March 18, 2003: Form vs. Fundamentals - Master Ni’s Private Lessons

Master Ni began giving ‘private’ lessons, as he called them, in the advanced class. Some of us were excited at receiving personalized instruction - others were wary. We were asked to volunteer for criticism. About half the class requested the weekly critiques - the rest elected to remain anonymous.

His critique was based around the particular Wu Tang Sword sequence that was being reviewed. He started with Rosy, then Kathy the Architect, Pat, Phil, week by week. His comments were sometimes multiple - sometimes terse - always unpredictable.

Anyway my turn was coming up. Further it looked as if my lesson coincided with the Wu Tang movement called Swan Lying in the Snow, where you roll all the way down to the ground and then come back up again - arguably one of the more difficult moves to do. So I practice and practice in the preceding weeks - hoping to do well.

The evening comes - I’m ready. I perform my movements, while the class looks on, nary a hitch - Waiting for my ‘private lesson’ - What detail have I been leaving out? - What subtlety of the movement was misinterpreted? - My hands or feet in the wrong place? - What was he going to say? - These and many other questions fleeted through my overactive Mind.

Ni: “Chin in. Lose much energy. OK, now I demonstrate.”

Later on others in the class complimented me on the grace of my movements but said that it was unfortunate that Master Ni didn’t say much’ and I should have asked for more criticisms to spur him on - that these private lessons were a disappointment and so forth - because he says so little - and why is he afraid to criticize us, when we’re so willing to receive criticism?”

I approach Ni.
Me: “Chin out?”
Ni: “Remember video of Chinese magician. Chin important. Lose energy.”
Me: “Need to focus on fundamentals rather than so many refinements.”
Ni: “Right.”
Anyway God Bless Ni and his subtleties.

don, the transmitter

PS I'm sending this same message to Bangkok, China, Stockholm, and Phoenix. This bonds us as Master Ni's students. Finding a Human Seeker is like finding the needle in the haystack. When discovered we must hold on - lightly of course.