You Can Read Others Like You’d Thumb Through a Cheap Dime Novel:
Exploring Kung Fu Heart 2013 and the Power of the Read
We live in an era where understanding the motivations and thoughts of another has fallen into the dark recesses of our culture. It is not something that even occurs to most people as a possibility:
“You mean I could examine people, and know what they were going to do based on their thoughts and behaviors? Why would I want to do that?”
The exception in the West is with Poker players. A poker player knows that small movements of the eyes or changes in the voice can signal intention and so wear hats and sunglasses for concealment. What the poker player doesn’t know, but the wise kung fu expert does know is that the signals of the body don’t stop at the poker table. They provide a constant stream of information to the person with the literacy to crack the human text. That literacy we call the Read.
The Promise of Kung Fu
Kung Fu, in particular the Heaven Fist 10,000, has a very simple promise: as you age, you will not only be able to keep doing kung fu, but the kung fu will change and you will grow more powerful.
This promise is certainly not true of many martial arts. The ability to do them without being crippled with pain and injury past the mid twenties is very limited. The body breaks down in training. Muscle mass becomes more difficult to sustain. The older body struggles to keep up with what the younger body could do.
Exceptional training methods like those of the Heaven Fist can rejuvenate the body, extend the durability of the body, and prevent crippling injury. However, the breakdown will still occur slowly.
That truth doesn’t change.
So, if that truth doesn’t change, how can we continue in kung fu and even be bold enough to say that you will grow more powerful?
Wisdom is The Source of Greater Martial Arts Power
Many martial art problems can be solved by simply applying more force to the problem. It is roughly like the saying, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Eventually though you reach a point where you have the largest hammer you are going to get. You might be able to get a bigger hammer, but to get that hammer you have to turn yourself into an animal.
We all know what we call the person with all-hammer solutions: a thug. Thugs have a short, active lifespan.
The alternative to the bigger hammer solution is to apply technique more effectively.
The Read provides a person with the opportunity to do that.
Imagine if you were trying to drill a well for water. You could get out the big drilling rig and drive it around to random sites. You could drive it to areas that looked like they might have some water according to your best reckoning.
Or, you could get a geological survey done, and know precisely where the water is.
The read is like that third example.
It can provide you with a constantly updated image of the intentions of others. Because of that accurate map, you can apply force precisely. As your skill in the read increases, you can apply lower and lower levels of force to achieve an almost remarkable defense against extremely violent attack.
That skill comes from experience of using the Read over time. It allows wisdom to provide a tremendous source of power to the martial artist.
In the next update, we’ll take a look at what the Read is as a skill, and the role it’s going to play in the 2013 Kung Fu Heart martial art intensive.
To the Heart of Kung Fu!
Master Mikel Steenrod