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The Human as a Tree and The Harmony of Energies, Interview with Ridha Lhiba

editorial & arteditorial

13 November 2018
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An interview we let you discover and read in order to find your inspiration from a Master in Wing Chun, the art that made Bruce Lee famous, a character who learned the subtleties of the martial art so he can to transmit to others .

Every man has his own story! What is yours, Ridha Lhiba??

I am a teacher of Wing Chun, Kung Fu and Qi Gong which is Chinese art. I've been couching in Nice since 2005 with a state diploma in Chinese Martial Arts, I have a club in Nice and students everywhere.

More important than me is what I teach and what I transmit to people. The martial arts are at the base of the arts that are intelligent, that's why they are called art, for their artistic side. If we make art, we seek the excellence of things. In the arts of self-control or martial arts, the China has a history of more than three thousand years and it brings a lot of knowledge that everyone could look for, as in traditional Chinese medicine, calligraphy, drawing, architecture, Feng Shui ... also martial arts and the art of war. The martial arts are inspired by these inner forces, such as Qi, the laws of nature, gravity, softness against force. All of this makes martial arts a field of study that can interest a lot to people today.

I went to study martial arts, I still study them, and I found Wing Chun, the art that I teach. What I like most is to have these four keys in life to rely on: softness, non-opposition, mastery of mind / mind control, and generation of force / power generation. Wing Chun is part of Kung Fu which is the art of achieving noble ends. For the world today, it is an art that is very tactile, we use a lot of sensations. If you push my arm a little, you feel that I take your form and that I do not oppose to you, it develops the tactile, mental and emotional listening. We have the four keys and two developmental parties: the body part (body health, alignment, joints, absolute relaxation, feel its internal organs), body mind and combat strategies. Here, we study very typical Wing Chun aspects that are inspired by animal stories: to be helped by strength and to attack the weaknesses!

We have different inspirations: we have the animal inspiration, the inspiration of the art like the dance or the stick battle where it finds the side easier to be more just or faster, it taps with two actions and does two things at the same time, which it is something very feminine: to take and to render, at the same time. And, too, the Taoist inspiration! Yin and Yang, the five elements, to engender, to accept, to go from weak to strong, to absorb strength, to attack weakness, with the least effort and precision, it is the martial aspect. At the level of personal development, it's related to living with stronger people, like letting someone who is angry, in a discussion, unpacking everything he has, taking his arguments and seeing how to go along with him not against him and, maybe, come back later. The Qi Gong, which is of the middle part, the bodywork, is to feel the energies.

Where does this life trajectory comes from?

Chinese Martial Arts have a chivalrous side, to defend the good, the weak. A good example is Bruce Lee who protects the Chinese values. The art that I teach is based on this aspect, plus it was invented by a woman. Her name was Wing, and she taught these arts to a girl named Yim Wung Schon, and when that girl used that to fight, everybody called her "Wing Chun's art."

So, the discipline is called Wing Chun, after her name ...

Yes ! Wing Chun, in fact, is the name of this girl that this woman taught to defend herself.

What is the philosophy of this discipline that was created by a woman and not by a man as in the majority of cases?

In fact, in China, especially in the South people are small in size and they do not have much strength, and they live in a relatively hard nature like hurricanes, monsoons, changes, work in the rice field. But, they have always had a spiritual search and, following that, they have developed many aspects that they have applied in life. It is taoism, as a source that seeks harmony, understanding, and going with the forces not against the forces.

Where does the inspiration come from doing what you do?

Since a young age, I loved helping others. I have a disabled brother in the family, I was the groin, I grew up in an area where it was hard, socially. Solutions should be found and I was not the strongest. I was trying to get out of conflict without confrontation, if I could.

So, where do you come from?

From Tunisia ! And with Austrian nationality ... it makes me a man of the world!

Everything started from childhood?

From childhood, yes! I did not know that helping the weak, defending them was part of this discipline, but with time, I've learnt martial arts, at the beginning in a Western way, bsed on strength as everyone works, but, happily, I had the chance to move to another levels of Wing Chun with internal work. My great inspiration was Chu Shong Tin who taught a very soft Wing Chun.

Wing Chun is a branch of Kung Fu ...

Yes, that's it ! It has animal inspirations, inspired by the snake, the weakest animal of nature, it has no legs, it has no wings and it does not have a carapace.

Still, it is very strong ...

People are afraid of snakes because they see the result. There is also the story of a fight between a wounded bird and a hungry snake. The bird could not fly but she used her wings to find its balance. The snake, to attack, it sought the side and when it did so, the bird used its wing and banged with its beak. It used two things: snake agility in attack but also defense, using the wing.

So, the inspiration comes from nature, the world of animals, their technique to survive ...

Survive with less effort, loosely, take and surrender, using the strength of the other.

And that's the philosophy ...

... Taoism and Wing Chun use it in martial art. Everything is symbolic, the snake side that moves invisible is the movement of energies in the body. And here we go back to Qi Gong.

It is the power that comes from within and is more important than physical strength!

Absolutely !

I remember you talked about a metaphor, a comparison between the human body and a tree and it's interesting to tell it here, too.

The Taoist approach is a holistic approach. It believes that the world is pierced by an invisible energy called Qi which, like perfumes, has different shades and animates everything.

The bottom of a tree has the skills to create, to give birth ... as the lower stomach where we develop the grain of energy. In the calm, this grain forms roots that go to the legs, to the ground, to the deepest part of the Earth. (I felt the flow of energy with the exercise tht I did along with the Master creating the mental image of this connection to develop the tree of energy in itself).

What are the tips that you can give to women regarding self defense?

They must find a Master or teacher who explains their potential! That they are weak, we agree, but that they are strong, they do not know it!

And when they discover their strength ...

They will have more confidence!

This starts from confidence ...

The first thing is self-confidence! We have the four keys we talked about in the beginning, we have a work of body and health, discover the body, its blockings. We are in a system of appearing and being unwell. First, we must harmonize this energy, two is to use this energy to prevent disease and three, if we are sick, help healing. Four, one can have more people, five is using it for communication and six can be for martial arts.

Is it a difference between the inner strength of a woman and the inner strength of a man?

The same ! The technique is to avoid strength and attack weakness. A week with a Master and a woman can make a man knock out. (The Master showed me the exercise of accepting strength and energy and guided me in an action to take the energies of the Universe to create a whirlwind spell that will fill the arms)

Me, I am Master, 7th generation in a line dating from 1850 with my Master, Wayne Yung de Hongkong, 6th generation Master and Snake Crane Wing Chun hier. I am the first European Master within this traditional family. 

The exercise we did can help women or men find their inner strength ...

... to know they have it! It is a mirrored exercise, it is a sensitive transmission of confidence and sensations. And there, we did it only with the arm! Imagine if we did this with the whole body! (and we did it and I found the generation of inner strength in calm and lightness).

You can get to a level of self-control ...

Very quickly! Have confidence, experience energy!

Going back to what you are doing here, teaching Wing Chun in a Club in Nice where women, men, children can come and learn this art: http://www.wingchun.fr/ 

That's it ! And also, I give private lessons and I do private classes.

You want to say something more to the people who read this interview?

Fear is our real enemy. The fear of not pleasing, of failing, of not having what you want, of not being at the top of someone's expectances or society's standards and fear blocks energies and meridians like that of the bladder and kidneys. Anger is the second enemy with energy from the bile bladder and in the liver. And the cogitation when we have a problem that we can not solve, it attacks the spleen and the stomach. We are always on stress with acidic blood. This is why we must see what sources of fear we have and eliminate them. Do not try to do what you can not do and not try to have what you do not have.

They are the bases from which you start your work with!

That's it ! We try to connect spirit, body, energies, moments and present places!

The subject is very large, we've touched only a very small part but there will be others, I'm sure of it!

Interview by Andra Oprea