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CELESTIAL DANCER

 

The female Khuai-To technique of the Viet Vo Dao school of Thien Duong is based on the "Heavenly Dancer" technique. The women mastered the art of seduction, confidence building, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments and using women's jewelry as weapons. They were well versed in poisons and their use.

 

In this area of KHUAI-TO there was no uniform as such. The women were dressed, depending on the circumstances, in the necessary clothing for the task.

 

The technique of the Heavenly Dancer has a history of thousands of years. It was known only by one large family who lived in the north of Vietnam and who were very proud of it. The technique was kept secret for a long time.

 

But the secret was eventually uncovered by a monk who, having received the highest military and spiritual degree, went to travel to North Vietnam.

 

There, his intuition told him, was something new to his eyes and mind. So we have before us the story of the creation of this technique by a man who was not related to the family that guarded the secrets of the technique.

 

...It was getting dark when a middle-aged man in monk's robes approached an inn in the north of Vietnam. The inn was like hundreds of similar ones scattered all over Vietnam. It was situated in a deep valley not far from the Chinese border. Around the inn, at a distance of almost several kilometers, were cut down trees and shrubs, which made the courtyard visible to all the delayed travelers. And this brought considerable profit to the innkeeper, and he was satisfied with his life.

 

The monk went to the gate and listened to the sounds of the night and knocked. After a while, the door opened, and the small, well-fed figure of the innkeeper appeared before the monk.

 

The monk asked: "May I stay with you for a while?"

 

Sly eyes ran all over his body and stopped at the monk's frayed and in some places torn shoes.

 

"And how can you thank me?" - the host asked.

 

The monk looked into his host's eyes, a sly light flickered in his eyes, but there was also something else glowing in them, as if this man knew something very important.

 

"I have no money, but I am willing to do any work in your court, which will be my payment," the monk replied.

 

The master looked at the monk and said: "Well, I need workers. But look, you will do the hardest and dirtiest work. Few people have survived this job; everyone who has worked for me has scattered in search of easier work. "I agree," replied the monk.

 

"Then come in," said the master, and turning his back he wanted to leave the room, but he stopped and added: "You will live on the second floor of the house. My wife will take you there.

 

A woman, who looked about forty years old, appeared at the threshold of the large two-story house. She quickly approached her husband, and they began talking about something. Then she turned to the monk and invited him to follow her.

 

They went up to the second floor and into the corridor, where the landlady stopped by the door. She quietly pushed the door open, and a column of gray-blue color burst into the hallway, emanating from the moon, which was visible through the window.

 

In front of the monk was a poorly furnished room, which in all likelihood was provided for poor travelers. This did not embarrass the monk, the most important thing for his body and soul was a roof over his head and a bed. Though what he saw before him could not be called a bed. The bed looked more like a hurriedly made wide closet, covered with an old rag.

 

The woman said: "Well, make yourself comfortable."

 

"Thank you," replied the monk and made his way to his new abode.

 

As he entered the room, he walked to the window and gazed for a long time at the brightly shining full moon. As he left, the woman said:

 

"Try not to be late for the start of work. The master doesn't like that."

 

"Rest easy, I'll get up early," replied the monk. Left alone, he began to get used to the environment of the room, meditating on each object. He did this so that he would no longer have to expend his energy on the long-term adjustment to his new abode. After the meditation he went to bed without undressing. He woke up early as usual and got out of bed and at once gave himself up to prayer, kneeling in front of the window with his palms folded against his chest.

 

After the prayer was over, he got up and opened the window and began the breathing exercises that had been shown to him by the monastic preceptor to gain strength before the coming day's work.

 

During the breathing exercises he gained the necessary strength and energy.

 

After completing all the forms, he walked to the window, and an unexpected sight unfolded before him.

 

In a small, enclosed courtyard near a wooden wall, sat a white-bearded old man in a strange white robe. He was watching a girl who, in the middle of the courtyard, was performing a set of movements that looked like a dance.

 

The monk immediately guessed what this dance was. He saw that underneath the plasticity and grace of the girl's movements something new and incomprehensible to his mind was hiding. And he realized that this was exactly what he was looking for.

 

He was distracted from these observations by a sharp knock at the door. The landlord's wife had knocked, calling the lodger to work. The monk replied that he would be right out. The woman left. The monk went to the window and looked down again, but there was no one else in the little courtyard. "They must have seen me," he thought, and left the room.

 

The monk's work was not easy. He was to carry water from a spring a few kilometers from the inn. He was given a huge beam, with large wooden tubs hanging from its ends. This did not surprise the monk. He well remembered his father carrying water in the same way.

 

The monk remembered how his father would fall on his bed, exhausted from his overwork. But what the son did not know was that his father's health had already been undermined by this work and that his end was near. The father died unexpectedly. He died of an attack of the disease, which he said was in his left groin.

 

Before he died, my father had time to tell his family his last will. He said: "Do not weep, my beloved wife. It is hard for me to bear your suffering. It is better for you to listen carefully to what I have to say. After my death, I want you to take my son to a monastery, which is three days' walk from our house, so that he may become a servant of the Lord and learn the art of warfare, and that he may simply learn how to live.

 

The monk's recollection was interrupted by a stern shout from the innkeeper. He waved his hands in front of the monk's face, shouting something loudly.

 

Having come to his senses and apologized, the monk picked up a yoke and ran to get water, rocking along with half a barrel.

 

The road was not a short one. The sun's rays were penetrating his body and his skin was unpleasantly hot from sweat, but the monk wasn't bitter about it, even though he was soaking wet - his serene eyes told him so. In the monastery, they taught him, "Wherever you are and whatever happens to you, always be with the Lord, always think of him, and it will help you. Taking advantage of the teachers' instructions, the monk walked briskly through the thick, beautiful grass, not seeing it, and directing all his thoughts to God. So he reached a spring that spurted from the ground and flowed through a stone-carved pipe into a huge ditch, finished with stone on the inside.

 

Leaning down to the water, the monk drank eagerly. Then, having drawn water, he set off on the arduous return journey.

 

The way back seemed to him as unremarkable as the way to the spring. He kept thinking of the Lord's greatness, and it made his burden lighter.

 

With the yoke on his shoulders, he entered the inn, which for some reason was empty. The monk placed the beaker in the middle of the courtyard and climbed the stairs to the first floor, where there was a large dining room for the guests. No one was there either.

 

Suddenly voices were heard from behind the door that led to the master's room. Someone was arguing loudly. He strained his hearing and clearly heard the master's voice, while the second voice was unknown to him, but he guessed that it was the voice of someone who had some kind of relationship with the innkeeper. The monk heard an old cough, and the image of the white-bearded old man appeared before him. He listened even more intensely to the loud argument, in which he could clearly hear the dislike of the interlocutors for each other.

 

In fact, it was the innkeeper and his old father, the white-bearded old man, who were arguing. The gist of the argument was that the innkeeper simply wanted to throw his father out of the house, because he occupied one-third of all the owner's premises. The innkeeper was only looking for a suitable excuse. He was, and he found one. The old man's "guilt" was that he not only did nothing but caused only losses, for example, when he was alone in the house, he broke several large dishes that were in the diner.

 

The old man tried to prove his innocence, but soon realized it was useless. He simply folded his arms across his chest and looked calmly into the impudent eyes of his son, who was greatly enraged by this. The innkeeper decided to break the old man by force.

 

Through the narrow slit, the monk saw both opponents moving in soft and smooth movements, reminiscent of that quiet river in which sometimes there is great excitement. Although the old man was outwardly much weaker than his son, he defended himself quite successfully against his son's hysterical outbursts, not even striking him back.

 

When the son retreated in exhaustion, the old man said: "Though you are rude to me, I forgive it. I forgive you, who are immersed in the swamp of material life and do not know the word of God.

 

Having said this, the old man turned around and went to his room, where, after some breathing and restorative exercises, he lay down on his bed and fell asleep.

 

The innkeeper paced angrily around the room where this unpleasant conversation was taking place. He realized that he could not get my father out of his house by such methods.

 

The landlord knew that his father

 

was still strong in mind and body. His daughter entered the room, approached her father and inquired about his well-being.

 

The father looked at his daughter and immediately lowered his eyes in deep thoughtfulness. A few minutes passed, and the father stirred like a fighting rooster. In his mind, in all likelihood, a cunning plan matured. He said: "My daughter, listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. The girl became alert and looked into her father's eyes, sensing something."

 

"For eight days, from one to the other phase of the moon, you must remember what my father taught you. You will have to practice all the techniques you need to completely overwhelm the old man. But you will not compete with the old man; you will have to defeat his granddaughter, who lives with him and whom he trains every day in the enclosed courtyard.

 

Having said this, the master ordered his daughter to retire to her room and there recall this wrestling technique.

 

The monk moved away from the slot and pondered whether to help the old man by warning him of the impending duel. As he pondered, he headed for his room, but before he reached the door, he turned back and went to the old man.

 

When he entered the room without knocking, the monk saw the old man asleep on his bed. He leaned over the old man and wanted to interrupt his sleep by pulling his shoulder.

 

However, the old man twisted and grasped the monk's arm and immediately let go when he looked into his eyes.

 

He saw that the man who had come was pure in his thoughts, which were always directed toward the Lord.

 

The old man asked: "What brings you to me?"

 

The monk told the old man of the innkeeper's intentions.

 

The old man smiled and lay back on his pillow with his eyes closed, surprising the monk, who asked: "Why are you so calm? Because your granddaughter is in danger.

 

"The fact is, this is nothing new to me. I know my son very well. He won't rest until he gets his way. I heard him talking to his daughter," the old man replied.

 

The monk, apologizing for his intrusion, was about to leave the white-bearded old man's room. But the old man stopped him with a soft shout and called him to his side. The monk returned.

 

"Who are you, and what are you doing in this inn?" -asked the old man.

 

The monk told the elder about his life, remembering to add at the end of the conversation that his journey to North Vietnam had to do with his search for the still unfathomable art of fighting. The old man looked intently into the monk's eyes, then leaned back on his pillow and closed his eyes. He stayed like that for about half an hour.

 

But the monk had no intention of leaving the old man. Some unknown power kept him by his bedside. The old man opened his eyes and said: "Listen to what I have to say to you, young warrior. I have been looking for a man like you for a long time, but until today I have not found one. But now I have. I didn't find one because I didn't see the point of giving what I could give. Many of the people I met were only outwardly like real warriors and spiritual people. They were either thirsty for blood or thirsty for money. So I did not initiate them into my secrets."

 

"Why did you say I was the right man for you?" - The monk asked.

 

"In you I saw pure spirituality and true faith in the Lord, so I want to pass on to you the secrets previously hidden from human sight-the technique of the Heavenly Dancer. I want to give it to you, a stranger, even though I have a granddaughter. You can pass this technique on to the people, my granddaughter can't, and I'm too old to create a school. Now go and work, and tomorrow, at dawn, you must report to the enclosed courtyard below your window.

 

The monk obediently went out again on his arduous journey to fetch water.

 

When morning came, the monk got out of bed and sweated into the little courtyard. There he remembered that he had not done his restorative exercises and wanted to start doing them since there was no one in the yard, but suddenly he heard an elderly voice that stopped him.

 

"For the duration of your classes with me, you must forget everything you have learned before. You will have to concentrate all your attention on the new technique I will be showing you," the old man said. The monk bowed understandingly to the old man and stepped closer.

 

"Well, I'm ready to learn your technique." The old man raised his head and looked the monk in the eye. "No, you're not ready yet. Or rather, you are ready, but not quite. There is still an old technique living in you that you are not yet able to escape. Now my granddaughter will come and show you what technique she has. You will have to concentrate on her. This is necessary to master the new technique.

 

No sooner had the old man finished talking than a girl appeared on the doorstep. She was about twenty years old. She was dressed in an unkempt woman's costume. The girl said hello to the monk and walked silently into the middle of the courtyard.

 

The old man touched the monk and invited him to sit beside him. He signaled to the girl to begin. The monk watched the technique with amazement, the first time he had seen so closely the movements he had previously barely discerned through the window of his room and through the slit in the door.

 

The technique again reminded the monk of the flow of a quiet river, which, however, only seemed so. In this,

 

so-called river, there were loud splashes and large rolls of waves that came from the depths.

 

The monk recalled his technique that he had learned at the monastery. Compared to the movements of the Heavenly Dancer, this technique seemed like a block of rock that could easily drown even in a still river. And so he firmly decided to learn this technique, completely abandoning the previously learned old one.

 

The old man looked at the girl carefully, without saying anything to the monk. He wanted him to understand a lot on his own.

 

And the monk understood this as he closely watched the movements of the girl who was demonstrating a technique new to him. First, the girl did some breathing complexes, which helped her to enter fully into the state necessary for the correct execution of the movements. After that she began to show applied forms. Most of these forms were with weapons. But not with classical martial weapons (i.e., sword, spear, pole, etc.), but with so-called women's weapons. These were hairpins, which were replaced by fans that appeared from nowhere, combs and other women's accessories. Along with the soft movements in the unarmed forms, the monk saw hard blows with elbows and knees. The girl finished and left. The monk asked the old man:

 

"Why is it that in the background of her feminine technique one sometimes feels rough elbow and knee blows?"

 

"It's very easy to explain," the old man said. - "After all, women are weak physically by nature, and so to do the most damage to their opponent they use their elbows, their knees, doing it very even imperceptibly. You noticed that, and I'm satisfied with that. I'm pleased that you've finally really gotten into her state and figured out a lot of the tricks."

 

After this, the old man leaned against the wall of the house and closed his eyes. The monk, thinking that the old man had fallen asleep, went out into the middle of the yard and tried to repeat the movements he had remembered. But his movements were still stiff.

 

He heard the old man's voice, which sounded like mockery: "A raw stump will never catch fire unless it is dried out properly. That's just like you. After all, you're still working in the old technique. Your muscles can't rebuild after long periods of hard technique. You should loosen them up, so that you can begin to comprehend the external, physical side of the "Heavenly Dancer" technique. For this purpose you should do from the very beginning the forms shown by the girl, which, to my regret, you did not pay attention to. But it is these breathing exercises that are the key to this technique."

 

The old man finished speaking and stood up, stretching heavily. The monk, following his example, also stood up. "Well, go to work, for the master must have been waiting for you and will be displeased. Oh, and also, tomorrow morning from early morning my granddaughter and I will be waiting for you here, and look out, don't be late."

 

"All right," the monk replied, and ran off again to carry the heavy half barrels of water.

 

After the monk left, the old man sat down on a bench in the courtyard and thought deeply. After some thought, he went to his room to get some food.

 

The next day, the monk was back in the little courtyard. Here a white-bearded old man and his beautiful granddaughter were waiting for him.

 

The monk approached them and, after greeting them, said: "Well, I'm ready for class." "Good," replied the old man. - "Let's not waste any time and get started, especially since you have to work soon."

 

The old man stepped out into the middle of the courtyard and began to show the simple breathing form that the monk had seen yesterday before showing the technique in the girl's performance.

 

The monk stood looking at the old man in amazement, amazed at the mobility of the old man, who, despite his age, resembled rather a graceful girl. At that time a girl came up to the monk and asked him to repeat all his movements after the old man, because he did not like to repeat many times.

 

The monk, following the girl's advice, began to repeat after the old man. Not everything turned out the way the old man wanted. He didn't like the monk's still stiffened movements and the old man explained to him, "Imagine that you are dancing a very slow dance where everything is natural and in unwavering peace." The monk followed the advice, and he began to have some movements. They became smoother than before, but the monk did not stop, diligently repeating the part of the form he had learned, which pleased the old man greatly. At the end of the class the teacher said: "Well, all I can say for now is that you are still very bad, but I can't send you away either. I'll say one thing - work hard, and you'll get what you want."

 

Then he turned and left the courtyard. The monk followed him out and went to get water, where at the spring he repeated the technique he had learned on every visit.

 

The next morning the monk came to the courtyard again. There he was met by an old man. He was in good spirits and smiled at the monk with a friendly smile. "Let us begin at once," he said.

 

The old man stepped out into the middle of the courtyard and called to the monk. Then, turning to face the monk, the old man said: "During each day of your stay at the inn, you will be taught a new technique of the Heavenly Dancer, so you are required to be as focused and attentive as possible in learning the technique. Now let's begin."

 

The monk was surprised by the appearance in the old man's hands, unknown from where, of two female studs, with which he skillfully stabbed his imaginary opponent.

 

The monk could hardly keep up with the old man who, apparently in a meditative state, did not notice anyone around him.

 

After the show of form was over, the old man asked: "Well, what did you remember?" Monk shrugged his shoulders. He still did not understand how he felt when he worked with the handed technique. He seemed to be repeating everything correctly after the old man, and yet his brain was not fully grasping the technique he had been shown.

 

"I understand you already," the old man said, shaking his head. - "Now my granddaughter will take care of you. She will show you all the intricacies of these movements, which will help you to master the technique of the Heavenly Dancer perfectly."

 

The old man left. And the monk remained with the girl to learn the technique of the Female Stiletto, which was characterized by a large number of one hundred and eighty and three hundred and sixty degree turns of the torso, which constituted the elegance and beauty of the movements.

 

The next morning the monk came to the courtyard and immediately began to learn the new movements of the Heavenly Dancer. This technique was called the "Maiden Fan."

 

All the forms were performed with fans, very different in size and the materials from which they were made. These were combat fans made of wrought steel, and there were also training fans made of conifers. Under the guidance of the white-bearded old man and his beautiful graceful granddaughter, the monk began to work with the training fans.

 

He diligently, over and over again, repeated the forms shown to him, although the Maiden's Fan technique was characterized by many low stands, work in which required great willpower. But the monk did not think about giving up, he worked without thinking about rest and the fact that he had to carry water all day long, and the old man liked it, who began to see the monk as his disciple.

 

The next morning, the monk learned the "Woman's Comb" technique. This technique involved a lot of scraping movements with a metal comb, which was sharpened heavily in the fighting version.

 

The hand movements were somewhat sprawling, and the monk, at the end of the class, asked the old man about it.

 

"The movements seem sprawling because all the scraping blows, are made at the expense of a large amplitude of movement," the old man explained.

 

The monk listened carefully to the old man and began to repeat the movements again.

 

It was the eighth day of the monk's stay at the inn. And, like every day, it was an unusually interesting day for him. The more the monk was here, the more interesting he found it, and he looked forward each evening

 

to look forward to the next day.

 

That day he learned the "Woman's Claw" technique. "This technique," the old man said, "is the technique of an unarmed woman whose only weapon is her fingernail.

 

No matter how innocuous the claw may seem, its use at times causes more real damage than a technique with a weapon. The entire "Lady's Claw" technique is aimed at striking vital points of the enemy, and the points are hit more subtly than just with a finger.

 

This is due to the fact that the fingernail acts exactly on the point being hit, while not hitting other points".

 

The ninth day was devoted to learning the "Women's Scratch Pen" technique.

 

This technique, at first glance, may seem similar to the previous one, but it is not quite so. To perform this technique requires a completely different psychophysical state. In it, we can observe the state of a woman's hysteria, in which the woman assumes the form of a lioness and begins to tear her opponents apart with her claws.

 

The "Girl Slap" technique was learned on the tenth day. The old man said: "This technique may seem harmless on the face of it, as it is only a blow with a woman's soft palm, but these soft sprawling movements carry an unknowable power that can, despite its apparent weakness, move blocks of stone as high as a man's height."

 

After listening to the old man, the monk continued to learn the secrets of the Heavenly Dancer technique, just as he had done the previous days. The eleventh day was the monk's last, on which day he was shown the "Palm and Knee Girl" technique. On the surface this technique looked like a simple soft dance, but the initiate saw unexpected and powerful kneeling strokes, hard in essence but outwardly seemingly soft palm strikes, struck mostly on the eyes. It was these exercises that showed the monk the full power of the Heavenly Dancer technique.

 

He worked on it without stopping all morning. When he finished, he went back to do his monotonous work. He did not find it difficult, however, because all his thoughts were on the Lord and his new teacher, as well as on the amazing technique of the Heavenly Dancer.

 

After returning from another water trip and placing the kegs outside the house, the monk ran to the kitchen to get something to eat. When he ran onto the porch and stopped in front of the door, he froze.

 

There was a strange noise behind the door. Feeling something wrong, the monk cautiously opened the door. Behind the door he saw the innkeeper's daughter and the white-bearded old man's granddaughter fighting each other.

 

The monk began to watch them. He saw in this fight a technique he had been learning in the form of forms, in combat. He saw the scallops disappear and the steel fans emerge from their sleeves.

 

The monk also noticed the change in the psychophysical state of the girls. They were at first as quiet as a lake, then became as furious as a raging ocean. How the fight ended, he did not notice. He saw a girl standing on one leg with her knee and palm outstretched. It was the old man's granddaughter. The master's daughter was lying motionless on the floor.

 

Looking at her, the monk was struck above all by the fact that there was no sign of a blow, even though it had been struck in the eyes. He was roused from his daze by a light pat on the shoulder. Standing in front of him was a white-bearded, smiling old man.

 

The monk pointed his finger at the door, but the old man, chuckling, said: "I saw it, though I was not there. Saw it before the fight, so I'm not surprised it happened.

 

I always told my son that the main thing is to serve God. After all, a man who is spiritually weak cannot concentrate to the best of his ability, and with this duel I proved it to him once again. Now my granddaughter and I are going to go to the seashore and continue our existence there. You, on the other hand, should go to the people and give them your art.

 

This last sentence surprised the monk very much, and he asked: "But I've only been practicing for a week. Have I already fully mastered the art?"

 

The old man, whose smile on his face changed to concentration, said: "It's not so important how many different techniques you've been given. What is important is that you turn your consciousness to the Lord.

 

As you improve yourself spiritually, you become perfect in the art of warfare. So you can go boldly to the people, passing on the techniques of the Heavenly Dancer.

 

In the evening, the monk left the inn. There was a chill in the air of the evening.

 

The monk stood for a while, looked around, and slowly walked down the road leading to town.

 

He walked all day and in the evening he lay down near the road and fell asleep. In the morning he woke up and went back to the capital, never ceasing to be with the Lord. The monk came to the capital after three weeks. After spending the night at the abbot of the temple, in the morning he went to the imperial palace. He was received with reverence, as he said he was going to the emperor with a proposal to open a school of martial arts, unknown to people. The emperor liked the art of warfare and gladly received the monk. After the monk told him in detail about the "Heaven Dancer" technique, the emperor asked him to show him several forms of the technique.

 

The monk began to show the Heavenly Dancer technique. On the third form he was stopped by the emperor, who expressed displeasure about something.

 

The monk respectfully inquired of the emperor about the change in his mood. The emperor looked at the monk and said:

 

"We don't need swans, we need elephants. I cannot accept this technique, for I believe it cannot protect our state from treacherous neighbors. And so I do not wish to see any more of this dance."

 

The emperor turned and left the hall, ordering that the monk be escorted outside the palace.

 

The disgruntled monk left the palace and made his way to the temple, where he stayed with the abbot. After a brief gathering and farewell, the monk, overwhelmed with thoughts of people's misunderstanding of the art of warfare, headed for the forest, where he decided to spend the rest of his life, away from the hustle and bustle of worldly life.