How To Use Martial Arts For Meditation | Vlog #27

Alright guys, welcome back to another installment
in my video blog series. In this video I want to try and answer a question
that somebody asked me recently about martial arts and meditation. Specifically from Gabriel in California and
he was asking me would he be able to learn more about meditation along with the martial
arts, especially I Liq Chuan. And my answer to him was, that as far as I
Liq Chuan goes, you can’t get away from it. He wanted to hear more about that but we didn’t
have time to finish up our conversation, so I’m following up by video with that. So, my background, as you guys know, is I
Liq Chuan, but if you follow this approach, you can turn any martial arts practice into
a type of meditation practice. In Chinese martial arts they talk a lot about
“ting jin” which means a listening power or listening energy and that’s the most important
fundamental point in the beginning. To approach it from this idea of ting jin
or listening power. The idea is that you’re listening to your
opponent. Usually they’re talking about through touch
and that’s why with a lot of Chinese martial arts they do a lot of sticky hands, spinning
hands. Sometimes they call it bridge hands, push
hands. All different kinds of partner-based exercises
that all deal with touch. So with I Liq Chuan in particular, my sifu
talks about that we’re training martial arts as a tool, and not as a goal. I think I may have talked about this before
in one of my other video blog posts where if you’re training martial arts as a goal,
like for a point of view talking about the reality-based self defense guys, anybody who
is training specifically for sport competition. At least during that period, they’re only
worried about what’s going to work on the street or in the ring and there’s nothing
wrong with that. You know that’s neither here nor there, but
in this case when we’re talking about training martial arts as a tool or y’know going back
to training martial arts as a goal, it means like what you’re doing is narrowing the focus
down more and more to, like I said, what’s gonna work on the street or in the ring. So you may or may not get much personal development
out of it, like self-cultivation. If you’re training martial arts as a tool,
you’ll open up rather than narrow down for the focus of application. We’re gonna start from application you could
say and use that as a tool to observe. And once you start using it as a tool to observe,
is when it starts to become a kind of concentration practice or concentration type meditation. Remember what I was saying about “ting jin”
or listening power. So
with the ting jin, the listening power, is listening.. is observing, right? If you think about it, in a certain sense,
you know sometimes you are the center of the universe, but it’s the center of YOUR universe. In other words, because you are the center
of your own experience because we can’t experience anything beyond what we call our “sense doors.” They talk about six sen stores – there’s eyesight,
hearing, smell, taste, physical touch and body feel and also the sixth – the mental
state of ideas and thoughts that produce feeling. We never really directly experience anything
beyond our own body. If you think about it like even .. the problem
is sight because we’re very visual creatures as people – that we see the depth of space,
but we don’t actually experience it directly, we still experience it in our own body. It’s the light that’s hitting our cells, the
rods and the cones in our eye. The light is coming to our eye and our brain
interprets the signal that those cells are sending to our brain. And we interpret that as space, that visual
experience but there’s still a point of contact with our own body. This point in contact is important and I’ll
come back to it. But it’s the same thing with hearing. It seems as if we’re hearing things from far
away, which we are, but it’s the vibrations that are traveling through space, through
the air that are landing in our ear drum – stimulates the ear drum that sends a message to the brain. So again, there’s a physical point of contact
in our body with that sense door. Then as we get more narrowed down with touch
and taste because those are more obvious that we experience those physically. So that doesn’t quite tie in to the illusion
that we’re experiencing something that is outside of our own body. In other words, it’s beyond the sense doors. And then smell, same thing. And then the mental state is obviously very
much inward, you can say. But with all these things, like I say, there’s
a point of contact there. My sifu, Grand Master Sam Chin, he says like
“You can’t forget yourself to pay attention to others.” this is going back to that ting jin, that
listening power, because we can say you’re listening to your opponent, or your training
partner. So he says you can’t forget yourself to pay
attention to others because you have to stick that attention to all those sense doors because
that’s wehre you’re really experiencing the information, Ig ues syou could say. He says you must feel yourself being touched,
not someone touching you. And those two sound the same because in both
cases you know you’re being touched but in the first case when you feel yourself being
touched, your attention is still on the sense door. But a lot of times we tend to get intent on
trying to pay attention to something and so we sort of project the attention outward,
rather than keeping it where it belongs, which is on the sense door. Any time you have the attention on the sense
door you can say is concentration. At the very least you can say you are present
and observing. Now I have another video, an older video that
I want to redo for my new approach on my channel, a little bit more upscale, where I talk about
how you’re applying Zen to martial arts and if you want to watch that video where I go
into a little bit more depth on this, go ahead and look in the video description below, or
click the i up there for links and I’ll be sure to include those in the i cards. But, like I said, you can say zen in a nutshell
is like 4 bullet points – 1) to be present 2) to observe 3) from observing you recognize
and from recognize 4) you know. That’s sort of how it works. Sort of getting off my original point, so
I’m observing the sense doors. Any time you’re observing the sense door is
meditation, at least you can say it is a concentration practice. It’s not like vipassana, where it’s going
to develop some insight or wisdom from it, but before you can develop insight, you have
to have concentration first. Enough concentration to hold the attention
on the sense store long enough to be able to penetrate. Like the vipassana aspect like the wisdom
is coming from being able to penetrate into the essence of the moment, or “to recognize
the suchness” is how my sifu likes to talk about it. Recognizing the suchness feel or things as
they are as such – that’s the wisdom. But before you can get there, like I say,
you have to have enough concentration to be able to hold your attention on the sense stores
long enough so that you can observe clearly enough. With this in mind then, going back to what
I was saying about ting jin. Ting is just one type of observation power,
mostly it’s dealing with touch because it’s martial arts. So it’s touch, there’s the body and more on
sight because later on you’re observing the timing and the spacing. So that’s all it really comes down to, is
how you approach these things. The same two kinds of training, but one with
the mind and present moment to observe like how it works or why it works that way, or
how it feels rather than just training with repition to turn it into some kind of habit,
or conditioned reflex. Habit or conditioned reflex is the opposite
of what we’re after. It’s not conscious. It’s unconscious reflexive action. So coming back to what I was talking about
with ting jin, the listening power as a type of concentration practice because it’s a point
of contact usually with a partner, which with I Liq Chuan its where we start training with
spinning hands and sticky hands. And then on that point of contact there’s
some pressure. Now remember the suchness… with the right
approach to make your martial arts practice like a meditation kind of practice is not
to train in the habit, its only to train into recognize and realize what is already there. For instance, going back to this point of
contact, with the physical point of contact there’s always some pressure there. It’s not something that we’re trying to create,
it’s already there. I touch you, there’s pressure there. Gravity is acting on your body all the time. It’s acting on my body right now, holding
me down to this bench. So between the weight of my body and the bench,
there’s some pressure, it’s already there. It’s not something that I am trying to create. So all I need to do then is bring my attention
to it, to observe where is the pressure. Same thing with a point of contact with an
opponent. You’re gonna observe that point of contact
to see how the pressure is because from the point of contact we’ll have some surface area. If we have some surface area, no matter how
small, it has a center. If it has a center, it has a cross. And that cross gives us 4 quarters. One side you could say is ying, the other
is yang. On both sides of the cross, usually that one
quarter will be slightly more than all the other quarters that is telling you what to
do, where to go already. Everything you need is already right there,
but you don’t know how to pay attention to it, how to observe. And I think I’ve talked a bit before how when
we’re training we want our martial art to be like water. Water is a good analogy for the zen mind because
it has no mind, but it still flows. Moves from high to low, if it’s empty it just
flows through. If there’s an obstacle, it just goes around
until it has enough power that it doesn’t need to go around, it can just sweep it off. It has enough power. If our martial art is like that, we’re not
based on the thinking mind. Based on being present, based on observing
that point of contact to see where the pressure is, that tells us it’s full or empty. If it’s full, flow around. Empty, flow in or just hit. If I have enough power, full or empty, I can
just sweep it off. How do I know if I have enough power? The point of contact tells you from observing. You be present, you observe that point of
contact. From observing you’ll recognize what the pressure
is or telling you. Tell you to flow around, flow in or sweep
it off. So I think I’m gonna wrap it up there. That’s it in a nutshell, at least the basic
approach, on how you can make your martial arts practice into a legit concentration-kind
of meditation practice. I hope you guys enjoyed that one. If you like that, look at the video description
below or click the i up there for links to the rest of the videos in my video blog series. If you guys have questions that you’d like
me to talk about, drop me a comment let me know. Comments and thumbs up are always appreciated. And, as always, thanks for watching. I’ll catch you guys next time.

2 thoughts on “How To Use Martial Arts For Meditation | Vlog #27

  1. I've been fortunate enough to sit at the feet of one of the greatest masters of the last 100 years! GM +Sam Chin has taught me so much, and now I'm happy to be able to share some of that with you all…

    If you're in the Tempe, AZ area and would like to learn more, make sure you check out our local website

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