Chapter 49: Listen to the weak points and don’t look at the person
“To be soft and relaxed…” When Wang Chao heard that the muscles had to loosen and the pores had to attack, he suddenly thought about to what sis Chen had taught him a year ago. Back when she taught him Taichi, she had said the same words along with this elder. It was as if the clouds had parted the skies, allowing him to see both the sun and the reasoning behind it.
Left hand pressed against the rib, the right hand laid parallel to the ground, this was the posture of Wang Chao’s Assault of Dragon and Snake. Silently raising the tailbone, and then use the pores as an attack before separating the interior and exterior by becoming relaxed.
Understanding was one thing, but actually doing it was another. When Wang Chao tightened his pores, his entire body began to grow taut, rendering him unable to feel that Yin and Yang balance within his body.
“Correct, soft and relaxed. Youngster, understanding and doing are two different things. You must work hard on tempering yourself. Test your hand against another by using Taichi’s art of pushing hands or Bagua’s art of rotating hands, both require at least year before they can be used to proficiency. Eh? What posture is this? What stance are you standing in? It seems like a combination of the Xingyi Quan postures.”
When he saw Wang Chao start to mutter, the elder had understood what he was thinking about and gave guidance. But when Wang Chao had suddenly got into a stance, he was surprised.
“This is the art of the Dragon and Snake. My master had said the dragon to be the horse, and the snake the spear. With both combined into one, it reigns supreme even amongst the battlefield of weapons.” Wang Chao spoke truthfully.
“So that’s your answer? It seems that your master has experienced the battlefield before. All generations of martial art experts will become masters of the generation after experiencing the battlefield once without dying. To be able to create a standard of combined postures would make one a master of their own school and paint their names as one of the many branches of Xingyi Quan.” The elder remarked.
Having read the history of martial arts, Wang Chao understood the meaning of the elder’s words. Xingyi, Taichi, and Bagua had many different masters who had created their own style and branches within the discipline.
Shang Yunxiang’s Xingyi Quan had been called the Shang style Xingyi. Other than that, there was the Che style Xingyi from Che Yizhai, and Guo Yunshen’s Guo style Xingyi. There was also Cheng Tinghua’s Cheng style Bagua, and so forth.
“Has elder Li reached the Transforming Jin realm? When we pressed hands, I could feel the Hidden Jin break out as if needles. I have not yet reached the Hidden Jin stage, so I know not of the layers of martial arts yet. When my master taught me, she had not Hidden Jin to help me.” Wang Chao asked hurriedly.
“Ai! I am old now, and when my martial arts was at its peak, it was indeed at the Transforming Jin stage. At that point, I could use my pores to strike, but I can no longer do that. At most, I can only knock someone off guard since my pores can no longer accomplish the same things.” The elder went quiet as his face revealed the damage of time with sorrow.
“What, does one’s martial art degenerate with age even after reaching the Transforming Jin?” Wang Chao asked in concern.
“Youngster, martial arts is not some fairy tale. Even masters of martial arts are no match for the passage of time. Time persists, time does not spare. To not accept aging is to not be human. I am already 90 years old, and of the three internal harmonies, I am able to do the harmony of mind and will and the harmony of will and Qi. However, the harmony of the Qi and power is unattainable for me, making me unable to circulate Jin to all parts of my body.”
As he spoke, the elder stepped towards Wang Chao suddenly and brought his hand like a knife towards Wang Chao’s throat.
The elder’s footwork had been impeccable and his movements were as swift as a leopard pouncing at an antelope. His footwork resembled that of having a mastery over Bagua, and he was even using the Bagua tradition of using one’s hand as a knife.
But instead of stepping from the side, the elder had charged in from the front. Like a spear going down the meridian line of a person, he had transformed the usually deceitful Bagua footwork into one of a valiant nature.
“Good!” Wang Chao couldn’t help but cry out in recognition of the elder’s hand work. Bagua Xingyi, and Taichi all shared similar reasonings on the topmost level and had even the same foundation of principles. The only difference was how the theory on how to strike.
But while the fighting style was different, once one gained a high level of proficiency, they would be able to mix the three together. Bagua was to attack fiercely from the front, Xingyi was to twist and strike from the side, and Taichi was to explode outwards to strike and kill.
“If he is a senior of Bagua, then I will use Bagua to resist!” Wang Chao thought as he moved to respond to the elder. Feeling the gust of wind strike at his face, Wang Chao felt his legs begin to tilt the side as an instinctive response. He hadn’t even thought about dodging before this, and so his movements was even faster than before.
With this tilted step, Wang Chao had instantly arrived at the side of the elder. At this moment, Wang Chao had already drummed up his pores, causing him to look as if he was a reef within the middle of a storm. Listening to the wind all around him, he felt just where it was strongest and where it was weakest before trying to find the best path to attack.
The storm was caused by the Jin in the elder’s body. The intensity of it was testament of the elder’s Jin. If it was strong, then he could still circulate it to enough places within his body, if not, then he could not.
Wang Chao suddenly felt as if he had entered a mysterious realm with his pores listening and his eyes looking only at his own hands. Wherever he felt the Jin was weakest in his opponent, he would strike there.
“Youngster, you are doing well. When preparing the cow with his knife, Zhuangzi had said to not look at the entire cow. Feel for only the cow’s muscles and bones; this is the same for martial arts. Do not look at the entire person, use your Jin to listen to the weak points.”
When Wang Chao reached the elder’s side, he had struck out at the weakest point he felt in the enemy’s offense. It was a strike executed perfectly and almost on an instinctive level.
The elder had stepped away and turned his body before repeating his first action. Charing towards Wang Chao’s front like a spear, his palm crashed against Wang Chao’s own before immediately turning to strike at the ribs.
When Wang Chao’s palm struck against the elder, he had followed suit and used his arm to push in down towards the groin.
This was the Returning Body Palm of Bagua Zhang.
Bagua originally had some elements of grappling moves from when Cheng Tinghua incorporated it in.
“Pa!” The two men simultaneously used the Returning Body Palm, their blows striking and sticking to each other. With the two moves almost identical in purpose, Wang Chao would naturally be the worse of the two. In that instance, he immediately felt his support folding and his legs lifting off from the air. As a result of losing his balance, he was flung into the air.
The ground beneath the feet was the source of power for anything. No matter what discipline of martial arts, when the legs left the ground, it would be hard to shift power.
Plop! Wang Chao flew five or six meters away before rolling violently on the ground. Then with his hand moving behind his back, it acted like a tail and sprung him back on his feet like a monkey.
“You two….” Zhu Jia stared with wide eyes. In her eyes, the elder and youngster were simply a mystery yet unsolved. When the two met, they had instantly talked passionately with each other before even giving their own names. And then, they had begun to test each other out by fighting. To her, she felt as if the two men in front of her had gone insane.