Esoteric Martial Arts

Meditations at Midnight: The Training of the Chinese Bersekers

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This set of meditations is taken from the traditional training of the secretive and little known  Chinese Lin Kuei clan, the forerunners of the Japanese Ninja and the Korean Hwa Rang warriors. Lin Kuei is literally translated as 'Forest Demons', a name the clan acquired in their early days when they lived deep in the forests of China, hidden away and only coming out on raiding missions to take what they needed from local villages. The Lin Kuei's deadly martial art combines the heavy emphasis on animal forms found in the Chinese martial arts, combined with the stealth and deception of the Ninja.
This particular training was reserved for a specially selected group of warriors called the Toh Kuei whose nature and purpose where somewhat akin to the infamous Viking Bersekers. The main difference being that whereas the viking bersekers used the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom as the central method for attaining their fearless and brutal state of frenzy and bloodlust the Toh Kuei used a special mental drill called the 'grey mask' exercise; this has the advantage of discrimination - whereas the Viking Berserkers where just as likely to masacre their firends as their enemies, the Toh Kuei could direct their fearless and frenzied hatred towards specific individuals on command.Not only were the Toh Kuei utterly fealess in battle, but their immense capacity for aggression and explosive emotional energy gave them an almost supernatural physical strength and an unwavering instinct for the kill.
The Grey Mask exercise
By performing this training at night, and outdoors if possible, an appropriate atmosphere and an extra sense of mysticism was added to an already dark and strange method. There are also fewer distractions at night.
The Toh Kuei would be positioned alone in a seated position and told to breath in a light and shallow pattern. His eyes were to be open and focused softly at the darkness. Totally relaxed, his breath was such that it made a low hissing sound when exhaled. He was to take 10 deep breaths and hold the air in his lower abdomen, at the same time visualising his worst enemy in the process of murdering his (the Toh's) mate. At the point of death visualisation the Toh was ordered to exhalein a sharp fast hiss, and then tense every muscle of his body for several seconds. This wa the first level of the training, and was to be practiced for about 10 minutes per night, and then extended to 20 minutes as the men progressed. The key to this level of training was the Toh's innability to retaliate for this cruel and viscious act commited upon his loved one.
After several months of this the Toh would substitute his wife in this visualisation for another loved one (usually his child), and a slow, torturous murder was again visualised as the Toh sat by helplessly. The same enemy was used as protagonsit, pictured laughing at the point of death, at which time the Toh would again exhale with a sharp his and tense all his muslces.
This second stage would continue for a week, after which the Toh would replace the face of his enemy in these visualisation with the image of an entirely featureless grey mask. Then, whilst continuing with his nocturnal meditations, the Toh was ordered to blame nay and all problems, accidents, sickness and so on that he or his loved ones experienced on the malign influence of this shadowy adversary wearing a featureless grey mask. Just as a religious person consiously cultivates beleif in a benevolent deity and the dogmas of their faith, the Toh would cultivate and nurture a beleif in his own personal nemesis in the form of the grey mask. At all times this personal adversity was thought of as a shadowy figure working behind the scenes, intent on destroying the everything that the Toh held dear, and at all times the Toh was unable to retaliate or in any way act against this personalised image of evil. Eventually, the Toh Kuei built up such a great hatred for the grey mask that the thought of it sent him into an intense rage. His frustration and anger bubbbled up until they could no longer be contained and simplt needed some kind of expression.
At this final stage of training the Toh began the practice of visualising the grey mask replacing the face of a real person on command. It is probable that at first the Toh would be given prisoners to practice this with, who he would have brutally killed and mutilated. Later, the Toh would reserve this pratice for combat missions.

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