“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also should wash one another’s feet.”
How is God’s love like? No one knows until you have experienced it. Then you would exclaim “It is the Lord!” Then your life is being transformed.
In traditional Kung Fu classics, there are several key concepts like ‘Song’, ‘Qi’, ‘Yi’ and so on. They summarize direct experiences of masters throughout generations.
Direct experience is unique and concrete. However, it becomes abstract and general when it is put in words of concepts. The language itself raises the level of abstraction and creates barrier for beginners to inherit traditional skills on their own.
As a teacher, he is the one who should be able to transform abstract concepts into unique and concrete experience for students.
“Teacher, how can we acquire ‘Qi’ in Kung Fu?”
“All of us have ‘Qi’ since we were born. ‘Qi’ is innate. We ‘forget’ its existence because we get used to using ‘Li’ energy in our daily activities.”
“Then how can we feel its existence?”
“Well, language seems to be powerless and useless at this point. Come on, touch my palm. Now I ‘Song’ my muscles and joints, lift up my spirit, Qi is released. Can you feel it? Grasp this feeling and save it in your memory. Re-play it whenever you are performing ‘Song’. Now is your turn to show me the ‘Qi’.”
This was my first lesson with teacher, Mr.Tan Jing. “The value and significance of my role is that I can teach you not only with words, but also with my Kung Fu.” He said.
There are two dimensions involved in learning intangible aspect of Kung Fu—knowledge dimension and experience dimension. And the experience one is more vital.
Let me elaborate with an analogy of software programme.
If you want to install a software programme in your computer, the first and most important file you need is ‘setup.exe’. Without this file, the programme is totally useless.
Direct experience from your Tai Chi teacher is the ‘setup.exe’ file in your process of learning Kung Fu of Qi. Without this direct experience, you are still an outsider of this field, no matter how much knowledge you have in your head.
When you learn a new skill, sometimes you learn it by watching demonstration, sometimes you learn it by listening to the instructions. As for Kung Fu of Qi, it is invisible and intangible. You can only learn it by sense of touch. And only teachers with this kind of Kung Fu can provide you the opportunities to feel it. With this direct experience, the mysterious concepts concerned become bright and clear. It ignites and activates learners’ previous and new knowledge just as the ‘setup.exe’ file initializes the software programme. And the learning process thereafter is to catch feelings in each direct contact experiences and perform accordingly in your routine Kung Fu practice.
So, the crucial factor for you to acquire intangible aspect of Kung Fu is not secrets you read in Kung Fu manuals, but your opportunity to meet a teacher with Kung Fu proficiency in this respect.
“Only those Kung Fu teachers with Neijing can make learners inherit this kind of Kung Fu.” Sifu Tan Jing said.