Points of Interest

Today was a long day down at the kung-fu school: junior testing all morning — which means that we instructors sit and watch some very nervous beginners wobble and fidget their way through the Gung Ji Fook Fu Kuen and Fu Hok Cern Ying forms — followed at one p.m. by a five-and-a-half hour Dim Mak seminar given by Master Yee.

Dim Mak, in case you haven’t heard of it, refers to the practice of striking or seizing sensitive points with the intention of causing various ill effects, not excluding death, in one’s opponent. It is closely related to acupuncture; in many cases the very spots that are stimulated by the acupuncturist to heal particular internal organs will, when attacked with malevolent intent by the Dim Mak practitioner, cause debilitating or lethal injury to the same parts of the body.

I shouldn’t say much more about it, since the details are, for obvious reasons, among those things that kung-fu systems generally keep to themselves. But as you can imagine, it’s a tricky thing to practice; when I was first trained in this aspect of the system, almost thirty years ago, I actually made myself quite ill for several days by using myself as a guinea pig. It was embarrassing, and I felt quite foolish — which indeed I was, as I had been amply warned: further proof of the sad fact that the only path to good judgment is through bad judgment.

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