Chapter 156: Muay Thai, Yoga, and a Ninth Dan (First)
“Are there so many rules like this?” Huo Ling’er spoke after she and Wang Chao had made it out from the eyesight of the group.
“In the past, the Wulin had many more rules; but as it is today it is more lax. Yet, there are still the basics that remain today as well.” Wang Chao wasn’t willing to divulge any more about this. As long as Huo Ling’er knew the simple rules, she would be able to avoid any trouble.
“But I’m curious. Hong Kong is a prestigious place with many masters of martial arts. With the prestige of your Huo family, finding a master to teach you would be no problem. Why was it that you looked to apprentice yourself to me?”
As Wang Chao walked along the park avenue, the morning mist had finally started to dissipate. The eastern skies had already begun to show the sun-dyed red clouds. Today it seems, would be another good day.
With his intent rising along with the sun would across the sky, Wang Chao’s steps grew quicker, but steady. Each time he brought a foot up, anyone that saw him would feel as if he was stuck to the ground.
His heel, toes and sole would step on the ground, rise back up, and fall back down as he walked. As if the ground was a viscous pile of sweet syrup, one of Wang Chao’s feet would always be stuck to it.
From the legs comes life and is ultimately connected to the earth.
With each step and breathe, the hairs of his entire body seemed to move up and down along with the pores closing and opening. In this fashion, it was as if he was one single nose breathing in and out through his entire body.
A single breath of fresh air would go through the mouth and nose and pass through the lungs. On the way, the old and decayed air would be passed out, leaving the person to feel refreshed.
“A real person breathes with the step. Everyone else breathes with the throat.”
After reaching the Transforming Jin stage, all of the pores on Wang Chao’s entire body could open and close at will. Each time he breathed, his entire body was affected. From top to bottom, from his head to all the way down to his toes, he could feel the circulation of his breath.
But this was a deliberate movement by Wang Chao. He had not yet reached a stage where this was a natural movement. Still, he could move the blood vessels throughout his body along with the sturdy tendons and muscles. By removing the poisonous blood and decayed air, his life had reached a period of longevity thanks to the cultivation of his health.
If he had advanced yet another step and was able to make these movements natural whenever he took a step and breathed, then he would become what Zhuangzhi had described as a “Daoist spiritual master”. To compound on this foundation, if he advanced yet another step and could suspend his thoughts, move without moving, and know without seeing, then he would reach what the Doctrine of the Mean of Confucian said as the “Sincere Way”.
But it was pointless to talk about those at his current progression. Transforming Jin was merely a step past the main chamber and into the inner rooms. But even then, he could only peek into these rooms of the utmost boundaries from the corner.
Wang Chao hadn’t even spared another sentence with Zhou Binglin of the Sun Style Taichi before they fought. He had relied on the robustness that came with youth along with the obscenely strong two killing moves from the Crocodile Fist, “Turtle Floating in Water”, and “Cutting Tail of the Crocodile” to sever Zhou Binglin’s arm. While he himself had took on serious damage, it had taken Chen Aiyang two months to heal him more than halfway.
In comparison, Zhou Binglin was far more miserable. His life in the Wulin could be said to be forfeited.
These past few days of recuperation in the hospital were spent in deep thought by Wang Chao. Ever since his first appearance into the martial arts world, he had made enemies with many people. Although the view he had now was spectacular, the path in front of him wouldn’t be as easy to walk, meaning he had no choice but to involve others now. Taking in Huo Ling’er as his disciple was another example of him consolidating his foundation.
While Huo Ling’er had the aptitude, she was a woman, and the daughter of a powerful family. She could not be expected to fight in competitions and kill to live. But as a disciple, being a part of a powerful family was what many masters of martial arts based their conditions on. Thus, Wang Chao had decided a disciple like that.
But there was still one other problem that had to be cleared up. Where did Huo Ling’er learn her Karate from? Did she have any other masters?
“I used to study abroad in America. Over there, I learned Karate at a dojo during my studies.”
Huo Ling’er twirled her fingers as she spoke of her own history from behind Wang Chao. “After my graduation, I went to Japan and studied in Shotokan for a while. The Karate dojos there were similar to a school. As long as you can pay, you can learn. There were open competitions, and some in secret. That year, I participated in the Junior World Championships before returning. I was in the midst of looking for a master to apprentice myself under, but when I heard that master had defeated and killed Ye Xuan in Shandong, I was determined to become your disciple.”
“I see.” Wang Chao nodded his head, seeing no faults in her words. “The rules in a Karate competition prohibits the use of many different fierce fighting methods and is considered a family sport. But the traditional ways of killing cannot be shown onstage either due to its bloody nature. Even as a champion of the junior tournament, it doesn’t count for much.”
“I know that as well.” Huo Ling’er nodded her head. “Every student of the orthodox Karate schools in Japan know that Japan has both open and secret competitions. The open competitions have many regulations while the secret ones have none and do not prohibit a match that maims or cripples someone. These hidden competitions have earned the support of both the Japanese world of martial arts along with the Japanese government itself, but they aren’t publicized. Even in Korea and Thailand, they have these same competitions. We too have underground fighting, but the government does not condone it. Our government is different from theirs.”
“It’s getting bright, let’s go to that the zoo nearby and take a look.”
Listening to Huo Ling’er talk of her studies in Japan, Wang Chao looked up to the sky to see its weather. Walking out from the park, they hired a taxi and drove over to the zoo.
“What hostility was there between you and Ye Xuan? It seems like you really hated him.”
A flash of grief and hatred went through Huo Ling’er’s eyes at the mention of Ye Xuan. “When I was studying Shotokan in Japan, I came to know a really good sister. But because she was short on money, she participated in one of the secret competitions. Ye Xuan had broken her arm, and it still hasn’t recovered! I’ve long since wanted to take revenge but I was never a match for Ye Xuan sadly.”
“Ai! With a lack of money, one can only participate in the secret competitions. The normal open competitions have many unwritten rules–those are even scarier than the written rules. Even the sports commission have many unwritten rules; even if you aren’t strong, you can become the champion. How could a competition like that produce any type of experts?”
Wang Chao shut his eyes and sighed.
When Huo Ling’er thought about how she became a champion for the very same tournament Wang Chao described, she felt as if her title was very exaggerated and couldn’t help but blush a little.
It was another ten minutes before the taxi had reached the zoo. Upon paying the entrance tickets, Wang Chao and Huo Ling’er strolled on in.
As soon as he had walked in, Wang Chao could see the massive head of a black bear crouching underneath the tree of a fake mountain. Dozing off, both its eyes and chubby body seemed to be in peace. To be both vigorous and peaceful, this bear had shown the best of both worlds beautifully.
Wang Chao’s foot faltered for a moment before he squatted down as well. Looking at the bear for a very long time from the cement, he finally gave a curt nod. Huo Ling’er hadn’t understood just why he had done so however.
“The majority of martial arts were derived from the way an animal hunts its prey. From the way it fights, many things can be understood. These animals may have lost their wild nature, but their instincts are still there. Take a good look, plenty can be learned from them.” Wang Chao stood up. “When the time comes when one can go to the African Savannas and see the true wild natures of animals and how they act, that would be very beneficial.”
Let’s go and see what else we can see.”
Afterwards, Wang Chao had looked at the snake, crane, tiger, leopard, horse, and many other animals. Like an obedient disciple, Huo Ling’er followed him from behind. Finally, they arrived at the aquarium.
Wang Chao had first seen the sea turtle and hawksbill turtle floating lightheartedly over the waters. The sea turtle was heavy in weight, but its limbs could swim across the waters in an extremely skilled manner.
“The tortoise is one of the most long-living animals.” Wang Chao observed for a very long time before finally speaking. “Its body is very cumbersome because of its shell. It is like a bear in steadiness, but when it glides across the waters with its limbs, it is like a bird in flight. In the waters, the tortoise exemplifies the ‘Bear by the Bird’ perfectly. This is what a person should want to learn from it.
Huo Ling’er could only give a half-understanding nod.
Wang Chao wouldn’t bother to explain it clearly either. When teaching a disciple, whatever they heard was how much they heard. The rest was up to them to learn themselves. Furthermore, Huo Ling’er wasn’t yet at a level where she could grasp and understand the concept of learning from all the animals in the world. What he had just said right now would only barely give her some superficial knowledge.
This time, Wang Chao had came to the zoo as a form of self-cultivation to deepen the bond between animals and Chinese boxing. Although he was already capable of turning sound into silence with each of the twelve stances of Xingyiquan, had reached the Transforming Jin stage, and could couple soft and hard together perfectly, the importance was in intention. Style or form wasn’t the most important here.
To be able to return one’s martial arts to its natural state and have each strike reflect the million year evolution of every animal and embody the true meaning of an animal’s fight for survival without bothering to stick to form–that was what it meant to have one’s martial arts reach the summit.
From having sound to having silence. From having form to having none. In the end, there was only instinct and the intent to survive. This was the paramount and true essence of the fist reaching the highest form.
From external to internal. To be small to see big. To regain the natural state.To have intent without intent. This what it meant to be a “true person”.
After seeing the sea turtle and hawksbill turtle, Wang Chao finally walked to the crocodile enclosure. There was a single giant pond with a dozen crocodiles lying there. Some were floating in the waters, some were sprawled out on the grassy shores, and some were hidden in the mud without moving.
By the side was a fish stand that one could purchase fish that could be thrown down for the crocodiles to enjoy. It was also another way of income for the zoo administrator.
Wang Chao looked at the stand for a moment before buying a single large grass carp to throw down. Suddenly! The fishy smell of the carp had attracted the attention of two nearby crocodiles. The originally peaceful crocodiles had instantly exploded and brought their mouths wide open like a sacrificial bowl to pillage the fish from each other.
Bang! A single tail had slapped against the water and sprayed it everywhere. A single mouth had clamped onto the fish while two claws were brought forth. The skin on its back and spasmed for a split-second before its vertebrae quickly receded back into its tail. With another twitch of the tail, it had rebounded along with the vertebrae.
Splashing everywhere, a whirlpool had formed while the crocodile’s entire body had soared into the air.
With this scissor-looking tail, the crocodile had exploded forward with its giant body as if it was in flight. Huo Ling’er–who had been watching, had stepped back in fright, afraid that the crocodile would come upshore to bite at her.
But she had been standing three or four meters away from the crocodiles. This had made it impossible for a crocodile to fly up high enough to bite her. She had been frightened because of the violent aura of the crocodile in that one moment.
In this moment, the grass carp had already been reduced to pieces and swallowed down.
“Cutting Tail of the Crocodile”.
This had been one of the fiercest moves in the “Crocodile Fist” in Xingyiquan. Wang Chao had used this move to tear apart Zhou Binglin’s arm during their fight. But seeing how the crocodile had truly used it to hunt his prey, Wang Chao knew that this inspiration-filled move was filled to the brim with terrifying might.
Wang Chao observed in silence. He could only replay this scene back in his mind along with the floating scene of the turtle. As he thought of both creative concepts, he seemed as if he had gained another layer of understanding.
Under the way of direct strikes of the Longfist in the world, nothing surpassed the “Pound”.
The ancient elders of Xingyiquan had once contained the moves of the “Four Pounds of Xingyiquan”. This wasn’t all that different from the Hammer methods of Taichi.
And the dividing the muscles and misplacing the joint concept of close combat Chin Na had contained the move of “Turtle Floating in Water” in it. It required a person to be steady while both hands were quick and agile. After a single palm, it would streak across the body. With two movements from the vertebrae, the fists would be like a scissors blade that opened and closed. “Cutting Tail of the Crocodile.” as it was called, would tear apart the enemy.
The tortoise originally contained the steadiness of a bear and the agileness of a bird. It was different from the “Dual Form of Bear and Eagle”, but the creative concept behind it was similar. When the Cutting Tail of the Crocodile soared into the sky, it carried the inspiration of a snake becoming a dragon. It had also carried the creativity behind the Flying Horse Treading on Sparrow as well with its flight.
The Flying Horse Treading on Sparrow was quite intimately related to the Assault of Dragon and Snake.
“In the martial arts under the heavens, all of the terrifying moves at their peaks have similarities with one another. Practically every move is the same move. The movements aren’t the same, but the creativity behind it is.
Wang Chao resumed his thoughts on the “Cutting Tail of the Crocodile”, “Assault of Dragon and Snake”, “Dual Form of Bear and Eagle”, “Flying Horse Treading on Sparrow”, and the “Turtle Floating in Water” killing moves.
Apparently, he had understood something, but he had no idea how to describe it accurately.
Looking up, Wang Chao could see that the sun had rose above the zoo. It was noon, meaning Wang Chao had no longer wished to think about it anymore.
“In the next few days, I’ll be discharged. When that time comes, you’ll officially become my disciple.”
“Okay.” Huo Ling’er responded happily.
Just as Wang Chao was fully healed and prepared to be discharged from the hospital. Hong Kong. In a specialized shooting range of the Huo family.
Two gun-holding youths wearing leisure-clothing could be seen four to five meters apart from one another. A third person’s head, arm, and leg had a single white stripe around it. His skin was dark, his height was short, but his physique was solid. This youth had brown hair and looked very similar to the males from the coastside of southeast Asia.
Two shots could be heard as the youth suddenly dodged and weaved. His vertebrae had been like a bow and shot outwards, letting the two bullets dig fruitlessly into the ground behind him.
Bang bang! Another two shots could be heard.as the two youths shot at this man with their gun. The male’s body had nimbly dodged the bullets like an ape hopping up and down. And as if his body was without bones, he had dodged the two bullets.
The two youths had fired six times each in rapid succession, but they had been unable to hit the man they were aiming at. It was finally after they had run out of bullets that they stopped firing.
“In the world of fighting, the fast remain unbroken!”
When the suntanned, short, but built man saw that there were no more bullets, he finally came to a stop. In the middle of his face, there was a centipede-like xcar that was quite malevolent to look at.
Stopping, he spoke these nine words. But these words had been similar to what “The Beast” had said in the movie Kung Fu Hustle.
“Good, very good! We are specially trained in the art of marksmanship, and yet the two of us were unable to shoot you. You are fully deserving to be called the grandmaster Nguyễn, the number one practitioner of Muay Thai and Yoga.” One man spoke as he put down his gun.
“You flatter me too much. My trip back from India was nothing special. I’ve heard that many experts have appeared in Southeast Asia as of late however. I’ve also received an invitation from master Choi Jang Baek from Korea to go to Hong Kong. Instead, I’m indebted to the two young masters of the Huo family.”
“Master Nguyễn Hồng Tú made a name for himself in his twenties in the southeast Asia world of martial arts. I’ve heard five years later, you ran to India to learn the orthodox school of Yoga and returned to Thailand to open up a school. How amazing! Even now, master Nguyễn Hồng Tú is capable of dodging bullets, that is a feat I find inconceivable. When I heard that master Nguyễn was coming to Hong Kong, I just had to invite you. One reason was to find out about your martial arts, and the other was to request something from master Nguyễn.”
“What is it?” Nguyễn Hồng Tú asked.
“My younger sister Huo Ling’er loves fighting. She even went to Japan to learn Karate, but she didn’t get very far with it and wished to find a master to learn from. When ninth Dan Choi came to Hong Kong, I had asked in hopes that my sister could be taught under him, but he had recommended master Nguyễn instead. Thus, I would like to invite master Nguyễn.”
Nguyễn Hồng Tú spoke, “That’s not a problem, but the reason master Choi and I came from Korea to Hong Kong is because we later plan on boarding a plane to Beijing to take care of some business.
“What good timing, my younger sister is currently having fun in Beijing. But what business might master Nguyễn have there in Beijing?”
Nguyễn Hồng Tú’s lips cracked open into a laughing smile. The scar on his face had grown even more malevolent-looking than before. “I heard a person master Choi was acquainted with in his earlier life was injured by someone, so we came to see him, that’s all.”