Two books

May 26th, 2012

Ever since I can remember, my life has been defined by two purposes.

One, to learn the secrets of mastery and two, to apply that mastery to achieve full expression in life and in music.

The first journey has been well documented in the AOV.

The second is still to be written and probably never will.

As part of the continuing saga of the first journey, I recently acquired two new books.  Yip Chun’s ‘Wing-Chun Martial Arts: Principles and Techniques‘ and Tim Cartmell’s ‘Effortless Combat Throws.’

Yip Chun is the son of Yip Man, the teacher of Bruce Lee.

And you can probably guess from the title of the second book why I was drawn to it.

To me, the martial arts represents a treasure trove of secret knowledge and wisdom. Growing up in the East, I was familiar with the legendary exploits of the old martial arts masters.

Special powers, levitation, the ability to fly through space – all easily depicted these days with computer graphics and cheapened by Hollywood special effects, but very real to me growing up.

For some reason, I was never attracted to the martial arts enough to want to practice it myself. I did take Tai Chi lessons for half a year but gave that up quickly. Somehow, standing in one place, moving the body for the sake of moving it was not exactly my idea of fun.

But I have always been a voracious reader of all things martial. And I relate many of my techniques through them too.

My concept of sticky fingers, for instance, mirrors  the technique of Chi Sau – Sticky Hands.

When you play the guitar, you should feel a stickiness in the fingertips, as if they have a special attraction to the strings.

The technique of sticky fingers produce extreme economy and precision. You feel as if you’re never going to miss the strings, partly because your fingers are never very far from them, and partly because they possess that close connection to the strings which I call finger intelligence.

And so it was that the minute I saw Yip Chun’s book, I was hooked instantly. And the book didn’t disappoint. Fascinating stuff. There’s so much in the book, some of which I will no doubt further elaborate here one day.

The second book is by American kungfu master Tim Cartmell.

This book is far more theoretical, perhaps reflecting the author’s western background. I have yet to dive into the book, I just got it yesterday, but it promises to be a good read this summer.

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