Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tai Chi? Or Moo Duk Kwan

I was guest instructor at a Tang Soo Do class back in the US in 2005 when their instructor showed me this:

Song of the Sip Sam Seh

Never neglect any of the Sip Sam Seh.
The source of the will is in the waist.
Pay attention to the slightest change from full to empty.
Let energy flow through the whole body continuously.
Stillness embodies motion, motion stillness.
Seek stillness in motion.
Surprising things will happen when you meet your opponent.
Give awareness and purpose to every movement.
When done correctly all will appear effortless.
At all times pay attention to the waist.
Relaxed clear awareness of abdomen, the energy rises to the top of the head.
The body should be flexible.
Hold the head as if suspended from a string.
Keep alert and seek the meaning and purpose of your art.
Bent and stretched, open and closed,
Let nature take its course.
Beginners are guided by oral teaching.
Gradually one applies himself more and more.
Skill will take care of itself.
What is the main principle of the martial arts?
The mind is the primary actor and the body the secondary one.
What is the purpose and philosophy behind the martial arts?
Rejuvenation and prolonging of life beyond the normal span.
So an eternal spring.
Every word of this song has enormous value and importance.
Failing to follow this song attentively, you will sigh away your time.

- Hwang Kee, Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Vol. 2

Interesting, isn't it, when you consider the Song of the Thirteen Postures, a Tai Chi Classic:


by Unknown Author
as researched by Lee N. Scheele

The Thirteen Postures should not be taken lightly;
the source of the postures is in the waist.

Be mindful of the interchange between insubstantial and substantial;
The ch'i circulates throughout the body without hindrance.

Be still,
when attacked by the opponent,
be tranquil and move in stillness;
changes caused by my opponent fill him with wonder.

Study the function of each posture carefully and with deliberation;
to achieve the goal is very easy.

Pay attention to the waist at all times;
completely relax the abdomen
and the ch'i rises up.

When the tailbone is centered and straight,
the shen [spirit of vitality] goes through to the headtop.

To make the whole body light and agile
suspend the headtop.

Carefully study.

Extension and contraction, opening and closing, should be natural.

To enter the door and be shown the way,
you must be orally taught.
Practice should be uninterrupted,
and technique achieved by self study.

Speaking of the body and its function, what is the standard?

The I [mind-intent] and ch'i are king,
and the bones and muscles are the court.

Think over carefully what the final purpose is:
to lengthen life and maintain youth.

The Song consists of 140 characters;
each character is true and the meaning is complete.

If you do not study in this manner,
then you will waste your time and sigh with regret.

I am told that the Moo Duk Kwan practitioners have as their pinnacle the heart of softness, even though their art begins with hard stances. Tai Chi practitioners come at it the other way round. Those who know me know I favour the Tai Chi approach, mainly because I believe it is difficult to train softness once you have become overly hard in your martial approach.

The interpretation and application of the thing? Ah, but those are master level secrets!

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