“Two Halves of a Whole” – Bruce Lee

Chinese martial arts are famous/infamous since more than fighting, it presents itself as an art form and even a way of life.

One of the key aspects of Chinese martial art is finding the balance within oneself. This balance may be physical, which can be training to the point that you have found your body’s rhythm and becoming one with your movements being almost untouchable or mental and emotional, finding the patience to greet life’s challenges with hope and dignity. Of course, the goal is to achieve both.

On a more shallow note, the movements in one of my preferred fighting styles (Wing Chun) are symmetric; meaning the moveset for one side of your body is the same and can be applied to the other side. The training method the art is known for is the “Wooden Dummy Form” consisiting of 108 strikes. That is 54 strikes to the left side of the dummy and 54 mirrored strikes to the right. Likewise, single-performed forms also feature the “left-right, left-right” scheme of movement. Even sparring seems to mirror the “balance” that symmetry brings, having two participants mirror each other’s hand movements before they begin freestyle fighting, often which, moves that counter each other can also be treated as symmetric.

Training both sides of the body makes for a more harmonized and stable fighting style; making stance and combat “natural” should you need to switch stance. I’ve noticed the same pattern in my “Level 1” form for Shaolin Kung Fu and other styles as well.

In general, the symmetry of the physical aspect ultimately seeks the spiritual balance within oneself to prepare for both physical and emotional challenges.

disclaimer: Kung Fu way of life, however helpful it may be, is still not to be treated as a substitute for real medical help. If you feel you are suffering something emotional or internal, please consult your doctor.

 

Sources:

  • years of obsessing over martial arts
  • Ip Man rare footage (all 3 forms + Wooden Dummy Form): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YnEm1zaUyE
  • Wong Shun Leung – Si Lum Tao (Wing Chun Form 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crmGYEvLVcw
  • Chi Sao (“Sticking Hands”) sparring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQEiwQG7Wfc
  • Lee, B. (1997, November 15). Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentary on the Martial Way. Clarendon, Vermont: Tuttle
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