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Staande meditatie


Out-of-doors training, especially in the woods in the morning is best because a setting of this kind enables one to learn many things from nature.
Since martial arts are matters of gradual, personal growth, daily training in a natural setting is the one and only way to true progress.
I sometimes compare a life of training in the martial arts to a tree. When a person is young, strength fills his body and enables him to withstand any amount of training.
This is like the thick, strong trunk of the tree, But as one grows older, one becomes less durable, just as the branches of a tree grow smaller toward the top and finally become slender twigs that shake in the wind and that can be easily broken.

Zen meditation


In Japan the most widely practiced Zen discipline is zazen, or seated meditation.
But the Chinese practitioners of the martial arts often use a standing Zen devised to reinforce the person's inner power and to enable him to generate sudden, violent bursts of energy.
This energy is generally called ki, and standing Zen is the best way to cultivate it.
As I have already said, verbal explanations of ki are no more than empty words because they cannot lead to a true understanding.
Self training through standing Zen, training sessions, and combat with opponents are the only things that lead to an awareness of the meaning of ki.
The famous men of Hsing-i-ch'an, Ta-ch'eng-ch'an, and Taiki-ken have all taught that Zen and training are the only ways.
My own enlightenment to the nature of ki did not occur until I had returned from China and had spent many years in combat training in Japan.

I used to say that the atmosphere of ki can be suggested by comparison with a fish swimming in a pond.
When a small stone is dropped into the pond, the fish instantaneously swims away.
This reaction is more than what is usually called the operations of the motor nerves. br>Believing what he said to be true, I teach the same thing to my students.

The person who understands ki is always able to generate it and to use perfectly natural bodily motions to counter the attacks of whatever opponents may arrive on the scene.
A person who does not understand it, however, may train his muscles as much as he wishes, but he is likely to be pulled into the attacks of his opponent.
Of course, it is possible to pounce on an opponent and to be prepared to die if need be for the sake of victory, but this is the attitude of the young, not that of the man mature in the martial arts.
No matter how long one trains to accelerate punches and kicks, it is impossible to double their speed.
As one grows older, they are bound to slow down.
A mastery of ki, on the other hand, enables any one to punch and kick speedily on the instant. In other words, a person who understands ki is always capable of moving toward the opponent with natural ease, of defending himself, and of turning defense into attack.
Speed is not the issue; it is mastery of ki that counts.


source:taikiken from Master Sawai


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