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Shen Martial Arts Web Journal on Thoughts, Experiences, Tips, Ideas and just about anything relating to the lifelong practice of Chinese Kung Fu - Your comments are welcome!
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Posted by Shen     2 Comments Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Dit Da Jow - Intimate Understanding via a Rich Empirical History

Back when I started making Dit Da Jow available to the public, there were few who had heard about it or who knew what it was. Fast Forward 25 + years and ..... well, like the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". 

Yes, many more people are now familiar with the name, Dit Da Jow and there are new sellers and self-proclaimed experts on dit da jow popping up regularly. Still, there quite a bit of confusion, along with a good measure of miss-information, all leading to a familiar condition in modern times..... controversy.

I have spent the last 2 decades educating  people on benefits of Dit Da Jow usage but clearly, but the need is greater now than it was when I began.

Before there was language, writing, newspapers, books, cell phones, email, internet or telepathy, humans acquired knowledge and understanding by observation and direct experience. The method of learning via observation, trial and error and direct experience is termed Empirical learning or Empirical Science.  Empirical learning is by definition, practical, dealing with real needs, challenges and problems.

Dit Da medicine is and Empirical tradition supported by centuries of observation and millions of "data points" that demonstrate the effectiveness of herbal elements and combinations . This effectiveness is cofirmed and re-confirmed over time as learned practitioners follow the traditional knowledge to treat trauma, illness and by Martial Artists to train, heal and strengthen their bodies. 

Martial Artists had a different scope than healers, a different agenda and therefore different approach and different expectations when gathering their empirical results and building their empirical knowledge-base. Martial artists traditionallly trained in Dit Da have proven evidence of the effectiveness of Dti Da herbal formulas. There is no question... IT WORKS... period.  How well specific formulations work for particular results is stil and empirical process. In other words, you have to experience it to determine if it works on you for what you want it to do.

No matter how much jargon and techno-science babble is used, there is not yet a scientific, experimental test that will prove or disprove whether Jow works or not, or even less to determine which Jow is more effective or of better quality. It all comes down to the proof is in the pudding. 

Don't believe me? I spent 20 years in the field of quality assurance and quality control working in the high tech and medical device industries. My specialty was and still is DOE, or statistically designed experiments to fine tune, control and predict product quality and performance.  I have worked in everything from magnetic coatings to micro-membranes for separation of microscopic particles.  I believe in the science, the statistics and in experimental prediction, just not for everything, and not for the  art of Dit Da.

Martial Artists over the centuries determined that the regular and consistent use of certain herbal formulas improved their conditioning and resistance to blows and strikes. They also experienced great increases in the power of their strikes, and in their muscle strength.  When healing injuries, they found that the injured area was stronger after healing with the herbal formula than before it was injured. Through trial and error, they found that extracting the herbs in alcohol of a specific concentration (proof or %) gave the best results. These findings were confirmed and re-confirmed and added to the verbal and written lore that was passed on and that became  the inheritance that a few still practice today,  the art of Dit Da medicne or Dit Da Ke.  This is what is now retained in the original recipes and formulas from different martial lineages, clans, families, and traditions, after being distilled and perfected over centuries of observation and refinement. This is why we should respect and the integrity of these original formulas and continue observiing and collecting empirical results and learning from those before us. 

Instead you find so called experts with lots of theoretical knowledge, but what amounts to only a superficial understanding and experience, making changes and adulterations to "improve" traditional formulas. Well, you have to have a pretty large head to think you can waltz in after a few TCM classes and start making things better.  Add a bit of this and a little of that, because the Materia Medica says it has this property and this temperature, etc, etc.....  This is all heresay and third party or further removed information. 

Real understanding does not come from regurgutating facts read from a book, a guide, a recipe compendium or a google search. You must become intimately familiar with each herb. Feel the herb, see it, smell it, in some instances eat it, observe it and finally.... USE it. Use it yourself, give it to  your students, friends, and family. Then observe and collect information about the results. Watch for patterns, trends, correlations and effects.

At Shen, we have been collecting and analyzing results from our dit da jows formulas for 25 years and for thousands of users.  We continue to learn from each customer, each feedback point, and continue to add to our empirical and practical understanding.

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Posted by Shen     15 Comments Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It's What You Do Most of the Time ......... part 1

My Choy Lay Fut  kung fu teacher used to repeat this to us often, almost like a Mantra.... "It is what you do most of the time that counts, not what you do once in a while".  This simple statement is in fact a powerful principle, one that has guided me out of trouble, and slapped me out of delusion and self-justified stupor that we tend to fall into when we least expect.

It took me some time to understand the basic meaning of this statement and I know some of my fellow students who never did understand it or dismissed this important teaching altogether.  At the face value, it means that whatever we do the most, is what affects us the most. Pretty simple, right? Some might say, obvious or just plain common sense. Well, common sense is not all that common and the humble simplicity of the words hide a wealth of wisdom.

The reality is that most people do not know what it is that they do most of the time. We may think we know, but upon closer examination, we find that what we think we do "normally or "regularly" is NOT actually what we do. Huh? Yes, that is right, You do things that you do not really know you are doing while at the same time you convince yourself that you do certain things that you do not actually do.  Boy, if you weren't confused before, I certainly got you with that doozy.

In Kung Fu, ask any practitioner how often they train and for how long. You will be surprised at how often and how long everyone trains! Common answers: "6 times per week 4 hours per day", "3 hours a day, every day except sundays", "Dialy 4 to 5 hours". Wow! If everyone was so dedicated, we'd all be Masters!  So, are these people lying? No, and yes. They are lying to themselves.  That may be their television watching schedule, but it is not their kung fu training regimen. It is what they wish it would be, and what they convince themselves that it is.  And by the way, we ALL do this, and have done this in one way or another, all of us, yours truly included.

So the next obvious questions is... Why? Why do we do this? This is a complex question with a simple answer.... because we spend much of our time half asleep and on auto pilot. We are not fully aware of the moment, not fully awake, and so hours pass while we engage in things of little importance, in meaningless pass-times and mind-dulling "entertainment. When the time for something of value comes along, we "Don't have time".

The first meaning of my Siu's mantra is: Wake up and do most often those things that TRULY matter, that are of true value. Fill every moment with the proper action, even when that action is rest. Choose how you spend each moment, not letting time go by inadvertently. Watch yourself, check yourself that you do not fall into wishful thinking.

For my kung fu brothers and sisters out there, kung fu is about true, repeated, consistent and continuous practice. My Sifu had another mantra, "Practice, Practice, Practice". Don't think you practiced, don't dream you practiced, don't hope you have time to practice....... PRACTICE.  As Nike so effectively put it..... "JUST DO IT!" 

When your actions become what you do most of the time, the results will be surprising and real.

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