It is vitally important that we train intelligently and with awareness, always keeping our beginner's mind.
When you walk to your training hall or go home to practice your martial arts, do walking meditation. Walk at your normal pace and be aware of your steps and your breathing. When thoughts come up, simply let them go. This walking meditation helps to ground and prepare you for your training.
When you start to do the Qigong and Kung Fu forms, you repeat them over and over again for years and years until they become a habit. In the beginning, you have to think: where should I breathe? What is the next movement? Is my posture correct? This is a process we all go through. Then, as you progress, you forget about your practice and move into non-thinking.
As martial artists, we use our body to abandon our body. We let go, forget the ego and follow nothing but the wisdom of the universe. Then the thinking comes from the body and no longer comes from the mind. When you experience this you experience freedom.
If you open your hand you can take hold of anything, if you close your hand, nothing can enter. You need to open your hand and allow the practice to enter you.
To enable this you need to have the confidence to commit fully and get out of your comfort zone. Stop saving energy for a future time. Only when you are empty can you be re-filled.
You must concentrate 100% on your movement and your breathing. If you do that, your practice will remain fresh and not go stale. You must practice not only in your training but in your day to day life.
This is why the meditation aids I brought back from China are every day items like tea and key rings and Buddha bags. When I was at the Shaolin Temple, the environment was a constant reminder that I was on the path of the warrior but here in London, I can easily forget and I need reminders to come back to the now. Now never returns to us, now is all we have. The Warriors appointment with life is in the present moment.
When you practice in this way, your practice becomes The Way. Only then can it penetrate the marrow of your life.