How to Be
I recently had a late night conversation with my teacher, Zhang Sanfeng. He explained the doctrine of Ready, Fire, Aim. This doctrine works across multiple Happenings of Being.
What is a Happening of Being? you might ask. Well, back in the 1970s there was an art movement called "The Happening." It was a big part of my childhood because my Dad took me to Happenings instead of the Boy Scouts or Baseball. It is a bit like a themed party, a bit like an audience participation performance, a bit like Burning Man, and a bit like an art gallery. It was a spontaneous and unconscious attempt to re-create meaningful rituals out of chaos.
One of the elements of the Hippy era that made Happenings possible was the comfortable split between Be-ers and Do-ers. Do-ers were the people with gumption, drive and ideas. Be-ers were people who would just hang out. Be-ers without Do-ers become flakes, bums, and office workers. Do-ers without Be-ers become dreamers, artists, and business owners. There were enough Be-ers around in the 1970s that a Do-er could announce some Happening or Project and the Be-ers would just show up and participate.
Anyway back to the first paragraph. A Happening of Being is anything you want it to be. It is whatever it is you are doing but looked at through the lens of an open mind. According to Zhang Sanfeng, Ready, Fire, Aim, is a way of orienting oneself towards chaos. It is a type of improvisation. It is a way to get past the blocks and inhibitions. It is a way to access truth and beauty.
The unconscious mind just does stuff, and then the conscious mind justifies it. The conscious mind is an illusion that makes us think we had a "reason" for what we just did. One way to get around this is to shoot before you aim. It is hard to explain. Just try it.
Someone on Facebook asked about Qi Disease. This was my answer:
The most common type of Qi Sickness is when people get their panties in a twist over the obvious truth that large parts of Chinese martial arts come from the theater. Another common Qi disease manifests as a fear of framing martial skills inside of religious commitments; this fear is like a chronic irresponsibility. These are ghostly or demonic possession states fed by the millions of people who were murdered for expressing those common-sense (human nature) views. The best book on the subject is called Possible Origins, and I wrote it. Check it out, I think you will like it.
Poopy Diapers Walk…
The second part of my next book (which should be finished soon) is about the mythology of the angry baby god Nezha, and how he is the aesthetic origins of the martial art Baguazhang. A funny thing is that twenty-five years ago my dancer girl friend identified the Poopy Diaper Walk of a certain Baguazhang teacher I was studying with. At the time neither of us had any knowledge of Nezha. I wonder if that teacher's teacher agreed to teach him because of his strange morphology? It is a common theme of early Baguazhang masters, including Dong Haichuan, that they have weird bodies. If you know a weird body story about Baguazhang feel free to share it in the comments.