The concepts of Shaolin to Wudan, hard to soft, striking to grappling have been with us a long time. Many people have compared the argument to the yin yang turning over and over. In the end, however, there is no argument, merely an evolution of art within individual.
A child generally starts out with a hard martial art like karate. Heads out to the corner store and has fantastic contest with the other kids. Pecking orders are established, and the beginnings of the martial path are laid out. As the child grows, he might come across a Wudan style art, like tai chi chuan or pa kua chang. He begins to understand that all is not bashing, and that there might actually be something to learn here. He begins to look at concepts, principles, and apply them life.
As the child reaches middle age, his youthful vigor wanes, and he begins looking for easier ways to do things. Maybe his body has been injured, maybe the muscles are just not working as well as they should, whatever, he starts relying on technique as opposed to brute force. And, he is now taking definitive steps into the True Art.
The True Art is based upon concepts of intelligence, and intelligence is had by looking at things and understanding the differences. A punch in’t all there is, and can he look at guiding with flow, manipulating with intelligence? Or is he just going to planted in violence, a grown man relying only on force?
Thus, he begins searching for easier ways to move, a way to move that won’t tax the body, and rely only upon the muscles. He explores Wudan style arts seriously now, searching for the key to effortless movement. And, even if because of age and injury, he finds those effortless techniques.
Yet, wouldn’t it be smarter for him to just search for the softer arts from the start? The answer, most people are surprised tolearn, is no. For a man to truly learn the softer arts he must learn the harder arts, he must have something to gauge it against so that he might truly think and learn.
Yet, how much hard must a man experience before he becomes intelligent? I would recommend three or four years of karate, or at least a year of matrix karate, or, if he doesn’t like Karate, then a matrix influenced art like Shaolin Kung Fu, preferably the Shaolin Butterfly. To make the leap to Wudan, or soft, or flowing, or, at the very least, intelligent art, one must see both sides of the spectrum, this is the only way for the frog to hop across the pond.
Al Case has analyzed martial arts for forty++ years. A writer for the mags since 1981, he is the originator of Matrixing technology. You can pick up a free ebook which will explain matrixing at Monster Martial Arts.