Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Elements for Successful Internal Martial Arts Training

Today we have a guest post by Michael Buhr and a link to a series of articles on this topic. Enjoy.

I had always hoped to write something of import based on my achievement. And so I find it ironic that I may have written something of import based on my lack of achievement. Because I have not yet achieved the level of internal skill that I set out to achieve nearly forty years ago, I have on more than one occasion asked myself, “Why? Why is it taking me so long to get it?” (The “it” I’m talking about “getting” is whole-body connected movement.)  


Anyone who has asked this question has probably heard a response like, “If getting it were that easy, then everyone would be a master.” When we look at this answer, it is easy to see that this, in fact, is not an answer at all. A better answer would be, “Because the amount of time it takes to get it is dependent on a variety of factors.” Ah! Now we’re getting somewhere! The next question then becomes, “Well, what are those factors?”  


Allow me to digress for a moment to let you know where I’m coming from. I began with and practiced Tai-chi forms, push-hands, and sparring in the Zheng Manqing (CMC) style for about twenty years. My practice during this period did not include any zhan zhuang or any kind of stance practice. I then switched to practicing Wujifa for the last nearly twenty years. During this period, I practiced only zhan zhuang and other fixed-step qigongs and no forms, push hands or sparring.  


Comparing these two very different training curriculums, I did not make the progress I had hoped for during my Tai-chi days but I did make amazing progress during my Wujifa days. And yet despite this progress, I still did not “get it”. Why not? Why is it taking me so long to get it?  


For many years I uttered this question out of frustration but when I finally decided to analyze the situation, well, then, an insight occurred to me. The insight was that my practice is deeply connected to and thus influenced by various components of my everyday life! As I worked through this insight, I discovered how these so-called “components” can either help or hinder my practice. And when these components are parsed from a different point of view, I can then estimate how long it will take me to get it.  


Well, it took me several months to develop this insight into a series of articles which I posted on my blog. And if I say any more here, then I’ll wind up rewriting large swaths of these articles. Maybe it’s better at this point to say that if you're curious as to “Why does it take so long to get it?” and if you’re wondering how to reduce the time it takes to “get it”, then please, check out this series of ten articles at: Mastering Internal Gongfu: Are You Ready? The Series  


I hope you learn as much from reading this series as I learned from writing it. Happy practicing everyone!


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