Continuing on with our Five Elements series, this article will cover the concept of Metal in Xing Lin Quan.
Metal can be succinctly surmised as precision and of course, sharpness. We will explore the concept of sharpness before moving onto precision.
When imagining the metal element, the image of weaponry tends to be conjured. Swords tend to be at the forefront of this particular imagery and rightly so – they have been used for thousands of years as both weapons of war and symbols of power or status.
Historically every culture had their own variation on swords be it the Japanese katana, Chinese Jian or the Roman gladius however regardless of their styles of use (slashing, technical or stabbing) – each blade needed to be sharp to serve its deadly purpose.
This translates into the techniques taught within Xing Lin Quan quite well. To state it simply, every movement performed be it punch, kick or block must have a sharpness to them. This sharpness is achieved via visualisation and partly through muscle memory.
When practicing any movement, you must visualise the opponent. Their posture, aggression, attack and response as this is the only want to perform a technique with any real effectiveness. If you have a partner to train with then you still need to change your mindset when training as performing a sloppy movement will result in a lethargic outcome when you need to use it most.
Adding to the point above, sharpness needs to be coupled with precision.
Precision simply means to know the right points or areas to strike. A hand sword to any hard part of an opponet’s body will lead to you hurting yourself. Precision is about minimal exertion for maximum impact. Know the weak points of the human anatomy and always aim to strike these particular areas with the sharpness that comes from muscle memory (through proper training) and the knowledge learned in the dojo.
A blade is only as good as the user. The metal element is exactly the same. Practice diligently, properly and with the right mindset so that you are able to apply the techniques you learn properly should the time come.
Look forward to more in the Five Elements series soon and you can also read about the Earth element if you missed out.