Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brain Keys

Names are just memory devices, keys if you like, to access a picture of the whole in your brain.

Back in the day, Chinese martial artists came up with all kinds of animal imagery to cement flavors of movement and patterns in the mind. They used cultural stuff like the Yi-Ching and 5 Element theory for 'keys' also.

Nowadays we live in cultures and environments far removed from knowledge of wild animals, and most of us have no connection to the cultural identifiers, the famous poems, or the idioms, from the place, or time, when they were attached to the movements they were meant to describe.

These do have a romantic allure, especially when voiced in their original languages of course, and are of historic value, which, I'm sure, is why they endure.

Many would, I'm also sure, consider it complete sacrilege to change these terms in any way ... but if their original intent was to convey a feeling, and to help remember a sequence of moves, are these original names really the best way to do so?

Being a pragmatist, I like the idea of efficiency, and I'll use any imagery I can to explain an idea ..... which is just a nice way of saying that I am often guilty of taking the poetic imagery and turned it into a Far Side cartoon.

Right now I am teaching a Xing-Yi form. Some systems call it the Phoenix form, my teacher likes to think of it as Vulture, but also refers to it just as 'Tai Bird'.
Seeing as Tai means 'big' .... I decided to invoke Big Bird .... which caused some mirth for those that have seen the kid's TV show Sesame Street. Nothing to do with the quality of the movement ... but perhaps out of place enough to jog the memory bank into action when reviewing.
One of the hand positions also totally looks like "Hold out the Handbag (That would be 'purse' to my American friends)".

Some of my others are - Throw the Chicken, Put the Mayo on the Shelf, Fling the Bedsheet, Start the Chainsaw, Spin the Pizza, Vogue, Vomit, Velociraptor, and of course the famous Over the Shoulder Nose Throw. Points for any Internal practitioners that can recognize what these might be ....

There is also a great deal of reaching for things off the edge of cliffs, squishing bugs (cigarettes are passe) and pulling oneself around on imaginary ropes, and though I have little experience with most of these, there is bowling, speed skating, slalom skiing, and punting occasionally too .....

1 comment:

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

I quite agree, as you say the idea is to create a quick association for the user. Once that is done one can maintain tradition as well with "original" terminology.
Convey the concept as efficiently as possible first.