One of Bruce Lee's most memorable lines, is "Don't think, feel!"
The energy contained in that expression is immense. You can feel it when he expresses it.
Initially, when I had heard it, I thought of it as a "good idea." I mean, it sounds good, move around, get the feeling, try express yourself. But it was only recently that I realized that it contains actually a lot of truth and validated by science.
First, most people will recognize it as good philosophy, but now with great advances in science in the last 10 years, it is also very good science. This, to me comes as being refreshing in a world increasingly dominated by "need for proof" concreteness.
These terms: yi, qi and li are usually the hardest concepts to grasp in Chinese Kung Fu, but they are fundamental to understanding the core concepts of the martial art.
They are difficult to understand, at least initially because they follow a different system and use different terminology that doesn't translate precisely into English.
But, here we are going to attempt to break them down, bit by bit and relate them to western concepts that you may or may not be more familiar with.
When I started practicing kung fu and actually a long way into it, I always wondered, what is the real point of kung fu forms anyways?
Why should I spend all this time memorizing and perfecting a stance, a certain punch or movement when I wouldn't ever fight like that? Why not just train with simplistic techniques like punches, kicks, and throws? Why bother spending all this time with forms when there is a much shorter route to getting good at throwing a stiff punch.
One of the best models that I have come across to explain the complexity of human development has come from the model above: The Five Levels of Human Potential.
The reason why it is so powerful is it explains how your body interacts on different levels with different techniques.
Many people are familiar with the mind-body connection, but this expands the concept to consider a wider range of aspects.
Breaking bricks with your hands are a way to test how powerful and conditioned your hands are. It is also about overcoming mental limits in your mind by literally breaking barriers.
You will want to be well conditioned before attempting to break a brick. Typically this involves a lot of hard qigong through Iron Palm Training.
Iron Palm training hardens the bones and toughens the skin so they are capable of breaking extremely hard surfaces, like stone and brick.
The video above demonstrates a more difficult style of brick breaking, which is taught by Master Wang. This is to test how explosive your strikes are, rather than about generating force.
If your strikes are not explosive enough, the brick will simply catapult off the ledge. It requires more skill and concentration.
There are easier methods to start with. The easiest method is to hold a brick over an edge, and hold it down with one hand. As you are holding it down, you focus and concentrate, then swing your other hand down hard on the top of the brick.
The way to train and prepare to break a brick is as follows...
About the blog
Luke Siljander began training with Master Wang in 2007. He and Master Wang want to share the value of Kung Fu.
Kung Fu is about the application of hard work throughout your life to better yourself and to gain mastery over your body and mind.