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Wudang Warrior

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Wudang Warrior

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Wudang Warrior Magazine is a project of the Marshall Ho’o Center of Arizona,

a division of the PAAK Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation


Goose Bumps.
By Matthew Papke
  I have lost count of the number of times I have done the babu da form from our open door hsing I lineage; the breaths I have spent in universal pole have also come and gone without number.  For four years I have worked through the forms, the standing meditations and the fu hu gong.  While I saw incredible changes (for the better) in my flexibility, stamina and ability to relax, I had never been able to experience the yin flavors my Sifu talked about.
 There is an indefinable crispness to his fluid nature, and unthinkable power lurking in waiting.  I have seen and felt several times this partially caged tiger; and been thankful for such strong irons.  His hands and fingertips shudder as if some ticklish shock treatment was being administered causing him to beam widely as he settles in to pi chen.  When he performs the single whip, his sleeves ripple and pop, sheltered from the wind outside the door.   The pragmatist in me could not help but ask “Was he embellishing these undulations, the seemingly way to after, after effects?  Was it so sought after that he had settled for some imagined pyrite?”
  Then one day Goosebumps.
  We were warming up for tai chi chuan on a soft Monday evening.  Sifu had selected the eight brocade to prepare us for the form.   During the fifth movement, moving chi, I felt tiny prickles on my arms and coolness on my legs.  I stopped to look and see for myself what was happening, and there they were; goose bumps!  It wasn’t especially cold.  I hadn’t sneezed.  So what was the cause of this?  Was it Yin?  I was in disbelief, for several days trying to recreate this phenomenon.  Had there been a draft, did I drink a cold beverage before?  I increased my work out time, focusing on the eight brocade.  Then a week later it came again.  Several days in a row I awoke and went through the eight brocades, and several days in a row I got tiny goose bumps during the moving chi movement.  Then one day it carried over into sixth movement, shoulder to door.  Was this Yin?  Had I found the mother?  That morning I performed the simplified Beijing 24 step form.  It took me nearly 15 minutes to complete the form and the entire time goose bumps adorned my arms, legs and the back of my neck.  It was the most magical feeling in the world. My respiration had slowed to perhaps 2 or 3 breaths a minute and my pulse was robust but measured.  I was sweating mildly, yet I was refreshingly cool and unbelievably calm and smiling.
 Now months later, I have learned how to find the mother a bit more easily; hsing I chuan forms have the yin flavor my Sifu has been talking about. Bau gua, and even Shaolin forms now have new realities to explore.  Experiencing Yin has given me even more motivation to increase my work out times and as a beautiful side effect, it has allowed me to effectively help heal my own injuries simply by performing the eight brocades.  I have only glimpsed at the valley but now I know it exists.
 “The valley spirit never dies;It is the woman, primal mother.Her gateway is the root of heaven and earthIt is like a veil barely seen.Use it; it will never fail.”  (Six, Feng & English)
  My Sifu smiles often, I know of one reason but, there are at least eight more.  
Feng, Gia fu and English, Jane, trans. Tao Te Ching. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.  

Matthew Papke is a traditional student under Sifu Martin Werner at the Green Mantis Kung Fu School of internal Virtue and Medicine Clinic (480) 782-9393.

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The Marshall Ho’o Center of Arizona is a division of the PAAK Foundation, an Arizona 501(c)(3) charity