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Bears and Bicycles

Shun Shifu Weaver's picture
Submitted by Shun Shifu Weaver on Mon, 05/25/2015 - 11:05

So here is is an idea that may only be understood by bear shifu's and above. But I will try to explain. Watch the video below for some background.

When a shifu is working on a beast (usually tiger). All techniques become that beast. This is not taught. It's just something that happens. It is not considered a good thing but it is considered a part of the process so instructors overlook it for awhile. Eventually it will have to be brought back. To not do so is extremely detrimental and may actually create a dead end in the shifu's training. I've seen many go down that dead end never to get out.

When that shifu goes to learn the next beast (usually mongoose) because at that point everything will be bear. Every time they try to do a new mongoose motion they will revert to tiger. They are a tiger Shifu.

This is because they have formed very strong neural pathways. Tiger neural pathways. They have mastered these motions. And mastery means they are at a level of unconscious competence. (This article will help you understand the levels of competence

When a person reaches unconscious competence remember it is what is described, it is unconscious. This is what we are seeing in the bike video.

However, beyond second degree a shifu must overcome this. They must create a new neural pathway. They do not overwrite the original like what is seen in the bike video. They create a completely new one. Yet while they do it they have this very strong neural pathway working against them. They have created that neural pathway and the harder they have trained the more it will fight them. But fight it they must. Doing this is an example of extreme mental exercise. Many give up at this point and become "happy" with where they are. (Side note: We should always be happy with where we are yet at the same time strive hard for the next level, just sayin).

This next level is not only the level of learning the mongoose. Which is extremely difficult. It is also the level of separation of beasts. Which might be even more difficult.

In Shou' Shu' this is required to move to the mongoose level.

This video got me thinking. Using the ideas above the bicycle rider should be able to have two neural networks. One for each way of riding the bike. He should be able to "switch" networks at will.

Granted that would likely be a great deal of training to prove this true (or would it?)

What do you think?

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Low Yellow Belt

That is definitely an eye opener especially when one is practicing martial arts. So this means that one should practice different beasts in a balanced manner?

Shun Shifu Weaver's picture
Crane Belt

You won't really get the full force of the idea until 2nd degree black.

However you will start to get it as you begin orange. It will not be present in yellow. In fact this is why we designed yellow. To remove this confusion that comes with the higher belts and most people are simply not ready for and will fail to learn. Shou' Shu' is just that way. It takes a lot of concentration and discipline and there are very few people ready for this.

You will start to hit on this trouble in orange. And the better your yellow is built in the more you will hit on it. This is a good thing.

In yellow we have built your basics. To do this we have stayed strictly in the bear. So as you are doing yellow you are following one set of rules. But true Shou' Shu' folows 7 sets of rules. It switches seemlessly between them as you seemelessly switch between beasts. This becomes so second nature that you don't even know you did it and you have to step back and analyze to even figure out what you did.

But the learning of this presents a problem. Your body will latch on to one set of rules. In this case the bear (yellow) and it will try to disregard the other principles. Orange has lots of tiger and bits of at least four other animals in it. As you come up against learning these in places your body will simply try to revert to bear. Because that is what it knows. The struggle is in accepting the new knowledge even as your mind and body tries to fit these new square pegs into the old round holes.

So it's not a matter of practicing the beasts in a balanced way, it is a matter of learning how to learn.

Low Yellow Belt

I see, all this makes Shou Shu sound really difficult to learn, but I think that makes learning this art even sweeter. Thank you for sharing this Sifu. I will keep this all in mind.

I found complicated the Cat stance. I try to practice it following the advice of the Master. But I´ve found helpful to stay for a while with the right leg extended perpendicular to the left leg heel bending the left leg moving it a bit up and down with the right leg fix on the floor. After a little while I felt very tired. So I was wondering is there any set of warm up exercises that can be done before starting the complete class through internet. Maybe there are some special martial arts warm up exercises that might help my body be more responsive during all the class?? Thank you for giving me a chance to be a student of this especial School. Rick Canthom