The big secret to skill in I-Liq Chuan is… are you ready for it? … that there is no secret. At least, there are no secrets in the sense that anything is held back. There are no super dangerous death touch techniques that are only taught to those who prove worthy. No special teaching is reserved for “indoor” students and withheld from “outdoor” students. Everything in the system is taught openly from the outset.
Then why does the ability to perform certain movements or comprehend specific skills elude us? It’s not because the principles are intentionally hidden; it’s because our awareness has not expanded enough to perceive the essence of the skills. As my Sifu tells us (usually while laughing), “I don’t need to keep secrets from you. The secrets protect themselves.” I’ve never known him to hold anything back. Oftentimes, he’s explaining more than my poor brain can handle. Each time, the concepts conveyed are the same. But each time I hear the same words spoken and same movements demonstrated, they can take different meaning.
What has changed? Not the material of the lesson. The teachings have stayed essentially the same. The crucial change is the one within. Over time, my ability to focus my attentions and stay in the moment improves slightly. That in turn heightens my perceptions to better “see” what is being taught. Each time my understanding improves, I have an “oh! why didn’t I see that before?” moment. The revelations come not from something secret suddenly being presented; rather, the understanding arises from increased awareness.
There is no secret to attaining skill and understanding. The path to improvement lies in training mindfully. Learn to sense the body to understand its movements so that you can unify the mind with the body. Expand your awareness from the self outwards and strive to perceive the present moment. When you can be in the moment, you can develop the ability to harmonize yourself with an opponent, or just flow with the hustle and bustle of daily life. Train mindfully. No secret techniques needed.