Soy Milk with Your Coffee?

Drinking Coffee with the BossI went over to Master George Xu's house yesterday to work on a writing project.

He has always had really interesting and weird ways of saying things.  I just thought I'd share a couple with you.

We were talking about how your mind should be when you are fighting or practicing internal martial arts.  He said that your body should be unconscious like when you are watching a movie.  He sometimes uses the word subconscious instead.  Both words are from psychology, and neither one really hits the mark.  One reason it's hard to explain is that America is a "what" culture, and China is a "how" culture.  We tend to think about "what" we should do, a Chinese person tends to think about "how" it should be done.

But of course George Xu's students ask, "What do you mean?"  George's answer is a combination of mime and words, but if it was just words it would sound like this, "It's like when your boss is yelling at you.  As he glares at you, shaking and pointing the finger of his right hand, he unconsciously reaches out to the side for his cup of coffee with his left hand, finds it, picks it up, brings it to his mouth, takes a sip and puts it back down.  All this without looking left, and without a break in his tirade.---  The hand that reached for the coffee cup was unconscious, the way your whole body should be when you are fighting or training internal martial arts."

In his kitchen, yesterday, after we had a few cups of tea he started demonstrating.  While he was throwing me into the walls and various kitchen implements, he pointed out that I haven't perfected my shoulders yet.  He said, "Your shoulders should be like Soy bean milk."  He demonstrated this for me, and repeated the phrase 4 or 5 times.  I tried to feel what he was doing as he launched me into the microwave.

Back a home about six hours later, I put my feet up and closed my eyes.  Suddenly it struck me just how outrageous and yet specific the expression, "Shoulders like soy bean milk" actually is. 

Now, Get to work!