The Tactics of Winning by Striking only after the Enemy had Struck
Wudang Gongfu takes as its tactics winning by striking only after the
enemy had struck, which is same to Taoism's theory of "inaction",
"nothing desired", and "being not the first one in the world."
Laozi, the famous philosopher had proposed that man should think less
for oneself and have little desire. He thought that the best way to
rule a country was to make the civilians' stomachs full while heads
muddled, to make their body and bone strong while their spirit and
willing weak. He also proposed the proposition of ruling a country by
inaction, in other words, the king does nothing while the civilians
will be self-cultivated; the king keep quiet while the civilians will
do their proper business; the king do noting while the civilians will
make themselves rich; the king has little desire while the civilians
will have a good rest. On the base of the above proposition, he further
proposed the ideology not to be the first one in the world. He said, "I
have three treasures that I keep and protect forever, which are
kindness, frugality, and being not the first one." Here "kindness"
referred to that the king should love his civilians just like parents
to their children; "frugality" was same to that the king should live a
simple life and have a simple mind, and not think much for extravagance
and luxury; "being not the first one" meant that the king should be
modest and folksy.
Influenced by the above ideology, in tactics, Wudang Gongfu emphasizes
the importance of winning by striking only after the enemy had struck.
That is to say, if some certain enemy attacks us, we should take it
easy and wait still to look for and grasp the chance to beat back even
when the enemy has a sign of movement. A Detailed Explanation of Taiji
Boxing has said that we keep still when the opposite makes no actions,
we make quick actions when the opposite has a sign to move, which is
the tactics that strikes after the opposite's act but heat him earlier
before he does me. Some other books, such as A Book on Taiji Boxing,
Forty-eight Formulas of Eight-diagram Palm, have the same statements;
all emphasize the policy of striking later but heating earlier.
Striking later but heating the opposite earlier can happen only on the
condition of evading away the attack to make the attack go by the
board. The strategical theory of striking later but heating earlier has
two points: one is that we should not over-emphasize the power of
subjective thinking, but respect the objective situation, remembering
that all one's acts are to adapt and beat the opposite; the other is
that we should try to get initiative chance, especially when in a
passive predicament, whose policy is to evade away the attack and then
beat the opposite out of his expectation.
The Theory of Yin-yang of Fist Position
Deeply influenced by Taoism's theory that Yin and Yang (the positive
and the negative) are opposite and unified, Wudang Gongfu has developed
a theory of Yin-yang of fist position with its own characteristics.
Taoism regards the world as a unity that is both opposite and unified,
which was named Yin-yang in Book of Changes. The combination of the two
opposite aspects of Yin-yang has produced unlimited changes.
Wudang Gongfu canonizes the theory of Yin-yang both in theory and
skills of boxing. In the view of skills, every act and change take
Yin-yang as the base, or root. The Formulas of Eight-diagram Palm said
that Eight-diagram Palm has relied on Yin-yang, has held five elements
(mental, wood, water, fire, and earth). A Book on Taiji Boxing has said
that Taiji, or extremity, is coming from the unlimited universe, the
chance to move or wait still, the mother of Yin and Yang. The Digests
of Taiji Boxing, proposed that every act of Wudang Boxing, no matter it
is open or close, active or still, tough or tender, visible or
invisible, real or false, slow or quick, all change according to the
basic law of Yin-yang. So boxing learning should begin with
understanding the unlimited universe and the basic law of Yin-yang. He
can't learn boxing that does not understand the law of Yin-yang.
As how to make full use of tactics of the opposite Yin-yang in real
fighting, Wudang Gongfu proposes that we should consider the rival and
us as a unity that Yin and Yang are opposite, judging from these
transforming law between Yin and Yang, attack and defence, advance and
retreat, right and left, up and down, active and still, tough and
tender, for and against, open and close, take adequate countermeasures
in view of rival's character of acts, so that we can defeat the rival
without any wound. A Book on Taiji Boxing has proposed many skills,
such as, depart when the rival is moving towards, meet when the rival
is still; do not excessively or wantingly; take direct skill after a
curving one; evade away when the rival is stronger than us; attack when
the rival is in a worse position than us. Only understand these
transforming law between Yin and Yang, can we make best use of these
tactics of attacking or evading away. Only this can help us make a
prompt decision according to situation and the rival, then make easy
and quick changes so that defeat the rival.
To sum up, if we understand the transforming changes between Yin and
Yang, we can make full use of all positions, directions, angles,
potentials that benefit us, then we can escape from death but put the
rival into a trap and to death, by means of leaping and evading, or
beating back the rival with his own attack, or keeping the rival's
powerful attack at bay by a powerless act. All tactics that propose the
transforming law of Yin and Yang, waiting still for holding the rival
in play, seizing direction and way of the rival's attack, then beating
back belong to Wudang Boxing.