‘Not’ punching as a Way of Life
Did you know….
you will be happy every day
if you work out every day?
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How many Martial Artists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
The others sit around and say,
“We have that in our system.”
it’s a terrible joke.
I actually prefer this joke:
How many buddhas does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to screw in the light bulb,
and one to not-screw in the light bulb.
I often wonder how many people actually understand that.
how do you ‘not-screw’ something?
how do you ‘not-do?’
It took me about 20 years to figure out how to not-do something,
and this in spite of the fact that I actually understood it.
But knowing about something
is not the same as knowing something.
So when you are beginning,
This has the benefit of making muscles,
and impressing the girls.
After a couple of decades
you realize that you aren’t getting stronger.
you realize that the harder you go,
the more it hurts.
I started getting headaches from punching.
Whiplash, you know.
So I started changing things.
I didn’t want to give up the martial arts,
and I realized that if they were hurting,
there was something wrong.
I was doing something wrong.
One thing I did was read all the old texts.
Old books on zen,
that sort of thing.
if I was hurting,
and I was doing what everyone else was doing
then somebody else must have hurt, too.
And it was in the ‘not-do’ concept of Buddhism.
now I didn’t understand it.
But I understood it when I was 20!
But at 40,
I didn’t get it.
The solution to understanding this concept
came from The Tao.
There is a line in it…
a very neutronic line…
‘Do nothing until nothing is left undone.’
Lights came on in my dusty cranium.
Synapses clicked in my neural patterns.
Even the zombie circuits came alive!
I started hitting softer.
I stopped seeing how much impact I could create,
which was the result of hitting harder,
and began looking for
how soft I could hit,
here it comes…
how much weight I could deliver
that was a real ‘not-doing.’
It was zen, baby,
right from the root.
to be honest,
it probably wouldn’t have worked
if I hadn’t spent all those years trying to hit hard.
I had to have a certain amount of yang
before I could have a certain amount of yin.
It’s sort of interesting,
the universe is built of yang,
but there is more yin.
Yang is things.
Yin is not-things.
Not things include the space of things,
all the rest of space.
Here is the key to understanding.
It’s not how hard you hit,
it’s how much weight is transferred,
but then you have to go backwards again,
and take even the weight out of the strike.
once you go through these steps
something interesting happens.
In the old Chinese texts
There was reference to hitting something
and invalidating the atoms.
Making the molecules hurt.
And I found that the softer I hit,
and the less weight I put into the the strike,
the more I could feel…atoms.
but hitting softly,
with more yin,
putting space into an object (body)
and the body didn’t like it.
It was like the atoms got invalidated.
So if you hit with yang,
force on force,
then things simply break.
They just reach a point of breaking
and the object doesn’t mind that.
But if you hit with yin,
understanding what force is,
then the object that you are striking wants to go away.
I guess the only way to think about it is like this…
something in the universe (a body, for instance)
doesn’t mind being broken,
for that doesn’t change it’s ‘somethingness.’
but when you hit ‘something’ with less force,
to the point of hitting it with emptiness,
so that the idea of emptiness goes into the somethingness,
then that something is in threat of being changed,
it doesn’t like it,
it wants to run away.
It is invalidated,
made more wrong than it understands wrong to be.
you can see the video of me hitting something with yin
on the Matrixing Chi page on the monster.
unless you have developed enough force to understand force,
and then gone the other way to understand ‘not-force,’
or the opposite of something (nothing…to the extreme),
you won’t understand it.
But that’s okay,
you just read the words,
have a little faith,
and do a lot of practice,
and what I say is going to make PERFECT sense.
Have an awesome work out!
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Hi Al. Great topic and one that goes right along with what I am currently working on. I have been matrixing Hsing-i over the last several months. As I have said before Hsing-i is partially matrixed already but not with respect to the individual footwork patters and the individual techniques ( ie. Tiger form with Crushing Fist footwork) On a fundamental level, Hsing-i is just basically throwing your weight forward. I had an awful time with this concept at first but I eventually developed some training methods which I felt helped expedite the process. One was using a heavy bag. The free standing bags with water bases seemed to work much better than hanging ones for some reason. What I would do was punch the bag while relaxing my arm as much as possible and try to move the bag by shifting my weight forward from my ankles. At first you can’t do much of anything but collapse against the weight of bag. After a lot of practice you begin to push the bag. Later on you can begin to jolt the bag with short bursts. And that is what Hsing-i basically is – a “short burst” martial art. The strikes work much better when launched from the halfway position (fist at elbow) instead of from the dan tien as you see most people doing. That’s kind of drifting into the Wing Chun concepts but it’s still Hsing-i. I’ve also been playing around with the Shaolin course and I am amazed at how simple you’ve made it at no loss of effectiveness. Keep up the great work!