Lau Chung Lek<br>or<br>Why (at the 3rd level*) we have to divide our attention

In the last editorial, when I wrote about the proud Cadillac owner with the 44 cm upper arms who was able to observe himself, recognise his aggression and control it in time, I promised that this month I would discuss the technique of so-called ”divided attention“, or how to avoid identifying and forgetting oneself.

In my experience this is our greatest weakness together with our suggestibility, and it prevents us from becoming conscious and mastering ourselves.
On 20.12.2003 I attended a boxing match at the Ostseehalle in Kiel: Vladimir Klitshko versus Danell Nicholson.
I won’t waste many words on this boring “fight”, except to say that the successful clinches of the opponent once again confirmed to me that in purely self-defence terms, boxing alone makes little sense unless it is combined with wrestling. While I derived little benefit from the techniques I witnessed, the reactions of the spectators gave me ample opportunity to study our human nature.
As I only go to mass sporting events about every ten years or so, I had splashed out on an outrageously expensive ticket, though this did nothing to change the fact that as is usual in Germany (comments with a more genital fixation are more common elsewhere), my immediate neighbours shouted and screamed the same (usually anally-fixated) catcalls and comments as the people on the cheaper seats. No organiser could wish for more excited and enthusiastic spectators. What can be wrong about becoming so excited that you see yourself in the role of e.g. Klitshko, shout words of advice or share his satisfaction as if you had landed the blow yourself? Nothing or everything, if you have made it your highest aim to become more conscious and take responsibility for your actions.
Whenever we forget ourselves because something captures our entire attention, we stop being conscious or indeed “being“ at all. A dispassionate observer can study this during sporting events, in front of the TV, in a table-dancing club and other mass psychosis inducing events such a lynching or the rabble-rousing question: Do you want total war? Those who have identified the greatest human weakness as our vulnerability to being influenced have at the same time discerned the worst enemy of our goal to become more conscious.
Whenever we catch ourselves and only somebody who has worked on himself for many years can really do this developing an argument to the point of overzealousness, refusing to accept the opinions of others, becoming angry or aggressive when others make remarks or morbidly allowing our thoughts to dwell on the same topic all the time, then we have identified ourselves with a matter and have actually become that matter, ceasing to exist as individuals.
Accordingly it is an important exercise for the 3rd level to divide your attention so that you throw a spotlight on the matter in hand, but a second spotlight on yourself.
We must never forget ourselves for a second, however exciting the matter in hand may be. While it is considered important to “stay on the ball” in external life, it is counter-productive in terms of the 3rd level to concentrate fully on one thing.

The fact that somebody who takes a detached view of his surroundings, and also of himself, makes a rather dry and anodyne impression on those around him, and is unable to arouse enthusiasm in many others because he is unenthusiastic and intentionally detached himself, is a disadvantage that only has effects at the 1st and 2nd levels. It is an indispensable precondition on the path to (greater) consciousness and the ability not merely to respond reflexively and mechanically to events and moods, but (occasionally) to decide for yourself.
During Chi-Sao or of course in combat (or when motorcycling, my rediscovered passion), you must NOT divide your attention*. It could have fatal consequences.
While the 3rd level refers to identification, forgetting yourself or immersing yourself totally in something, this corresponds to chancing your arm, making yourself a target of criticism and staking everything on one card at the 2nd level, and to shifting your weight e.g. forward to reinforce a blow at the first, physical level.
The Taoist concept of Wu Wei speaks of acting with no intention, "sine iraet studio" (without malice and aforethought), so to speak. That is precisely the point.
And it is not for nothing that the WingTsun motto “Lau Chung Lek“ reminds us (literally translated) to “hold back our centre force“, i.e. not to commit everything so that we are not identified or “bound“.
The object is rather to divide our attention in order to maintain our physical and mental balance in the sense of the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean. You cannot be hypnotised if you have divided your attention, or are observing yourself. The focus of your attention must be narrowed before you can fall into a hypnotic trance.It is not without reason that the hypnotist suggests:
"Now you can only hear my voice, and you feel more and more sleepy"
Many will now ask themselves how all this can be applied. How can I stay on top of my job if I don’t ”give it my all“? What will my wife/girlfriendsay if I rein in my “spirit”? How will my surroundings and my friends react to the new “me”?
There is no question that people make a more lively and dynamic impression if they are enthusiastic and passionate themselves, ingratiate themselves, do others down, are quick to make one-sided judgements and above all express negative views and gossip about others. In short, if they are themselves hypnotised by things.
But at the third level you learn to free yourself from the impression that others might get of you. Those who cannot afford to do this - or are not prepared to - owing to their position in the world, must only change INTERNALLY, but not EXTERNALLY. They “must” continue to join their colleagues in doing others down and pretend to be interested in office gossip and the latest football results, and they “must“ laugh along with chauvinist jokes or tell a few themselves. Of course this is NOT really a ”must“, for they have merely decided to take the Karma Yoga approach (see my relevant editorial) in playing a role (in life) imposed on them by life itself (if they are a kind of Prince Charles) or by themselves. If a person like this has taken on the role of a leader, he is obliged to “hit the roof“ over mistakes made by subordinates, and act the part of the indignant, angry boss because the other person expects it of him. In a relationship he might even have to show artificial jealousy to convince his partner of his (wrongly understood) love (though jealousy and objective love are mutually exclusive).
Of course, all of us play a role or even several in life. But to play a role CONSCIOUSLY for many years, and to play it WELL, requires a level of consciousness which can only be achieved by very few owing to lack of energy.

Keith R. Kernspecht

P.S.: I occasionally receive letters from readers who let me know that they enjoy my editorials, but find it annoying that I appear to claim that these teachings are only to be found at the 3rd level of WT. If I have given such an impression, this was not my intention. Such thoughts are not the sole preserve of WT, and anybody who has a bent for this will have thought about these topics. If I have stated that they belong to the 3rd level of WT, this is not to lay sole claim to them but to clarify at what learning stage in WT such thinking has its place. It does not belong in the physical 1st level, nor in the 2nd, where one is concerned with making one’s mark in the world.
Some also ask me whether it would not be possible to attempt all three levels at once, with a triple, simultaneous attack typical of WT, so to speak.
Why not think about this and let me have your thoughts on it sometime? Heading: "All three levels at once".