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Just taking advantage Sifu’s trip return from Vietnam, and as the weather is changing tomorrow (inspired by future working out in the snow), luckily anybody who came to class tonight’s small class was rewarded of the treasured teaching. Taking any movement, such as a punch or a kick, he can analyze and combine different elements within that singular move. Just like a Chinese calligraphy with one meaning can be broken down into multiple characters which actually have different meanings, a complete woman, or a perfect lover.
The simple motion, Master Phan cracking his whip, appears to be a straightforward attack, especially as it occurs faster than the eye can follow and emits a sharp and startling sound. As the whip-handle is brought down from near the head to the extended position, beginning the momentum which will eventually crack the whip, it directs the movement of the whip in a circular area, both protecting Master Phan from attack and also allowing him to attack multiple people along the whip’s trajectory. When we pull the weapon out, we don’t waste any movement, just like when we eat food, we don’t waste even one piece of rice. That’s why, as martial artists, we train these movements nonstop- so we don’t make mistakes. It isn’t so easy to derive so much meaning from a martial movement performed before the mind can think. In the Vietnamese language, they have an entertaining way to describe this martial concept, “buy one, get one free.” Whether taking a piece of Chinese calligraphy and breaking it down into its simplest forms, or pointing out the multiple meanings of a simple movement, Master Phan is always invested in revealing the complexities of Than Vo Dao using simple terms.
For example, when the body is pulling the leg out to deliver a kick, by lifting up, and at the turning point of the hips, the kicks have three elements or three stops (three resting points) which can break the opponents from a close-up fighting position, but the full kick is for the long-distance fighting application. The difference between the three elements of a kick, and the straight kick itself, can be viewed Body crosses the leg, and comes right out for a kick. But those three stops, can become three attacks, right at the knee, the chest, and then the kick.