From Al Case at Matrix Martial Arts…
Fifty Years of Martial Arts Forms
Felt like a work out the other night,
so I went out and did my forms.
I did the basic Pinan (Heian) forms.
I learned those forms near 50 years ago.
I do them near every day,
and for a simple reason:
I learn something from them.
I look at each angle,
adjust those angles according to stance,
and the surface I am on,
if the legs are spread wider
it changes the angle of the arms.
I work on breathing,
focusing on the tan tien
and coursing energy through the body,
making sure I have the correct angles
to support the energy.
As I go through the forms
I imagine opponents,
how the blocks would work,
focusing on the snap and pop
as I loosen and tighten the muscles,
The forms are calisthenics,
a lot of people don’t think of the forms like that,
they are into the mystical and such,
and I am not unaware of the mystical,
but if I am doing a horse,
I am squatting.
If I am doing a front stance I am lunging,
And together with the tightening of the muscles
I am getting a real work out.
The great thing is I don’t have to pay for my work out,
I paid for these forms near 50 years ago,
I bought them,
so I use what I bought.
Almost every day I repeat those forms,
and here is the interesting things.
In the beginning I had to remember them,
work on my memory,
and I did.
But at a certain point they became intuitive,
I could just snap through them,
But I find myself going more slowly these days,
feeding awareness into the forms,
and here’s the odd thing.
When somebody hits me,
they are hitting my energy,
the patterns of energy I have carefully placed in my body.
They are hitting my awareness,
an awareness that makes the body firm and solid,
and quick and fast.
Isn’t that interesting?
That awareness could be mystical?
But mystical comes from mystery,
which merely says you don’t understand something.
But after 50 years of forms I understand them.
When somebody hits me I just run awareness through my body,
to the point where I am being struck,
and energy follows it,
the muscles become hard almost without tensing,
and the fist or foot bounces off my frame.
when I strike back,
I control myself,
because if I put too much awareness in my fist,
the other fellow will be hurt.
But I don’t want to hurt anybody,
I just want to practice my art.
if 50 years of doing these silly forms has given me this much,
imagine how much I will from another 50 years!
Here are three arts,
including the one with the Pinans in it.
Have a great work out!
When I do my forms now I find myself working less on visualization and more on listening to what the structure of the form I’m doing has to teach me. Have you ever experienced this? A kind of spontaneous learning by repeating the form over and over just being aware? I am almost certain you have, but I like chatting with you about these things cause you invariably give me something new to consider.
A good workout to you
“A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.”
– Bruce Lee
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