Commentaries on Kun Tao

Kun Tao water training, as well as training in tall grass, is revealed as an important aspect of training your moves. It is not specified as a certain type of attack or move, but rather stressed as a way of movement which encompasses all movement if done properly. It is stressed that Kun Tao is not kicks or hits, but a way of moving correctly, with fluidity, grace, and emotional content. The water or grass is especially good for training this way of movement because it provides an equal resistance around the entire body. Eventually, through this type of training, the air becomes resistance.

A current, for example, would cause a person to lose balance or manifest obvious hitches in their motion if they weren't doing it just right. When you make the move with the correct mental feeling, that's what makes it Kun Tao. Hitting in Kun Tao is almost better described as the opponent hurting themselves by ramming into your movement. A movement pattern is not a training implement but an infinite field in which movement can be made, beginning and ending wherever you are. Once the patterns are learned, the mind must release itself from patterns and focus on the way to move. The technique has no beginning or end.

This means that not only can all movements be fighting moves, if the proper way to move is known then all fighting moves are whatever moves you are making at the time. A punch is a continuation of many punches. That is, it is composed of every possible punch between its start and finish. If the Kun Tao way of movement is known, then it does not matter when the punch connects, be it at the beginning middle or end of the motion. In reality there is no beginning or end or middle, of course, but the terms can describe it that way.

The move simply happens, and impact is made almost by accident. Not like a boxer's punch, which is timed to make impact at the end of the motion. In between, however, it can be jammed and will not make impact properly. The kuntaoist should not strike with this type of intention--he should be more concerned with executing his movement with the focus on emotion.

A student needs the feel of a Kun Tao move. The student has to ask "when are my moves Kun Tao?" and "how can I insure that they will always be that way?" There has to be a unification of intention. The feeling and intention must be synonymous with the total move. Every move must be synonymous with intention. If you bounce off whatever you are hitting, your intentions are not unified. Every part of the student must move through the object of intention as if hurting it by accident. This lends credence to the expression, "When you move you fly".

Notes on Mrs. Savelli speaking:

First she responds to a question regarding "The Change" and related mental states which are meant to be frightening and prevent attack.

She makes a clear distinction between the state of anger or temper which Master Savelli employs from time to time, and the state of mind known as "The Change". The former is "ineffectual, loud" and doesn't imply a true threat. "The Change" is more like a "deadly calm", like "the eye of the storm" which nothing can penetrate.

She relates this state of mind to the technique known as "the mind stops" and describes the recipients of this change as reverting to a childlike state, a furious opponent becoming confused and scared spontaneously. The way others respond to the look, with racing thoughts, and childlike defense mechanisms, is a reflection not of the state of mind of Master Savelli, but their own inner turbulence of fears and anxieties. This state cannot be achieved through violent or angry thoughts, and is not related to an emotional outburst or "show" of force. Rather, to cultivate this state, one should focus on the calm, the clear or 'crystalline' mind which is like the surface of a dark lake. The key seems to be focus, resolve, and impenetrable calmness. Mrs. Savelli seems much more respectful of this line of defense than of the moves alone.

Mrs. Savelli then speaks of the central belief system to which Master Savelli ascribes his abilities. Particularly, she finds great value in his ability to "turn the other cheek", and "play God's advocate" by making people see the other side of an issue. She also holds in high esteem his ability to maintain the order of his house and to maintain personal discipline to the point where "bad luck" is a misplaced term. She believes that Master Savelli avoids bad luck by maintaining a God-fearing attitude, in addition to trying desperately to remain conscious of his actions. Mrs. Savelli relates Master Savelli's achievements most significantly to this attitude.

Conversely, Mrs. Savelli disagrees with the attitude that one can do it alone. She has little regard for those who believe they are the end-all be-all, in command of their own destinies, those who believe in the "power of themselves". Those who do not feel they are held accountable spiritually, and assume that God is satisfied with their efforts are in danger of losing touch with the very power that keeps them alive. That is the where the danger of not having one's house in order finds root and begins to collapse the foundation. At the same time, bad luck seems to accumulate in the future. She warns particularly about the "you deserve it" attitude. In relation to the attitude of surrender, this attitude of satisfaction seems to be its antithesis. Pride and delusion are its basis. Mrs. Savelli sees this as no doubt, the most important difference between Master Savelli and the average person.

In regards to movement, Mrs. Savelli has a great deal of insight. The most impressive aspect of Master Savelli's movement, to her trained eye, is its gracefulness and fluidity. She makes a comparison between learning to play an instrument or draw, and learning to move properly. First one must learn the rudiments of the art, the brushstrokes, the notes, the basic movements. This ranges from easy to impossible at first. However, real mastery comes when the movements become natural enough that one can forget the actual process of doing and focus on the emotional content, or style of the movement. Finally, the brushstrokes or movements seem to execute themselves at the appropriate times with pure grace and appear effortless to a casual observer.

This is the truth. If you are interested in learning this system, email

Copyright © 2003 by Guy L. Savelli. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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