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- podejście Sawaia jest wyraźnie inne niż chińskiego yiquanu, w tym inne niż podejście samego Wang Xiangzhai'a. Np. gdy Sawai stwierdza, że nieważne jest, czy metody są stare czy nowe. To jest przeciwstawne naukom Wang Xiangzhai'a, w tym zapisanym bezpośrednio przez niego w "Centralnej osi drogi pięści", czy wyrażonym podczas wywiadów dla pekińskiej prasy w latach 40. Wang cały czas właśnie szukał nowych, udoskonalonych metod i koncepcji.
- Sawai ciągle używa nazwy qi (ki) i powołuje się na Wang Xiangzhai'a który mówił o qi. Tyle, że po sprawdzeniu w chińskich tekstach Wang Xiangzhai'a okazuje się, że Wang w tych miejscach mówił o jin, a nie o qi.
- Skąd zatem takie różnice? Niektórzy twierdzą, że Wang po prostu tylko "udawał, że uczy" Sawai'a, wciskając mu ściemę, jako najeźdźcy (było to w czasie II wojny światowej, gdy Chiny były okupowane przez Japończyków). Może znajomość chińskiego przez Sawai'a była ograniczona i stąd pomyłki? Niezależnie od tego jest faktem, że Kenichi Sawai, po wielu latach samodzielnej praktyki po powrocie do Japonii prezentował niesamowity poziom umiejętności. Trzeba tylko zdawać sobie sprawę, że jego podejście i koncepcje są bardzo różne od oryginalnego chińskiego yiquanu.
The Essence of Kung-fu
by Kenichi Sawai
JAPAN PUBLICATIONS, INC
Never in its history has budo, the martial way, prospered so much as it has in the three decades that have passed since the end of World War II. Today many different kinds of combat techniques are taught in many place throughout the world. But I am puzzled by at least one aspect of this phenomenon: among the styles of budo currently fashionable, there are things that can on no account be considered combat techniques. Because television and the motion pictures carelessly pass off any kind of fighting as oriental martial arts, 1 find myself at a loss to know what the word budo means today. But, leaving the question of quality aside, 1 can say that it is a good thing that many people are now learning the martial arts in one form or another and are putting into practice in their own lives and ways of thinking some of the good points of budo.
Nonetheless, it is wrong to sacrifice or distort the true nature or the content of the combat techniques solely for the sake of introducing them to larger numbers of people. It is true that each age must develop its own interpretation of budo, but such interpretations must not diverge from the basic nature of the martial way. And I1 believed that budo as taught today can often be said to have gone too far. If each practitioner of the martial arts does not stop bowing to the times for the sake of spreading his own individual teaching and devote serious thought to the true nature of budo itself, there can be no development for the martial arts in the future.
Fundamentally the martial arts are matters of severity and gravity because, in the past, their very practice involved risk of life and limb. People who engaged in them often found themselves on the brink of death. Today, of course, there is little risk of life involved in the martial arts, but this does not mean that their essential nature has altered. Even though the martial arts today are treated as sports, the people who practice them must never forget the element of severity based on the risk of life. Furthermore, instructors must bear this nature in mind always. Men who use teaching of the martial arts as no more than a way to make a livelihood, who try to sell martial techniques piecemeal for their own advantage, or who use their knowledge for the sake of selfish gain contribute nothing to the growth of budo.
While 1 was on the front lines of the fighting in China during World War II, I learned the nature of human life. At the same time, 1 learned the true value of ch'uan-fa (kempo) as a result of being able to study with Wang Hsiang-ch'i, the greatest chüan-fa expert in China of his time. Although before meeting him 1 had developed self-confidence in the martial arts-especially kendo and judo Wang taught me the greatness of true budo.
Wang Hsiang-ch'i's teaching method required immense amounts of time and would be considered highly ineffectual in these days of unquestioning faith in rationalize ways of thought. For instance, the development of ki-the subject of much of this book 'was taught by means of a long and, to a young and impatient man like me, arduous method of repeating standing Zen for years until the individual developed the power of ki from within his own body. But now, after thirty
years have passed since I parted with him, I have come to realize the meaning of Wang Hsiang-ch'i's teaching because throughout that time I have believed in them and have put them into practice.
In other words, understanding the martial arts requires a long time in which the individual must perfect his techniques and become convinced of their value and effectiveness. No amount of rationalism or scientific thinking can produce the effect needed. The person who would pursue the true nature of the martial arts cannot hope to understand what he is doing if he is concerned with which training methods are progressive and which are old-fashioned, for the only method is to throw oneself into the martial arts with total devotion and to cultivate both one's body and one's ki.
Because I feel this way, after I left China, I continued my own training but made no effort to teach others or spread this particular approach to the martial arts. During this long time, a number of people have become convinced that my approach is right, however, and have joined me in training. Lately the number of such people has grown and now even includes people from other countries. Still I have no intention of opening a training hall or of teaching in the manner of an ordinary instructor.
When Japan Publications, Inc., asked me to produce this book, 1 hesitated, since 1 wondered if it were possible to explain in text and photographs my kind of kempo, which must be learned and mastered with the body. In addition, 1 entertained doubts about the value of martial arts learned from books. But then 1 reconsidered. First, 1 thought that perhaps there are people who can understand the true meaning of something from no more than examining a photograph. Then, realizing that the conditioning of my internal organs resulting from Taiki-ken has enabled me to live to a ripe old age in good health, 1 saw that my knowledge might help others enjoy the same good fortune. And these considerations caused me to decide to go ahead with the writing and publishing of this book.
In closing, 1 should like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to two groups of people who assisted me in this project. First, my fellow trainees in Taiki-ken: my son-in-law Yoshimichi Sato; my eldest son, Akio Sawai; Mikio Goto; Kazuo Yoshida; Norimasa lwama; Yukio Ito; Masashi Saito; Yasuo Matsumura; Mitsuo Nakamura; Jan Kallenbach; and Roland Nansink. Second the cameraman, Hideo Matsunaga, and Chikayoshi Sanada, who was in charge of the editorial work.
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The tradition that the Chinese martial arts began with the practices of the Indian Buddhist priest and mystic Bodhidharma, who came to the Chinese temple Shaolin-szu in the sixth century and who is considered the founder of Zen, is without substantiation. Nonetheless, since many martial arts are still called by the name Shao-lin-szu, it is likely that martial training at that temple is of great antiquity.
Hand-to-hand combat (ch'Uan-fa in Chinese and kempo in Japanese) is one of the most important of the many Chinese martial arts, The minor varieties of kempo are virtually numberless, but some of the most famous of the schools into which it has gradually been divided are Shao-lin-ch'uan, T'ai-chi-ch'uan, Hsing-ich'iian, and Pa-kua-ch'uan. Taiki-ken, the subject of this book, has developed from Hsing-i-ch’uan.
Chinese hand-to-hand combat schools may be divided into two major categories: the inner group and the outer group. Hsing-i-ch'iian, T'ai-chi-ch'iian, and Pa-kua-ch'uan belong to the inner group, whereas Shao-lin-ch'uan belongs to the outer group,. Though there are problems inherent in the very act of making such a division, an understanding of the difference between the inner and outer groups is of the greatest importance to an understanding of Chinese hand-to-hand combat in particular and of all the martial arts in general.
In the schools of the outer group, practice is devoted to training the muscles of the body and to mastering technical skills. On the surface, this method seems to produce greater strength. Since the techniques themselves can be understood on the basis of no more than visual observation, they are comparatively easy to learn. The schools of the inner group, however, emphasize spiritual development and training. They develop progress from spiritual cultivation to physical activity. In general, the inner schools give a softer impression than the outer schools; but training in them requires a long time, and mastery of them is difficult to attain.
It is generally said that Hsing-i-ch'uan was originated by a man named Yueh Fei, but there is nothing to prove this attribution. Later a man named Li Lo-neng of Hupei Province became very famous in Hsing-i-ch'iian combat. His disciple Kuo Yun-shen became still more famous for his overwhelming power. It is said that of all the men who participated in combat bouts with him only two escaped deaths. These two were his own disciple Ch'e 1-ch'i and Tung Hai-chuan of the Pa-kua-ch'iian School. Kuo Yun-shen himself killed so many martial-arts specialists from various countries that he was imprisoned for three years. While in prison he perfected the mystical technique that is known as the Demon Hand.
With the appearance of Kuo Yiin-shen, the fame of hsing-i-ch'uan spread throughout China. Other outstanding specialists in this tradition include Kuo Shen, Li Tien-ying, and Wang Hsiang-ch'i. Wang was the founder of Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan in this capacity he is known as Wang Yii-seng ~ and was my own teacher. Sun Lu-t'ang, a disciple of Li Tien-ying, saw the elements shared in common by Hsing-i-ch'uan, Pa-kua-ch'uan, and T'ai-chi-ch'uan and developed a school consolidating all of them. Lu Chi-lan, who was a student at the same time as Kuo Yun- shen, accepted the teachings of Hsing-i-ch'iian in their pure form, passed them on to his disciples Li Ts'un-i, who in turn passed them on to his disciple Hsiang Yunhsing. In this way, a conservative school was established.
Three strains have developed since the time of Kuo Y5n-shen within the larger Hsing-i-ch'uan school: the conservative strain of Li Ts'un-i, the Hsin-i branch of the Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan of Wang Hsiang-ch'i, and the conservative strain of Sun Lut'ang. In a two-volume work entitled - Hsing-i-ch'uan, Sun Lu-t'ang has written in detail about Wang Hsiang-ch'i.
The Hsin-i group, as 1 have indicated, is another name for the Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan, which is a subgroup founded within Hsing-i-ch'uan by Wan Hsiang-ch'i. 1 can explain the origin of the name Ta-ch'eng in the following way. Wang Hsiang-ch'i believed that the power of the mystical techniques of Kuo Yiin-shen was to be found in a force called ki in Japanese (the word is pronounced ch'i in Chinese; for further explanation, see p. 1 4). He also believed that, unless a person learns to control and use ki, he cannot master any of the combat techniques. In order to develop the needed mastery, Wang concentrated on standing Zen meditation. In combat with another person, the man who can control ki and manifest it to the extent reuired has attained and understanding of the kempo of Wan Hsiang-ch'i. Such attainment is called ta-ch'eng in Chinese (the same characters are read tai-sei in Japanese). This is the reason for using ta-ch'eng in the name Ta-ch'eng-ch'iian. 1 met Wang Hsiang-ch'i while 1 was working in China. He was a small man with a most ducklike walk. But he was extremely difficult to study with. When people came wanting to learn his system, he ignored them. They had no recourse but to observe his actions and, practicing together, try to imitate his techniques. Fortunately, being a foreigner, 1 was able to ask questions and do things that would have been considered very rude in another Chinese.
Since at the time 1 was a fifth dan in Judo, 1 had a degree of confidence in my abilities in combat techniques. When 1 had my first opportunity to try myself in a match with Wang, 1 gripped his right hand and tried to use a technique. But 1 at once found myself being hurled through the air. I saw the uselessness of surprise and sudden attacks with this man. Next I tried grappling. 1 gripped his left hand and his right lapel and tried the techniques 1 knew, thinking that, if the first attacks failed, 1 would be able to move into a grappling technique when we fell. But the moment we came together, Wang instantaneously gained complete control of my hand and thrust it out and away from himself. No matter how many times 1 tried to get the better of him, the results were always the same. Each time I was thrown, he tapped me- lightly- on my chest just over my heart. When he did this, 1 experienced a strange and frightening pain that was like a heart tremore.
Still 1 did not give up. 1 requested that he pit himself against me in fencing. We used sticks in place of swords; and, even though the stick he used was short, he successfully parried all my attacks and prevented my making a single point. At the end of the match he said quietly, "The sword- or the staff- both are extensions of the hand."
This experience robbed me of all confidence in my own abilities.
My outlook, 1 thought, would be Very dark indeed, unless 1 managed to obtain instruction
from Wang Hsiang-ch'i. I did succeed in studying with him; and, acting on his advice, 1 instituted a daily course in Zen training. Gradually 1 began to feel as if 1 had gained a little bit of the expansive Chinese martial spirit.
Later, after 1 had mastered Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan, I founded another branch of combat training, which 1 call Taiki-ken. (This is the Japanese reading of T'ai-ch’i-chuan. Since I am Japanese, I shall use the Japanese reading throughout this text.) As a foreigner, 1 was able to gain the permission of Wang Hsiang-ch'i to substitute characters in the name of his school of kempo to form the name for my own school. And this is the way the name Taiki-ken came into being.
I am proud to be part of a martial-arts tradition as long as that of Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan. Whenever 1 think of the past, 1 see Wang Hsiang-ch'i and hear him saying, "No matter if you hear ki explained a thousand time, you will never understand it on the basis of explanations alone. It is something that you must master on your own strength."
My course of training in China was arduous and long- eleven years and eight months. When World War II ended, I returned to Japan. Once in my training hall in Japan, I was suddenly surprised to feel something that I suspected might be the ki of which Wang Hsiang-ch'i used to speak. This surprise was the rebeginning of Taiki-ken, to which I intend to devote myself for the rest of my life.
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I should like to add more details to the explanation 1 have already given of Hsing-i-ch'uan in the discussion of the history of Taiki-ken. Hsing-i-ch’iian (also known as Ksin-i-ch'uan) is said to have been originated in the Sung period (tenth to thirteenth century) in China by a man named Yueh-fai, though t ere is nothing to prove this. From the late Ming to the early Ch'ing period (about the second half of the seventeenth century), in province of Shansi, there appeared a great expert in the use of the lance; his name was Chi Chi-ho. By about this time, the basic nature of Hsing-i-ch'uan was already determined. The tradition was inherited and carried on by Ts'ao Chi-wu and Ma Hsueh-li. In the Ch'ing period (which lasted from 1644 until 1912), Tsai Neng-pang and Tsai Ling-pang became disciples of Ts’ao Chi-wu. Lin Neng-jan , who lived in Hopei province, heard rumours about Tsai Neng-pang and decided to study with him. In his late forties, Li Neng-jan became so skilful and powerful that he was called "divine fist." His skill and speed were so great that opponents never had a chance to come close to him. After he returned from the place in which he had been studying to his home province of Hopei, he concentrated on training disciples, with the consequence that Hopei Hsing-i-ch'iian became famous throughout China. He had many disciples, but among them Kuo Yiin-shen was the most famous. He was said to have no worthy opponents in the whole nation. Kuo Yun-shen was especially noted for his skill in a technique called the peng-ch'uan, with which he was able to down almost all corners. In one bout, he employed this technique and killed his opponent, with the result that he was thrown into prison for three years. He continued his training during his period of incarceration and is said to have developed his own special version of the peng-ch'uan at that time. Since he was chained, he was unable to spread his arm wide. His shackles made it necessary for him to raise both arms whenever he raised one. Ironically, the apparent inconvenience enabled him to develop a technique that was at one and the same time an attack and a steel-wall defence. He learned to maintain a sensible interval between his own body and his opponent and to counter attacks and immediately initiate attacks. It took him the full three years of his term in jail to perfect this technique. Although he was not a big man, Kuo Yun-shen was very strong. Once a disciple of another school of martial arts asked Kuo to engage in a match with him. Kuo complied with the man's wish and immediately sent him flying with one blow of his peng-ch'uan. The man rose and asked for another bout. Once again Kuo did as he was requested, but this time the man did not rise, because one of his ribs was broken.
The study of Hsing-i-ch'uan involves first basic development of ki through Zen then the study of the Chinese cosmic, philosophy called T'ai-chi-hs5eh, which originated as a system for divination and reached full development during the Sung period. The physical aspects of training involve five techniques called the Hsing-i-wu-hsing-ch'uan: the p'i-ch'uan (splitting fist), peng-ch'uan (crushing fist), tsuan-ch'uan (piercing fist), p'ao-ch'uan (roasting fist), and the Kuo-ch'uan (united fists) plus a fifth that is an advanced application technique called the lien-huan-ch'uan (connected-circle fist). As a person practices using these techniques in
training sessions and bouts with opponents, he gradually learns which suits him best. Hsing-i-ch'uan is further characterised by forms (hsing in Chinese and kata in Japanese) based on the instinctive motions of twelve actual and mythical animals: dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, turtle, cock, eagle, swallow, snake, phoenix, hawk, and bear. The very name Hsing-i-ch'iian means that it is the ability to use these motions without conscious consideration that gives the system its meaning. The practitioner of Hsing-i-ch'uan must use the forms automatically and without reference to his conscious will. The point that sets Hsing-i-ch'iian most clearly apart from other martial arts is related to this theory, for in Hsing-i-ch'iian training, no matter how thoroughly a person may have mastered the techniques, if he is unenlightened about the basic meaning of the- forms, his efforts are wasted. People striving for progress in the martial arts must be aware of this point and must keep it in mind throughout their daily practice.
Relations between opponents in Hsing-i-ch'iian are especially distinctive in three respects. First, since there is no way of knowing what kind of attack the opponent will try, Hsing-i-ch'iian does-not prescribe such things as maintaining fixed distances and employing kicking techniques. Instead, the individual must always move toward his opponent and counter his moves as he attacks. Second, since defence must always be perfect, in Hsing-i-ch'iian, one arm is always used for defence purposes (it may be either the mukae-te or the harai-te method; see pp.34 and 60). Third, there is no strategy, and no restraints are used in Hsing-i-ch'uan matches. Since the individual's body must move naturally, easily, and rapidly in conformity with the opponent's movements, there is no time for mental strategy. Nor is there any need for restraining the opponent with one hand while kicking. At all times, maintaining a perfect defence, the person must conform to the motions of his opponent. This, as I have said, leaves no time for mental strategy.
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The principle of ki, without which there could be no Taiki-ken, is not especially difficult. Though there are differences in its strengths, ki is found in every one. Students of the martial arts attempt to train their ki to the point where, upon coming into contact with an opponent, they can give full manifestation to it. This is only as it should be, since there would be no meaning in training, no matter how assiduous, if the individual found himself incapable of bringing forth his ki at the moment of need.
There is no method for ensuring the ability to call upon the strength of ki, but standing Zen as practised by specialists in the martial arts in China and as employed in Ta-ch'eng-ch'uan and Taiki-ken, can develop a capability to do so. Standing Zen calms the nerves, sharpens the perceptions, and regulates the breathing. When a person begins standing Zen, his mind is clouded with all kind of thoughts. Soon, however, he will experience pain in his hands, feet, or hips. When this happens, all of his thoughts concentrate in the part of the body that hurts, and he is unable to think of anything else. The pain figuratively removes the hurting part of the body from the realm of sense perception. As one continues to suffer discomfort of this kind for a period of years, one cultivates the ability to derive great refreshment from standing Zen. Before one is aware of it, the power of ki begins to grow to maturity.
I suffered when I practised standing Zen with my teacher Wang Hsiang-ch'i and wonder what good such practice would ever do me. When 1 felt this way, Wang would tell me, "Even if 1 explain it to you hundreds of times, you will not understand ki;' it is something that you must experience yourself." Today I tell my own students the same kind of thing. I one finds it impossible to cultivate ki in himself through Zen training he will never be able to cultivate it in himself. It is because ki is not mastered easily that it is of immense value.
In spite of the difficulty of explaining the profound meaning of ki in words, 1 think 1 can make something of its nature clear by referring to the spinning of a child's top. A top that turns rapidly about its axis, seems to be standing still, but anything that comes into contact with its whirling sides is sharply and forcefully dashed away. . A practitioner of the martial arts who generates the power of ki is like the spinning top. Though from the outside he seems perfectly calm and still, an opponent who comes into contact with him is immediately driven away by the force of the man's ki.
There are no fixed forms in Taiki-ken. Although this book presents methods of defence and attack they are only examples of the kinds of attacks and defences that are possible. Practising to perfect Zen and hai (see p.24)) constitute the basis of training. When one comes into contact with an opponent, one's body must be able to move with complete freedom. Forcing large and small people to practice the same forms is meaningless. Furthermore, excess attention to forms only kills freedom of motion. Taiki-ken aims at allowing each individual to use the body motions that suit him. This is both the outstanding merit and one of the greatest difficulties of Taiki-ken. A person only begins to bud as a true practitioner of martial arts of the inner school when he is able to employ the movements that are
Inherent in his own body. It is because Taiki-ken allows the person to evolve his own forms of motion that it is sometimes referred to as lacking, yet having, forms.
One of the important points in Taiki-ken training is the disassociation of the body parts; the arms must be trained to act on their own and alone. The same is true of the feet and legs. This is connected with the lack of fixed forms in Taikiken. For instance, there are no such things as right positions or left positions in Taiki-ken. The arms are antenna constantly sensitive to what can be done for the sake of protection. The hips are like the earth in that they provide stability. It is, true that sometimes we employ training in lowering and raising the hips, but this is only for the sake of developing flexibility. There are no definite hip techniques, because a person whose body is trained and flexible can use his hips as he needs to. Generally, the steps taken in Taiki-ken are small; it has been said that among the great men of Taiki-ken there are none with wide strides.
Defence and attack constitute all of the hand work in Taiki-ken. The two techniques for the hands are called mukae-te. and harrai-te. In the former, one uses the inside of the arm to block the opponent's arm and to pull it inward. In the latter, one uses the outside of the arm to parry the opponent's techniques. It is further important to know how to move from mukae-te to harai-te.
For the sake of discussion, I assume that the word arm means everything from the shoulder to the fingertips. When a person stands as shown in Fig.A,, Taiki-ken practice assumes that the arm will move like the antenna of an insect. Whether to defend oneself by blocking with the innerside or with the outerside of this antenna will be determined naturally when the opponent attacks. The arm must act independently on its own; the defence involving it is not a matter of the eye or the head. It is important to remember that, when the right hand rises or lowers, as in Fig. A, the left hand must move with it as reinforcement (what is called soe-te). For example, if the right hand is unsuccessful in blocking the opponent's attack, the left hand must be ready to block on its own.
Of course the entire body must respond to the motions of the arm-antenna If the arm lowers, the hips must be lowered at the same time. If the arm advance, the hips must advance too. Allowing the motion of the body to follow the motion of the arm, greatly increases the power of the arm. All people who practice Taikiken must constantly keep this characteristic use of the arm in mind as they train.
It is good to conduct Taiki-ken training out of doors. A training hall is unnecessary. It is wrong to feel that facilities of this kind are prerequisites of practice. Out-of-doors training, especially in the woods in the morning is best because a setting of this kind enables one to learn many things from nature. Since martial arts are matters of gradual, personal growth, daily training in a natural setting is the one and only way to true progress.
I sometimes compare a life of training in the martial arts to a tree. When a person is young, strength fills his body and enables him to withstand any amount of training. This is like the thick, strong trunk of the tree, But as one grows older, one becomes less durable, just as the branches of a tree grow smaller toward the top and finally become slender twigs that shake in the wind and that can be easily broken.
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