John Mini M.S.C.M./L.Ac./Dipl. Ac.
An Opportunity to Work with Master Cai San Feng
A defining moment for my study of Kong Jing, or Empty Force came during the time that I was studying with Madame Yu. It did not happen in her basement studio, but back over in Berkeley, where Sifu Fong Ha was sponsoring a workshop event with Master Cai, San Feng.
I was excited to meet Master Cai because I had heard so much about him over the years from Dr. Lai and Sifu Ha. Sure enough, Master Cai was tossing Sifu Ha’s senior students around the workshop area like rag dolls. Eventually the moment arrived and Master Cai asked me if I would like to work with him. I stepped right in and was really curious to learn what would happen.
How Real is Empty Force?
At this point, Sifu Ha had not introduced me to Master Cai, and he had no preconceived idea of who I was or what my background might me. I was curious if Empty Force was something that was universal, or that if each teacher had his/her own version of it that really couldn’t transfer or work with people who come from other schools. This kind of thing is frequently the case with martial arts schools.
Within about half a second of touching my hand, Master Cai smiled and said, ‘Aha!’ He pulled his hand away and there was a whooshing, popping sound. I felt like all the air was getting ripped out of my lungs as I was hurled 30-40 feet across the room to the astonishment of everyone in attendance. Fortunately my work with Madame Yu allowed me to receive this impact in a good way and land without getting hurt, making the sound of a tremendous explosion when I my feet landed on the floor, which also stunned and amazed the onlookers.
Empty Force is Independent of Teachers or Schools
This experience sparked in me both a curiosity and an understanding at the same time. It was really a surprise to discover that Empty Force was an objective, measurable field that could be perceived, assessed and played with instantaneously by an Empty Force master. Empty Force is independent of teachers or schools of thought. It has absolutely nothing to do with hypnosis and is a power that can be realized and recognized in a variety of circumstances by those who have developed it.
I have since learned that Empty Force masters can and do recognize each other and enjoy a protocol of mutual respect, openness and inquiry among themselves. Once they get going, it’s not unusual for them to drop whatever else might be pressing them to get done in life to engage each other in a spirited dialogue and co-investigation that can go on for hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades. The world of Empty Force has its own laws, rules and technical vocabulary that extend back into the recesses of time to wherever this practice began.
Mastering it Yourself
None of this is intelligible in any way to those who are not Empty Force masters, and herein lies the difficulty with its investigation. Although Empty Force masters are eager to explore this art with each other, they also tend to be humble (with a few noteworthy exceptions) and are just as reticent to disclose this world to outsiders as they are to share it among themselves. The reasons for this reticence are many, but the bottom line is that if you want to investigate Empty Force, the only way to do it is to begin the long road of mastering it yourself. Many questions arise while one is on this path. Very occasionally answers come as well, but the real answers only come through practice.
Part of practice comes in the form of sharing one’s experiences and insights with Empty Force. Much of it also comes through practicing it with others. In this way, Empty Force practitioners are able to test the development of their own Kung Fu and also pass it directly to those they share it with.
In the past, this kind of information was kept a closely guarded secret, even within individual schools. Now a different attitude is beginning to pervade the world of Empty Force practice, and it is understood that the more of the practice that we can share, then the more we can all develop.
It is my hope that the San Francisco Bay Area can become a resource for those who have a sincere desire to practice this art and to connect with others who are on this path.
John Mini M.S.C.M./L.Ac./Dipl. Ac.