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One Upon a Time, I was able to ask US Special Forces Master Sargent Mike Bingo a question. “In your experience training and leading men in combat, what single quality is the most important to surviving on the battlefield?” Without hesitation Bingo answered “Balance”. Not strength, speed, intelligence, toughness, or any number of other qualities. “Balance” was his immediate choice for most valuable quality for a warrior to survive combat.

To maintain your balance in practice focus on your ankle. The ankle is key to balance. If your ankle is properly aligned you can balance. If your ankle is collapsing or pronating you will not be able to balance. your body. Of course, Master Bingo’s idea of balance included mental balance and mental balance is more primary than physical balance. Without mental balance it is unlikely you will balance as well physically.

Head to over to today’s podcast to learn more!

The quote below is from Sifu Bingo’s obituary. He was a truly extraordinary martial artist. One of the finest I have ever seen. Authentic Xing Yi Quan his movements just cracked and snapped with power. His application was both precise and fierce. You will also note he was awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest awards in the US military typically only awarded to generals and colonels, flag officers and captains, an exceptional award indicating the depth of his contribution to US Special Forces.

Bing Lee

February 16, 2016

Sifu Mike Bingo practiced Xing-yi, one of the internal martial arts of China. The other internal martial arts are Tai Chi, Ba Kua and Liu Ho Ba Fa. The arts are taught in secret and never to a foreigner. In China even today these arts are still taught this way. The foreigners and Chinese who are taught these arts today do not learn the real art.

In the 1960s Sifu Bingo looked all over the Far East for a teacher. He had a lot of doors literally slammed in his face. In 1968 he met Hsu Hung Chi, a teacher of Xing-Yi and Ba Kua. Mike formally started studying full-time when he was transferred to Taiwan with the US Special Forces in1969. Master Hsu was opened to teaching anyone who practiced hard and could grasp the secrets in the physical movements. Sifu Bingo was also taught through the SF training to be polite, treat the local people with respect and most of all learn the culture. The Special Forces training opened the door to Sifu Bingo being taught correctly. Every morning at 5:30 he would clean the school and meet and greet his teacher’s father. Sifu Bingo served the father tea and food every morning. The other Americans students ignored him. As a result of this politeness the father ordered his son Master Hsu to teach Mike.

The reason Sifu Bingo liked the internal martial arts is it emphasizes the mind- body relaxation. Sifu Bingo said this enables you to go deep into the body. Sifu Bingo said Qi is energy produced out of this relaxed mind-body state. A relaxed mind is not focused on the past or in the future. If you are in the past, you have depression. If you are in the future you have anxiety. The mind has to be in the present. The mental state enables you to solve the situation in front of you at the moment. The muscles need to be stretched during all movements. Contracted muscles inhibits movement. The two types of relaxation are maintained thru out all human interaction. The result of this practice creates power or energy to deal with fighting or dealing with life. Sifu Bingo said this helped him deal with events that had taken place in combat. The outside of the body would be moving and full of power. The mind and body would move naturally.

Sifu Bingo was famous for his power and fighting ability to be soft and hard. I used to hit him at full speed and the moment I would touch him his body would disappear. Sifu Bingo was famous for his iron shirt. In Taiwan he would be hit by a 45 lb sledgehammer in the chest. The body would not be damaged.
He could hold a coconut in one hand and break it with the other. In 1979 his teacher was in LA for a month. Sifu Bingo was there. In a demonstration he broke a multi layered wooden breast plate on another student with one strike. The breast plates are hard to break even when struck with a weapon.

A teacher has to teach more than his art. A teacher must teach perseverance. No one can succeed in life without this trait. A teacher must teach hard work. Talent is wasted if it is not used. A teacher must teach patience with others and yourself. Impatience leads you to over look small important things. I learned these traits from Sifu Bingo. I’m grateful for his generosity, patience and knowledge. The training has help me succeed in life. Sifu Bingo will be missed by his students, family and friends. Sifu Bingo was truly a unique man.

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