Transformative movement traditions, those arts that are designed to effect change in the person who plays them, all enter their Art through the shape they make with the body-mind. Each Art becomes a Model of viewing the world from a different point of view utilizing shapes of movement, shapes of imagery, and shapes of Chi that start to manifest as the player engages the art. Note that the Art is not the shape or it’s individual parts those are tools to enter the Art, the Art is in the telling of the story and how much you can surrender to the song. All of us domesticated primates have the roots of our past woven through us. We are poems condensed thru the millennia and we have been wired for survival, creativity, and movement. We learn about ourselves and of our surroundings via movement.
What we are seeing, feeling , touching, hearing, tasting , thinking individually is all the Mind. It is our Neurology which organizes the imagery that we then form as reality. If you imagine or see the color red your mind creates it, if you imagine a star moving in a galaxy far far away that too is in the body/mind, if you walk outside and see a friend, it is being seen and processed in the mind, if you see a flag move it moves in the mind. Movement shapes and shapes of chi have been hardwired into our body/minds. When you move in specific ways think specific things it affects the mind in specific ways. You gain access to different parts of yourself via the shape of movement and chi played in the Body-Mind. The Art is the ability to engage and play within the world that is being suggested through the shape and the imagery and letting it affect the body-mind. For that, you need to make space.
Kung Fu is the art of making space, it is like cleaning our room so that we can move about without tripping over shoes,lamp posts, chairs or dirty clothes. We are born with clean rooms and over the years we fill them up with concepts, ideas , habits, and preferences moving from aversion and desire till we can’t even move without bumping into past concepts ideas and thoughts that have accumulated and clogged up the works and it feels as though our worlds get smaller. Just sitting and meditating reveals the truth of these busy minds that are buffeted about by random thoughts.
In Northern Shaolin, one of the things you do is build up a form and then begin to change it, play with it, experiment. Kung fu is designed to confuse your body-mind and movement to break through the habitual responses that have accumulated over time. In that process, you get to make space for something to happen that will most likely surprise you. You will hear music as if for the first time, you will taste food like when you were a kid, seeing a sunrise fills you with wonder, feeling a breeze blowing across your skin becomes poem worthy ,or talking with a loved one becomes a gift, and you get a glimpse of your body-mind and the barriers to you being able to experience life fully.
Notice that I haven’t mentioned bashing bozos? Nope! The Arts of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu were about making space and seeing the essential nature of life. A huge compendium of Books of information to see your essential human nature. Despite what you have heard or seen, or been taught from an army of small minds that just keep you imprisoned in entanglements of fear and misunderstanding and desire. What you are doing battle with is your own ignorance. Over the years a practitioner keeps finding areas of the mind that are confused and entangled and the Art gets larger, exploring deeper levels of interaction with the Self and others in an exploration of the Body-Mind that all leads to having a complete experience of any event. That Kung-fu spreads out from the person to his or her community creating more understanding and less delusion in the world. That is a gift.