maintain regular practice as we can is the best

Regular practice will give a smooth and easy feeling for increasing knowledge in each lesson. This was a hard lesson that cost me a few hardships.

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sifu kelley's picture

i'm curious. can you share a little bit of what you experienced?

thanks

I’m sorry for not having answered you clearly in due time.

In fact I feel that when I don’t practice consistently, I mean frequently, the next time I practice it is more difficult in the sense that I forget previous teachings and doubts about specific points appear. What was acquired is lost. Instead of watching the previous lessons just to deepen my understanding I have to study them as it was the first time.

The exact same thing here!  I'm glad you said so, I thought something was wrong with me, or that it was only me dealing with this.

 

Maybe the answer for progressive precision and comprehension despite the laziness, resides on the opportunity of having such an excellent laoshi and our own “mirror neurons” (see VS Ramachandran: The neurons that shaped civilization).The fact may have a positive side (if any),  a sort of crawling on revisiting past lessons more than once - kind of beginners mind – desiring to run.J

 

sifu kelley's picture

laoshi does not describe our relationship. sifu means 'teacher - father'. even though we are spread over the whole world, we are still a kung fu family and our curriculum is presented family style.

PJMCA,

That is an excellent point, perhaps this is the way to go in order to remain "empty cupped".  Although I wouldn't say that we are lazy, I feel that this stuff is all very new and there is so much information.  And Sifu does a great job presenting it but even still, it seems like if i were getting it the very first time every time then something would be up (like this stuff doesn't require observation and practice, investigation, etc.).  Also, some of Sifu's veteran students still say that they get something new every time they go over the same lessons regardless of whether they've done it a dozen times.  Your mentioning of mirror neurons was atmostpheric height over my head.  I'll look into the reference and I thank you for the new stuff to learn.

 

PARALECE

Thank you for your note. Your detailed blog descriptions about your feeling’s practice and sifu’s commentaries are a great help for everybody. Your contribution has been there since the first weeks of our training lessons for everyone to check.

About the online classes I have found that English speakers’ questions to be the most useful. English is not my mother language (I have luck that my mother used to be an English teacher – despite myself being a bad student). Doubts about specific points in a class, take me minutes to write and maybe not intelligible in the end. I welcome any comments of fluent speakers and adroit writers because often their questions and remarks are in the same directions as mine.

Maybe that your atmospheric height over your head is due to the fact that I live across the Atlantic Ocean in the most western’s Europe country - eight hours gap of local time. J 

 

PJMCA,

Thank you very much for your kind words.  I didn't know that you were able to get any benefit from my entries, or anyone else, as a matter of fact I was certain that no one even read them besides Sifu, or if they did it was just an inconvenience to have to deal with.  So I'm glad that this isn't the case and it gives me more motivation to stay as consistent with posting as I can as well as with as much detail.  I didn't realize that English wasn't your first language, you do very well and I wouldn't have known the difference.  I can see, now that you say such, that some things might be unclear to non-native english speakers.  So I'll try to be as concise as possible when describing things.  But please, if you can find the time, post as well about your experiences with training as I would like to see how others are doing and what they are going through,etc. because sometimes I think I must be the only one not getting it all.  But again, thank you for the encouragement it really made me feel good to know that my entries may have contributed to someone else's training.

Patrick

PARALECE,

 

From my point of view, it seems to me that you are the one who’s getting it tall!

Your posting, shows your capacity of describing such transient moments with such detail which means at least a fine tuned awareness don’t you think so? As anybody’s posts on Chi Factory, yours naturally motivate to practice, they mostly enticed me to post those few impressions that you kindly have read and comment.

I’ll be totally sincere with you. When I noticed your systematic posts I acted with the regular opportunistic attitude: I stalked your posts looking for those with Sifu’s comments, looking for anything that could be related to my own challenges. I’ve also read other posts without Sifu’s comments – but you should notice – no Sifu’s comment is significant per se, and I made a mental note to revisit your impressions with more attention.

Once you asked I’d try to satisfy your curiosity about my training experiences.

To be minimalist without pretending being pedant I would say that my daily work is basically “emptying cup”. My practice is directed in the sense of undoing instead of doing - maybe I’m trying to emulate the Taoist concept of Wu Wei – something unattainable for me, a common mortal.

I’ll be more explicit. At fourteen I chose to learn karate shotokai, and about one and a half year later I added Aikido. Class practice was strenuous. A few years later, Karate and Aikido ended for me (but not my esteem for this disciplines and its practitioners). Their training methods compel practitioners to train to the limits of resistance – the greater the effort and pain the better. These methods of learning and practice left their marks of hardness and tension on the body resulting in what we commonly designate for blockages.

All these “hard” past experiences contributed to my intuition to search and evaluate teachings which deserve my attention and interest in the Internal Martial Arts. Searching the net I found Chi Factory and I Liq Chuan – I found it a very coherent art.

I’m sorry for this boring description but I feel very fortunate, as I suppose you do, having an exceptional Sifu which is an exceptional communicator too. The Internal martial Arts have now a slightly less doubts of its significance.

Be patient, I hope you’ll understand my alien (European) point of view.

I’ll try the way as you put it - how I’m doing and what I'm going through – so you can have a clear idea of your own progression.

I’ll give a funny or a serious example depending on the way you look at it.

Look, one disturbing exercise for me (because of its apparent simplicity) is the important requirement of smiling when sitting. You may be thinking by now that I’m crazy (this I will not deny) or a joker. But have you ever watched attentively the composure and the face of a karateka during kata or combat. Did you ever seen one of these masters smiling during practice or even teaching (I’m talking in general hard style martial arts)? This type of seriousness became habitude to practitioners of these arts.

Here you are if you “do” a smile when sitting for meditation, maybe you’re a great comedian but less of a practitioner of the internal arts. In this case we are talking of me. Could such a grin have any relaxation effect and any similarity with Sifu’s teachings? This smile can’t be done in the sense that I’ve been trying to explain (practice in the sense of undoing). It is certainly a feeling. How to get this? At least I know that my purpose is a natural and spontaneous smile. How should I practice to get this requirement? Is it possible to practice smiling not trying to? I know that a smile make your face more relaxed so the reverse must be also true. Then practice consists in scanning the face and gently softening any stiffness. When the process is concluded you are smiling the way it is intended to be. I certainly have lots of work to do when I’m trying to free myself from ingrained comportments.

This is the way I feel and see it.

Sometimes it seems that’s very difficult to keep up with new lessons, but I hope that Sifu’s pace goes on even without our previous mastering former exercises. Watching a new lesson deepens our knowledge, therefore the essence of former exercises will be easier to catch.

Your descriptions are invaluable for those who have no experience and others more or less experienced in similar or distinct styles, because your posts are unrepeatable, spontaneous and intrepid open heart snapshots.

I’m sorry for not posting often my own practice experiences. But I’m a very slow writer and it takes me a lot of time, but once in a while I like to express a feeling, ask a question and expose an idea.

Paulo

 

sifu kelley's picture

:)

this has been a challenging week and you have made it better!

thank you.

 

I’m glad for the small contribution, I feel happy for you so let’s practice and have some fun.

It seems to me that I've heard this idea from someone that we both now :)

Thank you

 

Paulo,

I am very flattered that my descriptions have had a motivating and/or interesting effect on your own practice.  I like your approach that you describe as "emptying your cup", and reducing or releasing the old things that get in the way, and I agree that this is ultimately what we're doing in this training.  I get off track much of the time (as you may have noticed in my posts) by reverting back to previous practices and comparing them to how I'm doing now, or feeling like I'm trying to "accumulate" skill, or "mastering" this practice, when I should be letting go and being at ease, "recognizing and realizing".  So I'm glad you took the time to post this, because it helped me to re-evaluate the way I'm approaching my development.  I can understand what you're saying about the smile, however, I would think that a big smile would probably cause the opposite effect, one of tightening and tension.  When I think of using the smile (which always works to get me back at ease by the way) I think less of actually making the smile physically and try to be at a point where I feel what it "would be like to feel what feelings lead to a small smile", if that makes sense.  So maybe just the corners will change, but mostly just that release of the face, the release of the muscles around the eyeballs, the dropping and warm sensation of the head and neck and then down the rest of the body. So I believe you are right on with the "its more of a feeling than an actual smile", and this scanning you're describing is just what I go through, so I would say let go of the eyeballs and initiate the "feeling of smiling", or the feeling of face releasing because of warmth, or something nice, etc. 

I am glad that you took the time to write this especially given that it is very difficult for you, and i hope you will post as often as you are able, and it is understandable that it takes an extra effort for you, so I will be grateful however much it is and will be glad to be able to see into another's experience with the material.  Oh and also, I feel like I'm always behind as well as far as the lessons go, I always feel like I don't quite have it and the next thing I know we're on to something else.  But, Sifu always comes back around integrating the "new" lesson with the "old" one making the old one much more clear, it seems to always work out to where I'm saying to myself "OOOHHHH I seeee".  Thank you for your thoughts Paulo, and I look forward to reading more.

Patrick

 

This time I’ll try a shorter answer. Let me begin thanking your incentive words.

I’m entirely in according to you. Your commentary will take interesting nuances and insights if you forgive my limited vocabulary and grammar when trying to express a more subtle idea.

Here I go again J this singularity appears when I say that “I know that a smile make your face more relaxed so the reverse must be also true”. In fact, what I wanted to say was the opposite - to stress the idea of a severe face.

I suppose you clearly understood what I had said but what I said didn’t express what I wanted to mean. I’ll have to read your post again more attentively.

But most of all I could not be more in agreement with your impressions about sifu’s lessons elegant structure. They give a sense of circularity bringing the unknown to the secure realm of the known as the next rung of a spiral.

Take care,

Paulo

 

Paulo,

I apologize for mis-ineterpreting that, now i understand what you were getting at, and i completely agree.  Although had I followed your reasoning a little more closely I would have gotten what you were trying to say, it was laziness on my part i believe.

Patrick

 

Hi Patrick, I'm sorry too! Misunderstanding sometimes gives us a different angle of the same thing. And I feel this was the case. Same result for two diverse interpretations. I’m still trying emptying cup and ask myself if ever I'll get it? Laziness, I believe, is only problematic if it makes you stop practicing :-) Thank you for the interesting exchanging ideas!

Paulo