WHAT USE WOULD ALL THIS FORCE BE IF YOU DON'T USE IT TO TAKE ON BIG CHALLENGES IN LIFE?
I returned home last night after flying back from Ireland immediately after the Iron Wire course ended.
I think I will need some time to fully process these very intensive two days, but I do have some thoughts that I would like to share:
During the course, it became clear to me how important sparring is for traditional kungfu training -- rather than being a nice-to-have optional activity, I realised through Sifu's explanations that Sifu's sparring and real fighting experience is probably one of the keys to his mastery of the art and the greatness of his teaching For it is only through real combat that the mind, body and energy of a person is tested and forged.
We could train for years and not know how effective our training is. Regular sparring, however, would quickly and efficiently reveal strengths and weaknesses and enable rapid progress -- like we ourselves experienced in just a few hours with Sifu.
Sifu explained that the the key thing, however, is to face real opponents who have both the strength and intent to attack and defeat us. Because this is where we can, in turn, overcome our own fears of being hurt or doubts about our skill or the efficacy of the Shaolin arts.
Of course this sounds daunting, and it is! But that's where the Iron Wire set comes in -- it’s clear to me just after two days training it, that if one were to keep practising it, in time for sure it would lead to a level of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual strength that would enable you to stand firm in front of big and powerful opponents and not be shaken.
I think this was one of the big lessons of the course. Everybody came thinking they would learn one of the greatest force training sets in kung-fu history, which of course we did. But it was as if Sifu was challenging us -- what use would all this force be if you didn't use it to take on big challenges in life? -- things you perhaps doubt yourselves capable of?? If you want to learn the greatest force training set around, the you better be prepared to do something great with that force!
I thought that perhaps this was one of the keys to the concerns that some had about 'mistraining' the set. Sifu showed us how to generate the force then how to utilise the force for sparring. We repeated this cycle many times and each time we did it, we were in a new harmony . We had first generated so much force we were buzzing with it, then we applied it to breaking through inhibitions and doubts that we had about our sparring abilities.
We also used it to achieve mental clarity to understand the sparring techniques and how to apply them efficiently. So the energy was used well and we were left in a state of harmonious tranquillity and joy. My 'takeaway' was that if we applied this same principle in our daily practice, there would be no risk of 'mistraining' because we would be achieving balance. (Of course this implies we follow Sifu's instructions and train the set correctly).
Sifu explained that 'combat' may not necessarily take the form of physical fighting, but could also take other forms like business negotiation. It struck me that the key benefit of force training in general and the Iron Wire set in particular, is that it enables us to have the strength to apply the Shaolin arts to face the challenges that our destinies have pitted us against, not to be afraid and try to avoid them. But most importantly we need to build up our experience systematically, to ensure we are constantly challenged but never overwhelmed.
13 February 2012.
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Ireland's Valentine Iron Wire Set 2012 in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.