This Ones For You

"This one'll never sell, they'll never understand I don't even sing it well, I try but I just can't But I sing it every night and I fight to keep it in " Barry Manilow

As I stand in front of the wide, picture window of the restaurant watching the night life of Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia, my thoughts drift back to an earlier time. I often came here to eat supper with my sifu, the late Cho Hong-Choy. That was twenty-five years ago.

Penang has changed. And I am no longer a teenager. But, I recall…

I recall Cho Hong-Choy giving me a small notebook. I've had it now for a quarter of century, and have reviewed it thousands of times. The paper has yellowed. But, until this night, I never really thought about how this notebook had followed me around the world for so long.

Twenty-five years is, in one sense, a long time, and the plentiful new buildings in the Gurney Drive area reflect the passage of time. I suspect that these developments may have given birth to lots of millionaires. But, twenty-five years is also a very short time; and I wonder how much of the content of this small notebook have I truly comprehended and understood?

Certainly spending such a long time to investigate the content of such a little notebook is not going to make one a millionaire. And for some, such an act is a waste of life. But then, how can anyone measure the knowledge contained in notebook or its contribution to both myself and to the world we all live in?

This book records that the cultivation of advanced martial art involves three different domains: the mind (spirit), body, and breathing (or Qi). And it goes on to explain how they each must be understood, synchronized, and unified before a true mastery of martial art can be attained.

It records how every small detail needs to be investigated in order to know each domain. And how a platform was designed for that purpose - to investigate the small details, such as inhaling/exhaling, expanding/contracting, penetrating/withdrawing, coiling/recoiling . . . And that a platform or set named Siau Lien Tou (Xiao Lian Tou in mandarin).

One small detail referenced in the book, for instance, concerns issuing force or Fa Jing. The word "Jing" in chinese means "force that travels a path." So, path is a key for issuing force. But what exactly is a "path"? Which "path"? Some link the topic to using ground-power; some link the topic to using spiral trajectory; some link the topic to body-structure, either static or dynamic; some link the topic to the in-depth focusing of intention; some link the topic to the use of body-weight to accelerate; some link.... But has anyone linked the "path" to the twelve meridians of the hands and legs in Traditional Chinese Medicine? What is a meridian? A Path.

Then, it comes to changing the path. The path that the force takes may need to change when the opponent changes the path of his force. What if the path becomes blocked? Or if the path is intercepted? Or should we purposely want to deceive an opponent who is "listening" to our force? What if the path is…? So many things to investigate.

How is the path related to breathing? Everything action needs oxygen. So how does our breathing effect the generation of force? How does it effect the acceleration of force? How will it effect the spine's adapting? Those didn't even come to picture yet. How about shifting one's thinking and examining how breathing effects the physical or chemical reactions in one's own body?

Details, details, more details ... so many other details we need to experience for ourselves. Studying doesn't mean understanding. Believing doesn't mean truly knowing.

Yes, twenty-five years have passed… and I wonder what percentage of the stanzas that make up that small notebook have I truly comprehended? What percentage of my body -- mind, physical, and breathing -- have I understood?

I can see the sun raising from the horizon of the sea and I love the morning sunshine with it's fresh air…

Some say that creation began with a dream, then it was planned out in every detail, and only then finally executed. There is no short cut…

Lots of buildings can be built in twenty-five years. But how much can one learn about oneself in a quarter of a century? Who am I?

"…This one's for you wherever I go To say the things I should have said, things that you should know This one's to say that all I can do Is hope that you will hear me sing 'cause this one's for you…"