First Class

Martial Arts

Many things to different people, martial arts are a deadly weapon of godlike power that can only be wielded by those who have relinquished all desire to do so... So if this is the case then how can anyone truly attain the skills?... A better way to put it: Imagine a dark and terrible place; you would never want to go there. Now imagine the path that leads there is the most enriching and beautiful journey life has to offer. If you can keep your head on the path then you will learn more about yourself than you could ever imagine, taking in the scenery, seeing the greatness that is all around you and unlocking the secrets of the universe with each step, you realize that you can live the journey without ever having to arrive at the destination. Those who cannot open their hearts and minds will miss out on all the wisdom laid before them and eventually turn back or worse, end up in the dark place where they will be lost among the horrors forever.

If one can learn the lessons of the journey you can pass right through the dark terrible place unscathed and even find true beauty hidden in the shadows. On the other side, the path goes on into enlightenment and the traveler has become a true warrior. To inflict any harm upon a true warrior, an attacker must first reach them, to reach them they must pass through a dark and terrible place, they destroy themselves.

People express themselves through art and that art can affect other people, sometimes this is the goal of the artist, to make other people think or feel a certain way is a kind of magic.

Martial arts are art from the start. When first learning, the teacher's art is in influencing the student. During practice one must learn to express themselves truly .To an outsider this may seem incorrect, how can a series of specific techniques, rigid in their form which must be performed precisely be anything other than restrictive?

The strict form allows a student to eliminate all but what is truly inside, externalities like things you love and hate are not you. Many people forget who they really are, some never know... let’s take another expressive art, if I want to play guitar, I must pluck the strings and press the frets at the very least, if I swing it round my head and beat it with all my anger at the world then I wouldn’t be playing guitar or expressing myself, just my anger, a reaction to things I do not understand or believe I have control over. You may argue this is still art by definition but martial art it is not; I am lost in the dark place. I need to learn a few chords...

The meticulous form keeps my head on the path, I can begin to know my true self and express what’s inside with total honesty even though to the untrained eye I may look like a robot repeating set positions, my teacher can see my unique energy and I feel an enhanced sense of control over body and mind united.

"Fight how you train" and you may have control over how your art effects others. This is seen as a degree of mastery, battle by nature will always take place on the edge (of the dark place)

The greatest artists (masters) have produced some of their most profound work during times of awesomeness in one way or another and most notably, periods of great stress. The art takes over and produces something that has an effect so powerful that it preserves the very life of the artist. They live on through their work.

When surrounded by the dogs of war the martial arts warrior will release the weapon of godlike power that is a deep truth of mind body united, creating a devastating effect, those who stand against him are crushed by the might of their own lack of wisdom and with perfect control he preserves his own life, immortalized in battle and so emerges stronger, wiser and more worthy of the weapon he has no desire to wield.

© Leeds Wing Chun 2013