AN ART FOR MASTERS TAUGHT BY A GRAND MASTER
Sifu Andy Cusick
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Scotland
23rd July 2013
Well what can I say? Another revelatory course from Sifu. After giving us the mysteries of Baguazhang last year, we now have the secrets of the general's art of Xingyiquan in the school!
The opportunity to preserve the four great internal martial arts of China for posterity within the school has now been realised through Sifu's kungfu genius and unparalleled understanding of chi, force training and spiritual cultivation! I hope many others from inside and outside the school will take up the opportunity to learn if the art is ever offered again.
Some of the highlights of the week:
I never realised quite how powerful a force training method this stance is. I also never realised the subtleties of what is possible in force training!
Correspondence mode gave the ability to build a kind of circuit between the arms and legs - like a small universe but using the merdians of the limbs rather than ren and du! Incredible! I also found it deeply therapeutic.
Expansion mode starts from the dan tien and spreads out. It seems a very spiritual practice, and makes you very rooted and forceful.
Flow mode allows a continual flow from the cosmos through the bai hui to the palms and outwards. A wonderful chi training method. You feel light and powerful afterwards.
I have never practiced Iron Wire, but from Sihing George's comments I can now guess what it is like. After training Santi stance for the first time, the meridians in my arms were full of internal force. It is quite a different effect from the whole body nature of Shaolin horse stance, or the diffuse flowing 'auric' feel after Bagua Circle Walking. Another treasure to add to a school full of treasures
The five elemental fists are a wonder of martial training.
Although basic looking, they are channels for the incredible force built in Santi stance. Whether you want to go over, under, close or open the opponents guard, the five fists give you the choice to do just that - and once you have breached the guard, the opening revealed allows the space for another of the five fists to go through....and this continues as you chain the fists ad infinitum, until the opponent is on the floor or against the wall!
The 12 animal forms add so much depth to the Art.
Even though you can counter any attack with the basic Set, each animal form gives a new 'toolbox' of options, adding up to a very complex and versatile art with a variety of options for different combat situations.
They also revealed how manoeuvrable, versatile and deep Xingyiquan is; as well as how soft and flowing it can be. Indeed, without flow Xingyiquan could not be used properly at all!
Making our own sequences was a wonderful exercise.
It was great to develop and share with other course participants, and to see what other groups came up with. Some wonderful applications, tactics and strategies were on show - all the way from the basic levels to the very advanced.
Sparring with Xingyiquan confirmed Sifu's advice of the need to continually press the opponent until victory is achieved. Hesitation allows the opponent to counter, retreating allows the opponent to turn the tables against you. However Xingyiquan is ideally equipped to chain attacks infinitely, and to counter any response that does happen to get through! As such it is a perfect art for fighting -- either sports or real.
After a focused day of training, the pressure was released with some Fully Alive magic tricks!
The free sparring afterwards was highly enjoyable, and gave us a taste of what Xingyiquan could do - all with great spirit between course participants. An amazing highlight to an amazing course!
Sifu's mastery of teaching came through once again during the course; the pacing seemed just right. Sifu pushed us to and beyond our boundaries on occasions, then eased off considerably and allowed us to think and relax and laugh and play on others.
The 'catch a fish' nature of the training has improved us all as martial artists. The parallels with daily life has improved us all as people. Despite this being probably the most intensive martial course I have experienced under Sifu, it was also strangely the easiest I am not sure if it is the cumulative effect of past courses, but I think it is also due to Sifu's continued development of his teaching methodology at an age when most teachers have retired.
I feel deeply honoured and privileged to have taken part.
Thanks and well-wishes (I couldn't make the graduation dinner) to all participants; it was wonderful to share before, during and after the training!
Shaolin Salute to Sifu, Yue Fei and the past Masters,
Sifu Andy Cusick
Shaolin Wahnam Glasgow
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"a trained mind brings health and happiness"
- ancient wisdom
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Xingyiquan at Summer Camp UK 2013 in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.