During our tea break after the first portion of an afternoon training session, chief instructor Iain sat down with the guests who had been training and discussed the importance and prevalence of one principle: variation.
He told us that some of us had been practicing martial arts for several years; others had only been practicing for a few days; he himself had been practicing for several decades; but he expressed that at the end of the day, there isn’t only one “right” way to do kung fu or meditation. There are certainly principles that everyone must learn correctly, and understanding those principles is essential to everyone’s success, but in the end: everyone will find their own way to do things.
Once we understand the principles, there will inevitably be variation, because martial arts is just that – an art. We all have different bodies, motivations, mindsets and personalities, and because of these facts, our arts will manifest themselves in different ways. Once you understand the foundation, you will have the ability and freedom to express yourself, ‘once you learn the rules, you can break them,’ as the saying goes – but first you must properly learn the rules.
For many of us who come here, it is this principle of variation that sets the mountain retreat apart. We are taught a proper foundation, and then encouraged to make the arts our own. Not only is it a supportive and enriching environment to learn the principles of kung fu and meditation, it is a place that understands that there is no cookie cutter mold for either one – that an important stage of learning is being able to adapt your skills to your own individual nature.
Variation is something that is almost never captured at any martial arts school or training center, and seldom found in many facets of life. If you are curious about kung fu, meditation, and experiencing self-enrichment through variation, you are always welcome at Nam Yang Mountain Retreat.