I recently attended a program to learn the Jaguar Series with Lujan Matus. Here is my summary and some feedback
The Jaguar Series
The Jaguar Series is a short set of complex coiling movements broken into seven sections which can be performed as one set, or as seven separate sections inside the Three Treasures series. This versatility is possible because it is designed to be both a martial form as well as an energy development form. This speaks to the focus on practicality within the larger system.
The series is part of an internal system. It develops and trains skills specific to the close quarter combat system it belongs to. It utilizes the coiling dragon principle to develop and instil fluidity for application in spontaneous movement required for actual fighting situations. At the same time it develops skill in gathering power while deflecting or absorbing .
In describing its martial aspects, the Jaguar Series can be likened to other systems as follows:- It is a short range system –shorter even than Wing Chun and performed much – closer to the body.
– It is completely fluid like Taijiquan or Baguaquan –but performed at full speed.
– It incorporates some elements from animal systems, specifically Northern mantis, snake and a Drunken-like fluidity in the torso.
– It is a static form like Wing Chun’s Sui Lim Tau.
– The system incorporates very slight/short twists of the hips and torso both to generate power and facilitate fluidity.
Seeing the Jaguar series performed by an experienced practitioner literally disallows one to see or follow most of the movements due to the speed and the intertwined, coiling nature of the movements.
Physical coordination and left-right integration is trained, with associated development in the brain’s neurological network –especially cross-hemispheric.
Performing the Jaguar series generates high volumes of energy and works the energy in and around the body. Movements follow and enliven energy pathways making them available to the warrior beyond form and predefined structures. The fluid transitions develop skill in adaptation to what the warrior is confronted with so as to break patterned forms and responses.
Once the Dragons Tears and the Three Treasures has been learned it will become clear how this form which may appear martially focused supports and integrates into the energy practices within the system.
My still recent inclusion of just the Jaguar Series into the Three Treasures (Small Mountain also integrates with the Three Treasures) has already shown how this merger works. My energy generated through the qi-gong immediately saturates the Jaguar which it is interspersed with. At the same time, the Jaguar’s utilization of the energy affects the Three Treasures, which contains it. I keep marveling at the practicality, efficiency and effectiveness of the system these sets form part of. All things relate and support each other -not in the sense of addition, rather that of multiplication.
It must be remembered that this series, like the others emanates from a system geared primarily for spiritual growth. It cannot afford to spend time on practices not in support of that purpose, so where physical training or the need for martial skill exists, these practices are integrated into spiritual pursuits. In this sense, the Jaguar series is also designed to ‘open the body to the shaman’s path”. Practice of the Jaguar series awakens one to their dreaming awareness and cultivates lucidity. Lucidity applies both in dreaming and waking consciousness.
It is often forgotten that the body serves as a basis for growth and development in non-physical realms.
Students need to prepare a base by completing private tuition in the Windlock system and Dragon’s Tears. The abilities cultivated thus enable faster learning and proper performance of the Jaguar series.
Personal Experience of Transmission
Learning the series was a dream come true, so naturally just being there doing it was great. Lujan’s skill at being in the moment every moment was easy to notice in the one-on-one context. He would ascertain and “pick up on me” on a moment-to-moment basis. The speed of awareness/ consciousness he possesses must be incredible. Nothing was hidden from him in terms of even invisible things like mood and state the environment and me in it.
The idea of ‘transmission’ as opposed to ‘teaching’ has intrigued me in the past. Lujan transmits his art –in fact, he refuses to ‘teach’ it. While I was not focused on this during the training, a specific event took place that turned the lights on in this regard.
After learning fine for some days, I seemed to hit a strange barrier. This affected my ability to learn and Lujan’s to facilitate the learning. He again mentioned that “I release to you what your body can assimilate”. Before this did not mean much, nor did I give it much thought, since I was confident that I could learn anything he needed to teach. However, here I was, struggling to get it.
Lujan broke the movement down and we worked with it for a while, and then insisted on a short break so my body could ‘assimilate’. We discussed other things and then started again and suddenly things just flowed. Now I can go on about trying to explain this… I would rather say that ‘transmission’ is ‘assimilated’ and that it has very little to do with the mind. The body gets a movement, in essence or whatever, and then the mind can come in to utilize it, but until the body gets it, it does not flow naturally.
Most interesting was how my inability to take in more would “shut Lujan down” in terms of being able to demonstrate what he seeks to transmit. This is not a lack or inability of any sort on his side, simply a case of his body sending and mine not receiving –as if my body was a dam that was too full and the pipe would not allow more through. This signals to Lujan to stop. Once I have assimilated it is as if my dam is empty again and so he can send again unhindered.
Perhaps I would not have believed or made sense of the above had I not seen Lujan’s ability before and when demonstrating. A master in the set he teaches and has practiced for decades almost daily doe not just ‘get mixed up’. But as soon as ‘transmission’ begins, he can push only what I can take. And when I could take again, he could flow freely again. Our bodies are really amazing…
Since the Jaguar series requires a private training in Windlock and Dragon’s Tears, those are your first ports of call. The program is two weeks long. I was one of those who could not learn the full Jaguar Series in one week, so this second visit was to learn what I could not assimilate last time around. By the time one has learned Windlock and Dragon’s Tears this application of those foundation skills should be a blast.
As before I believe any training with Lujan is valuable because he lives the teachings impeccably. This feature: his role-modelling, coupled with unrelenting attention to the task at hand at zero compromise to distraction –including those one brings along (as issues, excuses, projections, etc) makes for an experience that one can continue mining for gems for a lifetime. I am still learning things from interactions with Lujan three years ago in Bali. Enjoy your visit.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Leu