Progressive Martial Arts and the no mind
I call my method this because I believe that a fight and method needs to be a progressive attack when forced to fight. Offence is the best defense and attacking the limbs of an opponent first is the best tools to learn unless the attack is deep then footwork and evasion will place you in the best position. The ultimate goal to attain is to move and not to stand still using your hands to defend against an opponent.
My martial arts method was created to be as effective as possible. I have been designing it with real combat in mind and hopefully multiple opponents. I do not believe in practicing routines or stunts that lead nowhere.
The hand techniques that are used are from Wing Chun (7 punching tools/Dummy form) and prefer open hand strikes, finger jabs and elbows. There aren’t very many strike methods but you can go into great detail in all, and constantly try to improve upon them.
The leg techniques include; low sidekick, front kick, reverse mule kick, and stop kicks. In comparison to many other forms of kung fu and with most martial arts, there’s not a whole lot of practically in kicking. What I mean by this remark is kicking places you on one leg or in the air to me this is a bad balanced position and although a kick can deliver more force than a strike it has to make contact or energy is lost. But, I prefer to concentrate on footwork and movement. A stable base like a tree helps deliver the final strength but its all about getting to your opponent “bridging the gap”.
My method focuses on offense and individual movements of the hands and feet; I place a great deal of importance on footwork. Bruce Lee was once quoted as saying, “The essence of fighting is the art of moving.” Of course movement is centered on footwork. This is why close attention must be paid to footwork and mobility.
The components of footwork consist of about 5 points. The foundation is sensitivity of aura (to not give away what’s coming), the second is aliveness and naturalness, the third is instinctive pacing (distance and timing), the fourth is correct placement of the body, and the fifth is a balanced position at the end. To correctly size things up, footwork is truly everything in my method. It provides the martial artist with a means of finding a target and a means to avoid being a target. Obviously footwork paired with the perfected forms of hand and leg tactics add to your chance of success. This is the basis of my method.
NO MIND - To be empty of yourself
The tools are at an undifferentiated center of a circle that has no circumference, moving and yet not moving, in tension and yet relaxed, seeing everything happening and yet not at all anxious about its outcome, with nothing purposely designed, nothing consciously calculated, no anticipation, no expectation — in short, standing innocently like a baby and yet, with all the cunning, subterfuge and keen intelligence being combat ready.
One can never be the master of his technical knowledge unless all his psychic hindrances are removed (your desires) and you can keep your mind in a state of emptiness (fluidity), even purged of whatever technique you have obtained.
With all the training thrown to the wind, with a mind perfectly unaware of its own working, with the self vanishing nowhere, anybody knows where, you attain its perfection.
The more aware you become, the more you shed from day to day what you have learned so that your mind is always fresh and uncontaminated by previous conditioning. Learning techniques corresponds to an intellectual apprehension of the philosophies in Zen, and in both Zen and some martial arts, an intellectual proficiency does not cover the whole ground of the discipline. Both require the attainment of ultimate reality, which is the emptiness or the absolute. The latter transcends all modes of relativity.
In progressive martial arts, all techniques are to be forgotten and the unconscious is to be left alone to handle the situation. The technique will assert its wonders automatically or spontaneously. To float in totality, to have no technique, is to have all technique. The knowledge and skill you have achieved is meant to be ‘“forgotten” so you can float comfortably in emptiness, without obstruction. Learning is important but do not become its slave. Above all, do not harbor anything external and superfluous (unnecessary) — the mind is primary. Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.
Desires lead to filling the Ego part of the mind. If you get afflicted you will not gain no-mind.
The six diseases:
1.The desire for victory.
2.The desire to resort to technical cunning.
3.The desire to display all that has been learned.
4.The desire to awe the enemy.
5.The desire to play the passive role.
6.The desire to get rid of whatever disease one is affected by .
“‘To desire” is an attachment. “‘To desire not to desire” is also an attachment and could be considered the seventh disease. To be unattached, means to be free at once from both statements, positive and negative. This is to be simultaneously both “yes” and “no,” which is intellectually absurd. However, not so in Zen.
Nirvana is to be consciously unconscious or to be unconsciously conscious. That is its secret. The act is so direct and immediate that intellectualization finds no room to insert itself and cut the act to pieces, ie like shooting a basketball.
The spirit is no doubt the controlling agent of our existence. This invisible seat controls every movement in whatever external situation arises. It is thus, to be extremely mobile, never “stopping” in any place at any moment. Preserve this state of spiritual freedom and non-attachment as soon as you assume the fighting stance. Be “master of the house.”
It is the ego that stands rigidly against influences from the outside, and it is this “ego rigidity” that makes it impossible for us to accept everything that confronts us. Seek not the cultivated innocence of a clever mind that wants to be innocent, but have rather that state of innocence where there is no denial or acceptance and the mind just sees what is.
All goals apart from the means are illusions. Becoming is a denial of being. By an error repeated throughout the ages, truth, becoming a law or a faith, places obstacles in the way of knowledge. Method, which is in its very substance ignorance, encloses truth within a vicious circle. We should break such a circle, not by seeking knowledge, but by discovering the cause of ignorance.
Learning Progressive Martial arts is not a matter of seeking knowledge or accumulating a stylized pattern, but is discovering the cause of ignorance.
Recollection and anticipation are fine qualities of consciousness that distinguish the human mind from that of the lower animals. But, when actions are directly related to the problem of life and death, these properties must be relinquished for the sake of fluidity of thought and lightning rapidity of action.
Action is our relationship to everything. Action is not a matter of right and wrong. It is only when action is partial that there is a right and a wrong. An example would be an old story of two monks walking and come across a small river where a beautiful girl was looking at how to cross. One monk picked the girl up and placed her on the opposite bank and walked on. The other monk caught up and after walking 5klms that monk said “why did you touch that girl, monks are not allowed to do that”. “All I did was pick her up and placed her on the opposite bank”, “what’s worst, me carrying the girl a few meters to the opposite bank or you carrying her in your mind for the last 5klms.” What was done at the bank of the small river was an action and then moving on what the other monk did was a partial action. An action of the mind that cannot be resolved!
Don’t let your attention be attested! Transcend dualistic comprehension of a situation. Meaning, do not get caught in Yin and Yang, good and bad. Give up thinking as though not giving it up. Observe the techniques as though not observing. Utilize the art as a means to advance in the study of the Way.
Make the tools see. All movements come out of emptiness and the mind is the name given to this dynamic aspect of emptiness. It is straight, without ego-centered motivation no desires. The emptiness is sincerity, genuineness and straightforwardness, allowing nothing between itself and its movements.
Progressive martial arts exist in your not seeing me and me not seeing you, where yin and yang have not yet differentiated themselves.
When the mind is fluid, the moon is in the stream where it is at once movable and immovable. The waters are in motion all the time, but the moon retains its serenity. The mind moves in response to ten thousand situations but remains ever the same.
The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest itself. To change with change is the changeless state. Nothingness cannot be confined; the softest thing cannot be snapped.
Because one’s self-consciousness or ego-consciousness is too conspicuously present over the entire range of your attention, it interferes with your free display of whatever proficiency you have so far acquired or are going to acquire. One should remove this obtruding self or ego-consciousness and apply yourself to the work to be done as if nothing particular were taking place at the moment. (no mind)
To be of no-mind means to assume the everyday mind.
The mind must be wide open to function freely in thought. A limited mind cannot think freely.
A concentrated mind is not an attentive mind, but a mind that is in the state of aware- ness can concentrate. Awareness is never exclusive; it includes everything. Not being tense but ready, not thinking yet not dreaming, not being set but flexible - it is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.
The progressive martial arts man should be on the alert to meet the interchangeability of opposites. As soon as his mind “stops” with either of them, it loses its own fluidity. A man should keep his mind always in the state of emptiness so that his freedom in action will never be obstructed. The abiding stage is the point where the mind hesitates to abide. It attaches itself to an object and stops the flow.
The deluded mind is the mind effectively burdened by intellect. Thus, it cannot move without stopping and reflecting on itself. This obstructs its native fluidity.
The wheel revolves when it is not too tightly attached to the axle. When the mind is tied up, it feels inhibited in every move it makes and nothing is accomplished with spontaneity. Its work will be of poor quality or it may never be finished at all.
When the mind is tethered to a center, naturally it is not free. It can move only within the limits of that center. If one is isolated, he is dead; he is paralyzed within the fortress of his own ideas.
That we pursue something passionately does not always mean that we really want it or have a special aptitude for it. Often, the thing we pursue most passionately is but a substitute for the one thing we really want and cannot have. It is usually safe to predict that the fulfillment of an excessively cherished desire is not likely to still our nagging anxiety. In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.
Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man’s spirit than when we win his heart, for we can win a man’s heart one day and lose it the next. But when we break a proud spirit, we achieve something that is final and absolute.
It is compassion rather than the principle of justice, which can guard us against being unjust to our fellow man.
A saying that I adhere to is “Its better to be judged by 12 than to be carried by 6”
Control the Breath and Prepare
The first of the necessary disciplines the martial artist must master is the science of controlling breath and circulating energy. Every training program incorporates its rigorous practice. ie kata or form is the main point of practice for breathing.
Each martial arts’ “form” must be learned with the appropriate breath inhalation and exhalation in concert with the choreographed movements. Naturally, these forms must be practiced until they are performed as a reflex. Just as we frequently operate a car in traffic, braking for red lights and avoiding pedestrians as often as possible, with all our movements made automatically - our minds being engrossed in other scenarios, so the martial arts’ students must learn the various forms so thoroughly that he can perform them unconsciously.
Whilst in Penang in the 70’s I met a master that explained that no breathing method is wrong, all are good. His advice to me was to use a 4 count inhale - HOLD (2 counts) and exhale on a 4 count. A count is not a second but an individual period of time. A breathing method like this is hard to do during a form or kata unless you slow the movements like Tia Chi or Wing Chun’s Silumtoa. I found it more appropriate in a meditation or relaxed state.
The important things to remember in this breathing method are to fill the lungs and make sure the lower lung is full to help massage the lower heart. During your inhaling also close the butt cheeks closing the bum hole this prevents the chi escaping. You can hold this during the whole in – out or as I like to do relax it during the exhale.
Holding your breath for the 2 count allows for oxygen to enter the blood stream, very important as this improves the red blood count. If the red cells and more than the white blood cells then you are in a healthy state. If you have a fever the red and white cells fight each other so look to food groups that improve red cell count to improve your health. (food with iron etc). When blood cells die they collect in the secondary blood vessels and released at the lymph glands. I believe the legend of death touch is based on smashing the glands causing a timed death via cancer. If the secondary blood vessels are clogged (sewage pipes) the dead cells will clot hence a slow death over time.
During the exhale 4 count - picture in your mind the exhaled breath traveling up your backbone, up your neck, over the top of your head and out your nose. If you can do this your hair will feel like its standing up on the back of your neck. As I mentioned there are many breathing methods and none are wrong, any breathing method improves your oxygen in your blood.
Controlled breathing invariably slows down breathing rates, initiating a biofeedback loop: because breathing slows, heart rates decline, blood pressure drops, awareness increases, and in this relaxed, non-threatened state, the meditative Zone may be entered.
The martial artist must maintain a peaceful demeanor since before his mind can enter the meditative state’s higher zone of total awareness it must pass through this “base-camp” stage of relaxation. Tension, a product of fear, anxiety, aggressiveness, pain, or anger, will cause his sympathetic nervous system to secrete adrenaline; and this will prohibit him from experiencing this necessary relaxed awareness. All subliminal lines of information will thereby be obliterated.
Preserving the peace is a singularly militaristic poise. The impervious and imperturbable fighter must get himself into the egoless Zone of absolute awareness, i.e., the pure meditative state.
Accordingly, in any confrontational situation, you need to achieve a lessening of tension: You must first actively strive to avoid conflict by gracefully removing yourself from the argumentative equation. If his antagonist persists, you must try to blunt the edge of his anger by apologizing for inadvertently having given offense. You should assure the antagonist that you had no intention to inconvenience or discomfit him and suggest peaceful ways to resolve the dispute.
If the antagonist physically attacks, only minimal force to repel the attack should be used. You should merely defend or, if necessary, disarm, but not counter attack. All effort should be made to let the antagonist retain his honor. Conciliatory gestures and statements should again be made.
If the antagonist proceeds with an obvious intent to kill, he should be dispatched cleanly and with appropriate regret. At this point, you are blameless. All will respect your action. None will condemn. You won’t need a lawyer and you won’t have to worry about vendettas.
The above situation is OK in a one on one but I choose to dispatch quickly in a multiple fight situation. Multiple antagonists make your chance to focus conciliatory gestures at all extremely hard so you must be prepared with no mind and relaxed to achieve egoless state that will give you your best chance. Tensing for the onslaught will only slow down your ability to handle more than one attacker.
Fear causes adrenalin but if you focus your breathing at the point below the naval you can reduce your tension, get “prepared” and increase your speed and control.
So breath and relax this is preparation for the no-mind.
Meditation - by definition the state, par excellence, in which the ego is transcended while awareness is enhanced - will alone provide the martial artist with the means to achieve this necessary state of mind, or, more precisely, this state of No Mind.
The brain has two independent but cooperative halves, the body has two autonomic nervous systems: the sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The sympathetic nervous system is activated in the cause of fear, anger, pain, and, oddly enough, seminal ejaculation. By releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure and a dryness of mouth is produced. The concomitant mind-set is one of self-preservation, and the attention contracts and focuses upon egoistic demands. Sensory input diminishes. We do not savor the fragrance of flowers when we are running for our lives. We do not note which key we are screaming in.
The parasympathetic nervous system is activated for feeding and for sexual arousal. Blood pressure and heart rates drop and we secrete saliva to the point of drooling. Long wet kisses or filet mignon with sauce Bernaise: juicy mouths attend them both. Blood is needed elsewhere than in the extremities of brain and feet and everything slows down to let us enjoy its midway pooling. The concomitant mind-set is convivial, expansive and sensory-appreciative. We smell the perfume. We taste the cinnamon. We hear the steak’s tiniest sizzle or feel the slightest wisp of breath in our ear. In short, we are completely aware of the moment as we relish and linger in. Assuming we are not psychopaths or perverts, we are joyously peaceful and in no way
looking for a fight.
It should come as no surprise, then, that meditation techniques facilitate parasympathetic responses, that hunger and the preparation for feeding are excellent inducements to sharpen sensory awareness, and that martial artists or meditators are always advised not to practice “on a full stomach”.
As the body relaxes, the mind expands. Brain activity slows down in order to increase awareness. Brain waves go from the frazzled, albeit normal, beta rhythms of ordinary or alerted consciousness to slower more sensory-aware alpha and theta rhythms, the frequencies associated with states of deep relaxation, subliminal awareness, and the vaunted Meditative Zone. Clearly, a combatant who experiences fear or pain, inhibits his ability to enter the Zone.
The place below the naval to concentrate the breathing etc is called the Hara some Chinese call it the Tein Tin point.. It is the specific place in the abdomen where the aorta, the body’s major blood vessel, splits to become the femoral (thigh) arteries. The blood which traverses the aorta moves under great pressure and when it strikes this fork in its path, it slams into it. It is easy to feel a pulse beat there in the pit of the abdomen. When we wish to concentrate upon the Hara, we relax, quiet ourselves, and focus our attention on this pulse beat.
Conclusion – the merge
If the skillful now follow all paths then they can say they have merged towards the masterful. The spiritual side of martial arts is important but by spiritual I mean blending the no-mind and breathing with the physical skills and a good place to start learn the best way to breath during the forms of your art.
There are many breathing exercises and other forms of meditation which the martial artist employs to his advantage.