Simplicity is the name of the game for holistic training. When in a flow state one just acts. There is no appearance of thought. The mind is fully present, fully aware and in a state of what appears to be observation. Decisions and movement are instant, as though driven by a state of being.
Being holistic is the culmination of all your training, whether localized control, disciplines of shapes, mind mapping, structural force or awareness. All are in your mind as experience, we just now need to, let it all go and let it flow as one idea.
There are so many layers piled on top of each other, that one could spend a whole life studying in detail and developing individual training techniques to harness each skill set, and yet miss the wholesome idea of operating with them, all at once. Yet when applied as one, it is a simple, effortless, thoughtless and yet fully aware concept.
There is no technique, no system and no ideas. The form becomes formless. Its just all those processes that we have experienced, drawn upon, all at once and applied in a simple effortless idea.
So, how to train for that? It’s contradictory to say that because the essence is not to have a “concept” of how its to be done. So it’s a catch 22.
As we build our ideas as “castles”, perhaps once we have experienced the depth of a feeling, and established confidence in that idea, perhaps we need to take them down again. Push these ideas, these training tools and practice aside and just go straight to the end result. Like when thinking up the spine and Taigung, if we just bring awareness to the body as a whole and the spine is part of the awareness, then we have dismantled a “castle.”
Once we have moved on from localized idea’s there are a few simple techniques of “simplified” holistic training (although again castle building).
These are but a few different types of training holistically in doing Siu Nim Tao.
Do the form like you would a slow dance, with a continuous flow at the same gentle speed.
Creating awareness of all the environment around you.
Creating a wholesome feeling of intention 360 degrees. That feeling of expansion
Focusing on Internal awareness, the body as a whole.
Operating from the foundation of the centre of balance and it relationship with gravity.
Operating from a dominating foundation of spine and Taigung, and experiencing the rest from this vantage point.
From a level of comfort and relaxation.
Now mix it up a little. Learn to juggle and start doing a few of them at once, layering them together.
Then, as my instructor Nima King says “Time to take off the training wheels” all of them at once, with no agenda, no judgment of right or wrong. No reaction or analysis during the form.
Of course we are not perfect and our mind wanders or becomes analytical. Be gentle with yourself and just come back to being present in movement. It really is like someone has taken off the training wheels, your shapes wont be perfect, your hips may create a small wobble, or you might experience new sensations like feeling the floor more through your toes, perhaps you’ll be overwhelmed by a new sense of wholeness and experience the fear of such. The ultra ego mind likes boundaries, anything outside of a limit is designed by nature to give you fear, so you will have a good think about it before you do it. Nature knows your odds of survival are about to go bad when we take risk. So it feels like your standing on the edge of a cliff and your waving a leg over the side.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
It’s all about creating confidence and exploring this new feeling of the state of mind. When in a state of expansion one could think about ones awareness of the environment as your support for balance and trust. The more awareness you have of the subtleness of the environment around and within you the more you feel you can let go and rest your mass into this awareness, like a baby melting into their mothers arms.
With confidence comes comfort and relaxation and then more awareness, then more intention and confidence. It’s a self-feeding cycle.
Understanding Intention is like trying to understand gravity in that, we don't understand it, its just there. Intention is the result of your depth of awareness. Intention will flow like water into an infinity of awareness if it could.
The Buddhist’s refer to awareness as “You should be in Awe of the presence”.
Our Sigung Chu Shong Tin refers to intention as “..power roars like river and sea, day and night”.
Our brain is incredibly aware, and it dumbs down the information for our sense of self. We just need to get out of the way. So in a way there is no point trying to be more aware or to try to increase your intention, because its already there. Its just a matter of being present and acknowledging this awareness, to fill your mind with what’s happening around you, then the expansion will happen into this awareness.
This is a state that isn't switched off or lazy, its a very intelligent and active state, its just that your analytical mind is still and your artistic mind is open, aware, present, active AND with intention.
Its all about discovering that feeling while in this state, and creating a confidence in that feeling, so you can return to it on demand.
At the end of doing the form with this philosophy, give yourself a break by not passing judgment on whether this was a good form or bad. Make this Holistic form your 5 minutes of innocents, a cherished moment, a time of thought relief, a time of no responsibilities and endless freedoms, no boundaries, as a child experiences. Sacred and untouchable by your analytical mind.
- Keven Tate