Understanding 'Yi'

Student: Honestly I'm not sure I understand what Yi means. It means intent, right?
Master Fung: Intent is the closest translation. Think of an innocent baby who wants milk...it will reach, crawl, climb, push, cry or whatever in an effort to get that bottle. That desire for milk is the Yi.

Student: So if I am driving my car and I decide to go left....the intent to make that turn is the Yi?
Master Fung: Basically, yes. The only difference is the innocent actions of the baby become conditioned actions in the driver. Checking for traffic, using the turn signal, turning the wheel, working the pedals are all driven and coordinated by the desire to turn left, the Yi. As I said before Yi Chuan helps us unconsciously link the intent to protect ourselves with the trained response based on Hunyuan strength.

Student: So in fighting the Yi 'intends' a punch?
Master Fung: No. I swear your going to drive me crazy. In a fight the Yi should be to disable someone, knock them down, stop them....something like that. Its about the effect you want to create. Like with driving we don't want to focus on how that effect is carried out. Let the body intelligence figure out how to make it happen. The type of punch, the angle, timing, distance, strength, etc must all be determined intuitively to fulfill the desire of the Yi.

Student: I see what you mean! It's about hard-wiring the Yi to the skills based on Hunyuan strength, right?
Master Fung: Exactly. Combat skills based on using this move to counter that move and so forth are almost useless. There is no time for conceptual thinking or deductive reasoning or abstract logic when the you-know-what hits the fan. We want to directly link the Yi with the Fist or trained martial response. We don't practice in a fixed way because we don't want to program a fixed response; we want one that is dynamically appropriate to the situation.

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