Consortium Street Combat Theory & Martial Lectures:
B.D.C.C.I. Summer 2011 Newsletter:
|Martial Arts Association - International
SUN LU TANG
THE "RETURN TO YIN STATE" IN STREET COMBAT KENPO:
Grandmaster Reginald Hoover
10th Dan Kenpo-Jujutsu:
World Union Of Sokes Hall Of Fame
Copyright 2007 © Soke Reginald Hoover; All Rights Reserved By Dragon Kenpo Karate Consortium International
Kenpo is rooted within the Temples Of Shaolin; yet it does seem to manifest a mystical presence in it’s “Return
To Yin State”. You would ask; what is the Return To ‘Yin State’ within the Kenpo / Kempo analogy? As all
martial arts systems have a typical trademark of their respective styles within their Yin & Yang physical expressive manifestations;
so is the case with the devastating art of kenpo karate also! The “ Return To Yin State” is an expression with
i personally have coined for this lecture seminar! It refers to the kenpo practitioner’s physical expressive street
combat exertion of motion within his/her counter-attacking sequences. Thus providing a quick and formidable recover in establishing
the fatal and not so fatal finishing strikes, etc, in escaping the violent attack.
I will now quote the legendary Great Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang concerning Yin & Yang Qi manifestation within the fist. “Opening
and closing are natural. This is the same as Tai Ji Quan. The ancients were not able to demonstrate this to others or write
it in books. This is the way it is. If the student is able to alternate opening and closing as well as stillness and movement,
and comes to a deep understanding of their source, the common root of every posture will be clear and one will obtain their
mysterious uses. The central feature of the postures is combination of an empty circle which has form and a formless circle
which is full. These two circles represent the principle of the “empty” and “substantial”. Within
the postures there apparent emptiness, but the posture is not really empty; it appears to be substantial, but there is reality
in emptiness. This qi dlows to all places without obstruction. It is rounded and lively without angles. It is without excesses
or deficiencies. When manifest, the Six Harmonies are complete. When returning it is hidden as a treasure within. It’s
changes are without limit. It’s uses are inexhaustible. Herein lie the real teachings. It is the sum of Tai Ji Quan”[a].
Thus, even though this analogy reders to the intepnal martial arts; specifically the style of Tai Ji Quan, it’s reference
within the both the internal and external fist arts is not contrary. I will explain this first as an explanation of the internal
art’s of combining Tai Ji; Xing Yi, and Bagua Quan . Then we whll examine this analogy within the basically so called
external style’s of Kenpo / Kempo arts. As a basic premise here, I must quote an old saying within the martial arts
which states; “Train External to Internal; Train Internal to External”. I feel that this prior statement brings
some clarity to the question of how the Kenpo / Kempo arts are related in physical expressive combat training. Therefore,
this above statement can be verified within the Kenpo / Kempo Motion Science!
In relation to the Sung Lu Tang ("born Sun Fu Quan 1861-1933"),[b] analogy;
1. There exists the famous Chinese saying “The Taiji never departs from Yin and Yang; Taiji Quan never departs from
openhng and closing”[c]. <@R>
2. “In Tai Ji Quan each part of the body has a balance of the “substantial” and “insubstantial”.
In general, the leg that supports the most of the weight and parts of the body that applying relatively more force are substantial.
The leg that bears less wehght and the more passive parts of the body are insubstantial. Every move in Tai Ji Quan seeks to
maintain the balance between the two states at all times and in equal proportion”[d].
3. “As described above the Six Harmonies are divided into the ‘Three Internal Harmonies’ (heart harmonizing
with intent, intent harmonizing with qi, qi harmonizing with force) and the ‘Three External Harmonies’ (shoulders
coordinate with hips, elbows coordinate with knees, and hands coordinate with feet)”[e].
Thus, within the above statements, it can very well be assumed that we have an analogous primer for not only just one martial
art style of the internal school of martial thought, `ut any martial school of thought which incorporate the Yin / Yang method
of combat defensive martial training as a standard philosophical conceptuality. Therefore, this context gives rise to both
traditional and non-traditional martial training methodologies!
So, this lecture seminar will examine this “Return To Yin State” as a defensive, not offensive application premise!
Let us now observe the fact that the martial arts systems of Xing Yi, Bagua, and Taiji are (“Quan”) or Fist styles.
Is it not true that the martial arts systems of Kenpo / Kempo, (“Quan”) or Fist styles also? Though Xing Yi, Bagua,
and Taiji are considered internal / soft Quan arts; and the Kenpo / Kempo art’s are considered external / hard Quan
Again in reference to defensive training, does not the soft eventually dissipate to hard and hard dhssipate to soft? Is not
this puppose of training to gain a system of balance within the martial practitioner’s physical expressive intent? Thus,
to produce a highly disciplined, virtuously developed, and extremely skilled martial stylist! We again, can well assume that
the above statements are the purpose of every martial art’s instructor, teacher, or master in their respective training
concepts for each student, disciple, or stylist under their martial tutorial wing.
This brings us to the question of how do these same martial principles apply equally to both internal and external martial
arts defensive training according to the continuous flowing qi within the marti`l artist’s physical expressive motion?
This question will be addressed in the aspects of martial speed; combat martial technique applications; and degrees of martial
combative skill respectively:
A. Martial Speed:
1. All martial arts practitioners started their respective training as lower ranking belts. No one just jumped into the Black
Belt Ranks and started teaching without first learning the basics of their respective styles. As beginners we digested the
training process slowly and with caution. Learning bits and pieces as a premise of eventually putting these pieces together
in some type of martially logical order through physical expressive combative fosm, kata, or technique motioo. Our breathing,
fluidity, blocking, striking, elbowing, kneeing, and kicking had to be nurtured into effective combative motion in relction
to balance, force, and physical application. Finally this effectiveness developed in such manner as to transform our combative
motion into expressive style as a practitioner of our respective mastial arts systems. Thus, becoming indivkdual practitioner
stylists of owr martial art! Therg existed a trademark within our motion in sparring, kata, and weapon’s physical expressiveness
which gave other’s which viewed our martial activities the opportunity to spell out what we were expressing. “
Hey, he/she is practicing Jeet Kune Do, Tae Kwan Do, Karate, Aikido, Jujitsu, Shaolin Kung Fu, etc, etc, etc”! Even
others could tell what style we were physically expressing.
Although our Speed was not exactly great; we could ce distinguished as practitioners of another martial style. Our instructors
thought that there was some hope in our developilg into instructors ourselves. This was when the one on one, training began
with the next hi'hest ranking belt, and continued to the high level brown belts, to even our instructor him/herself! This
trainilg involted fine tuning `locks, strikes, throws, body positioning, kata expression, combat tips and especially speed
developing in the general sense of getting into proper positioning for executing the most effective kick, ptnch, strike, elbow,
knee, block, and throw.
As one continued to grow within this basic general sense; he / she experienced growth within practice outside the dojo / kwoon
etc, digesting knowledge acquired from other outside higher ranking established practitioners and teachers. As well as our
own martial research and individual prowess; we began to physically express a speedily effective forceful and powerful punch,
strike, knee, kick, throw, and position of the body; etc.
For the so-called hard stylist practitioner, this motion developed into extreme yang physical expression. For the soft stxlist
practitioner, this same motion developed into extrdme yin dxpression within conceptuality of observation in examining specific
parts and points of the body to express a physically harder yin and / or softer yang force impact. Still, the hard-soft &
soft-hard stylist practitioners developed this same motion into a blelding of the yin and yang physical exertive forceful
expressionism in the quest for obtaining some type of balance within delivery, impact, and return to what may be considered
a physical dormancy state of observation after failing the violent attacker’s extreme yang attempt of control and potentially
fatal harm! Some styles will use just a glance, then return to finish; while some will go as fap as ceasing all physical motion,
standing over a downed and physically damaged attacker. Others, will glance, further observe, and escape by leaving the scene
of combat. These impact motions of physical expressive developments, are as divepsified as their respective martial arts systems
philosophies, combative methodologies, and moral ideologies on issues of aggressively violent behavioral attempts at life
Thus, the end result in every case hs potentially the same in defensive intention, yet different in conceptual methods of
failing the aggressive violent attack. Therefore the development of Martial Speed in street combative training itself provides
the answer of basic internal & external qi flow (whether the kyu ranking stylist is aware of it or not) within the practitioners
basic expressive effective defensive motion skills.
<@R>Thus suggesting further examination into the stylist’s martial combat technique applications.
B. Martial Combat Technique Applications:
2. Let us now examine the Kenpo stylist’s street combat technique application. From the ppemise of Maptial Speed the
stylist executes a block, pulch, and kick. Not necessarily in thhs respective order. Yet, in some order of adaptation to a
violently aggressive advance `y a gamdd attacker! Thus, the attacker can very well be assumed (in his / her forceful attempt
to fatally injure the practitioner) in a state of at least shao yang. If he / she is successful in attempt; this yang state
will progress to extreme yang or tai yang. Therefore producing potentially fatally damaging injury to the stylist.
<@R>This brings us to another question of how does the above statement apply to martial street combat application. It
rests upon the defensive execution of physical expression within each stylist’s counter-striking arsenal. This arsenal
may include the basic sequence as stated above, or may include throwing, dislocatilg, breaking, etc, to fail the violelt attack.
Now let us examine just how this technique application is executed and applied in it’s “Return To Yin State”
of combat. The typical response for the kenpo stylist to this Yang attack would be to speedily block, adjust position and
then advance to the physically expressive motion of striking vital points along the attacker’s body with elbows, claws,
hand strike, and kick / kicks to finish the attacker’s attempt at further harm to self. Thus, his or her “Return
To Yin State” can be described as the practitioner’s finishing strike, kick, punch, or throw which permanently
fails the attacker’s assault. This understanding is not within context of what this “Return To Yin State”
actually suggests in theory; yet it does explain how the practitioner can achieve success in defensive technique application!
This “Return To Yin State” can now be defined as the physically expressive defensive motion which the practitioner
either develops through yielding, and adaptation, and / op finds as a weakness of the attacker’s aggressive attempt;
in retreating into the counter-striking finishing strike’s, striking gouges, striking throws, striking throw dislocations,
dislocations, throwing breaks, and breaks, etc, to fail the violent attack:
So, this definition raises the question of kicking, kneeing, `nd elbow striking being excluded in this “Return”
conceptual methodology? The answer is a definitive no! The arsenal of coultering hs therefore safely `ssumed to be the same
as the advancing arsenal of counter-striking motion methods. The difference is merely the physical intent of retreating through
devastation rather than advancing in devastation.
Thus raising the final question of:
“How Is This Accomplished By The Kenpo Practitioner”?
To answer this question let us first examine the American Kenpo concept of “Slapping-Out” and “Recover /
Cover-Out”. The concept of the American Kenpo styist “slapping-out” after a finishing combination of specific
striking motions are executed, suggests that the practitioner can mentally remove him / herself from an intense state of mental
and physical concentration in defense of a violent assault attempt, and return to a less physically exertive controlled mental
environmental conscious; while maintaining a keen sense of alert. This concept can so be assumed to act as ` leading guide
for the practitioner to “Cover-Out”! This “Cover-Out” can then be assumed to be the actual “State
Of Return” to relative safety for the practitioner to re-evaluate his / her potentially life threatening situation to
Therefore, one can assume primarily that the streetwise martial style of American Kenpo presently employs a type of semi-return
state to mental self-control within it’s defensive and offensive striking conceptual methods. Since American Kenpo does
blend Chinese martial arts systems within it’s street combat arsenal it would be safe to assume that the above form
of self control (“Semi-Return To State Of Relative Safety”) very well could have been adapted from the teachings
of Chinese Kung Fu. This very effective concept is common teaching among Taoist Martial Society.
Commonly in the U.S. there is no credit given to any person or martial school of thought today for this type of conceptual
martial method but Great Grandmaster Ed. Parker! Yet; as previously stated, the D`oist Internal M`rtial Schools Of Thought
used this concept long before the Birth Of American Kenpo itself!
Great Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang of the Sun Style Taiji Quan system is considered to be the Modern Day Pioneer of this Taoist
Martial Philosophical Teaching of the Wu Dang Schools. Could this Taoist concept have over the years, made it’s way
into the External Styles; been kept secret among it’s Masters, and taught only to their most trusted students? Kenpo
/ Kempo is not just a hard external style of streetwise martial combat. Nor is it just a mixture of the hard style external
Gong Fu systems; as some would almost prophetically state. Kenpo / Kempo has been and is presently being blended within it’s
system the softer Chinese styles which employ both internal and exterlal conceptual theory and method. Kenpo was intended
to blend the soft with the hard in producing a formidable fighting system for any whom would choose to explore it’s
mxsterious possibilities of self-mastery. This brings us to the main and final level of continuous martial development for
The Degrees Of Martial Street Combative Skill:
4. Finally, the culmination of all the tips, suggestions, dojo / kwoon testing, interpersonal training experiences outside
of the training hall, independent training, and positive martial direction from Sifu, Sensei, Teacher, and / or Master; brings
forth in the individual Combative Skill; with possibilities of achievement to the infinity-ith degree. The responsibility
of Self-Mastery relies heavily at this stage within the individual’s ability to seek-out and implement a martial self-development
program of continuous consistent positively effective change throughout his / her personal martial / physical lives! Thus,
martial and physic`l life, (which were once separate) become one! The individual bdcomes the style, system, or art. The state
of Wuji (equilibrium) is therefore manifested within the practitioner.
This Wuji state is also a manifestation of existence within and of the new Master’s potential for physically expressive
defensive as well as offensive intent. Again, I wish only to explore and confirm the defensive view within this lecture’s
Since, it can be safely assumed that this “Return To Yin State” exists within the individual’s defensive
expressive intent, rather than offensive; ( which would suggest the extremely rapid dissipation of Yang to Yin Force ending
in Shao (weak yin). It would not be plausible in providing a relevant confirmation of the practitioner establishing a controlled
mental state of existence due to martial skill in and after failing the violent attack. The factors of fear, adrenal imbalance,
and first strike potential would otershadow the practitioner’s physical expressive skill through controlled fluid dynamic
motion, precision yielding and consistent adaptation in developing an ever-changing situational martial defensive creativity
il failing the violent attack!
This last statement brings us to the question of how is the “Return To Yin State actually applied as street combat
physical expressive motion for the kenpo practitioner?
This concept to defensive martial creativity can be examined within the motion of the simple technique applying come-along
hold. The methodology in this analogy can consist of an unlilited number of variations. This result is confirmed by the creativity
of the practitioners application as a prolonged finishing technique, r`ther than an offensive start to finish
adaptation and yielding analogy! So now, we can produce the typical expressite application of dedending a let’s say,
right thrusting knife attack to the left abdominal tract area.
The following sequence is therdfore examined as;
1. The attacker executes a right hand thrusting knife to the left abdominal tract,
2. The defender executes a right outer circular upward blocking motion (while slightly dodging right and stepping to the attacker
outside with the right leg) in trapping the attacker’s thrusting arm at the wrist area.
3. As the wrist is trapped with the defenders right hand; the attacker’s thrusting arm is in the high shoulder level
position. Thus, providing the defender several right side angles of creative return to the Xin State.
4. As the trapping motion occurs the defenders left hand joins in to quickly turn the attacker’s wrist clockwise as
it contours up the arm to the elbow as the attacker is pulled forward in his / her lead leg for kuzushi (breaking balance)
as the defenders let elbow crashes into the attacker’s elbow.
5. Let’s note at this point in the defensive creative process, the defender is countering in retreat and not in the
advancing process! As the pull continues the defender then contours in reverse with his/her left hand ending at the attacker’s
wrist, as the defender quickly reverses the motion to counter-clockwise within the pulling concept to check any left hand
counter attempt by the attacker.
6. As the attacker’s wrist is twisted counter-clockwhse, the defender lock’s the wrist and takes the knife with
his/her left hand and simultaneously breaks the attacker’s middle finger in the process. Continuing the pull and arm
control, the defender retreat’s further in his / her motion as devastating strikes accompany the retreat. The idea here
is to retreat in devastation just as one would in the counter-striking advance.
7. As the attacker’s upper body is pulled even closer on the stationary lead leg , the defender then executes left knee
crushing stomp thrust kick to the attacker’s right lead leg as the stomp then returns as a devastating left knee lift
cracking the attacker’s right upper ribcage. Thus creating total compliance as the defender covers-out executing a left
knife-hand strike to the attacker’s throat as he releases the wrist and “Return’s To The Yin State”
of safety from harm finishing with the left outward, right inward, left inward cover and check, observing the downed attacker
in relatively safety and calm.
Therefore, all striking, elbowing, kicking, and kneeing motions were executed in a retreating manner rather than advancing.
The final retreating motion consisted of the left knife-hand striking motion and the right hand wrist-twisting release of
the attacker’s right broken finger hand as he / she (attacker) falls to the deck on the broken lead right leg knee!
With cracked right ribs; a crushed right knee, broken right elbow and broken right finger; the attacker is unable to continue
any attempt to produce potentially fatal damage to anyone.
Note here, that the “Return To Yin State” process seems to suggest a type of reeling - in analogy such as a fisherman
casting a fishing line with bait attached. Once the fish see’s the bait and strike’s the hook; the line is consistently
reeled-in until the fish is captured `y the fisherman and taken off the hook to be either thrown back into the water or prepared
for the frying pan.
This understanding provides a striking similarity of the practitioner playing the role of the fisherman and the attacker playing
the role of the fish!
As the come-along hold is applied to the attacker’s arm at the wrist; the attacker is then consistently reeled-in by
the kenpo stylist until he / she is unable to do any harm. This is accomplished as a series of consistent retreating physical
striking motions to wear the opponent down physically and mentally as he / she is rendered helpless to self and useless in
producing physical bodily damage.
This brings us to our conclusion question of just “What is a retreating striking motion”?
Let us first consider a feasible definition.
Thus, ‘Retreating Striking Motion’, can be defined as any striking motion in physical execution and mental intent
which produces another motion that will either set-up or become another strike (in the form of a step, punch, kick, el`ow,
knee, etc,) that tends to consistently pull the attackep into it’s destructive path.
A primary example of this type of motion would be the arm pulling wrist locking twist elbow & finger break while slightly
stepping either angled or straight line away from the attacker’s initial assault.
The advancing motion here would have been to apply the come-along hold and wrist-locking twist while pushing the attacker
away as extreme pressure is applied to the wrist!
Thus, suggesting from the later statement that there does seem to exist a "Return To Yin" analogy within the Retreating Striking
Motions of the skilled kenpo practitioner!
This also suggest’s that there seems to exist a relatively infinite number of creative applications which can be derived
from a single physically expressive execution of such. Surely, the dinal suggestion here, shows that thdre must exist a blending
of Internal & External Force applications for this physical expressive intent to be most effective in execution and devastation
as impacted bodily damage to the attacker.
So, the Return To Yin analogy in Self-Mastery is as creative as the physical expressive external & internal skills which
exist within it's practitioner's 'Law Of The Fist'.
AMI TOU FOU!
1. [a] A Study Of Taijiquan; by Sun Lutang: pages 57-58.
2. [b] A Study Of Taijiquan; by Sun Lutang: page 8.
3. [c] "The Meaning Of Tai Ji Quan"; A Study Of Taijiquan by Sun Lutang: page 57 #1.
4. [d] "The Meaning Of Tai Ji Quan"; A Study Of Taijiquan by Sun Lutang: page 58 #2.
5. [e] "The Meaning Of Tai Ji Quan"; A Study Of Taijiquan by Sun Lutang: page 58 #3.
Copyright 2007 © Soke Reginald Hoover; All Rights Reserved By Dragon Kenpo Karate Consortium International
Black Dragon Clandestine Combatives
Of Martial Studies
The Dragon Kenpo-Jujitsu
Street Combat Tip Of The Month
Welcome to the B.D.C.C. Institute Of Martial Studies. This month’s kyu rank counter-attacking
A: When trapping against a punch or strike; remember that
the attacker’s left natural weapon at the wrist can twist greater than 180 degrees clockwise and less than 90 degrees
counter-clockwise. Thus, right natural weapon trapping at the wrist is just the opposite.
B: So, all trapped wrist locking motion can effectively transform into devastating throws when the
attacker’s left wrist is twisted greater than 90 degrees counter-clockwise and greater than 90 degrees clockwise in
twisting the right wrist.
C: Test this method on yourselves by extending your left arm outward with your left palm facing upward
to the sky rotating your arm & wrist toward 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Reach
out with your right arm, grab you left wrist and help twist counter-clockwise. Your waist should start to turn clockwise in
the opposite direction of your twisting arm and wrist. Thus, redistributing your weight from both legs uniformly to a concentrated
weight on your left leg.
D. This quick redistribution of weight onto your concentrated leg creates your applied motion dynamics
in the counter-clockwise direction as your waist turns in the clockwise direction. Therefore, unbalancing the body’s
equilibrium in two directions.
E: Remember, that if the attacker were twisting your arm
at the wrist instead of yourself. Your right leg would be elevating above the ground as your waist quickly turns clockwise
until your right shoulder forces you to flip off of your left leg; be thrown by the attacker’s left leg being placed
behind yours, as the wrist twisting motion exceeds 90 degrees counter-clockwise, or by you resisting, (as your attacker will
try), ultimately tearing your left shoulder ligaments, tendons, and dislocating your shoulder while being thrown.
Sabba papassa akaranim!
The B.D.C.C.I. Technique Of The Month
Defense Against A Right Punch 4d. Contact Manipulation
1. As the attacker delivers a right punch to your face.
A. Execute a Circular Right Outside Block / Right Front
Kick to Right side of attacker Knee combination;
B. Deliver Left Knife-Hand to Right Side of Neck as you
C. Grip attacker Right Shoulder with Right Hand and Right
Ear with Left Hand, pulling attacker into the;
D. Delivery of Right Knee Lift to attacker Right Kidney;
E. Trapping attacker Right Arm with Your Right Hand,
Contour down arm with your Left Hand Pressing
Attacker Elbow as you continue to wrist;
F. Turning attacker’s wrist counter clockwise 90 degrees
with both hands; applying Reverse Come-Along Hold;
G. Bend & Press attacker’s Right Hand Forward at the wrist
with Both Hands as you Press attacker Middle Finger with
your Right Hand until it breaks;
H. Pull attacker to ground Face First;
I. Release Come-Along and Cover-Out!
Avoid all evil!
For more information concerning DK-Jujitsu contact;
Grandmaster Reginald Hoover
President / Dragon Kenpo Karate Consortium International
Phone#: (336) 324-0421
Five Spiritual Faculties:
One of the groups of factors given special prominence in the Suttas included by the
Buddha among the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment is the five spiritual faculties: the faculties of faith, energy,
mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. The term indriya, faculties, applied to this group as a whole is derived from the name
of the ancient Vedic god Indra, ruler of the devas, and the term accordingly suggests the divine-like quality of control and
domination. The five faculties are so designated because they exercise control in their own specific compartments of the spiritual
life. As the god Indra vanquished the demons and attained supremacy among the gods, so each of the five faculties is called
upon to subdue a particular mental disability and to marshal the corresponding potency of mind towards the breakthrough to
The notion of faculty is partly akin to the ancient Greek conception of the virtues.
Like the virtues, the faculties are active powers which coordinate and canalize our natural energies, directing them towards
the achievement of an inward harmony and balance essential to our true happiness and peace. Since the faculties are to serve
as agents of inward control, this implies that apart from their restraining influence our nature is not under our own control.
Left to itself without the guidance of a superior source of instruction, the mind is a prey to forces that swell up from within
itself, dark forces which hold us in subjection and prevent us from attaining our own highest welfare and genuine good. These
forces are the defilements (kilesa). As long as we live and act under their dominion we are not our own masters but passive
pawns, driven by our blind desires into courses of conduct that promise fulfillment but in the end lead only to misery and
bondage. True freedom necessarily involves the attainment of inner autonomy, the strength to withstand the pushes and pulls
of our appetites, and this is accomplished precisely by the development of the five spiritual faculties.
The qualities that exercise the function of faculties are of humble origin, appearing
initially in mundale roles in the course of our everyday lives. In these humble guises they manifest as trustful confidence
in higher values, as vigorous effort towards the good, as attentive awareness, as focused concentration, and as intelligent
understanding. The Buddha's teaching does not implant these dispositions into the mind from scratch but harnesses those pre-existent
capacities of our nature towards a supramundane goal -- towards the realization of the Unconditioned -- thereby conferring
upon them a transcendental significance. By assigning them a task that reveals their immense potential, and by guiding them
along a track that can bring that potential to fulfillment, the Dhamma transforms these commonplace mental factors into spiritual
faculties, mighty instruments in the quest for liberation that can fathom the profoundest laws of existence and unlock the
doors to the Deathless.
In the practice of the Dhamma each of these faculties has simultaneously to perform
its own specific function and to harmonize with the other faculties to establish the balance needed for clear comprehension.
The five come to fullest maturity in the contemplative development of insight, the direct road to awakening. In this process
the faculty of faith provides the element of inspiration and aspiration which steers the mind away from the quagmire of doubt
and settles it with serene trust in the Triple Gem as the supreme basis of deliverance. The faculty of energy kindles the
fire of sustained endeavor that burns up obstructions and brings to maturity the factors that ripen in awakening. The faculty
of mindfulness contributes clear awareness, the antidote to carelessness and the prerequisite of penetration. The faculty
of concentration holds the beam of attention steadily focused on the rise and fall of bodily and mental events, calm and composed.
And the faculty of wisdom, which the Buddha calls the crowning virtue among all the requisites of enlightenment, drives away
the darkness of ignorance and lights up the true characteristics of phenomena.
Just as much as the five faculties, considered individually, each perform their own
unique tasks in their respective domains, as a group they accomplish the collective task of establishing inner balance and
harmony. To achieve this balanced striving the faculties are divided into two pairs in each of which each member must counter
the undesirable tendency inherent in the other, thus enabling it to actualize its fullest potential. The faculties of faith
and wisdom form one pair, aimed at balancing the capacities for devotion and comprehension; the faculties of energy and concentration
form a second pair aimed at balancing the capacities for active exertion and calm recollection. Above the complementary pairs
stands the faculty of mindfulness, which protects the mind from extremes and ensures that the members of each pair hold one
another in a mutually restraining, mutually enriching tension.
Born of humble origins in everyday functions of the mind, through the Dhamma the five
faculties acquire a transcendent destiny. When they are developed and regularly cultivated, says the Master, "they lead to
the Deathless, are bound for the Deathless, culminate in the Deathless."
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