The Hidden Depths of Chinese Martial Arts
Most people who practise Chinese martial arts obsessively, will at some point, realise that beyond the martial surface, there is an ocean of depth.
I often hear criticism about the weird hand positions and body shapes that we make when practising our forms. And yes, they often look very weird! Let me try to explain beyond martial applications and body strengthening.
Early on in your training, you will quickly see how difficult it is trying to get the different parts of your body to work together and move in harmony. This gets even more challenging when we start to go inside and try to get some control over the insides of our body. And beyond this, the training leads us to learn to control and direct the subtle, energetic parts of our body, mind & consciousness.
This profound level of depth and control is impossible to do with the conscious mind. The conscious mind isn’t able to control all of these different aspects at the same time, and it is often in the way.
When we repeat a specific movement or hold a particular shape over and over again, over years and even decades, that shape becomes a sigil for all the different components of the body and mind to unite in achieving a specific aim. The shape itself acts like a trigger to our unconscious mind to align and harmonise everything instantly.
Over time, the shapes themselves are no longer necessary because just thinking about the trigger can create the same harmonisation of body and mind.
So the next time your teacher tells you to repeat the same boring movement or hold the same painful shape, or practise your weird-looking form every day, know that mastery comes from repeating the boring things over and over again until one day, just thinking about your movement may cause the earth beneath your feet to shake!