It had been a while since I went down to my Shifu’s school for Friday Fu. I missed it, essentially my only time of bonding with my peers. It was on the quiet side this Friday, but still enough was going on to make it worthwhile.
There is a senior practitioner there who is under one system, Tai Chi Praying Mantis, my Elder Brother ( shixong/sihing), yet under another my Sisuk, ( Younger Uncle). Either way he is my senior and a wealth of information. I hit him up to help me review the Combination Hsing-i form I learned from Kam Shifu back when I was in LA.
This is a form taught by Wong Jack Man, Sigong who is a grandmaster of the Northern Shaolin Monastery System. It is a combination of the 5 elements form as well as animals. Within the system there are single element movements and single animal forms (sets/kata).
I questioned Eng Shifu on the what & why of Hsing-I. I had heard him say a few months ago that it was powerful for health. He had heard Wong Sigong speak of it but at the time he ( Shifu) did not really “get it”. Now he understands. I wondered why is was so powerful for health, and why is Tai Chi promoted as such but not so much Hsing-I . Eng Shifu said, basically, Tai Chi is good for over all everything. With Hsing-I there is the concentration on the five Elements. With my Feng Shui background I understood just what he was saying. He added, Hsing-I has a deep philosophy also relating to the I-Ching hexagrams. Now one must keep in mind that Tai Chi does has philosophy relating to the I-Ching hexagrams also. In fact since the I-Ching represent all stages of life, everything in Chinese Philosophy has relation to the I-Ching Hexigrams and the FIve Elements. Hmmm maybe I’ll do a post on the I-Ching Hexagrams relating to Kyudo…I digress
Hsing-I is internally complex says Eng Shifu. Too much so to go into details simply, however there should be some good translated text on the internal aspects of Hsing-I. Not books on techniques he said, but the “chi” internal working of Hsing -I. External techniques are external techniques. That was enough for me at this time and answered my question. The rest I can research, with some knowledge of Chinese medicine and Feng Shui as well as the I-Ching I can go from there.
I had studied some Hsing-I with Kam Yuen Shifu while training at the Torrance, Ca school however I did not really get into it. It was too linear and seemed power orientated to me, I preferred Ba Qua, the angles seemed to fit my spirit. In truth it still does, however now with some insight to the internal workings of the Art I can understand the benefits of it. The delivery of power, the cultivation of Chi. I feel can make it work, at least link it in a way that it will help support the other Arts practiced, including Kyudo.
It is said of Hsing-I:
Hsing I Ch’uan translates to “form and intention boxing” or “body-mind boxing”. The history of Hsing I Ch’uan is unclear. One account credits Boddhidarma with its creation; while others credit general Yeuh Fei of the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Hence, it is unclear whether Hsing I Ch’uan is a Taoist art like T’ai Chi Ch’uan or a Buddhist art of the Shaolin temple. Chances are that it was developed by many masters both Taoist and Buddhist over an extended period of time. Like T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Hsing I Ch’uan is considered an internal art
Springing from Taoist and Buddhist techniques, Hsing-I is cooperative , not competitive; it emphasizes being and becoming rather than thinking and doing. But it requires disciplined and much hard work.
Hsing-I Chuan (mind formed fist) is essentially a meditative form of health and body management from which self defense spills over rather than an aggressive combat form, of which the world already has too many.
This will give me another aspect to draw from when setting up my teaching practice in Japan.I am not seeking the classes to be run as a typical Martial Art class based heavy on self-defense per-se, more so self-defense based on defending oneself against the attacks of Stress & Aging. Not to make another fighting/combat style but to give a balance to teaching of my Northern Shaolin Tai Chi Praying Mantis Style from a Spiritual and Physical place. Spiritual Kung Fu as it were in a sense. Also to raise the level of my Chan and Kyudo practice.
I worked some that evening with Sihing on the first part of the Combined form. I heard him saying the names of the elements and animal as we went through the set, great this will help my research once I have the set re-learned. Another good thing going through this with Sihing is it is more current from Sigong. Kam Shifu changed a lot of things he taught us.
The rest of the evening practice was spent chatting, and then reviewing some knife attack defenses, before sitting down to eat.
The big topic tonight at meal time was Kung Fu movies.