Archive for August, 2009


Some quick thoughts on the comments…

I would like to say a few things about the comments so far. As for the questioned posed by Steve concerning “warrior mindset” and the potential difference between the level of aggression in a style such as Shan Tung versus something like say,Pa Men…there is no difference. This is where the concept of  ” being ” really comes into play. Recall I have stated that ” as you run the form, the form runs you ”  and that ” when running an animal form, be the animal “. The Tiger explodes with ferocity in its attack on prey…this is its  ” nature “. The Preying Mantis will sit patiently in perfect stillness as it awaits its prey to enter into the Mantis’s range prior to the explosion of released speed used to suddenly overwhelm the prey…this is its  ” nature “. Pa Men uses softness to absorb and redirect the opponents attack taking the opponents energy directed at us away from him and then returning that energy coupled with our own energy back to him…this the  ” nature ” of Pa Men. So, whether a “form” is modeled on the ” nature ” of an animal or modeled on concepts of physics and geometry such as ” Classic Manner ” the “form” ( or more properly the ” style ” ) still has a ” Nature ” of it’s own. In the ” warrior mindset ” there is no difference between using any of these styles in combat. There are, quite simply, ultimately only ” technique “…a methodology. Regardless of the style, when we utilize the style in either ” Practice ” or in “Combat ” the  ” warrior mindset ” is the same. We are ” Being ” the style and the style is  ” Being ” us…the execution of our movements reflect the ” nature ” of the technique being expressed through us. The mind is still calm, focussed, clear, and poised like the open bow regardless of the technique being expressed. We are expressing the ” nature ” of the technique by ” Being” that which we are expressing and that which is expressing us. Thus, to the warrior, there is no difference between the extreme aggression of the Black Tiger or the water like principles of Pa Men. There is only the ” Nature ” of the technique  ” Being “. The attitude is the same in true practice or in combat. ” Be ” the technique, train until the technique ” Be ” you understanding on all levels that the mental and physical training has one ultimate aim…to destroy the opponent. I will return to this subject and give more thought concerning this at another point in time.


Thoughts from GM Cook

Just some thoughts on the comments so far. Good discussion with good points raised and good questions to push the discussion. Yes, I do relate speed, timing, focus, calmness,etc. as “spontaneous reaction to stimulous”. This concept arises from the ancient philosophy of “wei -wu- wei” or “thought-no-thought”  and “action from non-action” and “thing -no-thing”. Faced with an opponent that has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that their intention is to do us harm, our first “action from non-action” is to mentally put ourselves in a “warrior mindset”. That is, calm, focussed, relaxed, poised in readyness like a drawn bow. This mindset , largely achieved through a combination of training and meditation, is our first “spontaneous reaction to stimulous”. It too is done without concious thought…when presented with the situation of the opponent we enter the prepatory mindset with “no-thought”. We do this without thought as we are already and always “there”. ” There ” implies our normal state of acute awareness, also a result of training and meditation. What we are “being” is shifting from a “normal” level of awareness, to an extremely acute and focussed place of awareness, i.e. all of our focus on ” the little play” that is being played by the opponent and ourselves. In this mental place there is no action, there is no reaction, there simply is being in a place of ultimate immediacy. The opponent presents us with opportunity merely by his physical affect. Regardless of whether he is moving or standing still, opportunity is fully present. We can wait for him to move and then we counter and strike, or we do not wait and move first with our attack. Either movement should be fluid and seemless, a “spontaneous” movement that brings the confrontation to a swift and certain outcome in our favor. This “fluid and seemless” movement – an expression of concept demonstrated through the technique utilized – cannot be described as “block-counter-attack” nor “attack”. The fluidness and seemlessness, the ” oneness of the movement executed in the total present of the moment” eradicates any notion of separateness between “defense” and “offense”. Ultimately, there is no such difference, so in ultimate expression of technique there is no “defense / offense”, there is just the “isness” of the moment…we are in total and complete harmony with the opponent.  This concept leads one to understand that ultimately, there is no ” I ” there is no ” opponent “, there is just the being of the expression of concept through technique in the total present of the moment…” total being in complete isness “. Think on this and discuss. I will post comments when I approve them as events of the day permit.   Tzai-Jin…


Updates from GrandMaster Cook

Hello. Well, I think I’m getting a handle on this blogging stuff. I’ve spent some time going through the various pages of wordpress. It seems that I must monitor comments and approve them before the option to view comments is allowed by anyone visiting the blog. This does in a way protect me from someone who does not even know me or has ever met me to claim to know me or to have been a student or to do such a thing as use profanity in their comment ( anyone doing so will be deleted by me). So, I will get in the habit of checking for comments each morning and approving them. Good to see what was said so far on my first topic. You guys can now all read what has been said and continue to comment if you choose. You too must check in often to see the posted comments. To the Kendo practitioner – welcome. I shall say this to you…whether utilizing a weapon or utilizing empty hands, the concepts of Speed and Timing, separately or versus apply. All is the same.


Good day from Grandmaster Cook

Hello to all fellow martial artists. This is my first post on my new blog. What I would like this thing to be is more of a discussion forum on Kung fu and other martial arts. I would like to “throw out a topic”  relating to the martial arts, give some of my thoughts on the subject, then leave the blog open for discussion. My first subject is speed versus timing. Speed and timing are two very different things,especially in Kung Fu or any other martial art. To be fast is great, but one must always keep in mind that “fast” is just an idea. Speed must be relative to the opponent. This is Timing. I may move a block slow or fast, yet if it arrives in time to block or redirect the strike being thrown at me my movement has been successful. I may move a block into position with less speed if I see the strike coming early because the opponent “gave himself away”  by too obviously telegraphing his attack. I may move a block into postion with great speed if the opponent is very tricky and I only see his well disguised attack at the last possible moment. In both instances Timing is what allows success. Think on this concept. Remember always though that the best block there is is to not be there. This applies to much beyond the physical.

August 2009