What I like about the book is I can really imagine these various teachers are talking to me. In fact, it's pretty funny, because a lot of the time I have this sense that the teachers are shouting at me. I'm willing to bet Paul Gale likes to shout. Here is a nice excerpt:
"'The bottom of the foot is the back.' There's a physical reality of it that the bottom of the foot is the back, meaning that the bottom of your foot is pulling your back forward. You have to learn to move that way, otherwise there's no foundation. You'll always get swept and knocked down because you'll be top-heavy."
I think my favorite section was the interview with Luo Dexiu where he talks about the cultural barriers he had to get around in order to learn from very traditional teachers. In that traditional setting a direct question would have been perceived as a challenge to the status of his teacher, and his teacher would have gotten very angry. He and his fellow students came up with all sorts of ingenious ways to get questions answered with out actually ever asking a question.Â At one point he and another student stage angry huff and puff arguments and then ask the teacher to settle them.Â Â This technique got some their questions answered.
I noticed a theme that many of the teachers brought up.Â They said qi is given too much attention and that yi (intentionality?)Â is not given enough.Â I guess that's true with some teachers, but it wasn't true with any of mine.
It's impossible to generalize about all the student teacher relationships out there, but in my opinion once you've internalized about 300 martial applications of various sorts, yi in the application sense of the word becomes less important.Â One can continue using the word yi by tweaking it's meaning but there are other terms for this "higher level" yi such as jingshen.Â
It's a good book and I had fun arguing with the various teachers.Â I would have shortened most of the interviews if I was editing it, but I'm planning to buy volume 2 if there is one.
The book includes interviews with these teachers: Gabriel Chin, Tim Cartmell, Paul Gale, Fong Ha, Luo De Xiu, Allen Pittman, William Lewis, Tony Yang, Zhao Da Yuan, Bruce Frantzis. Check it out.