|Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 20:56: |
I really enjoy the perspectives and insights presented by everyone here and I'm wondering if you kind folks still post here.
I'll post some of my thoughts as an experiment, and you all can comment if you see fit.
Could the phrase "Keep the chi in the tan tien" also be interpreted as "Let the inertia of your body have a net tendency downward and let the extra "weight" be stored in the tendons and ligaments of the body". This would enable you to have the bow drawn constantly. (Always a surplus. Nowhere does not gain power. Loosen all joints.)
I've found that if you treat your body as a carpet draped on your spine, rotation at the hips (not just turning left and right, but focused conical rotation with the apex at the tan tien) creates the postures and the transitions between them.
Is it possible that one of the main objectives in maintaining the balance between yin and yang be to create a dynamo between the two hemispheres of the brain in regards to sending and receiving bio-electricity? i.e. When the right side is heavy, (no signals are being sent there...it is in swing, storing the downward intertia of the circular rotation directed by the waist), it is held in position by intentions on the left affecting tissues on the right through the joints. The right brain is yang (sending signals to the left) the left brain is empty (listening to the right). This would increase the bio-electric potential of the body as the yin mind would entice the yang mind's energy to flow across the threshold.
Theoretically, if one could increase the polarity of the mind and central nervous system to a great extent, would it be possible to directly interface with another person's nervous system? In an extreme, this could be achieved even without physical contact (by sensitivity to fluctations in the body's various electric/magnetic/?? fields). But regardless of action at a distance, it would still be possible to hear intent quite literally, because the yin aspect of the body is trained to transmit bioelectrics directly to the brain. The yang aspect could likewise control the opponent's body, seizing (not grabbing, but seizing like an unoiled engine) muscles or causing disorientation by emitting strong bio-electric bolts of mystic lightning into someone's system.
I mock myself, but this idea is something that drives my practice. Completely distinguishing substantial from insubstantial creates a powerful polarity. I wonder if the myths are achievable after a lifetime of hunkering down into training after chowing a second helping of faith.
Anyway, thanks for listening to todays thoughts, if you are indeed listening.
I wish you all a very merry day!
|Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 20:28: |
Greetings Joshua and welcome to the forum (BTW, very much alive and kicking). Nice to read your thoughts, I suppose this kind of thoughts are not alien to every devoted practitioner of Tai Chi, Qi Gong, etc.
If you examine carefully the pattern of movements in Tai Chi, you obviously see that most of them are executed in a circular fashion on two planes. A vertical and horizantal plane. Keeping the spine straight at all times, breathing rhythmically and applying these circular movements, mimics the electro-magnetic flow of both the single tiny atom as well as the entire planet. This flow of energy charges both the atoms and the planet with energy, as it does to the human body. Since Tai Chi's main concern is the charging of our body with energy and freeing the flow of energy in the meridians, it is no wonder that these patterns of movement have been adopted in order to follow suit the ways of nature itself. If you regard the human brain as our "dynamo" of energy, the Tai Chi movements (being the "macro") set in proper motion the energetical functioning of the brain as a whole, and the energetical functioning of each one of its cells (the "micro").
|Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 21:10: |
Some most interesting thoughts on what does what to whom in the practice of Tai Chi. But where did I once read that Qi is information? My experience with the practice of Qi-Gong and later Tai Qi is that the Qi is indeed information and will talk to the practitioner (or rather reveal) if you listen about what is going right and what has gone wrong in one’s many physical systems. In addition innocent practice should transcend the physical and reveal both mind and soul world’s of the individual as well. Which is Yang or which is Yin, I don’t know, but the practice of these disciplines to my mind should have both a cleansing effect as well as an empowering effect on the individual. It seems that the Qi is wiser than we are and my instinctive feeling is that once the physical movements of these meditative exercise have been grasped sufficiently well to encourage the natural flow of Qi, then “we” (the observer) would be well served by getting out of the way and let it (the Qi) get on with doing what it does best.
|Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:45: |
I am not sure about that Sidney. Is it not the purpose of Taichi practitioners to guide the Qi by their intent? Do not we study the energy pathways in acupuncture, or the location of the chakras and yin and yang? "The chi is wiser than we are"? I am not sure about that either... "the Qi is information"? Never heard about this too... Having practicing Taichi for some years, I feel that I can and should control my Qi and guide it - for the best benefit of me and my Qi. Yet, this doesn't mean that I have to force it to go astray lest I know exactly what I am doing with the guidance of a teacher. As for the information question, well, I know that each cell in the body contains an information seed of the whole body. If the Qi flows right, this information will be adequate and available. If the Qi is stuck, this information may be misinterpreted by the body and illness may ensue.
(...but, I may be wrong about all this stuff too...)
|Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 21:11: |
For some reason I have only just read your reply to a posting I made in July regarding Qi flow in the practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. You may well be right when you talk of control but there again maybe you did not understand the point I was trying to make in my statement that the practitioner should, "get out of the way and let the Qi get on with doing what it does best". I was referring to the “ego" the "little conscious mind" that keeps us away from true focus and "Yi" when practicing. I am sure that practice is far superior and empowering if one is fortunate enough to achieve an egoless, transcendental Zen state of mind in one's practice.
Regarding Qi and information/intelligence, what you will; I am convinced that the best Qi Gong is Natural Flow Qi Gong which is completely intuitive with the practitioner responding to what the body (Qi) needs for the release of tension and the attainment of homeostasis (harmony). I should like to quote from The Healing Promise of Qi (Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.) “In Natural Flow Qigong you allow yourself to participate, without effort, in what is naturally occurring. By doing so you cooperate with the power of the entire universe. In Natural Flow Qigong your only assignment is to eliminate as much inner resistance as possible, to use your intention and concentration to get out of the way of what the Qi has the natural capacity to “do” for you.” Best wishes, Sidney
|Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 00:16: |
Well, I've just checked in for the first time in a month or so and just seen your answer. T'ai Chi doesn't seem to hurry move, does it? ;-)
The spontaneous approach you are describing does have some valuable applications, I'll agree. It is a "yin" application, which relies on the body's intuitive understandings of what it needs. It is especially helpful when being worked on by an acupuncturist or a Tui Na professional, IME, to not get in one's own way and let one's own body assign the new energy or information to where it needs to go. The way my teachers say it, "human energy knows human energy" and that energy will go exactly where it is needed. As well, the late master Wu Kung-tsao used to say "do not over-send the ch'i" by which he meant that the conscious mind can very easily unbalance what should be a natural, spontaneous process. The T'ai Chi form itself is an exercise in this natural circulation, if you will. In a real good form, one's mind is totally absorbed in the folding and unfolding of the body from one form to the next, and as such the circulation of internal energies engendered by that folding and unfolding can therefore go wherever they need to unhindered by worry or doubt.
There is another side, though, the "yang" side which very much has to do with martial art or the sending of energy by the Tui Na practitioner. When one already has great gouts of inner energy going from many years of the practise of an art like T'ai Chi, one can safely send it in deliberate paths to specific places for specific purposes. The Wu family, for one example of this, teach "shielding" or the use of ch'i to obviate impact. When a punch or a kick comes in, one may decide to send energy to the impact point, which can have any of several surprising results for the attacker, depending upon the "Yi" of the defender. As well, one cand send energy to specific places on or in another person's body for healing purposes, which the other person feels first as a strangely refined, intense yet gentle heat in the injured area. There are 24 distinct ch'i kung routines taught by the Wu family teachers to facilitate this. They are quite high level and very powerful. Historically they were only taught to most senior disciples and actual family members, but lately Sifu Wu has been much more open about teaching what he calls "breathing" to intermediate level classes.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:38: |
I loved your reply and have no augument with any of it. The Yang aspect, regarding this particular practioner it seems, will have to wait until another incarnation. I confess that I selfishly practice Tai Chi and Qi-Gong for their health benefits and the pure joy of "being/presence" and relaxion inherent in the practice.
Thanks for your explicit, interesting and informative response.
Best wishes, Sidney
|Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 15:33: |
A truly nice (and quite prevalent, I might add) debate, guys. I would like though, to propose another facet to the ideas brought up by all of you.
Apart from martial art purposes, as you all know, Tai Chi practicing is commonly used for healing purposes (especially effective and prevalent for the mentally ill or handicapped in modern day China, for instance), and for the purpose of conserving one's good health, stamina and Wei Chi (defensive energy). In Chinese medicine and thought, we usually make use of the opposing-Qi strategy. Thus, if you are a fierce warrior practicing Karate, Kung Fu and the like, you should also practice a soft form of Tai Chi in order to mitigate the fierce nature of your regular practice. By the same token, if you are a soft person (physically and/or mentally) you should better adopt the yang attitude in your Tai Chi practicing, or the yin approach if you are the hot tempered, agile and robust type of person.
I therefore recommend those who practice the form of Tai Chi under my guidance, to adopt the pracicing approach contrary to their nature. IME, those who are soft in their nature and practice Tai Chi accentuating the softness of Tai Chi, may benefit very little from their practice and may even amplify their weakness. I presume, Sidney, that it is indeed much easier to do what you are doing in accordance with your true nature. I.e., if you are strong - practice yang (strongly), if you are soft and yielding - practice yin (softly). You may be thinking very easily that you are doing the roght thing, because you feel that way (no wonder...). Alas, IMO, those who really want to benefit by enhancing themselves and by changing or improving the weak facets of their existence, should adopt a strategy of counteraction and act contrary to their natural predilection.
I agree with you A.A. that you should not over guide your Qi in practice. Chinese medicine maintains that such exaggeration may cause breathing problems, palpitations and neurasthenia. Yet, IME, it is essential to guide your Qi both in Tai Chi and Qi Gong. The very essence of Qi Gong (even literally so) is maneuvering the Qi consciously, either by Tuina or by self practicing. It is the duty of every practitioner to collect knowledge how to manipulate and direct the Qi. Overdoing is harmful, moderation and patience are the keywords. Letting the Qi go by itself without awareness and guidance is ignorance. Eating sugar if you are a diabetic (or on your way to become one) is letting the Qi decide what it wants. But, it is an act of ignorance and bad self-conduct.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 16:15: |
Shmuel! Thanks... that needs some serious though!
Not sure I like it... but that doesn't make it wrong! I'll certainly come back on your comments.
|Posted on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 15:07: |
Very good. My Sifu often wonders why the few of us who study the martial aspect do so. He teases us about being in for a much rougher ride than we ever expected and being a little "funny in the head" for looking forward to being pummelled regularly!
Which brings me to something else that I should have mentioned and Shmuel did mention briefly: the role of the teacher. Over focussing on ch'i can lead to inbalances, so practise has both yin and yang aspects. They manifest as directed/undirected, martial/meditative, generating/dispersing, etc. One gets experience and cues to know which is appropriate to work on at the time from one's teachers. This is important because it prevents much time wasting (at best) and potential problems (at worst). The saying goes, the best way to find the path of T'ai Chi is to follow someone who has gone down it further than you. They can at least show you as far as they have gone, and by the time you get there they will (hopefully) have gone farther. A well trained teacher will know the signs of overheating, stagnant energy, dissipated energy, stiffness, etc. and by their own experience and encouragement can help you re-balance and work through whatever lesson or issue is on your plate at the time. Why re-invent the wheel?
|Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 16:51: |
Well regarding the previous discussion on Qi circulation! As for being soft and Yin and following one's nature; who said, "The meek will inherit the world"? How often is one advised to bend like the branches of a tree in the wind … and go with the flow? Softness or/and sensitivity are often sadly deceptive or misinterpreted by the “gung-oh” mentality that typifies so much of the world these days.
Okay, so this is not very constructive, so I should once again like to quote Dr. Roger Jahnke on Qi circulation who is himself quoting contemporary Chinese masters of Qigong:
“Enter into and sustain the state of cheerful indifference”. The purpose of this state is essentially, to be happy about nothing in particular. When you tap natural internal joy that is not based on particular expectation, you achieve a state of maximum trust in the world and its processes. In the state of trust, inner tension and resistance that compromise Qi circulation is eliminated and flow enhanced.”
I’m not sure that an academic discussion, that is an intellectual analysis of what one should or should not be doing when practicing these meditative exercises is beneficial; as meditative exercises, surely the bottom line is, “meditation”? This does not imply a passive, inactive state but rather a “Zen” state of wakefulness and awareness of “being” where one is completely focused and “present” in the “now” of the physical activity one is performing.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 09:47: |
Softness, indeed, is the very essence of Tai Chi. Yet, it must lean on forged steel from within. The old masters say that a Tai Chi practitioner has arms like iron bars wrapped with cotton wool...
One can not excercise softness unless he has built an inner hardness, or at least the ability to concentate and mobilize that hardness. If you concentrate on your softness alone then you shall not be able to immitate the condition of the slender flexible cherry tree branch. Those who have the hardness (yang) can manifest the softness (yin). Those who master the softness (yin) can mobilize and summon their hardness (yang). It is almost poetic, isn't it?
Now, Sidney, please consider again what I have said on my previous reply...
Cheers and happy holidays.