What is Foundation?

When I think of a foundation, I imagine anything that gives something the ability to become what it will ultimately become; In other words, if I am going to run 5 miles I need the ground below me to do so. A person can go even deeper into this idea if they would like, if you think about the world on a subatomic level, or even on a biochemical level; in laymen’s terms, there is a foundation for every step of way, a science behind everything.

When I started to apply this idea to what I have learned here at Wu-tang (in fact it is Wu-Tang that opened my eyes to these very ideas), it is like I began to see the world in that science behind the motives view with every step of the way. If I don’t have certain techniques down it is very difficult for me to accomplish the move or form I am trying to do, this is where the thin line between a finished building and a blue print meet; or for example, the difference between a failed attack and a completed one. There are many styles in Martial Arts, all of which basically seek to understand the “philosophy of fighting.” Wu-tang is sharing with me in due time, the very blueprint needed to perform these techniques needed for any form of confrontation: the system brings the student deep into an understanding of the world of martial conflict, no matter how you put it (dealing with life, work, family, whatever you can think of) all of the challenges we may face. Learning the physics of movement inside of the forms is what gives the practitioner the ability to complete a set of attacks in the most fluent way possible without any hesitation. It is to my understanding, that all of the forms go hand in hand with one another. As you learn each one step by step, it completes the structure which Wu-tang seeks to provide. You can’t just throw a building together in one shot, it takes time and planning, it needs to be done level by level. The same with learning to fight effectively, this is the drive to form a complete fighting system.

We first began at the core, developed body and mind, started to gain control of how I intake air during stressful situations to maintain a good blood flow while I breathe: this helps to think while I am fighting by staying less tired because I am in control of what my body is doing chemically, physically, and mentally. Ma bu guided me through this, along with all of the other stance and internal work, it helps the mind to overcome the matter at hand. As I am learning to control myself from the inside (heart rate, air intake, over-all mind set, blood flow), the outside results produced are refined as well. Learning the forms brings all of this to light when you apply what is within the forms themselves, in combination with your internal work; for example, lets imagine a pitcher in baseball, the more he practices throwing the ball the better he becomes at it, he learns to control the different aspects of the balls movement as it fly’s towards the catchers glove, the same applies to the forms I am learning. The more I do them, I understand how my body flows through each movement better; thus, my body actually does flow better and better, due to the fact that it becomes second nature, much like the pitcher’s throws when he becomes a professional. Now, as I am putting the internal and external work together, it starts to show me what the human body is capable of; the mechanics work very well together. When everything begins to settle in, you start to see the results more– the power you produce in your punching and kicking increases, your speed and coordination increase, and your stance becomes more and more solid. It is as if week by week, I surpass what I once was as I enter that next level. I believe this is due to the constant application of the entire system to the many areas you can work on when it comes to what a fighter needs, or real world self-defense. A form like Tan-Tuei will improve your understanding of timing, distance from your opponent, stamina, flexibility and strength. Praying mantis can help you to move in and stay close while shutting down your enemy’s chance of attacking you in return, and even if he can counter; counter attack his counter attack! These are the ways the forms go hand in hand, given the situation you’re in. They work towards what is needed for that particular moment. Now as I apply all of what I have discovered through these foundational steps to what the forms contain as well. It is the essential piece of the puzzle. If I don’t use these foundational methods, I will run out of energy very quickly in situations where I must fight—by using a set of movements–while trying to keep my mind under control so that I can operate as needed for self-defense. It is safe to say: one will not progress without foundation. All of the breathing, work, stamina building and mind over matter training, is essential to the rest of what is taught.

When a person says “foundation,” I believe it is a way of saying what makes up what ultimately is, or the thing that lies beneath what is. What Wu-Tang is showing me consists of this: what really is all around solid Martial Arts in the world we live in today; moreover, Wu-Tang has evolved with the times while at the same time keeping strong the traditions of Chinese Martial Arts. The student is given the stepping-stones and as time goes on we learn to adapt to our environment, building new ways of learning and thinking, while at the same time improving what we have already put in motion. This is why learning Kung Fu becomes a lifetime study, the foundation sets you on a path which never ends…you constantly adapt to the changing world around you… and from there it gives you an infinite amount of possibilities. These are the building blocks to a complete understanding, total awareness, and self-control–what any solid foundation should give you in martial arts. It is important to build on, otherwise the student will have a hard time advancing in skill and technique; indeed, it begins at the foundation, from there on, the rest will follow.

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