Shaolin Bow Concepts: Beyond the Form
One first stands erect then sinks the energy into the earth.
From this root, one inhales from the Lower Dan Tien, the rising arms to cross each other, then separating.
Pushing upward to the heavens out through the palms and breathing into the palms
Palms come together compressing energy into opposite palms for prayer hands.
The energy is brought inside and grounded into the earth.
The earth energy is allowed to harmonize, and the stance is settled and grounded:
Heaven and Earth Chi connected.
Same as starting position, but emphasis is on returning energy and balance.
The head is slightly nodded forward, it is not lowered past the view of one's eyes.
When the head is lowered past the point where you can see what is ahead of you, it implies blind trust and complete subjugation, as a slave to a king or emperor. A bent neck is too easy to behead or break. You won’t see animals doing this.
Shaolin came out of Buddhism which values awareness, consciousness, and non-attachment. When one is a subject, they are attached to their leader’s position, whether it is good or evil, right or wrong.
There is much to be gained by going through the adjustments of one’s perceptions and philosophy that develop the classics. This does not happen when one just agrees, copies or memorizes.
No warrior or free-thinker, should lower themselves to anyone, not even their leaders, parents, friends, priest or teachers. In the same manner, one should not hold themselves above others.
Respect is shown by the nod of the head; you can still see the person being bowed to rather than limiting you view and awareness. Doing a bow by bending at the waist, while keeping the neck straight is the same as putting your head on the chopping block, lowering yourself to dirt.
Teachers that are into obedience and serving the emperor, dictator of chairman will lower their head in blind, servile compliance; the worse they are, the lower they bow. They do not respect an individual’s rights, or life, nor do they respect independent thought. These ‘teachers’ will never stand up for what is right; only what they are told to do.
It is much better to understand the why and how of the training, rather than being a puppet or parrot. When one trains in this manner, they learn about the timeless and universal concepts that are present in life, other disciplines, and knowledge itself. Merit for a position, is placed on the reasons, rather on who said them. What is right, not who is right.