The predominant style of Kung-Fu that I teach is called, “Choy Lay Fut”. The way it was passed on to me was from the standpoint of maximizing my ability to generate power.
When I finally put the pieces together, and made a jump in my ability, and tripled my power, it was a major feeling of accomplishment. I had never experienced that feeling before. It was a transformative, spiritual moment. My instructor, who I deeply admired, literally said, “You broke the pad, and you’re starting to scare me. By the way, you hit so hard, you bruised your hand, so you can’t hit pads for a couple of days, until it’s healed.”
When we are in the world of martial arts, sure, it is shrouded in a culture of violence. It is embedded in a culture and mindset of inflicting physical harm on another human being, in the name of self protection.
But, the reality is, I don’t like the idea of hurting another human being. I can do it, if necessary. But I do not want to consume my thoughts and energy towards that. I’d rather heal and build people.
Can martial arts, and Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu, in particular, be a tool to build and heal people, when it presumably teaches you to be so powerful, in the name of decimating another human being?
I say YES! Which is why we hit pads more than we hit at each other. I think there is something deeply spiritual about you feeling your ability to manifest and generate power with another human being - all in the name of us building each other.
The idea of making adjustments, finding your center, finding your hard-soft energy balance, and striking the target with your maximized power creates a connection of how powerful you are. It creates a connection that you are strong. It creates a connection that you are able.
Once you’ve learned the technique, you then, as with anything, have to maintain it, and practice it. It is very easy to forget and get disconnected with your sense of power.
We live in a world where many things around us are communicating a message to us that we are not enough (e.g. you are not smart enough, you are not hard working enough, you are not dressed well enough, you are not rich enough, you are not good looking enough, you are not organized enough, you are not sensitive enough). In this kind of world, the belief in self is more important than anything else in the world.
I believe the Choy Lay Fut approach to hitting pads taps directly into the practice of believing in oneself. Sure any athletic activity can do this, but something about doing a combative technique taps a little deeper into it, because we understand that this was originally designed as a movement to protect yourself from someone who was attempting to harm you. Just knowing that, as you practice your technique, is a great connection to your belief of yourself and connection to the mindset of protecting yourself.
In today’s world, protecting yourself might not necessarily be from someone who physically attacks you (although it might). Instead, it is more applicable to use Choy Lay Fut techniques and training to protect yourself from a society that works very hard to make you feel like you are not enough.
It is in Choy Lay Fut’s history. It was taught secretly, and used to defeat the oppressive Manuchurians during the Ching Dynasty. Now, we can use it to defeat society’s attempt to get you to defeat yourself. In its roots, Choy Lay Fut has been a tool used to rebel against the status quo.
Long live Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu!