TIBETAN, LION'S ROAR, HOP-GAR, LAMA KUNG-FU
Sim: 閃 The Principle of
"Evasion" in Combat
Sim 閃 (Cantonese) is one of the Four Principles 宗極 of Combat in the Si-Ji-Hao (Lion's Roar!) tradition:
In Simhanada Vajramukti - the Indo-Tibetan root art to the Sino-cized 'Si-Ji-Hao', these principles are described as the Tantric Catu-Guna's (the four qualities) see LINK: Mukti Dharma They are a manifestation of the "Sacred Four" - the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, which are represented within the Lion's Roar! tradition as the 4-Kaya's (bodies), 4-Guna's (qualities/principles) 4-Resha's (lines/planes)and the 4-Sakti's (gings/powers/strengths). Here the multiplication of '4's' is not significant as such (4x4) but that in each of the 'four' considered, there are "4 truth's": there are ONLY 4-Noble Truths. Each dimension of the Art manifests them as a specific instantiation.
Sim/Avarana is described on the above link as:
"Sim: Sanskrit: Avarana: That which veils, conceals, or surrounds the real nature of beings or things. 'To evade, draw-out, to deceive': Moksha. The opponent may be drawn into a Bardo state thru such means, by directing them into inappropriate action. All forms of evasion and drawing as conventionally understood could fit this Guna, provided, that the overall management of the conflict is with intention to control the Bardo Field. The Deity/Yidam Maya ('Illusion' 惑 and 'Confusion') - an aspect of Kali is the Deva-Raja of the Avarana-Guna".
Sim can manifest in the Lion's Roar! derivative martial arts systems (Hop-Gar, Lama-Pai, Sai-Jong Pak-Hok-Pai) in a number of ways, the most commonly found is an emphasis on striking from position, and using 'space' creatively to dispense with the need for blocking or making contact thru the 'bridge'. Here, Sim is used to describe a mastery of timing and position, within which to draw the opponent into opening themselves, overextending or simply to 'miss' either in timing, or, physically. The Western boxing principle of 'drawing' is similar.
In some lineages within the Chinese versions of the Art, the notion of non-contact and use of space to avoid having to block is given great emphasis. It is seen as being one of the highest of all skills - to use evasion and space, so effectively, that blocking or any kind of passive contact with the opponent is unnecessary.
In practice however, it is often a better 'notion' than it is a workable 'application'. Problems can occur when this interpretation of Sim becomes elevated to dogmatic status.
In Tantric versions of the Simhanada Vajramukti tradition, Sim (Avarana) is given a different emphasis and interpretation. The Chinese character for Sim 閃 is made up in part from the Chinese character for 'Mun' 門(Gate), and 人(Person) - a person INSIDE the Gate.
This is an echo of the original Sanskrit (Hindu) meaning of Avarana as being the definitive engagement within the Bardo (Antarala) times, and spaces. Notice also how the character for Sim appears within the Chinese word for lightening 閃電光. Sim (evasion) is part of the Diamond Thunderbolt of Tantra. Sim acts against the opponent like a flash of lightening in a doorway. The Bardo field is any interval or in-between state, and describes spatial and temporal relationships in-between structures, but also in-between thoughts, and the cross-modal zone of thought and action.
The Tantric deity for Sim is Maya (illusion惑 ) as an aspect of Goddess Kali the destroyer. Illusion, deception, drawing, are all aspects of entrapment within the Bardo-State, so it is appropriate that Maya is the aspect of Bodhicitta that stands for this principle. However, the Bardo Field itself, is the domain of Vishnu - the Master of all cross-over or in-between points - including gates or doorways. Maya spins her web of illusion to entrap the opponent within Vishnu's realm - hence the Chinese character for Sim 閃 includes that for the doorway or gate, Mun: 門 and person Ren: 人
In Han transliterations of "Bardo", the Character 間 (Jiaan in Mandarin and Gaan in Cantonese) is often applied meaning: "leak; space in between; interval; between two things; the space between; within a definite time or space". Note the similarity between the Character 閃 (Sim) an that of 間 (Gaan) BOTH involve the concept of the Gate or Door. Note too the emphasis on to 'Leak' in Gaan, to slip in-between the spatial and temporal points, and by inference, to do this within moments of arc-path, structure and thought, within contact or near contact with the opponent. This is a subtle difference in usual translation of 'Bardo' which in non-martial Buddhist terms, is limited to the period between death and rebirth, that the Tibetans refer to as the Bardo-Thodol. This usual transliteration appears as 中陰 and shows a conceptual branching away by the Han, from the original Sanskrit as Antarala meaning any in-between state, time or condition, and the specific notion of Antarala-Bhava: "Between Births". The Tibetans keep to the Indian conception by discriminating Bardo from Bardo-Thodol, but the Han Chinese separate them in representational terms, even further.
Still more, the Chinese versions of the Lion's Roar! Martial Art tend to concentrate on the voids in space (between them and the opponent) and thereby induce - thru movement, a temporal (timing) void in the opponents structure. The goal being to disrupt the opponents ability to fix and fire, whilst themselves being vulnerable to incoming strikes from within a 'void' state - this is creation of action out from a void (a Bardo). The Chinese have so refined this aspect of Avarana that they have discarded action against the structure of the opponent in time and space - thru contact. Hence, for the Chinese, evasion has become avoidance of contact.
In the Simhanada Vajramukti versions of the Art, the Crane totem animal division, disdains continuous contact with the opponent thru the 'bridge'. It does not however neglect contact per se rather it functions as an Avian would: it flutters and vibrates rotational forces to propel the opponent into a state of disruption, but it does NOT stick. Symbolically, a bird would avoid sticking to the opponent, its feathers are too fragile, so it uses rapid, spiraling rotational forces. Try to catch hold of a bird in your hands and you will see what I mean....
Narasimha: The Man Lion - 4th Avatar of Vishnu: ("Bardo Deva" 間天王in Lion's Roar) who destroyed the evil demon Hiranyakashipu "inside the gate" 門
The focus of Sim in Simhanada Vajramukti is then to find far more refined Bardo-Voids than is usually encountered in Sino-cized versions of the Art. The angles exploited are far smaller, the temporal intervals are far shorter AND the SIM principle is extended to cover both thoughts and combat strategies, in the opponent.
Information processing overload, creates a natural Bardo state. The actions of the 'Crane' working the bridge and the close dimensions of contact and near-contact provide a broad spectrum bandwidth of overload for the opponent. Into the gaps in structure and thought thus created, the Crane penetrates (Chune) and arrests (intercepts: Jeet), moving the fight to completion point: destruction (Chon).
Sim also utilizes the opponents 'method' or strategy - his 'style' of action of fighting, his intention etc, by non-compliance with them. The Simhanada Vajramukti fighter induces the Bardo state and penetrates (Chune) the door. Sim 'evades' the opponents concepts too, so contact or non-contact are un-necessary considerations. It is only necessary to utilize the Bardo thru deception and illusion, NOT to avoid contact - to do that is to misunderstand the root principles of the art.
Various Tranliterations for the Character SIM: 閃
Mandarin (hanyu pinyin)