Gongfu or Kungfu literally means practice over time. My Shifu would have me practice the same strike for about one hour straight doing hundreds of repetitions. Not only that, the disciples practice a single palm for a minimum of 6 months so they should get in about 14,000+ repetitions within those 6 months.
Through many what I call “McDonald’s Martial Arts” the goal is to teach you as much as they can as fast as they can to move you through the belts as quickly as possible. What this does is keeps you feeling like your accomplishing a lot and keeps your tuition money flowing good. It is an effective method of making money for the school, but waters down martial arts and provides you with no real deep benefits.
In order to really taste each exercise, to taste the depth of it, you need hours upon hours and thousands upon thousands of repetitions of correct practice. Only then will you get the taste for it.
I practiced the 8 Mother Palms for 6 years until I began to just focus on each one individually for 6 months at a time. I was doing about 200 repetitions 3 times per week when I realized I wasn’t going as deep as I felt I could go. I then reread my notes from years ago and it was recommended to try 500 repetitions in a session. I decided to do it. After about the 300th rep I could feel significantly more power in my strike. Not only that I used less effort, but got more power. To add the cherry on the topping, the Qi feelings in my hands was growing stronger than ever. My intent and imagination aided all of this. When I was doing the 200 reps per days before it was kind of like just going through the motions and I knew what to expect. These new feelings brought surprises for me. Now I have to get that feeling again, I won’t ever be satisfied with those 200 rep feelings again!
For Embryonic Breathing practice, there are stages for a reason. At the time when you are learning the Embracing Singularity (Bao Yi 包一) breath to pulse your third eye in conjunction with your dan tian, if you don’t spend a large number of hours experiencing this stage of Embryonic Breathing before moving to the next stage you will miss the true depth of that stage, which the flavor can only be tasted through lots of practice and experience.
My Shifu used to always say,
“You want to learn new things, but you have not even tasted the flavor of what you have already learned.”
The principal of the Bagua in I Ching is constant change. The Earth never stops rotating every day of the year. We need to physically understand this concept not just intellectually. How to do this? We need to find a way to complete our session without getting too tired that we have to stop. That comes from energy building exercises when we feel tired to spending energy exercises when we feel an abundance of energy. This brings of balance of Yin and Yang. This is easy to understand intellectually, but only through dedicated practice can we embrace this as a true “body of knowledge”. Learn more about how Qigong can help you to unlock your potential.
Whether you are doing fast Fajing Qi strikes or soft, flowing water Qigong movements, it takes hundreds if not thousands of repetitions to the flavor of the depths of that movement so don’t be so eager to keep learning new things. Refine and go deep with what you already have.
-Tevia J. Feng 林峰
Martial Arts and Qigong in Bali, Indonesia
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