Engaging in this kind of mental exercise allows us to step away from what we have think is reality.
When we are confronted by abstract IDEAs that we struggle to adequately explain we use the mental tool of an analogy using the description of something we understand at some level to stand in for another completely different thing.
Such as seeing our body as a grove of bamboo that bends and sways with the wind instead of resisting it to imagine how to handle incoming force.
Or in the way the Shaolin Monks crafted their movements after different animals, this is also a kind of analogy.
Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake, and Dragon are all essentially the same Kung Fu, the same preparation, the same conditioning, the same body-work it is only their inspiration of how to use their Kung Fu that differs.
Tiger style relies on brute force and upper body strength, Leopard style is defined by fast attacks targeting soft tissues, pressure points, and vital areas, Crane style is more of an evasive style, Snake style relies on speed and intimidation and finally Dragon style, which combines traits of the other four animals.
The chosen movement style of any monk is a reflection of the physical analogy they most relate to and of course, that choice is fueled by their imagination, fueled by how well they can visualise and internalise the analogy.
It is not that big a stretch to say that all Kung Fu is the same body-work and that only the individual analogies separate them, we all begin with the same blank canvas.
In the more word-centric western thinking, we do well to replace the IDEA of analogy with the IDEA of strategy.
In this way, there is only one martial Style with many ways to use it, which means we can learn from a multitude of sources.
Setting up the body, understanding how to maintain the set-up when moving and changing shapes are the core of the training, how and where we use that training is dictated by our chosen strategy/analogy.
Things get a bit wacky when we look into this way of training, there is a need to suspend our chosen reality and view everything as a movie, later on we can decide what the movie was about.
A twig on a river, the twig moves but the river stays in the same place.
Our arms are the twig, our body is the river.
A Fire Hose, no matter how much water is gushing out of the hose nozzle, the hose is always full.
Our hands are the nozzle, our body is the hose.
Our Body is a Spider Web, it is not possible to only move one part of the web, it all moves together no matter what we part we move.
Engaging in this kind of mental exercise allows us to step away from what we have think is reality, step away from the rules that govern it, and get closer to seeing things as they are.
Before we get all Carlos Castaneda stay connected to the FACT that at the centre of all Shaolin training was Dhyāna/Chan/Zen – a state of being, an IDEA, they were always trying to be in the moment and to understand who they were, they were never trying to be animals.
Engaging in out of our head thinking can be more than beneficial in so many ways…
…At the end of the day, 2 + 2 must always equal 4.
It is good to keep an open mind, but not so open that our brain falls out.
The universe is founded in symmetry, unification through symmetry, the fundamental theme of Mother Nature, all of the forces of the universe combine to form simpler structures, unifying them through a simple symmetry.
What is simpler than being ourselves?
Unification through symmetry is the theme of the universe.
The governing paradigm of the whole universe is symmetry.