Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out with Luke Holloway of Raw Combat International. I became aquainted with Luke from his youtube videos that he was posting about using his skill from Taiji as a club bouncer in Australia. Luke is a big dude who moves really well (he's at least 6-4), so being big with a little skill is intimidating enough. His Raw Combat group isn't focused so much on any particuliar style. The real goal is to quickly get out of a situation and get home safely. In addition to travelling around the world teaching combatatives to military units, police forces, and his raw combat "clan", he also hosts a RAW combat television show which is one part "Mind, Body, and Kickass Moves" where he travels around the world interviewing martial arts masters, but he also teaches self defense techniques to dancers, models, and strippers. :-)
I've traded barbs with Luke on Facebook for about a year, so it was really cool to meet him in person. He held a 5-hour workshop at MTSU and was actually certifying a group of instructors here in Nashville. The group being certified have a consulting group called Science of Self Defense where they teach basic self defense and survival techniques to their clients. Those guys are all really good at a lot of styles. They want to stay in touch with me to get together and train when I'm not busy. I find that I feel more "at home" when I'm with other people who train, but I don't know if I would be able to spin with those guys. They seem more the type, let's get together and beat the shit out of each other. Nothing wrong with that, but you can't train like that all the time--unfortunately people get injured and need recovery time.
Something funny happened over dinner. Okay, I am REALLY impressed with Luke talking openly about his real martial arts training. Although he belongs to several schools of Silat and has done a lot of (is tonglong the same thing is southern praying mantis?) he claims Taiji as HIS art. He does lion dancing, trains regularly in his chinese styles, and follows a Taoist school of cultivation. Naturally there was a participant who started out asking Luke about his cultivation methods-- this is where the evening got really interesting.
Okay, Luke is all the way here from Japan/Australia (his wife is Japanese and Luke technically lives in Japan, but he also splits time in Oz) and this guy is asking Luke about his Qi/Chi cultivation practices. Luke rarely talks about this stuff on his channel, Facebook, or his TV show because, as he says it, "most guys who follow me just wanna mosh on fuckers, not meditate," so that's sort of personal for him. Anyway, here he is ready to talk openly about what he does--and this guy starts telling us about HIS teacher, HIS teacher's powers, HIS teacher's goals for their group.
The minute he started talking about using it to heal, project Qi, and perform telekinesis, I shut up. I kept watching Luke, and he just kept going,"yeah?" I wanted to write about this when I got home last week, but it was after 2 a.m.
I really could not believe how much this guy kept going on about how great his teacher his; how great his teacher's high ranked students were. I'm not saying magical qi powers don't exist-- but I am saying that when I hear people talk about them, I immediately put on my skeptic's hat. Of course there was the standard "we don't get caught up in these abilities because that's a trap-- they are just measuring sticks to know how much we've progressed." I'm thinking did you not say your first goal is to learn how to heal? There was a second step and the last being knowing how to use it for defense. At some point Luke asked him about developing fajin, and he said "you'll have to ask my teacher about that, I don't know anything about that-- I'm just learning how to heal right now."
Even that "learning how to heal" makes me skeptical. I almost want to see if I can google the group, but I'm not too interested in reading a bunch of B.S. I feel that there are better ways of using internal practices for the purposes of healing. I was told that the highest listening skill is to be able to take a pulse from a handshake. In that one Ang Lee movie,"Pushing Hands," the old Taiji master gives the older lady accupressure massage because he can feel where her chi is blocked. I can't remember if she was having trouble raising her arm or suffering from some kind of fatigue-- but ever since seeing that movie, I've wondered if developing listening skill like that can be developed from training. To me-- that's training that could be beneficial for healing people... and would be useful for fighting too... :-)