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The Path To Success

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Taken from the notes of Chris Gunn as a reminder as to what was covered on the Seminar on the 19th May 2013.  I post this on the blog because it’s an excellent reminder to any of my students and anyone in the Martial Arts that there is a straight forward linear path to success with no vague concepts if you’re prepared to put in the work required. It was very kind of Chris to allow these notes to be published.

Steve had ended up entitling the Seminar ‘The Path To Success’ to help us determine the right path to tread to determine success from failure which as he explained could be a fine line as it will be only as strong as it’s weakest point – and many people fail for the silliest of reasons without realising it.

The Shikon training process relies on three things

Mnemonics – Firstly ‘simple’ does not mean ‘easy’ – an important point.   Use of the logo, iconography in the Dojo, the acronyms, the 8 principles, the 13 dynamics, the synergy between basics, the  form (a mnemonic to remember what to do) into application are all ways to simplify the remembering process.

Allusion – The training and grading syllabus layers the training at each level with each part alluding to all the future training ideas and concepts with a rolling snowball concept as all past training has to raised to incorporate the new ideas of the current grade.

Validation – The training is only validated when the principles can be applied at varying distances, angles and ways against opponents of differing size and skill.

Steve explained the importance of the mnemonic ‘if you want to do it right – simply don’t do it wrong’, stressing that we should work at a speed that enables us to use the skill within the technique and allow that skill to eventually give us the required speed and power.

Then he explained the mnemonic ATARC that is the learning process:

Attitude – If our attitude and mindset are wrong then the whole learning process will be corrupted, the reason that neigong is so important first.
Thought. Think through and plan the technique mentally, visualising every move and the feeling.
Action. Perform the move, form, technique.
Reflection. To reflect on how we performed and how it needs to be corrected.
Correction. Don’t repeat the mistake, go back to A to go through the corrective process that will correct any errors and repeat until it becomes natural action.

Steve then explained the importance of knowing the path you’re on.  With the Shi Kon Training Syllabus Steve started with what he wanted as the end result of the training, explaining that he wanted strong individual people with their own well thought out opinions that resulted from being able to turn an aware, focused, sensitive and intense mind, able to exercise critical thinking from a broad perspective unfettered by fear or bias on any subject, able to use emotional intelligence and good health to enhance their life with the principle based ability to box, kick, grapple, lock, throw, strangle or choke, from standup to groundwork if needed.

He explained the importance of starting with the mind, training it in:
Awareness
Focus
Sensitivity
Intensity
Mindset

Awareness requires deep breathing, deep breathing requires good posture.

Focus  requires exercises and training to sustain concentration.

Sensitivity requires using the aware and focused mind to read the mental, emotional and physical state of your own body, to be able to free the joints and myofascia for easy skilful movement, rooting, power and balance.  When you understand these in yourself, you can break them in an opponent.

These qualities are trained in neigong and qigong, the emotional intelligence is developed through the standing postures, the yin focusing on patience, kindness, tolerance and compassion and the yang on resolve, determination, power and strength.

Steve then took the students through the Yang Family Qigong exercises (even though he was on crutches) explaining how these exercises developed all the necessary skills for freeing the body and mind for combat.

Steve showed how these exercises practiced the 7 main ‘internal’ power skills of the body body core and spine:
Soften
Connect
Open
Close
Stretch
Compress
Release

He then explained the importance of the part played by the balance of:
Training
Nutrition
Rest

Steve finished explaining the 8 Principles of Shi Kon in some depth and how they all relate to each other showing how they are the criteria for grading and the basis for teaching and training. They are:
Feet
Posture
Breath
Mind
Internal
Power
Wedge
Spiral

The difference between success and failure can be a fine line, anyone training in Shi Kon Kung Fu or Taiji is on a deliberated path drawn from the end result backwards, everything is for a reason and has to be validated physically, there are no vague, nebulous exercises or techniques. Steve explained the importance of developing all these links equally and knowing exactly what you are doing in every training session, why you are doing it and what results are expected both in the short and long term, the importance of challenging everything you do positively to fully understand it and working with the Instructors and other students to get there.

At the end I felt that the title ‘The Path To Success’ had been earned with the Seminar and along with everyone else felt inspired to move forwards in the system!

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