Water drizzling down a mountain side

Water drizzling down the mountain wall

glittering in the sun
mist rising to the top

birds and green
everywhere life is seen

drifting in the clouds
standing like a giant

reaching to center of the earth
stretching up towards the heavens

unmoved yet alive
standing here

how am I different?
.

The Understanding of the Thirteen Postures

1. The Xin (mind/heart) motivates the qi, directs it to sink, so that it can be stored and concentrated into the bones.

2. Let the qi motivate the body without hindrance, so that it will effortlessly follow your xin (mind/heart).

3. If the shen (spirit) is raised, there will not be any sluggishness. This is the meaning of the crown being suspended from above.

4. There should be agility in the interaction of the yi (mind intention) and qi, so that it [the qi] will be circular and lively. This is what is meant by, ‘changing substantial and insubstantial’.

5. When executing fajin (releasing the force) the body should relax and sink. Focus on the one direction.

6. When the body is upright, loose and tranquil, the feet will support all eight directions.

7. Direct the qi like threading the ‘nine bend pearls’, by flowing continuously it reaches everywhere unrestricted.

[When the qi flows throughout the body] the jin (relaxed force) is like tempered steel, overcoming all solid defences.

8. Have the appearance of a falcon preying on a hare. Concentrate the shen (spirit) like a cat stalking on a mouse.

9. Be calm like a mountain and move like a river.

10. Store up the jin (relaxed force) like drawing a bow, discharge the jin (relaxed force) like releasing an arrow.

11. Seek the straight in the curve, first store then discharge.

12. Force is released through the back, the steeps change with the body.

13. To receive is to release, if it disconnects then reconnect.

14. In moving forwards and backwards, there should be folding. In advancing and retreating, there should be changes of direction.

15. Extreme softness yields to extreme firmness and tenacity.

16. Only with the ability to inhale and exhale, will there be agility.

17. When qi is cultivated naturally, there is no harm. When jin (relaxed force) is stored, there will be a surplus.

18. The xin (mind/heart) is the commander, the qi is the flag, and the yao (waist) is the banner.

19. First seek exspansion while opening then seek contraction while closing. It will lead to perfect refinement.

20. Its said: “If the other does not move, I do not move. If the other has the slightest movement, I move ahead”.

21. The jin (force) seems song (relaxed), however it is not song (relaxed), it is about to expand, although it has not yet expanded. The jin (relaxed force) might disconnect, but mind must not.

22. It is also said: “First the xin (mind/heart), then the body”.

23. When the abdomen relaxes, the qi sinks into the bones. When the shen (spirit) calms, the body becomes tranquil.

24. Keep this in xin (in your heart). Remember; when you move, every part moves. When you settle every part settles.

25. When moving forwards and backwards, the qi sticks to the back and permeates into the spine.

26. Internally be acutely aware of the shen (spirit), externally appear calm and relaxed.

27. Step like a cat. Transmit the jin (relaxed force) like reeling silk from a cocoon.

28. The yi (intention) should be on the jingshen (spirit), not on the qi, otherwise the qi will stagnate. With qi, extra-ordinary power will develop. Without qi there will only be li (brute strength). Qi is like a cart wheel and the yao (waist) is like the axle.

Reference: Taijiquan Wuwei: A Natural Process translation by Wee Kee Jin 2003
ISBN: 0473097818

p. 104 – 112

Substantiality and Insubstantiality

How can substantiality and insubstantiality be distinguished between left and right or between top and bottom parts of the body?

The muscles, the skeleton and the nerves are parts of the body system. When practicing the movements, the use of consciousness to sink and relax the body is most important. The centre of gravity is moved while preserving the uprightness of the central axis of the body. It is important to focus on steadiness, tranquillity, relaxation and rootedness. The movements propel the external movements in a continuous or uninterrupted fashion. Internal force is generated with turning movements. After a long time, the whole body is in balance. When left and right is distinguished, one is substantial and the other insubstantial along the pattern of “cross alignment”. For instance, together with the distinction between top and bottom parts of the body, when the left upper part of the body is substantial, the left lower part is insubstantial and similarly when the right upper part of the body is substantial, the right lower part is insubstantial. This pattern of cross alignment is used in shifts of the centre of gravity from one leg to the other. This is similar to the “cross-roads” of the nervous system. When moving Qi, therefore, one must separate substantial from insubstantial, move the step without moving the body or moving the body and not the hand. If in moving a step, the body also moves, then it is not separating substantial from insubstantial. If in moving the body, the hand also moves, then the shoulder and the hands are not relaxed. It is important to follow the principles of using consciousness to propel movement. The top and bottom, left and right portions of the body must be coordinated. A rounded grinding stone may move but the centre is not moving. All parts of the body become one system characterized by lightness and agility, roundness and smoothness, even respiration, alternate opening and closing like that of the sea where with movement from one part of the sea, all parts are also moved. The movements are guided by consciousness and are properly regulated like the regular movements of the waves in the sea.

Reference: Interview with Master Huang www.paulrenalltaiji.info

Links: Yin Yang

Qigong

“Qigong” (literally “breath exercise”), an invaluable component of traditional Chinese medicine, has its origin in ancient times. Its primarystimulus was the search for longevity with the ultimate aim of immortality,which has much entranced the Chinese mind from ancient times. Therecords shows the exercises to help the qi (the human body’s vital energy)circulating freely and to nourish the internal organs dated to the ShangDynasty (16th -11th century AD). The actual practice of qigong began inthe fourth century AD. Since then the search by physician and patient forgreater health, techniques of religious cultivation and the martial artist’squest for better training methods all contributed greatly to its developmentand enrichment over the following centuries. The Taoist, Buddhist,Confucian, Medical and Martial schools of practice developed. Qigonghas been passed down from generation to generation.

Generally, qigong is divided into two types. One is the quiescent type(jinggong 静功),which is meant to be performed standing, sitting, orlying down using special breathing techniques by which the practionerlearns to focus his mind. The other one is the mobile type (donggong 动功),which practices a set of movements and massage while keeping aproper balance between mind and emotion, qi and strength. Internally,qigong can enhance the spirit, the qi and the mind. Externally, it canstrengthen the tendons, bones and skin. The structure and style of qigonghas close relations with the introspective observation that is typical of Chinese culture. For example qigong takes harmony as its guidingprinciple, classical Chinese philosophy as its theoretical base, the use of will power as its fundamental means, a combination of dong (motion) andjing (stillness) as its form of expression, man’s longevity as its goal.

Qigong has had various forms, and its name and emphasis may havevaried according to the form. However, its oldest and most diverse form isTaoyin (导引),which holds an important position in the traditionalChinese art of preserving one’s health. Tao refers to the fact that physicalmovements are guided by the strength of the mind and in turn stimulatethe internal flow of qi within the body. Yin means that with the aid ofphysical movements, qi can reach the bodily extremities (for example, thefingers, feet and head). In this way the flow of “qi” links the zang 脏(solid organs) and fu (腑) (hollow organs) or qi being transmittedthrough the body. Sometimes this can be released from the body, and thenit is known as external qi.

The basic methods of Taoyin (导引)are kai (开)(opening), he (合)(closing), xuan (旋) (rotating), rou (揉) (rubbing), tui (推) (pushing),an (按) (pressing), and fen (分) (separating. There are many posturesand movements in Taoyin exercises, but the emphasis is on achieving astate of harmony between body and mind. This can be done with the helpof the movements, not solely because of the movements themselves, andwhen you reach a certain level in practice, you can even “forget what youare doing, and this is gaining the true essence of qigong and forgettingphysical movements.” This state of harmony culminates in the practice ofjinggong (静功) (static exercises.

Taoyin has many differences from gymnastics and other modern sports,as Taoyin exercises are based on mental activity and therefore it is possibleto accumulate and conserve one’s energy while practicing Taoyin exercises.However, the practice of modern sports requires showing off one’sstrength and skill, and therefore the consumption of energy.

Another form of “jinggong” exercises is tuna (吐纳) (exhaling andinhaling), otherwise known as tiaoxi (调息) (regulating breath) or xiqi (吸气) (absorbing qi) . this is a synthesis of different breathing skills. The basic train of thinking for these exercises is that as far as possible oneshould expel the stale and stagnated air and inhale fresh air, thusimproving the functioning of the internal organs to resist senility andprolong life.

Tuna skills can be divided into three basic categories: Koubi huxi(breathing through the mouth or nose), Fushi huxi (abdominal breathing),other methods of breathing and regulation in conjunction with mentalactivity such as chongqi (filling the body with qi), dantian huxi (directingqi to dantian, a region two or three centimeters below the navel), zhongxi(directing qi to the heel), and guixi (breathing like a tortoise).

Unique to China only, Qigong exercise become an integral part of theChinese culture. Qigong exercise can produce a myriad of beneficialeffects, of which the most common are preventing and curing diseases,strengthening the constitution, avoiding premature aging, and prolonginglife. Qigong exercise requires one to relax, to be calm, natural and freefrom distraction, so that it can remove “stress”, and dispel tension. Qigongexercise helps to keep the main and collateral channels in good shape toestablish harmony between vital energy and blood, to balance between yinand yang, and improve coordination of the nervous system, so thatprotective inhibition of the cerebral cortex can be enhanced. Qigongexercise helps to reduce fundamental metabolism, increase the capacity ofstoring energy, apply massage to the abdomen and improve appetite andbring good digestion. Qigong exercise helps to tap the body potentialities,stimulate positive factors, and enhance one’s self-control. Therefore, itbecomes an effective measure to attain health and longevity. Qigongmasters and medical practitioners have developed a theory from a wealthof experience and practice of qigong over many centuries. The modernscientific research and evaluation of qigong exercise has attractedincreasing attention from all circles around the world. This may bring thebenefits of qigong intellectual to light, but it may leave mechanisticdogmatism to qigong phenomena.

Reference: A Brief Introduction of Chinese History & Culture by Liang Zhigang, QingTao Press Sept. 2001