This past weekend I drove down (or over rather) to Durham, NC to meet with Sibat Ben Fisher and his Durham ILC crew for a workshop with our Sigong GM Sam Chin. I had a ton of expectations and ideas about what meeting GM Chin would be like, as well as what it would feel like to touch him. And although Sifu does as good a job as can be done in class about trying to convey the essence of the feelings and conditions of the training, nothing could have prepared me for what I felt, no words could have accurately described it.
When I arrived a little early we waited on Sigong and Sibat Fisher to arrive at the school. I know some of the Durham folks as I've made the drive down there a couple of times in the past few months to get some partner training in with them as they are only about 4-5 hours away. (by the way everyone, the meat of out training is in the solo work... but I strongly recommend you search out a group of ILC practitioners in your region if there are any, there's nothing like spinning hands with folks who train together all the time to let a distance student know exactly what he/she is and is not doing correctly. you'd be suprised at what you thought you understood about structure and the 13 points, etc. until they start engaging you and you begin falling to pieces). Anyway, Sibat and GM pulled up and got out of the car and I was immediately suprised at how much trimmer and athletic looking Sigong was in person as compared to the vids I've seen of him. We followed them in and began the workshop shortly thereafter. Sifu had told me to touch with him as much as I could and not to be shy about it... but, I was scared to death and really nervous so I hung back for a little while. But there was a guy there that had done other martial arts, but I don't think he really knew much about ILC, and I'm not sure how he heard of the workshop but either way he was there to check it out. We did a few drills and then on one of the breaks he asked Sigong something to the effect of "is this stuff (energy and the internal power) real?". Sigong hopped up from his seat and had the guy follow him out on the floor. He had the guy touch him in our usual bridge and I couldn't hear exactly but I believe he told him to do whatever he wanted... within about 0.3 seconds the guy was hopping and bouncing back toward the opposite wall. The next time he was on the ground I believe, and then several more attempts yielded similar results.
The guy was completely baffled. Sigong went back to his seat (we were all mesmerized actually) and the guy said, wide-eyed..."I've never seen anything like that before, I can't hurt you." Sigong belted out a big laugh, and we all did as well, and Sigong replied "how can you hurt me? you can't even touch me!" The man was beside himself and said to himself under his breath "I've never met a man I couldn't hurt..and I can't do anything to this guy". Needless to say, he showed up for the second day and it looked like the Durham NC ILC school just picked up another student!
So after witnessing this Sigong began to explain exactly what had happened. He said, "I am there already! That is why I can do that... I am present. You are not present, in fact... your Present is my Past." We all thought that was pretty profound. 'Your present is my past', and it made a little bit of sense to me. So I couldn't wait any longer and asked if I could feel it as well. He hopped back up and put his arms up... I touched them... and then my feet began to hop up and down and my body would rattle from one side to the other and then I'd be thrown out. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling... but it was like he was inside of me with a jack hammer, during an earthquake. I asked him, "so do you feel what is needed to make that happen instantly upon contact?", he said "NO, I am already there". He said that actually, upon the initial contact his fullness and manifestation of the six energies are what makes him present, and when we make contact he makes me MORE STABLE, BUT when I try to move or react to the contact I'm bringing myself out of the stability he has created, and this is what was happening. So I replied, "So you're already 'there' before we even touch?", and he said "YES, and I can turn it up higher too" then he made a gesture like turning up a knob and then we touched again and this time it was like the first time multiplied by two.
Everything he said was exactly as Sifu has taught us... everything Sifu has said to us is exactly what Sigong said about what it was he is doing. The difference for me was feeling it. Now, the words Sifu has said make so much more sense. Actually, that's not a good use of words, because now I don't have to have them make sense... I've felt them, and now I have an actual taste of what they are and I don't have to think about or figure them out anymore. It's totally clear and direct, it all fits. Sifu is teaching us EXACTLY what to do, in the most direct way possible. We went through the weekend working on various things from the curriculum. There were many things I thought I had a handle on but I didn't really... during one of the drills we were working on absorbing and Sigong came up to me and said "do you guys do absorb and project?", I said "yes", he said "Ok then, absorb". So i did what I thought was absorb. He said "no no, absorb." So I did it again. It was obvious I wasn't getting it so he took his pointer finger and pressed it against my forehead. After a second the back of my neck began to soften and my face became relaxed as my chin dropped, among many other things happening all at once. Sigong said "...FEEL the crown suspending... FEEL the front dropping, dantian and mingmen.... now absorb". And there it was... absorb! Then he smiled really big and said "direct transmission" then chuckled and went to the next person.
On another drill we were doing 'push pull' and Sigong came around and said, "you are pulling from the back... don't do that, pull from the front instead". I must have made a face that said 'huh?'. So he took my partners hands off of me and I fell backwards. He said, "see! you are pulling from the back. don't do that, pull from the front". And so i did, and there it was again... absorb.
So it was a great weekend, it really informed me as to what our training is and where it goes. And a big thing I took from it was this: there's nothing to think about, simply do EXACTLY as Sifu says to do it, as meticulously as possible, and nothing else.
To end on a very positive note for our distance program, I wanted to share a couple of things with you guys about some instances with a few of the Durham students. Once while waiting for the day to begin I had one of the guys show me a little more about something at the POC. So we worked it together and he said that I did get it right. Then he said something about the next time i'm spinning with my class or something like that... I told him that the only time I get to spin is when I'm with their school there in Durham. He had seen me a couple times before and knew that I had only been doing this for a little while. He said "you guys don't spin in your class?!?", I told him that my class was online... a distance course. He and another guy sitting beside him (both have been training in the system for a few years) looked up and said "ONLINE?!?!?". I said "yeah.. Sifu Kelley has a distance learning program and that's how I get to train." They both, almost together, said "well... we couldn't even tell the difference! so it must be working... you're doing great man, you'll be just fine". I felt like a million bucks after they said that! And then the guy who helped me said, "Man I been thinking about trying to become an instructor and maybe I could do something like that online, it must do something so maybe I could do it too and people would come learn."
Another instance was when a very nice lady who had been training for about seven years asked me how long I'd been training. I told her around a yearish and she seemd very suprised and told me that for only a year I was doing a great job. And then she asked me something about Sifu Kelley's touch, I told her "I have no idea". She looked suprised again and said something like "I thought you said you were in Kelley's class", I said that I was but that it was a distance course online, and that I'd never actually met Sifu Kelley. She was blown away. She couldn't believe that all my training had been done online! She said I was definitely on my way and on the right track. And there were several other small exchanges like this from the other students. And they seemed very puzzled that my only touch had been with them and that I did the rest in my bedroom. They told me things like "well... you are doing everything really well for someone....." etc.
So, this course does good things. Sifu Kelley does know how to make this effective, all we need to do is listen and do.