Listen To Yourself First To Increase The Power of Concentration
Q: I have a question about how do we use the sound—certainly to try not to hear the words…
Sifu: You just listen: just pay attention to your self. If I put my attention on my sense, I listen. But at the same time I do listen to other sounds—someone right now is chopping in kitchen or we hear background noise. We are the receiver. But I believe that what we train, as Sifu Jiru trained us just now, we try not to get that involved. We don’t try to listen to that—we try to focus more—to get that Samadhi to train what is happening there, to see if we can hold there or not, and draw back to there.
Actually there’s nothing wrong with listening, we just want to increase the power of concentration more first. We want to increase here first so that under different conditions is there any thought coming or not to disturb us now? This is why part comes to “purification”, but normally martial arts people don’t like to listen to purification.
“Why do you want to purify? I’m a martial man—why do I want to be purify.”
Actually, it’s to clean the lens—to let the mind not to be disturbed: then you are there—concentration is there.
Here is what we train. Sifu Jiru talks about willpower—to not let thoughts pull you away. If your attention is not strong—poof, pulled away already. Pulled away by a lot of things—hunger, greed, what we don’t know (ignorance). These are the “Five Hindrances”, along with sleepiness and restlessness. Restless is like your mind running.
Q: something our students struggle with and I struggle with too, is balancing trying to ‘do’ something, trying to ‘do’ a move, and also doing it with sensitivity.
From Obvious To Refined/Subtle
Sifu: Sensitivity is there. If you train to be balanced, you must have sensitivity. If the sensitivity isn’t there, how do you know you are balancing? Yes? It’s just a matter of you are balancing, you are adjusting—your attention is there to meet. If my attention can’t arrive there, I can’t meet there. Sometimes because if we train too light, too loose—it’s hard to draw the mind there, so sometimes we do it a bit heavier. More obvious. That’s why the training has external, they call it ming jin 明勁,—that means it’s external and more obvious, before you can train very subtle.
Actually, that’s why I call you students to train big first. If you can’t do it big to draw a perfect circle, I call you to do it big, medium, small. From heavy, obvious, subtle. Obvious to help to draw attention there; or else attention is very hard.
Q: For me, the biggest barrier in partner training is performance anxiety. If the person I’m working with is ‘oh, you’re doing it wrong.’ I feel “oh, I’m no good.” How to change this?
Sifu: Yes, that can be very tough.
Sometime you can tell your partner and say, ‘let’s just follow the instruction carefully.’ Just do what we’re instructed to do—don’t do more than that, can we do that or not?” Following instructions is not easy. We try to put into how an instruction should be. Sometimes we say, “Do what you’re being told; don’t try to teach your partner now. You are training yourself now. You are learning both partners as an opportunity to do it: you aren’t doing on him or him on you: you are working on yourself. “ Can you follow instructions? If you can’t follow instructions, why is that?
Then what is missing that you can’t follow instructions?
Is it because you have your own view? Once you have your own view you’re thinking ‘Oh, I like this or I don’t like that.’ The problem is it’s so hard to see because it’s your own viewpoint. No one is blocking you—it’s because your view blocks you. Your view is yourself—all your ideas: how can it be wrong? So the hardest part is to change your view.
If you don’t listen carefully to instructions, your instructors have no chance to bring you out of your viewpoint. Everything you think is inside your view. I like to give the example of the student in Poland who was wearing a shirt that said ‘think outside of the box.’ And I said, Is that right? All the students said ‘yes.’ I said, ‘do you know what is thinking? Thinking is the box!” [laughter]
Be careful when you listen to some lectures; you tell me to do this and that, but you can’t get out of the box. So, no thinking. I have a quote: if you know, you don’t think; if you think, it means you don’t know. You’re stuck in the box.
“You can never think outside the box. Thinking IS the box!”
~GM Sam Chin
Holding The Touch Point of Contact To Connect
A lot of time instruction must be carefully designed to pinpoint to the path.
So this morning, what Master Jiru talked about connects to this. That’s why yesterday we talked about touch point of contact. Connect must have a balance. The balanced connect that means the connect has the idea of holding—the holding of the point—any idea of connect means the idea of holding to that thing.
If you don’t have the ability of holding there, you can’t connect. To hold there that means you must have a balance point to hold: too much you go through, too little you can’t hold slip off. This little simple thing here is the training. If you can’t initiate this right, the point of contact is wrong already.
Now you guys touch you know: too much pressure, too little—what is that? That’s the balance point in order to get it right. Then that balance point can you connect all the way down to his feet. If only at the touch here (at finger/wrist forearm)—that’s not enough. You must be able to connect to his body, to his hip, all the way down to his feet. Can you connect every joint that he moves or not? Then you can separate left back, front back everything so you can move—you can move your partner.
Q: Like a dancer?
Sifu: Yes, if I trained I could be a very good dancer [laughter]. I can be a teacher to teach but I can’t dance. Yes, just be a puppet master.
If you can do this, then you are the puppet master—connecting. The information that we talk about is like a spider web: it connects. And all the connections have crosses and junctions. All the connect comes down to the neutral center: where the spider sits.
So every junction, every spider web has tension line, you see. The tension line is the balance line. Later on, on every line, the connection is a tension line (like a musician plays a guitar string)—it attunes and you receive information. Also, like a kite—like a puppet master: you play the string here—too tight, too slack, you can’t move.
You must know how to move so that the tension light must be balanced. That’s why in every action you try to get the tension line first. On the grab here—there’s a pull. When I pull, I stretch the line—I get the slack away. If it’s too lose, then draw the slack and let the line come. If the opponent tries to relax to be soft, you can just whip (do the wave—like a towel). You try to maintain the line so that information is direct. This is all on the CONNECTING TOUCH.
This is all the principles that apply to EVERY MOVE! On here, then you look for what is open, what is close; what is absorb what is project—the unification of the self. The first thing we talk about is gravity—because we live in this world with gravity, and this body with a mass. Every object has a mass. The mass and the gravity—its relationship—that forms the axis line: that forms the balance line. The balance line means it’s 90 to the ground. This means it’s a center point to direct. 90 is the center. When you explain things, we say ‘what makes it 90’? What makes it a center?
Master Class on Sun. morning –August 4, 2019 (continuing the discussion)
Reference: Seeing the difference from the center
From the first cross you know the difference. From the second cross you know more because of the 2 crosses and the difference, that you match. And all the knowing and the changing must come from here, because the cross gives you the difference. I want you to see the difference from there. Difference from the center—from the cross: the difference of like pressure, open close (because left right have different pressure of open close have different pressure of open close).
Because when cross at the center, we start to pivot because there’s open-close and pressure. Or else the equal will be flat. Equal there’s no pivoting. Understand. So that kind of feeling is the direct feeling. If you can’t feel from there, as I’ve said before, it means your attention isn’t strong enough to hold. Then you will fall back to your memory, to your past experience. Then you aren’t in the moment any more. You’re using the past to know the present. That is what we don’t want to use. We want to have direct.