After being thoroughly inspired by a book called “Five Year, One Kata” by Bill Burgher, I began a similar task for myself.
Now, the main point of the book was to decipher the hidden applications of the katas he selected (Gojushiho for those of you interested).
I gave it some thought, and consulted some people whose opinion I respect, and ended up with a decision that my one year project was intead going to be a three year project.
Year one, which is already underway, is an intensive study of two forms. For the empty hand I have chosen Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen. And I decided to add a weapon form to the study as well, namely the staff. The staff form I have chosen is Eight Diagram Staff, which I chose mostly because I never felt that I was as good with that form as I could be with just a little dedication. (I was always more interested in blades than sticks).
One of the things that I have discovered in my study in Gung Ji is a majot flaw that crept in over time. I have been criticized for so many straight arm movements in my performance of this form, and have even been told that is exhibits my “Mainland influence”. I have no mainland influence that I am aware of, and so I ignored the criticism, as I usually do when the criticism comes over the internet.
Well, I understand now what the hoopla was about. By being so determined and focused on Gong Kiu (Hard Bridge) throughout everything that I do, I was neglecting a very important bridging concept – Lau Kiu (Reserve Bridge).
Remember, the bridges in Hung Gar are not this technique is Gong and this is Lau and this is Jai…the bridges are concepts which are first understood and then applied to your techniques.
In this case, I was bulling my way through the opponent in my mind. Now, make no mistake, I am very big and very strong, but there is always someone stronger. If I were to come across someone stronger, my Gong Kiu is not going to work. If their strength is equal to mine, my Gong Kiu may or may not work (in this instance it would depend entirely on the luck of timing).
All of the bridges are to be used. Just because you have a favorite, does not mean that that is the only one you need.
I put out my Gung Ji book right as I was beginning this project, and already my GJFFK has changed. I am going to be filming and placing some stuff on Youtube to (hopefully) show my progress as I go through this project. Like I said, the form is already changing, which makes my book like a time capsule. I was flipping through the book last night, and saw all of the straight arms…ah well, we cannot all be perfect.
My main policy right now is in the shut up and train category. The posts here may be infrequent, but I am quite busy. I will be updating the project as new things come up.