Higher Martial Arts
Deep Mind based training
leads to Higher Martial Arts. Normal superficial-mind based training can never go beyond mere speed, strength and external technique.
1985...as I drove slowly off ... another car crossed the centreline at high speed and ran head-on into my car.... While interesting in itself ... I mostly mention it because of my deep and complex experiences during the micro-seconds of the crash itself.... In the universal experience of such shocking moments of impending danger time came almost to a halt.
I became aware of the other car seemingly motionless in time and space, less than one metre in front of me. All details of the car and the driver at the wheel were clear. As I had not at that stage fastened my seatbelt and the other car was much heavier than my own, there was obvious danger. Then, the instant of impact. Many things took place - my body sank low in the seat, my right leg braced itself and my right arm lifted just in time to absorb the energy of impact as my upper body was thrown strongly into the windscreen. I sensed the immense pressure of my forearm against the windscreen while my head touched the windscreen lightly - no doubt without the forearm, my head would have punctured the screen. Then as my compressed right arm released its power I was thrown back into my seat.
During this slow-motion event my mind was clear and without emotion. My body felt like a fluid mass of elastic jelly. Long chains of thoughts took place concerning how, as these forces were so great, that surely my body would be severly damaged. Then everything went still. The other car was stopped dead in its tracks by the impact while mine was thrown back several metres. After a few seconds I began to move and check each part of my body. Unexpectedly nothing was broken, no cuts and no obvious bruises. The ambulance arrived to convey the other driver - who while wearing a seatbelt, did have cuts, bruises and broken bones - to the hospital....
I had had minor experiences before of this time of danger - time slows down, mind freely dissociates from the body, emotions are quiet, simultaneous awareness of multiple subtle bodily sensations - but this time, as well as those effects being much stronger and longer, intelligently lifesaving movements had occured. Instead of the universal instinct to contract all my muscles and 'grit my teeth' ready for the impact, my body had dropped into an elastically compressed state while my arm and leg sought early contact with the impending points of impact allowing my body to compress into those points rather than collide with them.
Everyone, sooner or later in their lives (death being the latest) experiences something similar to this state. Why not incorporate it into our understanding of life? It makes no sense to put it aside as unexplainable. How is it possible for the mind to work so fast that many, many lucid thoughts can take place in the blink of an eye? How is it possible that all fears and anxieties normally associated with trauma, dissapear in an instant?
Grandmaster Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-ching) said that his teacher Yang Chengfu had told him that in a time of emergency his deeper nature would take over and all that he had trained in a truely deep sense would appear and work much more effectively than it did when practising. Grandmaster Zheng did not believe it until the first time he was really attacked and his teachers's words proved correct.
Many more Accounts of well trained martial artists shifting into this rare state when under intense pressure exist. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) stated that when he was attacked by a madman with a sword, in the instant before each cut, Ueshiba saw a line of light describing the arc on which the intended blow would fall, allowing him to safely disarm the atacker. An indian chief when trying to encourage his braves against the army, rode boldly in front of the opposing army's lines. Experiencing the heightening of awareness, the slowing down of time and as each soldier prepared to fire, a beam of light where the soldiers were aiming, he miraculously evaded the intended bullets.
My interest aroused, I studied all I could on this subject. Why waste time and immense amounts of effort training external abilities when in the vitally important moments of life, only that which can be used by the Deep Mind is of any consequence. Gradually many such moments from my childhood came back into my memory, building up a mass of data from which I could work.
Then, considering the fact that "within a dream we can have experiences that are perceived as lasting hours or even days, all within a few minutes of physical time" together with the fact that instinctive reactions can move the body before we become aware of it, I realised that in fact there is not just 1, but 3 levels within the Higher Martial Arts.
I realised that most training which was done in a superficial-mind state contributed almost nothing to these deeper abilities. Perhaps the lowest of the 3 higher levels - the instinctive level - could be touched on in lucky cases, but even that was seldom chanced on. Only when the superficial control of the mind, body and emotions was given up, and the Deep Mind correctly activated could the subsequent moments of training be gathered in by our deeper parts.
All training methods I had used up until that time required reviewing. I gradually implemented changes in the way I taught and practised. I attempted to remove every trace of the 'lower martial arts' which relied on more strength, more speed and more external control, replacing them only with methods that would contribute to the development in ourselves of the 'higher martial arts'.