November 1, 2017
Aspire lounge, Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Yesterday in Norway I noticed the Halloween decorations and costumes, in honor of the ancient Pagan Celtic holiday. I know that in some places children visit homes and demand Trick or Treat, in memory of a much more violent tradition of days past where home owners were truly threatened.
Thinking of that term made me think of Force or Flow, and the difference between the lower levels of Krav Maga and the higher levels. In fact the same can be said of all martial arts, and in fact all arts.
The beginner is doing the same techniques as the master and he may even be doing it correctly. The difference is not in what is being done but in how it is being done.
The beginner and even the advanced practitioner is still trying to do the technique. He is making a conscious effort, he is thinking and pushing and he really thinks that all this effort and strain makes the technique more powerful and more effective. But it does not.
The lower level student mistakes the master's effortless effort as being "soft" and old. But this is not true.
When Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to visit his teacher, Master Yip Map, he was not expecting much of a challenge. Lee had already made a name for himself in America and was charging a lot of money. And, he had the "Look". Old man Yip Man was just a skinny old man. But the old man beat the young man, effortlessly. As always Wisdom over Youth.
Yip Man blindfolded sensed Lee's moves and blocked them before they took place. Bruce Lee was doing techniques but Yip Man was the technique.
The Chinese call this Wu Wei, effortless effort. It is clear to all advanced practitioners, once you reach this level you never want to go back, everyone else looks like brute Neanderthals.
The young and "tough" will look at us with a pathetic look, as if to say, those old guys are just making excuses, they have lost it. Their energy is depleted and now they look like ballerinas.
Smooth flowing techniques which are effortless are confused for weakness. Sadly many Krav Maga self proclaimed experts espouse this point of view, the Bad Boy attitude from Karate Kid. One might compare this to a choppy piano performance vs a smooth flowing one. The master concert pianist is unaware of the audience, he is one with the music, he is the music and all his movements are natural, none are forced. The beginner, the non expert makes an effort with every note and the audience can tell the difference.
In a real life confrontation the masters smooth flow will not be slow and will not be weak but will hit like a gentle wave that is now a tidal move. The natural movement is the most powerful The Effort slows down the movement as it slows down the man.
If you do not understand this, you are not ready. Take your time. If you do understand this, then "Miyagi have hope for you Daniel San": you are on the correct path, the path to mastery.
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