Physical Force and Energetic Force
(Twins from Different Mothers)
In the martial arts physical force is big factor in many areas. To be strong and fit in this realm is to be able to met out punishment as well as to sustain damage and keep functioning. Physical force is what makes us move fast. Strong legs and a solid core allows us to change our planes of motion, to twist and turn rapidly. A strong set of triceps can propel the fists with great authority and strong biceps are like crushing anacondas in the close quarter clinch. But in saying this we must also recognize an other equally impressive kind of force. I refer to "energetic force". Depending upon who you are talking to the energetic force may be called by various names including chi, ki, qi, mind power, intent and a host of specific terms relating to certain abilities in the psychic realm. Names and theories change from man to man, but the fact remains that energetic forces exist (and have for thousands of years). In this article my intent is not to make a comparison or to point out which is superior. Just to share some observations and experiences with you my friends and fellow travelers upon Jianghu's long road. The rest is up to YOU.
Perhaps the first thing I should mention is the vast gulf that exists between the different methods and intent that divides the two worlds of the physical and that of the energetic. The tools required are very different from one another. Your mindset and inner control while deploying either of the paths (physical or energy) must be clearly defined. Behavior inside and outside must be intentioned for the realm you plan to operate within.
Some might be asking about now "what does he mean by intentioned behavior"? By this I refer to attempting to learn or practice energetic skills but through using our all too familiar physical tools. It will never work! (Analogy: Wood working tools are worthless in a metal fabrication (welding) shop). In my travels and training I have seen the same commonly made mistakes played over and over again. Simply because people fail to realize just how counter-intuitive some energetic methods can be. At first much of this energy work does not make sense, but once you "get it" it slowly comes together for you. Then the results and the effects you initially sought will begin to manifest. Let's talk of this further.
In the external methods of kung fu and wu shu there is much physical force exerted. The brow furrows, the teeth clench, the face grimaces and the muscles bulge during the practice of this method. Fortifying screams and yells are made during such practice times. As the physical realm is one of the easiest realms of power to enter it is also the most familiar to the masses. When things are difficult for us we tend to fall back into that realm of behavior every time. In some regards the physical realm is a trap. It's allure prevents you from exploring further into other areas, it will always drag you back to that level if you do not get a firm handle upon it. Do not allow the physical dimension to run you, you must run the physical dimension. Be the boss or suffer loss. Learn to be multi-dimensional for real kung fu skill.
EXAMPLE: In an installment or two back we studied using fire (candle flame) and building intent. When I teach this I explain it is important to relax. To be as casual and relaxed as you can. Now try, use a very lightly gesture (point) towards the candle flame. It should go out. Continue to breathe, stay casual, gesture again with little physical force. Use intent, real energy from the inner source. BUT... within a few passes the one that I am teaching slips back into a mode of clenched jaw, holding the breath, hitting hard with physical tools and abandoning the energetic tools by falling back into the physical realm because they are not getting the results they want via the other. So they unintentionally fall back to the old behavior patterns which govern men and animals alike. The physical is a true trap on the energy highway, you have had that physicality at your beck & call all of your life. You chase a new thing now. Put the physical aspects aside and learn of the greater energy within.
Stop furrowing the brow and tensing the chest muscles, just relax the breath, relax the gaze and release the mind, laughingly do the impossible. To do this takes some practice, so be mindful in all that you do. In past installments I have also shared with you that cloud busting is another means to build your energy skills - such practice provides ideal opportunity for you to relax, be at ease and give the tools of the energetic world a honest chance to work for you. it will surprise you as it has many. This is why I said earlier that energetic tools were rather counter-intuitive in their nature. The more you experience on a personal level the more my words will echo your own findings. (but remember, if you no train, then you no gain). It's that simple old friend. Don't blame the master or the method for your own inconsistencies.
Consider how ZEN is passed along (gently) / There too is the path of energy