Kung Fu is an adjective

Even though I had training days of approximately 6 hours, the first weeks went so fast !!
This week, my introduction into Martial Arts was amazing, weird and challenging.

Every weekday I set my alarm to go up at 6 a.m. starting off with Tai- Chi class. To be honest, some days are more easy to make it. But when in the class, it is so great to start the day with.
This class is followed by different work-outs of which I was totally unfamiliar with.  Ranging from Power Training to Sanda and taking down (yes, taking down) to Basic Forms and Power Stretching.
I will definitely explain more on the different classes, but the main thing I got from the first week is that Kung Fu is an adjective.
Which when I realised this, I suddenly woke up from the idea that I was expecting a class named ‘Kung Fu’, which of course, I didn’t.

Because, Kung Fu literally means “hard work”. Meaning, Kung Fu is a word that explains how someone treats a certain task and/or goals c.q. life. And in this school this means the attitude in the strive for perfection when performing Martial Arts. And now I quote;

Not because you think you will ever reach perfection, but because it puts you in the right mindset to achieve your goals.

I still have to laugh about it when I reflect on this realisation on Kung Fu.

Especially as at this very same day I said to myself that I wanted more space to enjoy and enjoy a healthy mindset too, not rushing any more – not working that hard any more.
To me hard work used to mean determination (only option is to move forward) and persistence ( staying in line untill I got what I want) to me. But through the classes and in particular Tai- Chi, I understand that I was missing out on an important part; diligence.
Diligence in a way that adds patience, grace and flexibility to the former understanding I had of hard work.

As this was continuously affirmed by one of the Masters giving me feedback to slow-up in my practice of Martial Arts. Slowing-up is actually a bad translation of one of my Masters, but he wanted me to slow down in my practice and to work diligently. I grinned about it at that time, but later I decided to adopt his term of ‘slowing-up’. Because by going slower I get the basics so much faster and I move up quicker in my postures and practice. I now understand how to build my skills in stead of running and passing by and having to go back.

When one goes slower there can be still much power in the muscles at the same time, yet be flexible and soft.

 

 

In the way I work out now it is like I learn to condense my energy into the body part I want to move or to be powerful. And in the same time remaining and working from my center.
This center, I learnt is called the Dan Tien. This place is found in the middle of the human body, 2 or 3 fingers below the belly button. The master continuously puts your hand in the right place, so whatever happens – you know you can find your center.
In the Martial Arts they believe that the power resides here. This power is called Chi and is not to be proven yet by Western science. Although this not entirely true – I read an article that with a thermometer they can trace the Chi of one who practiced and is able to move.
Working from this Dan Tien and breathing throughout the body and directing the energy to this point, .. well that is… true art of hard work, Kung Fu. I would like to say that I had this full experience, but I have not. The Masters told me that this only to be found within working for many years and then you might get to grasp what it is that they mean.

Then – as a bonus I guess, I got to learn how to be more powerful in my body in a nother way. Which is a great concept that is applicable right away.
The Master told me that what power you give to the ground, you get back into your body immediately.
I  didn’t get it after his explanation, but when he let me do horse stands (!!) for the rest of the class, I understand that grounding is quite important for building up power.

This week was full of introductions into new concepts of how to build up power to actually practice Martial Arts.
How to direct this power to my different body parts and how to use in combat with others.