Posted by thanquyen, no comments
The snow is melting, and teacher is feeling mellow tonight, so he tried to melt everything into a melancholy rhythm, and the whole scenario became the monkey night! Also from the suggestion of some students that I conduct the monkey, so I showed the fancy and simplistic Dragon sparring form, which inspired into the Monkey teaching tonight. To talk about Monkey, a discussion can last forever, so I try to abbreviate the entire form into practical sets while conducting the class, and in the mean time I explain the fighting application. Just like eating the meat and spitting the bone out at the same time.
The monkey hand is very fancy, and very similar to the movement of humans, the characteristic of the monkey Kung Fu style is very flexible. It condenses and expands with internal and external energy. Even though it appears dance-like, it has the aggressive fighting strategy, just like human emotion expressed along with the animal characteristic. For instance, in the physical or mundane Kung Fu, after knowing the form we imitate the monkey characteristic. Conversely, in the spiritual form, we apply the formless into form. In the physical form, the Earthly Kung Fu, we apply form into formless. Just like kicks, punches, and karate chops, they are basic movements, and when it comes to advanced movement, since it roots in you, it becomes the personal style. You can dance with the Kung Fu, or you can fight with Kung Fu as a dance, or you can dance like it’s Kung Fu. Since the old days, Wu Tao, means dance, and also means the way of Kung Fu. They are all based on body movement, and while the dance expresses the appreciation of nature or beauty of art, while the martial art describes the expression of war and the combat idea. Both are expressions based on the body movement.
Especially tonight, becuase the monkey form is very long, and the reason that Kung Fu forms are long is so they test the body stamina. You must go through the whole entire form in order to finish a cycle. The form could be 7, 10, or 3 minutes… it all depends on how you express the form. Hard, fast, slow, internal, yin, or yang, depending how you practice, each form can be compared to going out to lunch. You can grab a snack and a coffee to fill you up, or you can sit down for a long meal. The reason that Chinese Kung Fu emphasizes a lot of form- we are no flower form kung fu- is that each one of these abstract animal movements is a deadly weapon. Though you do not see us use these moves in practical sparring, we can work out individually, like sharping a knife by yourself, or you can work out with the whole group, sharpening the knife in a group. In the animal form, there are hidden the fighting elements, which is why we don’t bother to apply form sparring and form and weapon tonight. Each one of these elements is hidden in the foundation of the animal Kung Fu form. Just like the structure of the building is more-or-less similar, foundation are all the same, but the actual house itself can be decorated with different walls, shapes, colors, etc. The Kung Fu stances are like the foundation, and are similar throughout all animal forms, but the upper body movement differentiates among the form.
Though we have Seven animals in Kung Fu, each animal has different parts, like a butcher cuts the meat, we take the leg and eat the leg, we may save the rib for later. But, the whole family for a wedding, we will cook the whole cow. So, we take a small piece out, to direct to the students more detail of the broken pieces of the monkey form like we did tonight! In other words, I took a fragment of the Kung Fu to conduct the class tonight, like a broken piece, to share for dinner with the kids. I love and enjoy my Kung Fu teaching, and when I die, the art still goes with me, but my students will still conduct under the name of the system when it comes to the land of freedom.
In the art of fighting, if you take a chance, for example, you might have one broken arm, and two legs intact. I’d rather have two arms broken, and legs still intact. When you need to kick, you kick, otherwise you do not expose the kick to protect the foundation. Especially in a multiple opponent scenario, you do not raise the leg to kick because you need it on the ground for running. The hand is for fighting, the legs are for running, but if you use the hands for running, forget it, it’s not possible because the nature of the hand is different. This is why you can see in Chinese forms a lot of hand forms, because they are short first of all! But, in the North, they are taller and they love to jump off horses and eat meat, so they grow, and expend energy with jumps and kicks. Monkey Kung Fu really fits with this principle, showing a lot of hands but not many legs. We appreciate to see the different arts and styles, and how they express the lands and legs however it works for them. But, in our system, the hand is the main acting part while the legs are the concrete foundation.
Anyway, in the Monkey Kung Fu, there is not just Kung Fu, and not just animal movement, but hidden in the movement is also the Qi Gong, which covers internal and external form. We can use the soft Qi Gong of the monkey for healing and to generate the energy in your body, and we can use the hard form for external conditioning, in fighting, and for health. Not only for just the martial art, but along with the physical fitness, our meditation is very important. Some Monkey postures can be used for stretching and for Qi Gong postures which enhance your body strength. So, in general, the whole Monkey form is an art which is martial for self defense, for health, and for mind focus. It is for your mind because as you do the form, you need to focus your body, focus your breathing, and focus on your expression. In other words, the mind is in tune with the entire body, which we call the action of meditation. Meditation can be hidden under many meanings, one active and one passive. So, the Monkey Form, when we express the combination of soft, hard, stationary, or dynamic, it is still a form, depending on how you express it and how long you want it to last. Similar to leisurely enjoying your tea, or having a quick beer, or having a slow meal and chatting, this is how we do forms.
Anyway, love the Monkey Kung Fu Form!