The Mixed Up Progression of Empty in the Various Martial Arts Systems


I learned Karate, and emptiness was inherent in the very name: Empty Hands.Not understanding this concept at all, it was still the first signpost on the road of Empty in the various martial arts systems I studied.
Check out the video, then I’ll tell you how the martial arts have mixed up the progression of emptiness.

I came to realize that Emptying the hands resulted in an Empty Mind, or, Empty Hands = Empty Mind. This was very zenlike, but incredibly important when it came to understanding that I wasn’t a flesh and bone body, but a creature of vast emptiness. It really made me a citizen of the universe, and not just planet earth.’
The essence of emptiness in Karate is before and after the technique. By emptying the frame I could generate and run power through it. Though this was done by explosion, very inefficient, it still worked, and opened the door.
I studied Sticky Hands from Wing Chun Kung Fu, and this proved to be an enlightenment. Sink your energy, ground, connect your body to the earth, then empty just the hands. This required better timing, I actually had to react before the attack, and not after.
I studied Aikido, and the whole body emptied, but their was no connection with the ground. Well, there was, but the method to getting their was different. I already understood the karate method, and I understood emptiness, so I selected my own route. I didn’t have to unlearn anything, and I got where I was going faster.
I studied Tai Chi Chuan and Pushing Hands. This was emptying the whole body while rooted (grounded). This was more akin to my Karate training, and a better progression. Actually, I came to realize something here: the progression of martial arts was a little mixed up. More on that in a second.
I studied Pa Kua Chang, and realized that I could be rooted in motion. That was the thing that Aikido had skipped until later, and now we are back at the mixed up progression of emptying in the martial arts. It should look like this.
Karate = grounding and Emptying.
Wing Chun = grounding and emptying just the hands.
Tai Chi Chuan = grounding and emptying the whole body.
Pa Kua Chang = grounding and emptying the body while in motion.
Aikido = emptying the body in motion.
You can see that there are still some problems with this progression, but at least it makes sense. The confusions come from artisitc evolutions that occurred, and which are unique to this planet (gravity, you know).
Anyway, that is the skinny on the Progression of Empty in the various Martial Arts styles. Hope you can use it, hope it helps you align your arts, and if you wish to see more, this is the sort of thing I get into at Monster Martial Arts. Drop by and pick up a free martial arts book (top left of the home page).

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