There are many reasons people choose to train martial arts. In our school we believe that the overall purpose of training is to contribute toward a long healthy and enjoyable life. Developing your body physically is not only healthy, but a path toward self empowerment. Fighting skills allow you to defend yourself, and increase your self confidence. Self awareness is also increased, allowing you to understand your strengths and limitations, and to move beyond them.
Our philosophy for martial training is to develop a frame of mind that seeks to avoid confrontation, minimise stress and develop strategies for dealing with everyday life. This philosophy is built upon the so-called four foundations:
Liu He Men Master Zhou Xin Zou
Time and Change
The universe is in a state of perpetual change - nothing remains the same. Within this constant change, there are patterns and cycles which we can learn to observe and anticipate. This understanding makes it easier for us to harmonize with our environment and plan our actions. On a martial level we can use this theory to help plan our fighting strategy, for example, if your opponent is clearly stronger (yang), you can use evasive manoeuvers (yin) to decrease (avoid) his force. If you can create an opportunity where he is unbalanced or in a weak position (yin), you have created a strong position (yang) to attack from. The key is in understanding the situation and adjustng yourself accordingly.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Dating back some 3000 years, Chinese medical theory is based upon the belief that the flow of energy (Qi) governs the functions of the body. Illness is caused by blocked, stagnant or erratic energy flow. Health is maintained and enhanced by regulating and harmonizing energy. The body's Qi can be rebalanced by diet, acupuncture, herbs, massage and Qi Gong (energy work). As your understanding of Qi increases, you can unify the spirit (Shen), body (Jing) and energy (Qi) to increase your wellbeing.
Taoism and Buddhism
Aspects of martial theory and philosophy is Zi Ran Men is also discussed at length in our
Taoist and Buddhist philosophies have deeply influenced Chinese martial arts. Many of the arts arose as a combination of spiritual practices, health practices and self defence techniques. Taoism may be translasted as 'The Way'. Covering every conceivable area of human thought and action, Taoist philosophy provides guidance through understanding the many different paths that constitute a way of life. Many of these paths seek to balance the needs of the individual with the demands of society, providing valuable advice on finding success and happiness in a changing world
The main aspects of martial theory in our school are derived from the teachings of the Grand Master Wan Lai Sheng. There are three components to the study of Zi Ran Men martial arts.
A strong physical foundation is essential for martial arts. Practicing specific forms increases your strength, flexibility, coordination and mobility. Repetition of your forms allows you to closely observe the workings of the mind and body. As your knowledge and experience builds, you can concentrate on their integration.
Learning to defend yourself requires that you choose and practice several of your favourite techniques. Techniques include strategies for engagement and avoidance- defence and attack. Conditioning the body is also required to develop speed, power, endurance, coordination, reflexes and sensitivity.
Forms and techniques are stepping stones to the higher levels of martial arts. At the highest levels, your entire being (mind, body, spirit and energy) is integrated. Your actions take place without thought, from the aspect of 'no mind' or 'big mind'. This is also sometimes known as 'spontaneous correct action'. As you have no preconceived notion of form and no deliberate plan of attack or defence, your movements are swift and unpredictable, your mind is free from thought and hesitation and your power manifests effortlessly.
Movement is movement, movement is not movement,
Mind is mind, mind is not mind'
Aspects of martial theory and philosophy is Zi Ran Men is also discussed at length in our resources section.