - At the beginning of
practice stand in San Ti, afterwards practice forms. [San Ti is a form
of standing meditation. This is similar to us doing our spinal
awareness, or body loading awareness drills prior to practicing the
actual movements. Standing meditation is great too, and I might start
introducing it to some classes]
Stages of Training - After
beginning formal practice, one must follow the rules of training, if so,
in three years the basic training will be complete. In the intermediate
stages of training, practice single forms repeatedly, use the form to
express the intent. After a long period of practice one will be able to
change spontaneously with the circumstances. After six years one will
complete this level of training. In advanced stages of training, both
the internal and external gong fu will be completed, your body will
become as hard as steel, your gong fu will be of a high level."