August 23, 2007

Importance of Skill

During one of my first classes in Shaolin Wahnam many years ago we were all lined up performing a simple straight punch, a punch known as 'Black Tiger Steals Heart'. My Sifu described how, although knowing many techniques, masters would often choose one to specialise in. This would become their unbeatable move.

I loved the idea that such a simple technique like the 'black tiger' punch could be treated this way. It showed that good kung fu comes not from learning more and more techniques or complex series of movements but from skill.

What do we mean by skill? Simply we mean all the other factors other than the technique itself. For example good timing or the ability to always get the distance spot on. On a higher level focusing on a simple technique means that the student can focus on perfecting the three internal harmonies of the Shen (mind), Chi (energy), Ching (structure).