The Reality and Power of One

I like to ask new students how many moves they have in their form(s).  The answers vary from 5, 8, 36, 108 to hundreds in a single form.  For those folks that have been training a while and have many forms…well you can do the math, that is a lot of moves!

Next I ask them how many moves they can do at the same time.

Befuddled looks, head scratching, eyes wandering above, an awkward pause followed by an answer in the form of a question, “One?”.

Its one of those trick questions that’s not really a trick question, it just has such an obvious answer that, for someone to ask it, it must be a trick question.  The takeaway is simply, no matter how prodigious your bag of tricks is all practice happens one move, one change, one element, one posture, one technique at a time.

For those of us practicing a method designed to develop integrated strength this simple observation can make a profound change in our training.

We can realize that repetition is not The Method.  Each achievement in training must be integrated into that one transition, that one change from shape A to shape B.  Ideally that one move is never the same this month as it was last month, this year as it was last year.  Like the brush stroke of a master artist it should be an expression of accumulated achievement and insight.

Try this, do the very first move your teacher taught you.  Is it just some silly gesture you have repeated out of wrote habit to get to the ‘good’ stuff or a singular expression of everything you have learned?

There is only One good answer to that question.

About steveehrenreich

I am a long time practitioner of martial arts and Yi Chuan student of Master Cheuk Fung.
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