Are you kidding me? Where has the
through some archives came across this article that I re-blogged in 2004. So I'm re-blogging it, some things never get old – to me :-) . Hope
THE ZEN OF CHU
10 Year-old article on
mind-set & training makes a comeback…
Terms, Principles &
concepts: You will notice different terms or references in our videos and in
our manual and articles at times (especially interviews or older documents).
The research that makes up the S.P.E.A.R. & PERSONA DEFENSE READINESS
system is the result of over two decades work. Our programs continue to evolve
even to this very day. Here's a
short explanation of why. We first started as the Chu Fen Do (CFD) System,
(1979) with our hard-core street defense program. In the mid eighties, we opened a division called Tactical
Confrontation Management Systems to address the more modern scenarios. Our original force-on-force drill was
called PANIC ATTACK and has since evolved into BALLISTIC MICRO-FIGHTS and the
HIGH GEAR SIMULATION SYSTEM. The
company experienced tremendous attention from the law enforcement &
military communities after the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM was developed (1988) and this
spawned the need for a division between our 'professional' audience and the
general public. As a result the
PERSONAL DEFENSE READINESS program was created.
Irrespective of audience, we
strive to provide you with the most deliberate, decisive and direct concepts
possible. Our goal is to enhance
your readiness, improve your confidence and make you more dangerous when you
need to be.
But in some cases articles
had some reflective significance and so we kept them in their original format,
leaving left terms as they 'were', as they originally appeared, thus
maintaining their historical value.
That is the case with this
article written over 10 years ago.
Enjoy & stay safe,
Montreal. May 23, 2004
ZEN OF CHU FEN
CHU FEN DO system is noted for it's hard-core approach to street defense
training. Drills like the PANIC ATTACK enhance confidence in our students,
however it is our research into the mind, specifically the psychology of fear
and it affliction on performance that truly differentiates our system from
you train for self-defense or for aesthetic reasons, we are all connected,
inter-related and share a common bond; we are all martial artists. But most
martial practitioners fail to recognize that the mental side of combat is far
more crucial to success than physical development, particularly the aspect of
'ego'. Of course, physical skill is necessary, but I firmly believe that people
could probably defend themselves more effectively without martial training, if
they simply chose to survive – to fight with their instincts, their indignation
at being attack.
fact, my contention is supported daily, by nameless civilians who say
"no" to the sociopaths that prey on the "supposed" meek and
helpless. There are far more people who defend themselves everyday – without
training – than there ever will be martial artists who train and then are
I believe most styles do not truly prepare their proponents for street
survival, it is necessary to train separately for the street confrontation. It
is up to you, the reader, to recognize that the 'responsibility' (read:
response/ability or 'ability to respond') is yours alone and therefore, you
must train scientifically and specifically for the street.
enhance this process, the CHU FEN DO system draws from a wealth of material. As
the student progresses he/she is introduced to more cerebral and spiritual
concepts; "performance" psychology and a unique Zen/Tao blend are the
esoteric components that complete our martial training.
training has transcendent value. My primary objective is to share my
discoveries on self-defense; to ensure that any student of mine is fully
prepared to protect their life or the life of a loved one. My secondary
objective is to spiritually enlighten the practitioner through the cultivation
of this art, which is only achieved when the student realizes that his
expression of the art is uniquely his, and that he always possessed the art.
of repetitions and out of one's true self perfection emerges. -Zen saying
follows is a brief synopsis of the CHU FEN DO integration of Zen (being in the
moment) Taoism (letting go of the moment) and performance psychology, as it
applies to the higher levels of training, sparring and ultimately street
is those elusive, esoteric elements that I write about. This treatise may read
like Latin or psycho-babble. Enjoy it for what its worth. Remember, words are
irrelevant. On our day of judgment we will not be asked what we've read or
written, but rather, what we've done.
CHU FEN DO's PHILOSOPHICAL
SCIENCE OF COMBAT
how the mind categorizes, creates programs, uses logic and ultimately deludes
itself is so very important to our training. In our social system, which
includes martial arts schools, there is too much emphasis on memorization,
imitation, and automaton cooperativeness. Transcendence isn't inspired or
I can use a painting corollary…far too many of us spend far too much time trying
to paint some one else's picture. We are not expressing our true self, nor are
we truly creating. Self-actualization is paramount for inner peace.
is about self-expression. It is an inspired moment or movement. Consider the
idea of "Art Class". How can an art teacher tell you that your
painting isn't "good" or "is", for that matter – it’s your
expression! Isn't that teacher really saying, "That's not the color I
would use." or "That's not the stroke, I would use.”?
ego is so corrupt and omnipotent that we have trouble recognizing
self-manipulation and delusion. I often remind my students that the "the
longer they practice "failure", the harder it will be to recognize
"success". That is to say, so many of us spend so much time getting
good at the wrong thing that the "right" thing is no longer
recognizable. My late great friend Brandon Lee once wrote, "For what level
of imperfection will you settle?" Brilliant.
today is often determined by acceptance from an authority; an authority that
you have identified and relinquished some of your personal power to. People
aren't happy doing their own thing. We all want feedback to know whether we are
worthwhile or on the right track; if it fits the current trend and formula,
then it must be right.
you see the picture I am trying to paint? If you are not doing your thing, then
you are doing someone else's. This awareness represents the key to freedom and
spontaneity with your skill and art. A novice painter may copy and imitate the
master – but, no matter how good the copy is, it simply is a copy.
is an expression: "Seek not to follow in a holy man's footsteps, seek what
he sought." Painting by numbers is a start, it teaches techniques and
process, but it has its limitations and if the teacher doesn't encourage
exploration, the student becomes a master clone.
is a wonderful expression in the martial arts: "Most people boast 20 years
experience. Really, what they mean is that they have one year of experience
repeated twenty times."
we respect and understand just how complicated our mind-ego and thinking
process is we will always be chained to the imitation/conformity process; a
slave to convention. Your theory determines your experience. How we look at
something colors the evaluation.
human mind is dualistic. This means, we are always analyzing, forming opinions,
drawing conclusions, comparing, expecting…Basically, thinking too much.
Comparison leads to judgment, which leads to the classification of good or bad.
Since the mind navigates the body, our heart (intuition) often loses out to
this process. This accounts for much of the controversy in the martial arts.
Rather than sharing our skills with each other we criticize and challenge one
another. We think too much in the wrong way.
wrong with thinking, you ask? And how can you think too much? The thinking I
refer to is `fixating', which is not to be confused with focusing. While you
are "fixating" you are frozen, your mind has locked on to an idea.
And so, this type of thinking during combat is fatal. Intuition and instinct
must control your arsenal. The anatomical thought process is far too slow to
react to the immediateness of a non-telegraphic attack.
duality of our mind is epitomized by combat. Our mind – the ego-consciousness –
is too concerned with making an impression or controlling the situation. We try
to intellectualize something that is completely spontaneous and ever changing.
The only way to rise above this futile process is simply to accept it. Unconditionally.
That means, empty yourself from the thought of injury or death or the desire to
impress or win, and so on.
is often times more attainable when one trains combatively than by any other
means. This is why Zen doctrines are used to guide a student. Zen is about
action. D.T. Suzuki summed it up best, "Strictly speaking, Zen has no
philosophy of its own. Its teaching is concentrated on an intuitive
experience…Zen upholds intuition against intellection, for intuition is the
more direct way of reaching the Truth." The Truth being the perfect
strike, counter, evasion, etc. or personal enlightenment.
EGO, in its pejorative sense, is responsible for all diseases we are afflicted
with during combat. (DISEASE should be read DIS/EASE, meaning, ILL AT EASE.)
These diseases are based on the duality of this fixative thought. For example,
good/bad, right/wrong, fear/courage, winning/losing, etc.
problem is simple. We engage in too much discursive and delusive thought. We
fixate on everything and therefore interrupt the natural flow of order. In
combat, intellectual deliberations are obvious emotional rhythm breaks. The
superior opponent, who fights with directness, economy of motion, and employs
the intuitive and instinctive elements of his mind and body will exploit this
cessation of flow. To correct this common flaw, it is necessary to purge the
mind of all thought during combat. In Zen terms, `mushin', i.e., empty-mind.
a famous sword master, states in his triple treatise on the sword:
mind unmoved is emptiness; when moved it works the mysterious. Emptiness is
one-mind-ness, one-mind-ness is no-mind-ness, and it is no-mind-ness that
achieves wonders. Give up thinking as though not giving it up. Observe the
technique as though not observing. Have nothing left in your mind; keep it
thoroughly cleansed of its contents, and then the mirror will reflect the
images in their `isness'. Let yourself go with the disease, be with it, keep
company with it: this is the way to get rid of it.
technique is important, but it is secondary. Transcending technique is the
height of evolution. When the act and the actor become one, there is
enlightenment. There is no thought process, no deliberation. True combat is
comprised of random sequential relationships, a succession of interdependent
attacks, defenses and counter strikes. If harmony is to exist in combat it is
the understanding of sequential relationship that will engender it. You and
your opponent must be one.
truth of combat is simple: circumstantial spontaneity, not some `preconceived
reaction', must control the flow of action. Having no preference for range,
tool or tactic is the "way". Only then can you be `one' will your
opponent. How you respond should be creative and therefore cannot be determined
until you've done it. Trying to decide `should I do this or that' reveals a
lack of insight into omnipotent strategy of `choiceless choice'. Your opponent
controls the fight. It is always his intentions, movements, attacks, etc. that
stimulate your response.
in combat, there are no answers, because there can be no questions. It's always
yin & yang. Blending. Equal forces that meet each other usually negate each
other. Let the action dictate your reaction. No movement is wrong until you
solidify the moment by fixating on it. Do not establish parameters around your
arsenal and do not classify your techniques. This will only hinder your
improvisational skills, which are so necessary in real combat. Classification
leads to solidification, which is the result of fixation, which in turn arrests
instinctive flow. To think during combat is mechanical and combat, as we know,
is always alive and fluid.
have alluded several times that thinking is during combat is `wrong'. To
further clarify this elusive concept, just remember that subjective thought is
always myopic. Objective thought is liberating. Learn to think without the
interference of thought. That is productive thinking. Non-interference allows
everything to be seen in its true light, uncolored by the ego. The actor and
the action are one; you have transcended technique.
Suzuki writes in his essay on `Zen and Swordsmanship':
man emptied of all thoughts, all emotions originating from fear, all sense of
insecurity, all desires to win, is not conscious of using the sword; both man
and sword turn into instruments in the hands, as it were, of the unconscious,
and it is this unconscious that achieves wonders of creativity. It is here that
swordplay becomes an art.
the sword is not separated from the man, it is an extension of his arms and
accordingly a part of his body. Furthermore, the body and mind are not
separated, as they are in the case of intellectualization. The mind and body
move in perfect unison, with no interference from intellect or emotion. Even
the distinction of subject and object is annihilated. The opponent's movements
are not perceived as such and therefore the subject, so called, acts
instinctively in response to what is presented to him [circumstantial
spontaneity]. There is no deliberation on his part as to how to react. His
unconscious automatically takes care of the whole situation."
is important to come to terms with the nature of thoughts and how they
interfere with reality. Once this is grasped you are left with satori, i.e.,
master Philip Kapleau states:
thoughts, whether ennobling or debasing, are mutable and impermanent; they have
a beginning and an end even as they are fleeting with us…It is important in
this connection to distinguish the role of transitory thoughts from the that of
fixed concepts. Random ideas are relatively innocuous, but ideologies, beliefs,
opinions, and points of view, not to mention factual knowledge accumulated
since birth, are the shadows which obscure the light of truth."
may ask, what then are we to do if we can't think? In a philosophical sense,
thinking refers to duality. When you liberate yourself from duality your
thoughts are pure.
is useful in many ways, but there are some occasions when thinking interferes
with the work, and you have to leave it behind and let the unconscious come
forward. In such cases, you cease to be your conscious master but become an
instrument in the hands of the unknown. The unknown has no ego-consciousness
and consequently no thought of winning the contest, because it moves at the
level of non-duality, where the is neither subject nor object."
of the Zen ideas may seem paradoxical to the logical mind. But, perhaps there
is more to life than logic. It is linear logic and intellectualizing that
clouds true seeing. Buddhist thought tells us that logic should harmonize with
life in order to be logical and not vice versa.
simplicity comes adversity. The simplicity I refer to is the true nature of
instinct and intuition. The fighter strives to respond instinctively,
intuitively. On this level, his thoughts and actions are organic. They are
unpolluted or colored by the many `diseases' brought on through confrontation.
Philosophically everything is perfect. There is perfect perfection and perfect
imperfection. Nothing is right or wrong. Everything just is.
truth gives many students trouble. We fixate on what we believe reality to be.
When we stop emotionally coloring our daily experiences, we will experience
hit a bag.