An overview of the signature characteristic motion of the "God Shakes Sleeves" technique from our SanZhan Wuji Ba Xian Zhang 三戰 五級 八仙掌 “Three Wars, Five Levels, Eight Immortals Palm” form.
“God Shakes Sleeves” (Zhen Shenhan Tao) is a Characteristic Signature move within our White Crane Gongfu Pai 派 ~ family systems (家 jia). Mentioned within the pages of the Wu Bei Zhi (often known as the "Bubishi") and seen with the opening sequence of the SanZhan Wuji Ba Xian Zhang 三戰 五級 八仙掌 “Three Wars, Five Levels, Eight Immortals Palm” form, it is a signature character move of our White Crane Gongfu style.
Wu He Dao Zhan Pai or Martial Crane Way Battle Sect White Crane Gongfu is a behaviorally based method that utilizes the body's natural spinal flinch reflex and reactions to fear or violence and then converts these reactions into efficient, practical, tactical, kinetically energy fueled responses to attacks or that which I call R.A.P (Rapid. Auto. Protection).
It’s a form of reactive auto combat kinesiology. “God Shakes Sleeves” converts the unconscious kinetic energy of the flinch response in to an instinctive life-Protection response. As it is an instinctive or natural action it cuts muscle-memory training by around 90 to 95%. On a purely natural physical response level it involves the spinal reflex which embodies the natural human instinct to “push away” & react to danger when confronted. “God Shakes Sleeves” teaches one to blend this natural & instinctive “pushing away” of danger and makes use of the extensor muscles.
How and when you would use the “God Shakes Sleeves” Technique/Principle relates directly to the level of aggression faced & the suddenness and proximity of the attack faced.
Using the arms from the elbow to the hands it targets the mass of the opponent making the margin of possible error much less than most other responses. Moving in on the opponent with “God Shakes Sleeves” is known as bridge breaking”. Best of all learning & applying the “God Shakes Sleeves” is easier than learning most other self-defense responses because the mechanics , the concept & principle is based upon the natural action & reaction of the human body prior to any form or martial arts training.
The nucleus of the “God Shakes Sleeves” response is already naturally ingrained within you. This ingrained response is part of the human beings instinctual survival and protectional response to danger utilizing natural moves that override muscle memory skills or conscious reactions. The keystone principle of Wu He Dao Zhan Pai’s “God Shakes Sleeves” acting/reacting energy (Jin) in one movement is found in many moves in our Quan Tao (拳套) SanZhan Wuji Ba Xian Zhang 三戰 五級 八仙掌 “Three Wars, Five Levels, Eight Immortals Palm” form.
The whole purpose of this energy is to tap reaction Jin from everywhere - from the ground, from contact with opponent - any part of him. Chinese White Crane is really all about vibrating “Jin”. From the bottom of the foot all the way to the finger tips, in fact, I would even go as far as saying that many techniques would not work fully unless they are executed with the proper “jin”.
• Hard but not rigid, Soft but not weak.“
• All movements must flow fluently. "If the way is free, go forward" is a catch cry of this method. This principle applies to the arms (which are thrust forward establishing a bridge), the legs (which can be used to kick) and the entire body advancing on the opponent. This "Forward-Flowing Energy" uses the primary concept of "Body Feel" (Shen- fa) once contact is made with the aggressor, the aim is to maintain this contact in order to '"feel" the opponent's "body feel" (intentions energy & movements).
The defender or person in this Life-Protection situation should maximise opportunities to do this exploiting physiological phenomena to give the person applying life-protection the optimal chance of success using rapid technique or techniques designed to end confrontation swiftly. Dynamic "Change Body" and "Body Change" or angling to achieve optimum positioning is based on recognition of which shoulder/arm the aggressor is leading with (left, right or neither) as well as how close he or she is.
Most humans have the minimum reaction time of 0.1 seconds. Add to this our own 0.1 seconds for the counter-response and this leads to a total time of 0.2 seconds. Those in the field of Neurology tell us that the attacker has no reaction time. He / she may have a preparation time of 0.5 seconds in which to engage action.
Structured towards putting students in the optimum position to avoid physical confrontation with the minimum of decision steps, the "God Shakes Sleeve" concept/application is applied by understanding the variables violent nature of ritual confrontation. Most importantly, our Wu He Dao Zhan Pai White Crane stylists are trained to attack pre-emptively without needing initial contact (physically) with the aggressor.
We utilise the concept of "Yi" or intention. By using positioning and skills to engage the White Crane stylist's contact reflexes, the defender can make use of a faster response that the body is capable of when responding to physical (touch) stimuli as opposed to visual stimuli. By using a 'gross motor movement' (meaning simple actions) one can use the natural instincts of the human body to counter unwarranted aggression. When looking at aspects of violence, one usually sees four phases within a confrontation:
1. Visual & Energy (observance of the opponent & attuning with their "intention").
2. Verbal (the Psyching up phase).
3. Bridging distance (trying to move into a suitable position to launch)
Once the opponent has bridged the distance towards us, there are three basic aggressive positions that they can move through before the attack phase:
1. Leading with the left arm.
2. Leading with the right arm (southpaw).
3. Neutral, frontal stance with arms out by the sides (angry Chimp phase or positioning ... one fall away from the tree!).
Our "God Shakes Sleeves" positioning allows us protection should an attack come while attempting to talk down or de-escalate the situation. This position helps protect us from the proverbial "sucker punch" syndrome and denying straight access past our "God Shakes Sleeves" Posture but enables us to immediately launch a pre-emptive strike without indication or warning if need be.
We watch for or more importantly "feel" our opponents intent and or body language and verbal queues to see when he or she is going to launch an imminent attack upon our person.
The concept here is use our natural instinctive reactions to shut down the aggressor as quickly as is possible ("The first will remain the first"). We are capable of being "To act upon, to receive or stay with what comes". The whole "God Shakes Sleeve" concept "Uses nature's wise answer to defend and or attack".
With all this being said and written ..... nothing beats doing it!