DJ: Sifu, would you tell us what your view of Ving Tsun is for you and what it means in your life?
LMS: I took Ving Tsun to my soul. Everything I do, everything I touch, everything I see from my family to my business, somehow, in some way I relate it to the things that I learn in Ving Tsun. Well, somebody may carry Ving Tsun in a different way. Somebody may view Ving Tsun as the greatest fighting art. I view Ving Tsun as the whole world, of my inner world. I view Ving Tsun as a very good therapy for your physical health. I view Ving Tsun as a very good business strategy. I view Ving Tsun as a method to create a very happy family, and also the development of the human being in its own unique way.
So since all of these theories and fighting structure that you teach, everything is very simple and direct. God, that's what this world needs! Just be simple and direct and that will cut off all the B.S. that surrounds you. If I want a business venture with someone and they are holding something back, then I am holding something back. We are not direct with each other, but if we are direct, business plans can exist in a successful way. If you open up a little bit, I open up a little bit. This wastes a lot of time, I'd rather say this is what I have, let’s put it on the table, what do you have, heart to heart.
There is no successful fighting without physical contact. So in your life look at your family. The only way to get a good response is with real physical contact. Hugging, caring, heart to heart sincerity, creating the best relationship, what a best friend should be. If one day you said, "I'm the man of the house, I'm the guy who wears the pants," Good bye to your marriage. That's the way the world is, learn from it, live with it, compromise with it. If you don't learn to compromise with these kinds of things, then you will have problems. So I view Ving Tsun as life. I don't know what other people view it as. If I want to get into a fight, oh, I'm sure I know how. Simple fact is, I have confidence. But if I want to create a good relationship, guess what, I know how, because there is a guide line.
My Ving Tsun, thanks to my Sifu Moy Yat, I appreciate what Yip Man Sigung has taught him and that I in turn receive this art myself. But I don't take this art for granted. I utilize it every second, every chance I get. There is only one guideline in my head, and that's Siu Nim Tao. Be simple, be direct, that's my concept of Ving Tsun, it's that simple. How other people view it, hey, they have their own development, because Ving Tsun allows you to do anything you want to do. As I mention to you guys many years ago, if you want to be an instructor, be one. If you want to be a fighter, be one, there are many ways to choose what you want to be. There are unlimited resources you can use, not based just on Ving Tsun alone.
I'm just saying you use the Ving Tsun theory, branch out to many different fields. Now, believe it or not, people who don't know Ving Tsun, they do it the same way.
Do you know how complicated this light is? [point’s to the ceiling lights] They simplify it. All you have to do is flip the switch and the light turns on. Meanwhile in the back ground, you have to generate the power, wiring work, all this and that. All you do is flip the switch. Do you know how many years it took to develop that? Well sure, simple, but you have to have a plan to create that simple thing. So therefore your life now beginning to train, plan, simplify things. Simplify your life. Really simplify your life. Life is complicated. All of a sudden you will find out that you can get along with people that you couldn't get along with before, what ever the reason is, it’s so complicated.
But if you see people without color restriction, without ego restriction, without power restriction, without greed, you know now that you are dealing with a very simple factor. Just be friends. I don't care if it's black people, I don't care if it's white people, yellow or green. Who cares, I mean does that really make that much difference, because of my own ego?
Now we might be trained wrong in the beginning when we were a child, somewhere along the line we are told not to play with this color person because this color person is no good. Well, OK, when you are a kid you listen to your parents, and we face now our enemy. Isn't that stupid?
Now you’re grown up, you’re grown up to be an adult now, you will be able to justify what is right and wrong. Now you meet a different color person, now all of a sudden you say, they're not exactly what my parents said, or somebody else say's. They are different people, yes, but you know what, they have two hands, two feet, two eyes, two ears, one nose, and one mouth. They might not think the same way, but if we can exchange ideas, and really come across the bridge, how to learn each others culture, what difference does it make? That's what Ving Tsun is all about.
DJ: Chum Kiu - bridging the gap.
LMS: Chum Kiu, what is Chum Kiu? A lot of people say, "Search for the bridge." What we wanted to say is "get across," learn from each other, in a peaceful way. What we are saying is close contact. Now Biu Jee is "thrust fingers," everybody thinks it is the most powerful form in Ving Tsun. I view it like a compass. It gives me the direction of where to go. Now I get close to you, give me the direction of where to go. Two ways, either I can beat you down, or we can be the best of friends. If fighting, yes, give me the direction of how to best beat you down. In more peaceful time, give me the direction of how we can get more closer, and be best friends. Exactly like a knife. My Siu Nim Tao, I decide to cut an apple and serve you. Siu Nim Tao, again back to the beginning. So these three forms, can they be separated from each other? They can't.
DJ: It's like Tan, Bong, Fuk, they are interrelated.
LMS: That's right. Now here comes the wooden man. That they take all the form and sectionalize it, and show you from the beginning, this part train what, this part train your hands what, this part train your hand again in different scenario, until you learn all 10 sections. Then you will say to yourself, let me mix it, put a, b, c, d, now into words, and then sentences. Then I say to myself that this is still no good, I need to write a letter so that people can understand. Then you do it empty, whatever you feel like. Now you learn from a to z, so therefore it is time for you to write a composition. In a peaceful world, you will utilize this empty hand Muk Yan Jong (Wooden man) for the purpose of writing sentences. In a fighting way, I don't even know how I will hit you, but because what ever you throw at me, my hands automatically know how to react, retreat, and take advantage of you if you make a mistake.
There are always two ways to view Ving Tsun, in the beginning, you only view Ving Tsun in one way, how to take your opponent down. As you get older, Ving Tsun really works into your bones, how to make peace. How to make your most violent fighting art into a very peaceful life. God, that's what it's all about! There’s so many wonderful things in the Ving Tsun system.
You need your mind to discover them. I'm just here to guide you along, how to find them, which way to find them. You have complete freedom to do so. As you look at my Sifu's Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Jee, books, you see very little words in them. Why are there no words in there? Because you have to use your own intelligence to see things. You see it wrong, sorry, no teacher in the world can teach you, but if you see it right, you are one of a thousand, because now you use your brain. These books were not meant to teach you, they were meant to give you some reference. This reference is all according to how intelligent you are, how deep of the knowledge you have of Ving Tsun to capture that.
How could you really teach people if they really don't understand it, or don't care? If they pick up the book, and since there is no words in there, they study really closely, that will give you a reference point.
You do the right thing with it. By that time you should have enough theory to be able to analyze it, to see why the routine is like this. I always advise people to challenge this, challenge this book. Think of the worst thing to defeat it. Don't forget that it has no words, so how are you going to defeat something that has nothing there? You see an object, you throw a punch and break this object. But if there is nothing, who are you going to fight? Yes, there is one person you are fighting, it's your mind. You learn how to analyze it now, so therefore you use your most intelligent way to defeat this.
If you could, your level of education is very high, if you can't, that's one of the books you put on the shelf and never ever touch again. That's why there are no words, there was a reason for no words. It's not just that we don't put no words in there. There is a reason for this, that reason is to give you the freedom to grow. Just a matter of you to learn how to capture them. Just a matter of how you utilize it.
A lot of people say hey, no words, how am I going to learn from it? They just missed the greatest glory there is. Hey! The air you can't see, how come you can live? Do you really need to see something to give you life? See what I mean? There's nothing there, can you see it, and you can't touch it. You try to grab it, but it leaks out of your fingers. You think you can get that much but actually you get nothing.
Think about that. If your enemy don't exist, do you really have an enemy? If you turn all of your enemies into friends, do you think you need to fight? No! That's the education of one person fight 10 thousand, not one person fighting one person. If you got 10 thousand friends, who do you think you are going to fight? But if you make one enemy, you have to face the challenge. It's gonna drain your body and will drain your mind. You don't create anything from it, there is no benefit for the people. But if you utilize the 10 thousand people to create things, you benefit the world.
That's what Ving Tsun is really teaching us, how to be at peace. Well, sure you need to fight, there is a technique for you to use in a fight. But that's just on a low, low, low, level. When you get on a high level, you don't talk anymore. You'll see, you'll analyze, you'll create things that benefit us, people. You don't try to sell anymore. I never sell Ving Tsun, I work at it, and make sure it goes into my soul. I never say to people that Ving Tsun is the greatest, do this and do that. I don't say that, only that Ving Tsun is a way of life, if you understand it, you will receive benefits. If you don't understand it, maybe you try and learn something from it, but I am not going to push you to learn. I'm not going to push you, and I'm not going to say that it's the best in the world.
But there is one way you can create a peaceful and balanced life, if you allow Ving Tsun to work at your body. But if you shut the door, then nothing in the world can help you, because you shut the door yourself.
Now human beings are into more adventure, and so because of this, they want to find what's the best. They always think something is better. The best is right in front of you and they don't even see it, because it's too easy. Siu Nim Tao is too easy. From three year old to 80 year old you can do it, that's how easy it is. You take other exercise, either your too young to go through it or too old.
DJ: You mentioned last night that you should do the form for at least one hour, can you elaborate more on this?
LMS: My experience is if I drink this water and it's sweet, I will know that it's sweet. This is my experience after I do Siu Nim Tao for minimum of one hour. For half an hour, I feel nothing. I feel no rejuvenation. But if I do one hour, or two hours, I feel tremendous rejuvenation, number one, it sharpens up my senses. Number two, especially if I have a cold, my healing process is very fast. When I do Siu Nim Tao, I feel so much heat. After I finish, not only do I feel more awake, but when I go to sleep, I sleep like a baby. That will give me enough ammunition to face the world the next day.
These are very simple exercises I go through everyday that everyone can accomplish. But a little higher, that will require a little more training. You have to discover that higher state, that's up to you. You are completely free as to how you are going to absorb it. Your mind now has so many techniques to solve different problems because your mind is clear. It is easier to solve problems because now you have the theories behind you. Be simple, and be direct, and then you will find a way to solve your problems in a simple and direct way because now you have a clear mind to do so. If you don't have a clear mind to do so, then how are you going to think? How is your strategy going to work? Nothing! So what I experience, Ving Tsun, it is a working table for you to create many things on.
I don't view Ving Tsun as everything I view it as a tool, to create many different things. If I don't have a table to work on, how am I going to create all of the nice things? How am I going to write a beautiful letter? I have to have a table, Ving Tsun is this table. I hope I made this clear.If I were a heavy weight lifter, I could lift up 500 Lb., as long as my Siu Nim Tao tells me so. I could pick up 500 Lb, but I would have to go through hell to train this. I probably would have to go through several years of training to do this.
Because Siu Nim Tao requires you to satisfy yourself, to satisfy the body needs, to satisfy the challenge, so therefore he makes a point and he lifts up the weight to become a champion. That's the force behind these actions. Everyone has this force, it depends on how you want to use it. There is so much to find for you to become successful. That's why to me I view Ving Tsun as a table. It gives you time to develop yourself, gives you things to develop yourself. There are millions of Ving Tsun practitioners out there and everyone has their freedom to create whatever they want to create. So some people can create without even a table, and that's even better. But I'm not that high level, so I need a table. That's how I view my Ving Tsun, and I love it, every minute of it. I'm not the most successful guy in the world, but you know what? I am satisfied.
DJ: You mentioned in the past that performing Siu Nim Tao affects your health positively. Could you talk a little on this?
LMS: All right, now we go into kung fu. We are the one who is supposed to build this structure. Build this basic foundation, utilize this knowledge to help create a better foundation, utilize this knowledge to create a better body, a better life. So therefore, when we train, we make sure the meridians are trained. When you start doing the form let's say for a half hour, you'll feel a warmth start to surround your body. And if you do it for one hour, you will feel this warmth goes even outside of your body, around your body, much more intensified. When that intensified heat surrounds you body, your body now begins to train, begins to create a stronger immune system, more powerful than if you don't do it. So you have enough weapons to fight disease. Enough weapons to control the environment that continually attacks you. That's why we should not be afraid of dirt and germs, because these things make us work inside, to help the immunity system develop weapons against these
Without these germs coming in, our body is not going to know how to fight in the future. If nobody Chi Sao with you, how are you going to get better? So this positive and negative always goes hand in hand. When you see bad things, that's what you learn from. They are there for a reason, that's why you learn from it, and train, create things that affect it. So human beings continue to evolve in this way. So if everybody put their brains together, we could go to the red star. Hey, it's not easy to go to the red star, but if we all put our noodles together, nothing is impossible.
So, can you imagine taking care of your family, that's the easiest thing in the world. If you want to make money, that's so easy. You talk about ordinary life, that's so simple. In fact, you don't ever need to think about it. But what you need to do is train your heart and train your soul. If you train your heart and soul using Siu Nim Tao, you go through it a little easier. That's why I give my life to it, because I believe and it has proven to me that it works.
DJ: When one does a long Siu Nim Tao, an hour for instance, the legs have a tendency to shake or vibrate. Is there an explanation for this?
LMS: Earth element acts as a weight. If you pour a glass of water into a creek, the water will find it's own path, and there is nothing you can control. When you stand in Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma, you are constantly fighting earth gravity, how your blood travels, how are your muscle, what is your balance and weight distribution, all of this is taken into consideration. Now after a while, you take a half an hour later, people who have not trained before, the legs begins to shake because they are running out of strength. The body is becoming very heavy, the earth gravity is constantly pulling at you, so you run out of strength, and when this happens you begin to shake and then you start sweating.
Remember that water from the glass that was poured into the creek that goes it's own way? Now your whole body goes it's own way. Just let it go, let it be where ever it ends up. Because you don't know where it's gonna go, you begin to discover things, because now you are beginning to look inside instead of outside. What do you learn from outside? Practically nothing but when you start looking inside, why are my legs shaking? Now you start concentrating on the legs, then you start thinking, quietly, now you start sweating, now you feel other things uncomfortable now. Look into it, you'll find things in it. If you don't use your Siu Nim Tao to look into it, if you don't even have a thought to look into it, then you will miss all the glory in there.
Those are very subtle things, hard to detect things. If you put your mind to it, if you make your mind into a microscope, you'll see so much. Now you are seeing yourself, the real you, who you are, how weak you are, which part is strong, which part is weak, what's your advantage, what's your disadvantage. When you start looking inside, it's better than watching a movie. But if you overlook it, what are you going to get? Hey, Siu Nim Tao is a very natural thing, just learn to utilize by looking in. Just don't concentrate, just let it be. Remember the glass of water, just let it be.
You drink it, it goes it's own way, you can't control that. When it's time to go out, your body will tell you when it is time for it to leave. That's life, you drink that glass of water, it nourishes your life, let it be, don't control it. You breathe this air, let it be, don't control it. When you control it you hurt yourself.
I heard that a lot of people have many different ways to breathe. Well, breathe like when you were a child. When you were born you take that first breath and you don't know why. Of course now you know why you breathe, to stay alive. Since now you know, do it better for God's sake, do it better, find a mountain and climb it, go back to nature, breathe in the treasure. You were complaining about people smoking right next to you the other night, you always complain about it. Learn how to accept it, fight with it, get it out.
Then your kung fu will get better. Train your body to accept it and release it. Yes, people shouldn't smoke, but that is their freedom.
DJ: Some people complain that when they do a long Siu Nim Tao that their feet or legs go numb. Can you comment on this?
LMS: Feel numb, that means they had it, their body is telling them to stop, don't go any further, otherwise it may hurt you. Hey, you are doing the training, it requires time. It doesn't grow over night. I cannot put a person in there and expect them to do a one hour Siu Nim Tao the first day, impossible. They ask for a little rest, sure, go ahead and take a little rest and then come back in. If I were to force them, they will hurt, there is no need for that. But if you train, really really train, I mean train for a purpose, train to fight, to be a fighter, well then you have to go all the way, just don't break yourself.
If you don't put yourself through hard training, your physical ability will not be able to accomplish the mission. Every little joint, every little part, every little toe, every little thing has to be trained, then you will accomplish what you want to accomplish. See how simple things are?
DJ: Sifu, does one reach a time in training with Ving Tsun where one becomes satisfied with their accomplishments?
LMS: Some people are never satisfied, I am satisfied. Satisfaction has no limit. Sometimes satisfaction can create a worse scenario. Well, maybe it's a good thing because you don't know when to stop. That's why human beings continue to progress. So it all depends on what you want. And my Siu Nim Tao, if I reach this level, I am satisfied, now if I had a little more strength to go, I might take up the next difficult challenge. To see who I really am inside, to see what my creativity can create. But then I no longer worry about myself you see, then I start creating for other people. My greed stop right there.
I don't want power I want minimum satisfaction to satisfy my mind. And then when I am gone I am at peace. I have done what I could, I have done what I could to contribute to my family, to my marriage, to my friends, to the people that I work with all of my life. And I can contribute to many other people that I may not have ever seen. So I said to myself, if that's the other fighting, hey, I'm doing it, I won't regret.
So human beings as you can see, what the hell you learn how to fight for? Save your life, isn't it? But I want to save my life in a bigger way, that's all, not in a stupid fighting way. And this table can create many different ideas for me, and I grew what I wanted to grow. So grow what you want to grow, don't stop until you are satisfied, only you know when satisfaction has been achieved. I said this 30 years ago to my students, and I am still saying the same thing. And I am still doing the same thing, and the funny thing is that I don't have to do it that hard anymore now.
DJ: You made a big investment in the beginning.
LMS: Well if you want to call that a big investment, you know, there are many words to call that. If you call it investment, I don't complain. If you call it training, I won't complain, because you see, all work represent the same thing, right? See, I'm not a lawyer, so I am not picky with my words.
DJ: Sifu, would you talk about Chum Kiu?
LMS: What would you like to know in Chum Kiu?
DJ: Anything you would like to share with us.
LMS: You know the routine of Siu Nim Tao already, there is no shifting in it, it just train your hands. Now Chum Kiu, if you really look at Chum Kiu, it's really just a matter of shifting. In a fighting way, you feel this shifting.
This shifting is not in a big way, this shifting is in a little way. Why? Let's say there is an object coming in, and you make contact, and you sense the object will go through you. Chum Kiu means the second you make contact, you just shift a little bit. But a lot of people misunderstand, maybe they step aside and then shift, hey, you that far off, you waste a lot of time. So therefore that Chum Kiu come in just like this, that's enough.
If you analyze the whole form of Chum Kiu, different hand work, different foot work, they coordinate it, just to accomplish this little turn. To accomplish this little turn number one requires a lot of guts. Number two you are willing to take a blow because maybe you didn't train hard enough or good enough. Once you train good enough, no blow too hard for you in order for you to deflect it. Chum Kiu is really simple. Once you learn the Siu Nim Tao, now add in the little foot work, so you work basically the feet. Now you learn Siu Nim Tao, and now you learn Chu Kiu, and then your body begin to connect. Once they connect, you have mobility.
Once that mobility begin, you have a little more freedom. So you look into Siu Nim Tao, you really don't have that much freedom because you are just learning the handwork. Now you add in the footwork, so therefore your upper body and the lower body make that connection now. In a balanced way, not in an ordinary twisting way. Balance, you have to discover what balance is. I show you the form, but go experiment, which way is the most balance for you. Some people believe that forward is balance, some people believe that leaning back is balance, and some people believe that in the middle is balance. Many different bodies, many different structure, many different mentality, so you find which one is the best one, the most correct one for you to balance yourself. Just like a surf board, you ride the wave you must be balanced. Everyone is different, everyone finds their own balance, of course there is a correct way to do it, that's where the technique is. Find the correct way, to find that truth is completely up to you. Because sometimes if I tell you the truth, your body is not accepting it.
So therefore, by utilizing experiment, you yourself now discover what the truth of balance is. That's the fighting area.
Now in the life area, you learn how to balance the other half. How to balance everything around the world. People realize now that in ecology balance is very important. People in environmental work, balance is important. Now they start thinking of this balance in a bigger way because it involves a mass amount of people. So you start small, go back to Siu Nim Tao, ask where do I need this balance, where do I place this balance, how do I balance myself so well that I don't trip or fall. That's Chum Kiu, very simple idea, see?
DJ: And then Biu Jee as well has shifting.
LMS: Now you take the first form and the second form, now you have to create a little bit more don't you? Now the third form is the directional control, where ever that human being is, you have to have that directional control.
This directional control could be Doi Ying Joi Ying (Face shadow, chase shadow). You start from Chum Kiu, now you go into Biu Jee, it doesn't separate it. From Siu Nim Tao to Chum Kiu, it was never separated, only added more. Now from Siu Nim Tao to Chum Kiu, these two now added into Biu Jee and this creates another scenario.
This scenario now is like a compass, where to go, where to go. That will complete your first stage of training in Ving Tsun. Lets say you graduate from college now, right, now what direction are you going to find a job? That's the difficult part. Now back to college, what did you learn, well I learned chemistry, now you have a direction to where to find work. If you finish Chum Kiu but not Biu Jee, it is like you finish high school right, well, I'm gonna be a lawyer. You are dreaming, you know that's not possible because you didn't go through professional training, so your life now off balance. What you are thinking and what you can do are two different things. That's how I view my Ving Tsun, my dear darling little Ving Tsun.
DJ: All of your Todai’s feel the same way Sifu.
LMS: Thank God.
DJ: You gave them the ability to think freely with it and to move in the direction that they wanted the best way that they knew how.
LMS: I'm not a dictator, I don't tell you what to do for a reason. If I do that, you will lose the freedom to create, and then you will miss the whole point. In the beginning, I might say you must do it this way, you have to do it this way in the beginning, and I explain to you why you have to do this. So you can search for the truth to find things that I said that may be wrong which will benefit you. If I don't give you the benefit of the doubt, you will never know what the truth is.
DJ: Now when you’re done with the three forms you move on to the Muk Yan Jong.
LMS: They are all connected.
DJ: They are connected. Does it teach you how to connect the three together? What else does it train you in?
LMS: Many people think that the Jong trains power. Yes, this is true, it train your power. But more important, it locks in your Siu Nim Tao, lock in your Chum Kiu, lock in your footwork in a restricted area, centerline. And after you work in the restricted area long enough, and if you find your hands in an emergency situation, your hands will not make mistakes. They have been training in a restricted area, it's all restricted, everything is here. That's what it means. Moy Yat Sifu wrote a beautiful book on the Jong, yeah, there are not many words in it, but the first page explain what the Muk Jong is.
I think this is the correct way to do it. Not because he is my Sifu now, this is a tool for you to analyze, create your creativity. That's how I think, because what my Sifu say I respected very much, and I use my brain, always try to analyze. Will that benefit me, will that be useful for me? And I find out that my thinking and his thinking very similar. Like everyone else, I always have aquestionmark, I always have a question mark in my brain. Why I have to do this, why I have to do that, there is a reason, isn't there? So that question is, What? Well, let's find out, take it down piece by piece. Let's analyze like an engineer. When you start to analyze like an engineer, then you will discover what benefits you, and what does not benefit you.
So that wooden man is to utilize what you have learned. Your hand work, your footwork, your directional control, now you use the wooden man until you are free, until you know it so well you know it backwards. Then the wooden man is complete in your soul, inside of you. You must do it without thinking, in the beginning of course you must think. It's just like a new student, you think, you think, until you think so much that you understand everything, and then you don't even thinkaboutit anymore.
Then we go to the next level, now let’s do it without the wooden man. Now you write a conversation with your head, your mind, so you can do anything with your hands and feet. So the second you make contact with your enemy, hand and feet react so well that it surprise the heck out of yourself. Because now all of this training has become automatic. You have no more Siu Nim Tao in your head, you have no more thinking in your head. So therefore, you can even close your eyes and fight. Now some people call it the highest level. I don't think so. That's just the beginning, you just finished college for heavens sake. You have no experience.
You have enough tools to know what is right and wrong. You have enough tools to know how to protect yourself. Now you go out and get experience. That's what it's all about. That's why I always say fighting is one thing, experience of life, exactly the same thing. Now better yet, there are theories. Ying Da Jut Da, Butt Ying Da, Butt Noi Da, Mo Guerng Da, Mut Learng Da. (If I want to hit I will, - if it's time to hit, hit, - if it's not, I won't, - don't force yourself to hit, - don't be sloppy) These are the most important theories, those most important to guide you along when to do things and when not to do things. I think that is the most difficult thing to train.
And then "Da Sau Chek Siu Sau" your hitting hand is your defensive hand. These are the hardest things you can ever do. Until now I am still learning. When to go and when not to go. You know, these are hard, I am telling you right now. And yet, they are not hard like it is impossible, and if you really think about it, if you just put that little sentence in your head, every time you want to do something, now it becomes easy.
If you just do it with your emotion, that is hard. You understand it, you utilize it, and you use it at the right moment, now it becomes easier. That is the beauty of Ving Tsun. Every time I talk about this my heart is warm, I cannot say thanks enough. That's why I am what I am. I mean there are a lot of famous Sifu out there, they must think either similar, or better than me because they train longer than I have. They utilize the life structure better than I am. So if I can find these people I still can learn something from them. I don't restrict it to myself because number one, I don't have an ego problem. I don't say, hey, I learned enough, I don't need to learn anymore. I don't have that problem. I don't have greed, I don't want fame, I want to be myself.
DJ: That's what Ving Tsun allows you to be.
LMS: That's what it allows me to be. That's why I am glad you guys are learning this, to create yourself, utilize my experience. I have good experiences and bad ones. Hey, learn from my bad experiences too, so you won't have to go through it, what I went through. You know that is why we are like a family. Family is important, that's why they talk to me, and I talk to them all of the time. Learn from your Sifu's mistakes, so you can be better than him. So every time you go to sleep, give five minutes of thinking about what you want to be, and work it out step by step.
DJ: Sifu, what is your advice for people just starting out in Ving Tsun.
LMS: Patience. You don't have that patience, you will get nothing. I see a lot of failure because of no patience.
They want to be the best over night. If that's possible, be my guest, I can't do it. I'm not the kind that can be successful overnight. I'm the kind that requires hard training and patience to accomplish what I need to accomplish. You know, number one, patience, number two, not lazy. You set up the things to do, and then you go do it. If you think of the things to do but put no action behind it, what are you going to get? Nothing.
So what ever you think of, you have to put action behind it, otherwise you’re just dreaming. If I have anything to say important, I think this is the most important thing I can say. You think of throwing him a punch, if you keep on thinking [He laughs] he's gonna come back and throw you a punch. Action! All things are successful because of action. Of course planning. Patience is to give you the time to think, and plan things out, then action follows, then you accomplish what you want to accomplish.
DJ: Is there a preferred breathing pattern when practicing Siu Nim Tao?
LMS:Just breathe deeply, and let it all the way out to let the carbon dioxide that is harmful to you fully escape your body. The best place to do it is in a very fresh air environment. So when you breathe very deeply, now your lungs expand to the maximum, and then when the lungs retreat, all the carbon dioxide will expel from the body. So you repeat this over and over again. Like this, you pick up 500 Lb., the first thing human beings do is breathe deep, very deeply. And then after a few rituals like this, then they begin to pick it up. What does that tell you? Every cell, everything is renewed before you attempt to pick that up with your full strength. You just can't get up in the morning and pick up 500 lb., be my guest if you can do it. But I guarantee something will be hurt. If you are hurt it is caused by your ignorance, your education.
I tell you guys many many years ago to go back to Siu Nim Tao. Go back to your Siu Nim Tao. Moy Yat Sifu always tell me Chu Shong Tin is the best Siu Nim Tao player. I do believe it because this is so important.
DJ: Are there any particular methods of training to enhance your abilities in Ving Tsun?
LMS: You want to take it up to the sky? More work. You want to dedicate one-third of your life, which is 8 hours a day constantly doing Ving Tsun, then it will carry you to the sky. Time, jammed packed time, not spread out.
DJ: I remember when I was training we had to light an incense and do Siu Nim Tao to the incense before we could do anything else in class.
LMS: I don't make you guys do that to waste time. I do that to see what development stage that your body needs. So when they do that, I go to the office, every once in a while I peek out to see which one had enough and sit down, let's see which one needs a little bit more training. And then in my mind I will have a routine for this particular person to do. So as you know, I train everybody differently, well not differently, but individually, same exercises, loosen up, warm up. But Chi Sao now, that is different. Tall one's, short one's, there will be problems unique to each person. So I must guide them in the head what to do, and then I walk away and let them figure it out.
This is important in that area, you are dealing with so many different people, different heights, different mind sets, different levels of understanding. Even Siu Nim Tao, it's funny, I teach Siu Nim Tao one way, and I find 10 way coming out differently [we laughed]. And then you go over to another school right, and you say, hey, my Sifu didn't teach it that way, where the hell did yours come from? We try not to see those things, there's no such thing as right or wrong in those areas. I teach it one way, you learn a little different, it's my fault? It's just your level of understanding is not like mine, and I don't knock it. Is it really that important? No, it's not really that important. Somebody decide to do Siu Nim Tao like this, and some may do it like this, [Shows variation of Huen Sao] as long as he understands that he teaches it the correct way, that's fine. But don't teach people the wrong way. Now the funny thing is the student learn the wrong way, and someone comes along, he feels comfortable and all of sudden he is corrected. Can you figure that out?
DJ: Well they usually get that figured out in Chi Sao. Speaking of which, in your opinion, what benefits are derived from practicing Chi Sao? Now I remember what you used to tell us all of the time, and I repeat it to my students. Since I have a student here now, maybe it would be a benefit if he heard you talk about it.
LMS: Chi Sao is a wonderful thing. I'll tell you how wonderful it is. You know there are so many different kinds of people, somebody mean, somebody strong, somebody weak. In Chi Sao, you feel everyone's temptation, your feel everybody's temper, you feel everyone's weakness, and you especially feel everyone's ego. You feel all of those things the minute you touch hands, oh, this is this character, and then you touch another person hands, oh, this is that character.
It's like going to the movies, different scenes all of the time, not boring. So never play with the person you like the most, always taste everybody, in Chi Sao, anybody comes along, welcome, I need to learn you. I need to learn who you are, and what you are thinking without speaking.
DJ: And you can't be afraid of it.
LMS: Absolutely, it gives you confidence, you never ever had this kind of confidence, you will never get anywhere. So now I meet Brian, I already know who Brian is without you knowing how I even know. That puts me a little step ahead of other human beings. You do Chi Sao with 10,000 people, your education of people is even greater. When I do business, the minute they walk through the door, I watch them like a hawk. I already know what he wants, and I already know what kind of technique he uses to convince me. Isn't that scary? It is wonderful you know in advance.
DJ: So that's what Chi Sao does for you. It trains in you the ability to interpret people. It evolves from a touching factor to no contact.
LMS: Hey, you touch so many mentalities, you touch so many souls. Hey, it's not like you see me, you've seen them all. You see a thousand, now you’re talking.
Brian: So you learn how to translate every little aspect of Ving Tsun into...
LMS: Life! That's why I said, Ving Tsun is like a table, it is a most important tool for you to experiment with. Without that you will have no chance. Now I am not saying that Ving Tsun is the only thing in the world, OK. There is a beautiful universe out there that can teach you a lot, how to make a living, OK.
But with all this education if you don't have a spiritual soul, what good is it? See, the beautiful thing is that Ving Tsun is not a religion, but yet it teaches you how to help people, it teaches you to be in touch with people, and it teaches you how to be at peace with people. It will also teach you how to not take advantage of people if you allow it.
Of course if you have a teacher that teach you violence, beat them up, kill them, you will end up a violent person, you see? Ving Tsun doesn't do that. Ving Tsun always reflects on two things, situation, & life. You see, I put Ving Tsun in life first, some other Sifu may not want to do that. That's why you have the opportunity to grow the way you want to grow. My opportunity to grow is how to make peace with people through this violent art. See, that is my interpretation of it, that's not what Ving Tsun is. Ving Tsun is the ability to create what you want to create. I choose this way because I believe and have done my experiences through this way. Just your mission to accomplish it or not is all up to your Siu Nim Tao.
DJ: It seems to always go back to that.
LMS: Isn't that sickening? [He laughs]
DJ: Well no, it's not, because when you get lost you can always go back for reference. Everybody just wants the newest thing and then they don't practice Siu Nim Tao anymore.
Brain: That's because they don't see the depth to it.
LMS: You just said the right word. That is the best word for it. This Ving Tsun has depth to it. That's the level that creates our human being, create our life. The very, very depth of our psychological thinking. Not anything, I say, hey, if it was not interesting, why listen? Because what I say has depth inside, can wake up your soul, could wake up your spirit, wake up our joy, wake up your beliefs. Then you listen don't you?
I didn't create it, some people a few hundred years ago create it and pass it on to me, that's why I am thankful to them. I have no capability of that kind of intelligence. But once I learned it, then I utilize it. When I utilize it, hey, wow, thank you. That's all I have to say, and that's all I could say.
DJ: You would have us do a lot of single leg for balance training, putting shot glasses of water on our knee, or a quarter...
LMS: Single leg is great at developing your balance. Now you are no longer on two feet, but a single foot. Now all of these muscles in the ankle and leg are twisting, flexing and turning until you stabilize. Then you have a greater balance, a more stable balance which give you more achievable maneuverability now because you have the strength to carry the entire body on one leg. That's why train individual leg.
DJ: Why is it that we squeeze the fist tight while it is in the chamber when performing forms work?
LMS: Ving Tsun on one side remains in the chamber when doing the form, and it's harder than the other side. According to Moy Yat Sifu, this is for training, discipline your correct position. So this side is thrust out and is full of energy. The other side is hard and if you release it from white to red [When squeezing the fist as hard as you can, the blood is pushed out and your fist will turn white] there is
motion going through. There are blood streams, there is a force of penetration because you block this force and then you let it go.
When you block this force, everything is backed up inside like a traffic jam, and when this traffic jam is finished, you see the cars are going all of a sudden 60 miles an hour. So the fist in the chamber held tight is like this traffic jam. Training, training to hold your punch hard when you make contact.
DJ: So this would be considered Yin and Yang, one side relaxed and the other side hard?
LMS: Some people translate it like that. We don't translate it like that. We will simply translate it in this way, this [Hand chambered] is training ready for explosion, and this going out for protection. Training, not the actual situation. You cannot hold the punch hard all of the time or you waste the energy. So you hold it lose, but when it comes time for contact, all this training, it's already built in.
DJ: Sifu, I know I kept you here for a long time, but I have one more question before we go to dinner with everyone.
LMS: Be my guest.
DJ: Is there anything you miss from the early days when you had your school?
LMS: Do I miss it? Life is changed every second on the second you know. Oh yeah, I miss you guys, but I have the ability to pick up the phone and call you guys, so why would I miss it? It's different, times change, you don't go back. The only thing that keeps on going is we build our relationship over the years together, and we didn't disappear. That's important.
I hope this conversation helped you guys, because sincerely from my heart, it helped me, and sincerely from my heart, if it helped you, then use it. I'm not saying that I am all right, things that I can do you may not be able to do because of different situation.
Honk Kong, 2001