Communication And Body Awareness

Corey Waterreus (3/2005)

In Wing Chun training I am constantly reminded to keep doing the basics. I listen to what my Sifu tells me, I try to do it, but yet I still Have trouble. Often I feel I am trying too hard and I actually feel worse than I did to start with. Recently we have been going over the importance of communication between the mind and body and being aware of what the body is actually doing, for without this the basics are very difficult to achieve.

I believe on e of the problems myself and others encounter is sending the information that is being told to us to the body. Reasons for this can be that the mind is distracted, or uncertain what it is doing, or may be just thinking too hard. The mind can only send and receive information, it cannot feel. This is where body awareness comes in. Body awareness to me means being able to feel what the body is doing at any given time. Using the sensation of body awareness allows us to apply information being sent from the mind, and to feedback information to the mind. If the mind tried to do everything it would easily become exhausted and create a lot of frustration within oneself, therefore the two must work in partnership.

The mind is like a head executive that gives different jobs to staff and it is up to them to do the job given. So therefore the mind should be clear what jobs it wants to work on, for example, "tai gong and focusing" and then communicate with the appropriate parts of the body to work on these jobs. To do this the mind must ignore all distractions, whether they may be wandering thoughts or what other people are going, and be calm, relaxed and focused. This will allow the information to get through to the body. From here the body accepts the information, and continues adjusting, constantly feeling and being aware of what it is doing. The body then sends back information to the mind of how it is doing the jobs given and then the mind tells the body yes that's good, or no not quite right. This communication between the mind and the body is a continual process, it is not just a case of feeling the basics are working and then moving on to something else. Eventually the body will get used to this process and it will become like a switch to turn on at any time, whether at training or just walking down the street.

Another thing that I believe helps is giving ourselves positive feedback and being patient. If it doesn't feel right keep trying and don't give up. Continual self-correction and the guidance from an experienced Sifu can help put the student back on the right track. During training is the student finds the mind is wondering, it is very likely that communication between the mind and the body is not happening and one is just doing the movement. The student should remind themselves why they are training and what they are trying to achieve. My Sifu always says " a good Wing Chun practitioner knows exactly what they are doing", and I believe this is achieved through body awareness and communication.

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