Hammering in the Spirit
Travelling away by car for Easter gives me a rare opportunity to do something I did a lot of while growing up - reading. I read for knowledge and for pleasure. Now that past reading time is invested in teaching, training, and family. And probably in that order too. And the books pile up beside the bed. One of the first things I read on this trip was from the North American Journal of Oriental Medicine. It was an article about the tools we use as practitioners of traditional East Asian Medicine. In particular, this article focused on the production of gold and silver tools by blacksmiths and jewellers and how good ones are artists that can "hammer the spirit" into the tools. This resonated with me and the fact that we also "hammer the spirit" into our gongfu. This is achieved through continued and prolonged practice. (Just like a sword right, Cameron.) And after seeing your Sigung demonstrate his Sarm Bo Gin at the recent Circular Tong Long seminar this month, I know it to be true. His version of our foundation form emanated spirit and power that can only come as a result of the practitioner becoming an artist, an expert at his craft, over decades.
So I urge you to maintain regular practice of your skills, whether they be Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation, Flex, or others. But not just mindless repetition. Bring your breath, Qi, and concentration to bear in the furnace of your practice to hammer the spirit into your weapons and tools.