Monday, April 7, 2008

Smashing Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Another guest entry from Heng De. Amituofo!

So I've recently been playing a lot of a certain video game called Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Basically, it's every Nintendo character you can think of, and probably some you can't, fighting each other trying to knock the others off the screen. I first played the original version for N64 when I was just a wee lad back in 1999. In addition to moving around you basically have 4 other motions -- attack, special, shield/dodge, and grab. I never used the shield at all back in the N64 version, and rarely used the grab.

As I started playing Brawl, I was decent, but I realized (especially after playing a few matches online) that to get better, I would seriously have to start blocking and dodging. While trying to learn to incorporate these new things into my play, of course my level of play would go down a bit because I wouldn't know exactly what I was doing. But after practicing over and over I knew that my overall game would improve greatly.

So basically what this made me think of was how we go through a lot of the same things in kung fu. We get comfortable doing the movements a certain way, and then at some point maybe realize that the form isn't exactly correct, or the physics are a little different, or something. But it's hard to stop doing what we've become so used to to try to implement the new thing. Especially when it feels like we already are getting enough power/pop/looks good from what we're doing.

Some moves I can think of off the top of my head where I've had to do this are:

- bian tui and cechuatui -- the whole using the hip and not your leg to kick thing, especially because when you first start to use your hip more it feels like you don't have any power.
- tornado -- I noticed from a picture taken recently that I'm not tucking my leg at all, despite my tornado apparently looking purty; need to fix this.
- gongbu -- keeping your body straight forward, especially in forms like xiaohongquan.
- strumming both up and down instead of just down while playing Guitar Hero (for when it gets really fast).
- pubu chuanzhang -- using hips to power it instead of arms.
- Actually in basically every movement using your hips for power instead of whatever else.

I guess this whole thing can be extended to life in general too; to change and improve ourselves we have to step outside our comfort zones and be willing to try something new. Hmmm....and who says video games aren't good for you!


  1. De, you're one of the few that can extrapolate philosophy from video games! :)

  2. I got into a habit of sitting on my back leg doing pubu. I'm trying to fix it. I have to reach forward - right? But it's more comfortable just sitting....

  3. that's exactly what i'm talking about.

  4. I must learn how to strum up and down too!

  5. Good meditation for tonight's training. It helped me to think about those things I'm trying to add/change/improve, and then notice the difference in execution.

    I didn't feel like starting over the way it does when you switch to a different tool, IDE or OS. That's the same kind of feeling I get when trying to get the hang of blocking in a fighting game, or using mines in a shooter...

    After testing I will have to play lots of video games! I've gotta pick up Smash Bros. Also I can get you a small discount on Rock Band.