Over the weekend, I received my copy of Real Gold Does Not Fear the Fire: the Teachings of Grandmaster Wai-lun Choi by Ray Hayward. So far, this is a great book and one I would highly recommend to any martial artist. I really admire how Sifu Hayward has graciously shared his own personal training note with readers.
The more I read the book, the more I think about Master Wai Lun Choi is trying to teach us. I have written about my studies with Choi in the past and one of the thing that stands out the most is his notion of not disrupting the breath. Whatever we do, we must maintain the calmness of our breath. Any disruption will lead to a break in energy. In other words, if you are panting or out of breath, you are doing something wrong.
Choi is also a fan of imagery, especially in regards to animal instincts. He talks about not just mimicking the external movements of the animal, but try to understand the internal intentions of the animal. One of my favorite images is where Choi likens Yang Taiji to “that of a shark swimming, looking for his prey. Always on the move, gliding in and out”. For me, this type of visualization conjures images of agile footwork, coiling body, and patience.
I could go on and on about the book, but I would recommend just picking it up as it contains a wealth of information from study notes to pictures to stories from students. Here is a description from the product page:
This new book is about the life, teaching, and insights of Grandmaster Wai-lun Choi, the designated Grandmaster and lineage-holder of the Six Harmony Eight Methods style (Liu Ho Ba Fa). Featuring numerous articles, interviews, notes, photos, and history, you will be guided through the maze of martial arts, meditation, and Chinese history and culture to arrive at the door of mastery, embodied by Master Choi’s own story and accomplishments. This must-read book will be a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in martial arts of any kind.