My plan for the day which was Friday, included a trip to the archery range to shoot with Sensei, then down to my Shifu’s school for Friday Fu night with the fam.
First stop was at the range for some Kyudo 28 meters. I had not worked with Sensei for several months due to my schedule and the travel distance (read as gas prices). I was feeling fairly comfortable with my shooting form so I was not nervous. I told him I was still working on my Tenouchi as my biggest challenge. He gave me some correction on that, and also thought my built up wrapping was too built up.
We shot 20 arrows for the afternoon, his game was off, due to a cold, so I beat him with hits by one arrow. Another pointer he gave me was in Daisan I was over too far to the left but corrected myself by the time I was in Kai. I should be pointing at the target in Daisan (second Aim) . The other thing was keep some bend in my arms as my arms go over my head before Daisan.
Otherwise he thought I had made improvements in my form from the last time he saw me. He said I’m not sure what you are doing, but keep it up because you are improving…yeya! Everything is Kyudo, everything is Chan, everything is Kung Fu, everything is training, the world is our Dojo.
I also find out that only he and I are attending the seminar this year in MN, everyone else backed out, timing or money reasons. It does not effect me, but there will be no class-spirit pump up. That will have to wait until next year when Northern CA hosts the seminar. At that time hopefully I will be going for my San-Dan and my final test in the states. There will be another from my Dojo also testing San-dan at that time. The others will be going for Shodan. It should be fun and importantly a lot cheaper with no airfair or hotel cost to deal with…just before we leave for the open ocean…Yeya!
I missed Kung Fu last month, I had too much going on. This time I was heading there no matter what, the Kyudo first plan was because I was going to be in the area so I could save on travel and ga$.
I arrived to find the group going through a set of books brought back from Hong Kong. These book were done by one of the 8th generation who has many many many Tai Chi Mantis films on You-tube. He put together a group of books on the Tai Chi Mantis system. One, book three in particular dealt with the History, Philosophy and traditions of Tai Chi Praying Mantis. It has lots of old pictures of Sigung through the years, and shots of the old temple where he was a young monk, along with forms and info. There was also a picture of the Tai Mantis logo I designed for one of my old schools. This book is on my must have list. It is mostly in Chinese but there are parts in English. This for us Tai Chi Mantis players is a monumental work.
After reviewing some of the book, we got down to some practice. Fong Sisuk took questions on the differences between 7 star Mantis and Tai Chi Mantis and point out some of the differences. Some being, 7 star is built on straight line movements and principle, it is also more striking in nature. Tai Chi Mantis is more angles and circular. Tai Chi Mantis is also built around controlling the opponent. Rather than striking or knocking them back so they can possibly attack again, Tai Chi Mantis keeps them in close, so they can not escape. In a way it keeps more to the Buddhist principle compassion, Tai Chi Mantis can end the fight by controlling, trapping, grounding the attacker so the fight will not continue, where 7 Star would end the fight, by killing or maiming the attacker. An important statement made by Fong Sisuk was in training we train to control ourselves. You can not control other until you first can control yourself. This is an important principle in traditional Martial arts. Eng Sifu teaches us both 7 star and Tai Chi praying mantis as well as Northern Shaolin for our roots. One can not just start out training Mantis without the groundwork, proper foundation.
Another subject talked about during our eating time was WuShu vs Traditional KungFu. Nothing is wrong with WuShu Fong Sisuk said however it is not the same as TKF. One of the main things is it lacks the culture and the spiritual principles of Traditional Kung Fu ( TKF). These were taken out of the training by the communist on purpose.
Another topic spoke on is how the current true masters are lamenting the fall of interest in traditional Martial arts. Also how many are claiming to be masters but are just posers. How hard it is to find students who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn and carry on the arts. Many many parts, principals, techniques and much culture is being lost with the new generations. Not just here in the states which is doing well compared to Hong Kong. Many of the Old Masters fear for the future of Chinese Traditional Martial Arts.