Wing Chun Mysteries, Part 2
A valuable source of information for people engaged in Yun Chun Quan, in our view, is Yuriy Gritsenko’s book, where he talks to his Master Nguyen Hong. The Master answers 100 questions on several physical, metaphysical and spiritual aspects of the Eastern martial arts Yun Chun Quan or the Vietnamese spiritual family school called Tyeu-lam Fat-son. The first part (Tyeu-lam) means Shaolin Temple. The second (Fat-son) means mountain Buddhism or spiritual purpose.
Reading extracts from this book (which will soon be published on our web-site) we are fascinated by the wisdom of the teacher. This will urge us to communicate with each other and think independently.
What do they usually start teaching in the initial stages of martial arts classes?
12 pair channels
BODY TREE SPIRIT TREE
legs, trunk, brain,
hands spinal cord,
Kidneys, heart, vessels,
The connection of the four human trees with Am-Zyiong
Imagine that martial arts is a group of four trees growing. All trees have roots, a trunk and branches. These trees are symbols of the body, the blood, energy, the spirit and their elements. These elements are hands, trunk, legs, vessels, heart, kidneys, body channels, middle channels, lower energy centre (dan-dyen), nerves, spinal cord and brain. We need these trees to merge into a single whole. But this requires a high level of Mastership, which you need to achieve in your classes as well as in life.
What does it mean to grow a body tree up?
It is important to know what fruits the growing tree will bear.
The body’ tree bears such fruits: softness and flexibility, strength and healthy fibre. Where used in martial arts, they become good circulation, correct stance, correct hands and feet technique etc.
All these qualities are polished by the method of multiple repetitions and the development of conditioned reflexes to each correct move.
Moves should become automatic. All qualities should be stable.
What does the blood tree consist of?
It is known, from ancient Chinese medicine, that the kidneys are the most energy-consuming organs of the blood system. They have many functions. The kidneys and the adrenals are given the role to produce sex hormones and other active substances. These are considered by specialists of ancient medicine to give a start to all life processes in the organism. It is for this reason that the kidneys are considered to be the roots of the blood tree. The heart is secondary in relation to the kidneys and it corresponds to the trunk. The branches are, of course, the vessels.
What is the meaning of energy tree’?
The term energy’ needs a definition.
To start with, the Vietnamese term Khi’ (Chinese Chi’) means air, breath and energy. Khi circulates through the body’s meridians (channels) thanks to external and internal forces of attraction and repulsion, as in Am-Zyong’ (Yin-Yan). Khi is regulated with the help of an extensive system of interwoven meridian-connections and their respective internal organs. Thanks to the existence of the numerous active points on the body surface, the energy balance between the micro-cosmos and macro-cosmos is maintained. The human’s internal Khi’ depends on the state of the environment as well as the internal organism’s cleanliness.
Khi is able to accumulate in several energy structures or centres. In Yun Chun Quan such an accumulator’ is the lower Tan-Tien (Cinnabar field, which means simply red colour’ energy). According to existing tradition, Tan-Tien of the lower level, is three fingers lower then the navel. I would like to point out that different Masters working in different forms may have different feelings about where Tan-Tien is located!
So Tan-Tien is the root of the energy tree. Three middle channels correspond to the triple trunk of this tree, and the 12 pair channels are their branches.
Following the logic of the interpretation, it is now time to reveal the role of every tree.
So let us take the body tree. What is so special about its roots?
STRIKES/KICKS DEFENCE WITH
The connection between foot-work with the trigrams
The roots of the body are the feet. Nature endowed them with a number of important functions, among which are the highlighted below:
In martial arts there are two more, which we must add:
- executing punches and kicks
These four main functions define the four levels of martial arts footwork techniques:
From the diagram we can see that it relates to the earth’ trigram. That is why it is passive and submits to the energy of transfer’ in combat. From another point of view, it should have a high level of flexibility and steadiness.
Transferences are related to the sky’ trigram, which symbolises creativity and the highest activity. Coming from this transference, it has to be made with the maximum creativity, activity, mobility and extent.
Kicks correspond to the fire’ trigram. This means that they have to have a particular tightness and cohesion with the opponent, to burn his body, constantly developing in breadth and height. Defending with the feet corresponds to the water’ trigram. It extinguishes the fire’ of the opponent’s attacking strikes. A sign of water outside has weak lines. Inside it has strength. This points to the fact that, behind the seemingly external softness of feet, the inner defensive strength and reliability are both hiding.
Do you think that in martial arts the build of a human’s body can be simplified?
Yes, perhaps! If we compare the notion of the human by the ancient healers to that of modern science, the difference will be significant! But let us not forget that the aim of martial arts is the practical use of knowledge’ in everyday life. Wing Chun’s medicine is a fountain of the unknown’ for modern scientific methods of healing and prevention of illnesses. These are tried and tested methods that have been around for centuries in real life’. Before we assume that the human understanding of the ancient medicines is a simplified one, let us recall how, in typical diagnosis, there are 72 types of pulse state. In modern science, however, there are no more than ten.
For the one engaged with Wing Chun, health, for example, is a real thing, which he consciously manages. I am all for modern science but the ancient traditions help people to achieve perfection.
What is the interconnection between all four of the human trees?
It is a very strict one! Let us take, for example, the following situation: there is a captain, a ship and high wind. It is clear that, for the ship to sail in a particular direction at a particular speed, a special relationship between these three elements is required.
Sky Spirit Captain
Human Energy-blood Wind
Earth Body Ship