The Importance of Sequence and Timing to Achieve Synchronization

by Wee Kee-Jin

The Taiji Form regardless of what style, was created as a means to train moving in a synchronized and harmonious Taiji way. During Pushing-hands we extend the practise of synchronized movement to include when being effected by an external force. When we can synchronize all the physical (external) and mental (internal) movements in our daily life, we will no longer be restricted or imprisoned by the Taiji Form, because then the Form will have become formless.

Synchronization
The classics state that; when one part of the body changes every part of the body changes along with it; when one part of the body moves every part of the body moves; the destination might be different but the time of arrival is the same – all parts of the body arriving together.

The key to achieve this principle is synchronization both of the sequence and timing. Being the continuous fine tuning of muscles co-ordinated simultaneously throughout the body.
The physical synchronizing and aligning always begins at the base by releasing the ankles, knees and hips then the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Both upward and downward actions start at the feet, get magnified in the legs and ripple through the body into the arms before being expressed to the finger-tips.

All turning originates from within. There is a line you should imagine running from the crown of the head (niwan) to the tailbone (weilui) that serves as the central axis of the body. From directly above you would see turning as being initiated at the axis about a small circle then expands to the medium circle of the body, then reaching the big circle of the arms.
Although there is a sequence, the movements must be in relation to each other. Any missed timings would effect the whole synchronization.

When stepping forward or backward you need to continue the synchronizing into the substantial foot to create the movement of the insubstantial foot. While the insubstantial foot is stepping, the centre is changing, so the substantial foot adjusts continuously.
Therefore both in the Taiji Form and Pushing-hands all parts of the body synchronize to create a movement and to respond to an incoming force.

To internally synchronize, there first must be physical relaxation and mental calmness. Then the melting sensation of relaxation can flow through the body and legs, into the ground. This is what is called ‘sinking’ and produces ‘grounding’. This downward feeling can then be released and rebound up from the ground through the feet, legs, body and arms, to the fingertips, but only if the body has continued to relax. This generates the force (Jing) and cultivates the ability to deliver it (Fa-jing). Although there is a sequence from the feet to the finger-tips, the timing required is in close relation to each other. After a while the stages overlap until eventually simultaneous, that means at the moment of 1% of relaxation, there is 1% sinking, 1% grounding and 1% rebounding force, which will then continue to 2%, 3% onwards.

In Taiji the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ originates from the ‘centre’, which is where the ‘tantien’ and the central axis meet. Not only does the opening expand from the centre, but the closing also contracts from there; – both are from the inside outwards.
Once the opening and closing are clear, their timing recombines until simultaneous. Then “when there is opening there is closing, and in closing there is opening”. So that at a moment of closure you also experience being open.

The opening and closing needs to be synchronized with the relaxation, sinking, grounding, and issuing of the relaxed force.
Finally when the external and the internal are in harmony, and the timing and sequence are in relation to each other, total synchronization is achieved. Then when one part of the body changes every part of the body will change along with it, and when one part of the body moves every part of the body will move, and when one part of the body arrives every part will arrive.

Qiqong and Taiji
A commonly asked question when someone is studying Taiji, is whether they should practise Qigong as well. Any exercise that develops the use of your mind to circulate the flow of energy (Qi or Chi) in the body is Qigong. Therefore Taiji is Qigong, however Qigong is not Taiji.

Yin and Yang
The terms of Yin and Yang are frequently used in Taiji, and are often made to sound mystical. Unlike words such as table and chair which refer to specific objects, Yin and Yang are concepts describing opposites that have a relationship to each other; up and down; front and back; internal and external; positive and negative; male and female; dark and light; etc. They are as complementary as they are contrasting. Their existence and combination are actually scientific, not mystical.
The essence of Taiji is simplicity; black and white. It is not necessary to colour it with esoteric descriptions.

Reference: http://www.taijiquan.co.nz/

Master Huang Sheng Hsien

One day in Taiwan the famous White Crane Kung Fu champion and teacher, Huang Sheng Hsien, went to meet Professor Cheng Man Ching. T.T. Liang who was present during their meeting, engaged Huang in a Pushing-Hands and knocked him down almost immediately. Huang was both stunned and amazed. Liang said he was like a small baby, and couldn’t figure out why he was considered such a highly skilled kung fu master.

Huang in typical Chinese fashion, quit his White Crane Kung Fu immediately and took up learning T’ai Chi. Liang remembers not only Huang’s true expression of humility, but his perseverance in learning the T’ai Chi. According to Liang, Huang spent 7 years just learning solo form in order to gain root and develop his ch’i. Then for an additional seven years he just had people push on him, so he could develop his yielding and neutralizing skills. Lastly, he spent another seven years psuhing on people in order to learn how to issue. Huangs’s twenty-one-year learning program really impressed Mr. Liang.

Many times I heard Liang comment on how he considered Huang to be the best living T’ai Chi master in the world, equaled only by one of Liang’s other teachers, Wang Yen Nien. Liang showed me a film that was taken in Malaysia of Huang’s famous match against a champion wrestler named Mr. Liao. In a decision of twenty-eight knockdowns to none, Huang soundly proved his T’ai Chi skills before thousands of people.

Master Huang continued to reside in Malaysia until his death in 1995. He had thousands of students and was bestowed the nickname “The Grandfather of T’ai Chi”. Over the years Liang periodically received letters from Huang, wherein Huang would always humbly refer to Liang as his savior. What really impressed Liang the most about Huang was his unfailing trait of never speaking bad of others – no matter the rumor or situation. It was from Huang that Liang claims he learned the idea of “internally imagine your self as already being a master of T’ai Chi, but externally never express it to others.”

Reference: Steal My Art – The Life and Times of T’ai Chi Master T.T. Liang by Stuart Alve Olson
ISBN: 1556434162

Pages: 76-77

Huangs wrestling match with Liao on youtube.com

Huang Xingxian Vs. Liao Kuang Cheng I

Huang Xingxian Vs. Liao Kuang Cheng II

Questions and answers with Master Huang

Are there different schools or sects of Tai Ji?
Tai Ji embodies a comprehensive set of knowledge, developed and handed down by our learned predecessor with mystifying principles and profound philosophical learnings. The Tai Ji movements are scientific as the principles are based on scientific fundamentals. Our predecessors developed the art for improving human health, warding off sickness, slowing down the ageing process, achieving longevity and defending oneself. All this benefits mankind and society. Good character formation is promoted. An adherent imbibed with the Dao (or philosophy as a way of life) of Tai Ji would contribute towards proper governance of the country and universal peace. Tai Ji is not a martial art meant for bragging and antagonistic purpuses. A Tai Ji exponent would need to understand the principles and philosophy of Tai Ji. No one should deviate from these principles and philosohpy. The movements can be developedand modified but the principles are eternal. The external forms may differ from person to person but the principles are standart and unvarying. Because of this, there is no basis for differentiation by schools. Instead a spirit of a single family should prevail. Common interest of the art should take precedence over personal interest. An open attitude should emerge, bearing in mind the spirit of the founder and predecessors to propagate the philosophy of Tai Ji thoughout the world so as to improve the health of mankind.

How should we practice Tai Ji in order to reach accuracy?
The gap between accurate and non-accurate achievement is wide. Remember the words of the old master, Wang Tsung Yueh that the body must be naturally and vertically balanced bearing in mind the principles of being relaxed, rounded and awareness of the various parts of the body. During practice of the set movements, one must be careful, concious or alert, observant and must feel where one is moving. Otherwise there is form without substance and deception to people. To achieve accuracy, the principles of Tai Ji must be followed in addition to correct methods of practising. A good master is necessary coupled with one’s own constant research. The art must be learned progressively having to be on firm ground first before advancing to the next step. Personal requirements are also important. One must be determant, confident, persevering and motivated. A secure means of livelihood and having normal environment coupled with single-mindedness, constant learning and practice and clear understanding of the principles throroughly – all this will lead to achievment of accuracy. This is in contrast to those who want to learn fast, who concern themselves with the external forms and who learn to practise sporadically. These hope to learn first and be corrected later not realising that it is worse than having a new person learning from scratch. Others take the principles of Tai Ji lightly or superficially and liken the art to a common exercise, drill or dance. All this has form but no substance. One’s body must be likened to a perfect machine where a wrong spare part will affect the operation of the machine. The founder of Tai Ji has said, “Achieving the Dao is important, acquiring the skill in the art is secondary;not learning my Dao, he is not my student. ” Therefore also important would be honesty and righteousness or a good moral character.

There are different forms of Tai Ji? Are the principles different?
The founder created the art. But through the years, the forms of Tai Ji have differed:some have 24 basic movements while others have 37; some have 64 set movements and some have 72 while others have 108 movements or even 124. There are long sets and short sets. Movements have been large and expansive and have been small and compact. Some emphasised high postures;others opt for low ones. Some practise slowly;others practise at a faster pace. All this divergence is writter by men. What is important is that the principles remain the same. Different masters with different temperaments have been following the basic principles through the ages. They have engaged in continous research and training. They have reviewed and improved the art until the ultimate objective is achieved where form becomes formless, limbs are no more important, brute force becomes nonexistent and stiffness has given way to being fully relaxed. Character formation has advanced to the stage of “non-self” and of non-resistance so that the whole body is used and hands are no more used as hands. Youthfulness and longevity are attained. It is easy to master correct forms as the Qi and the principles of the art are internally harmonised. Harmonisation is also to be achieved between the upper, middle and lower parts and between the left and the right body. Even though difficult it is relatively easier to master correct forms compared to aquiring skill in the art. This is so as in training or practising there are a number of normally undetectable parts of the body that are difficult to keep under control from the aspects of speed, timing, rhythm and balance. Because of this, skill in the art is difficult to acquire. But then as the founder says, “Understanding one portion of the art would mean being enlightened on all portions or parts. Then all schools and sects become one. ”

Is it better to practise Tai Ji more frequently or less frequently?
There are no extremes in Tai Ji. The essence is in the training method. If the method is not correct, it is no different from ordinary drills with a lot of time spent but relatively little achievement. So it is not a question of practising more or less frequently but practising correctly. That is, the central equilibrium must be vertically maintained. Every movement must be disciplined such that the posture is vertically balanced. The principles remain unchanged:there is straightness in a curve and vice versa. There must be constant learning and practice, understanding the principles and the less obvious points. Mastery of this will produce skill naturally. There is no question, therefore of practising too much or too little but rather of practising correctly.

Is it correct to practise the art fast or to practise it slow?
The earth rotates at a constant and specific rate. Similary, Tai Ji should not be practised too slowly or too fast but should be practised comfortably. The human body must be moved naturally otherwise there would be weaknesses. If the practice is too fast, breathing is affected resulting in uneven respiration, breathlessness and the heart pulsating too fast. If the practice is too slow, the limbs and the joints become stiff. Qi is blocked and is locally stagnant:intent or consciousness is employed but the Qi is not flowing. Internal force and Qi must be synchronised. Internally, there is the harmony of the libido, energy, Qi and spirit while externally, the mind, consciousness (or intent) and body are also harmonised and in turn both the internal and external harmonies are synchronised. Muscles must be relaxed and all parts of the body are naturally without tension. It is not possible therefore to say practising fast is correct or practising slow is correct as this has to be based on the standard or level of achievement of the student. One must practise until the whole body is relaxed and comfortably balanced. Once there is internal and external synchronisation, then the question of slow and fast in practice is unimportant. At this stage, one gets the feeling that the upper portion of the body is like the drifting of clouds and the lower portion is like the flowing of water. Consciousness is continuous and is harmonised with movement. All parts of the body are natural and are unified. There is then no question of being fast or slow.

Is it correct to have either high or low postures in the set movements of Tai Ji?

The art of Tai Ji does not distinguish high and low postures, but is rather based on the idea of four “balances” or equilibriums: 1 balance in the magnitude of the posture or movement such as both sides of the body must have “balanced” amount of spatial displacement when moving; 2 accuracy or precision achieved simultaneously by all parts of the body; 3 bodily balance when moving or turning; 4 steadiness particularly when moving. External and internal balance or harmony must be cultivated where there is no slanting of the central axis of the body. When hind force is invoked, the hind knee being bend will move up or straighten slightly though the height of the body remains unchanged. This is so as consciousness (or intend) and Qi would “close” centrally instead of coming up while the bent knee is used to adjust accordingly. Consciousness is used to lead the muscles in relaxing. Joints, muscles and ligaments must then be loosened, relaxed and “thrown”open but still linked. The body is then erect and comfortable. Consciosness is also used to “move”Tai Ji principles to parts of the body. Having achieved “four balances and eight steadiness,” the question of high and low postures is then answered individually.

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 practising the movements, the use of consciousness to sink and relax the body is most important. The centre of gravity is moved while perserving 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 gernerated 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 similarywhen 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 characterised 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.

How could the movements be practised in order that they can be usefully applied?
Take the five loosening(or relaxing) exercises as an illustration. These exercises are based on Tai JI principles. During practice there must be full concentration since any distraction will nullify any effects. Bear in mind the three points of non-mobility:the head which must be locked on to the body, the hands which must not move of its own volition and the soles of the feet which must be still and rooted to the ground. Consciousness(or intend)will lead the Qi along. Steps are made without affecting or moving the body. Turning movements start from the waist and hips with hands propelled from the waist and hips in accordance with the principle that all movements originate from the waist. Principles must be understood and no movements are separated from the principles. Once you make it internally you are also “through” externally. Once you are fully relaxed, you can change according to circumstances and can therefore, neutralise an oncoming force. You would have reached that position of “non-self” where the whole body is the weapon and the hands are no more used as hands. If you are not able to usefully apply your movements then you still have not understood the basics of the five relaxing exercises. If you have not mastered the essentials, then there is no point of talking about application of the movements.

What is the rationale for relaxing the abdomen and withdrawing the coccyx(or tailbone)?
Qi is stored in the Dan Tien as a result of using consciousness to sink the Qi to this point. From here Qi should circulate to the whole body. If Qi just remains in the Dan Tien, then the abdomon will have the sensation of being styffed. Only when Qi circulates throughout the body will the abdomen be relaxed and pliable. After a time, the abdomen will acquire some “bouncy” or”springy” effect and Qi would have been circulating to the whole body. Qi can be occluded or absorbed into the backbone. the Song of the Thirteen Postures says, “If the abdomen is thoroughly relaxed, then the Qi will rise. “So do not just store the Qi in the abdomen otherwise it will simply bloat. Having coccyx withdrawn means there is no protrusion of the buttocks while making sure at the same ime that the hip joints are not”sliding”forward. This must be combined with relaxing the abdomen and both requirements must be met at the same time. Otherwise, there is no rootness while the waist is stiff resulting in vertical imbalance or disequilibrium. It is important to maintain the uprightness of the central axis of the body in order to achieve central equilibrium. A test can be made as follows to see whether all this has been done correctly all along:use one thump to press the abdomen and release the thumb suddenly. There should be a bouncing or springy effect of the abdomen. At the same time, the seat of the buttocks behind should be very soft to the touch.

What is true spirit of Tai Ji?
Good and famous masters of Tai Ji teach the same stuff but students will learn differently. This is because students differ in natural endowment and physical make-up. The real acquisition of the art is not in just mastering the external forms but also in mastering the principles and philosophy. The learner must be a man of reason having learnt, practised and understood the art successfully. He applies those principles and philosophy to his daily life. He will not take unfair advantage or be selfish. He is wholeheartedly devoted to Tai Ji. He shares the founder’s spirit of striving for mankind to be physically and mentally healthy. This would be the true Tai Ji spirit.

How many times must we practice the set movements everyday?
The important principle is moderation. The practising technique must be correct in the first place. Some people say you must practise the whole set of movements ten times a day with one set lasting about 25 minutes. This only focuses on quantity and is wasting Qi and energy. It is contrary to the basic principles of Tai Ji succeeding in only making you sweat and reducing weight. It is not beneficial to the development of the internal force, internal organs or gererally the body internally. Grandmaster Cheng Man Ching has said, “I practise the mobilisation of the internal force and Qi using the 37 basic movements every day. One set of movements lasts only 7 minutes. ” Practising too much or too little is subject to whether it is practised correctly or not. Utilising my experience and following my practising technique, students are encouraged to practise every morning and evening using about 5 minutes to practise a particular movement or posture(dividing each of them into 2 parts)over and over again. Those studens who do so are likely to succeed.

Some students have been learning and practising Tai Ji for several years and are yet unstable. Why is this so?

A lot of students are using wrong learning and practising technique. Students must start with understanding the Dao of philosophy, then the principles, then using the correct method and finally putting in the effort. He must understand the relationship of man and his surroundings or the universe and use the method of Qi to practice. He must be humble and persistent in his practice. Slowly, rootedness will result and the method of practising be understood. Understand the principles and be aware of the less obvious and unnoticeable aspects in slowing acquiring skill. Being rooted and having internal force can never be observed externally. They can be accomplished through correct method. In practising the movement and developing the internal force, the joints of the body must be loosened and yet linked. The whole body is relaxed and is not easily pushed over by an opponent. Substantiality is distinguished from insubstantiality. Aim to be flexible and pliable like a snake whose tail will come in to help if you attack the head, or vice versa or whose tail and head will assist when the centre is attacked. Be responsive to consciousness(or intent), then tranquillity and pliability can be achieved. It is easier to lift off a 200 katies iron rod than to lift up a 100 katies iron chain. This illustrates the principles of throroughly relaxed joints. Students must also understand the application of yin and yang in the movements and push hand exercises. Yin and yang principles are in Tai Ji which encompasses the universe:all movements whether divided according to upper and lower body, right and left, front and back, internal and external must not deviate from the principles of substantiality and insubstantiality. Moving and stillness alternate continously:Yin does not depart from Yang and vice versa. When Yang moves, Yin also moves and vice versa. This principle must be understood when practising the set movements. The body and the character is trained together as is the acquisition of the Dao and the art. Dao is likened to yin while the art or skill is the yang. Yang is evolved from yin at yin’s completion. Being relaxed, stillness and being rooted become yin comonents. Neutralisation of force forms the basic foundation where no strength is used. Stillness is like that of the mountain. No change is seen but it is capable of a lot of changes. The founder has said, “Dao is the basis, art is the consequential”. One must therefore acquire Dao by learning not to resist, for only then will the body learn to be obedient. In attacking and defending, one must understand the method, then acquire insubstantiality and quietude. Only then will the defence be solid. Attacking will also be successful as one is naturally comfortable. In pushing hands exercise, one must learn to achieve non-resistance and stickiness. Having achieved stickiness, then one can achieve the ability to neutralise force. With adequate reserves, the neutrasising ability is applied with an involuntary exertion of internal force.

How should a student relate to his teacher?
In the present day, science is very advanced affecting all aspects of human endeavour day by day. This gives rise to stress and keen competition in business having a telling effect on the spirit. This is a common malady. This is why Tai Ji an ancient art, is popular and a common practice. It has no secrets. It is equitable to all as it discriminates against no student. But students often commit errors in practising the art. Students should bear in mind the following pointers:
1 Respect the teacher and accept the philosophy or Dao of the art;
2 Be honest and do not take unfair advantage;
3 Be conscientious and serious, think, observe and feel or being aware during practice;
4 Progress step by step;
5 Be humble and practice constantly;
6 follow all the principles mentioned earlier when practising by themselves.

Reference: Interview with the late master Huang Sheng-Shyan from bao i dao Tai Chi Chuan

Open Taijidag ’06 in Amsterdam

Stichting Taijiquan Nederland invites the whole world to an open Taiji day with forms, demo shows, workshops and competition in Amsterdam, Holland all day 28. October 2006.

Amsterdam, Holland, Europe
SPORTHALLEN ZUID
Sporthallen Zuid, Burgerweeshuispad 54, 1076 EP Amsterdamzaal

Enterance 8.30 (9 -17) € 7,- per person

http://www.taijiquan.nl
Open Taijidag 2006 Invitation (pdf)

Children of His Majesty

Yamaoka Tesshu was a tutor of the emperor in Japan. He was also a master of fencing and a profound student of Zen.

His home was the abode of vagaonds. He had but one suit of clothes, for they kept him always poor.

The emperor, observing how worn his garments were, gave Yamaoka some money to buy new ones. The next time Yamaoka appeared he wore the same old outfit.

“What has became of the new clothes, Yamaoka?” asked the emperor.

“I provided clothes for the children of Your Majesty”, explainded Yamaoka.

Reference:
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings
compiled by Paul Reps, Arkana 1991
ISBN:0140192670

The 10 Guiding Principles of Master T.T. Liang

1. Nobody can be perfect. Take what is good and discard what is bad.

2. If I believe entirely in books, better not read books. If I relay entirely on teachers, better not have teachers.

3. To remove a mountain is easy, but to change a man’s temperament is more difficult.

4. If there is anything wrong with me, I don’t blame others, I only blame myself.

5. If I want to live longer I must learn T’ai Chi and accmoplish it both physically and mentally. To accomplish it mentally is much more difficult.

6. I must learn how to yeild, to be tactful, not to be aggressive; to lose (small loss, small gain – great loss, great gain); not to take advantage of others; to give (the more one gives the more one will have).

7. Life begins at seventy. Everything is beautiful! Health is a better of utmost importance and all the rest is secondary. Now I must find out how to enjoy excellent health in my whole life and discover the way to immortality.

8. Make one thousand friends, but don’t make one enemy.

9. One must practice what one preaches. Otherwise it is empty talk or a bounced check.

10. To conceal the faults of others and praise their good points is the best policy.

Reference:
Steal My Art: Memoirs of a 100 Year Old T’ai Chi Master, T.T.Liang
by Stuart Alve Olson
ISBN 1556434162

Pages: 125-26

Classic Leg & Arm Meridian Massage

Legs Upward
1. Place the palms of your hands on the inside of your legs at the ankles.
2. Slowly bring your palms up your legs, through the inside of your knees, up your thighs and into your genitals.

Legs Downward
1. Place the palms of your hands on the outside of your thighs.
2. In a continuos motion, rub your hands down your legs along the outside of your knees and calves until you come to the ankles.

Arm Massage
1. Place your left hand on the inside of your right shoulder.
2. In a continuos motion, rub your palm down through the inside your elbow to the tips of your fingers.
3. Bring your left palm over your fingers and continue up the back of your hand, through the outside of your elbow and onto your shoulder.

The same is procedure is repeated with the left arm.

Guidelines:
Repeat movements for a total of 12 times.

At all times keep pressure on your hands so that a slight warmth may be felt as you do the massage. Breathe normally throughout the exercises.

Reference: The complete system of Chinese Self-Healing by Dr. Stephen T. Chang The Aquarian Press 1989
ISBN: 0850307716

Link: The Great Tao

The Harmony of Yin and Yang

As the Yang energy arises in another it is embraced with your Yin energy and becomes one harmonious energetic interaction. Dualistic thought is lost as one flowing energetic movement is embraced so that it is only one movement and not two. When this is demonstrated it appears as one seamless, graceful flowing movement without any conflict of energy being observed. The Yin completely absorbs the Yang and then leads it on its chosen path. In this way the desire of the one expressing Yang is not interrupted in any way but is encouraged and embraced. It must arise naturally and in so doing cannot be repeated as that would mean putting a movement on top of what was occurring instead of being in harmony with the movement as it is happening. As such it will be different every time.

The feeling of this movement is like falling into a ‘void.’ You are not thrown in the true sense but will find yourself falling into nothingness with no idea of what had just occurred. This is because it arose out of harmonious connected movement without any conflict. As this occurs it creates joy in both people as they experience oneness.

Quote: Aikido Journal, Mark Bilson 12.th. of July 2006

Master Huang’s 14 Important Points

Master Huang Xingxian1. Calmness
– use Deep Mind (Xin) to calm and balance the energy.

2. Suspend the head
– empty the neck, send intention (Yi) to top of head.

3. The gaze is level
– use peripheral vision to be aware of left and right.

4. Loosen and open the chest
– ensure breastbone and upper-spine vertical, supporting the hollow space between them.

5. Sink the shoulders, drop the elbows
– shoulder-blades slide down the back to sink the shoulders, shoulder muscles loosen to droop the elbows.

6. Sacrum central and vertical
– lift the perineum slightly, draw the coccyx down and forward and loosen the lower back.

7. Loosen the waist and inguinal regions (Kua)
– waist controls the upper-body, inguinal regions are the base of the waist.

8. Breathe deeply
– breathe in, ribs expand, diaphragm sinks, abdomen in.
– breathe out, ribs relax, diaphragm rises, abdomen out.

9. Three harmonies, internal and external
– internal: Spirit (Shen) with Intention (Yi), Intention with subtle energy (Qi), subtle energy with body energy (Jing).
– external: shoulders and inguinal regions, elbows and knees, hands and feet.

10. Hands follow the body
– use the trunk to yield and neutralise, the hands to follow to protect the trunk and to prepare to attack.

11. Steps respond to body movements
– change the steps to support body movement.
– hands are like swinging doors; whether you win or loose depends on your steps.

12. Differentiate empty (Yin) and full (Yang)
– meet fullness with emptiness and emptiness with fullness.

13. Smoothness and continuity
– one thing moves, all things move.
– co-ordinate upper-body with lower-body.
– Deep Mind (Xin) and Intention (Yi) determine the speed of the movements.
– use Intention (Yi) to naturally harmonise the breath with the movements.

14. Use Deep Mind Intention (Yi), not insensitive strength
– relax the body, use Deep Mind Intention, then the senses and feelings will be very responsive.

Reference: Relax, Deep Mind Taiji Basics Patrick Kelly 2. ed. New Zealand 2004
ISBN: 0-476-00425-x

Red.: The book is rare to find. Patrik Kelly is a student of the late Master Huang Xingxian a famous student of the renowned Taiji master Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-Ching).

Links:
Master Huang’s 20 Important Points by Wee Kee Jin http://www.taijiquan.co.nz/

Chen Wei-Ming on Calm

The mind should be calm. If it is not, one cannot concentrate, and when the arm is raised, (whether) forward or backward or back, left or right, it is completely without certain direction. Therefore it is necessary to maintain a calm mind. In beginning to move, you cannot control (it) by your self. The entire mind must (also) experience and comprehend the movements of the opponent. Accordingly, when (the movement) bends, it straightens, without disconnecting or resisting. Do not extend or retreat by yourself. If my opponent has li (strength), I also have li, but my li is previous (in exact anticipation of his). If the opponent does not have li, I am also without it (li), but my mind is still previous. It is necessary to be continually mindful; to whatever part (of the body) is touched the mind should go. You must discover the information by non-discrimination and non-resistance. Follow the method, and in one year, or half a year, you will instictively find it in your body. All of this means use i (mind), not chin (internal force). After a long time the opponent will be controlled by me and I will not be controlled by him.

Red: from Five Character Secret

Reference: T’Ai Chi Ch’Uan Ta Wen, Questions and Answers on T’Ai Chi Boxing Chen Wei-Ming ( Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo & Robert W. Smith ) North Atlantic Books 1985
ISBN: 0938190776

Page: 51

Jeijin – receiving energy

According to Huang Sheng-Shyan, the difference between taiji and other martial arts, is that taiji can ultimately develop jeijin (receiving energy), where yielding, neutralizing and discharging, all happen simultaneously. There is hardly any physical movement, and no mental intention at all, everything happens spontaneously and naturally.

The practitioner is in a state of absolute central equilibrium, the posture is totally connected and relaxed with the feet deeply rooted. The mind is calm and as still as a mountain. By being totally connected, connected and relaxed the body become an empty void. When an external force contacts, the body does not resist it, the force just passes through until it hits the ground and rebounds back throwing the opponent. Similar to pile driving during construction work, the deeper the pile is driven into the earth, the higher the hammer rebounds.

Achieving jeijin (receiving energy) indicates attaining shenming (taiji enlightment), at which point (sparring) techniques becomes irrelevant.

Taijiquan Wuwei, Kee-Jin Wee Oct 2003
ISBN: 0473097818

Page: 64

You are not your mind

The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.

Reference:
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle, New World Library 2004
ISBN: 1577314808

The Vipasana Meditation Technique

This is a very easy meditation technique and is called Vipasana. It does not require you to believe in any God or Guru. It can be done at any time of the day. It acts directly on your mind and makes it more sensitive. It brings our minds under our complete awareness so that we can use it at any time to its fullest capacity.

This technique in a nutshell is – ‘watching your breath’. Our breath and mind are closely related. Scientists say that we use only 2 percent of our mind power. In order to use it fully, we need to meditate. Our mind power is wasted when we harbour thousands of thoughts in it. This Vipasana technique steadies our minds.

If you watch the elephant when it is walking, you will see that it sways its trunk from one side to the other continuously. If you give it a log of wood to hold, it will stop swaying its trunk while walking. Likewise, to steady our mind that is swaying all the time, we need something. That is the Vipasana technique. When our mind stops swaying, it becomes more powerful. When hundred thoughts rise in our mind, only 2 of them materialize because our mind is exhausted in creating and harbouring these 100 thoughts. If only 10 thoughts rise in our mind, at least 8 of them will materialize because the energy that was earlier used in creating the remaining 90 thoughts can now be used to materialize these 8 thoughts. We will be able to use the energy to scrutinize these 8 thoughts and implement them.

Our breath is entwined with our mind. The elephant’s tusk that is seen outside as big and long is present inside the elephant’s mouth as teeth. It is actually the same bone. The tusk outside is nothing but the teeth inside and the teeth inside is nothing but the tusk outside. Similarly, our breath when it goes inside, is our mind and the mind when it comes outside, is our breath. If you get angry, you will see that your breath is more aggressive. If you control your breath, you will see that your mind calms down. As you calm your mind, your breath will regularize and as your breath regularizes, your mind will calm down. Bringing this cycle under our complete awareness is what this technique does. Continue reading “The Vipasana Meditation Technique”

Qian Zhao Hong

Grandmaster Qian ZhaoHongWACIMA
Master Qian Zhao Hong is one of the best Xing Yi fighters in China: member of Shanghai Wu Shu Association, Vice Chairman of Institute of Shanghai Pa-Kua, Vice Chairman of Institute of Shanghai Wu Dong Qigong, and Highest level Ninth Generation of Xin Yi Liu He Quan (10 Animal Xing Yi). He has defeated more than 50 masters, earning his nickname “Chainsaw.”

His specialty is wild ring fighting. He has a strong presence/electric field around him. He is a legendary fighter. Every inch he moves and every point on his body is a fist attacking you, every time. When he was young, if his defense touched your arm, your arm would break, his kick would break your leg. If his finger touched your body, you go to hospital. He is the most respected and undefeated master.

”Cultivating Emptiness to Enter the Dao”, Tai Chi Magazine oktober 2004.
Qian Zhao Hong, a high level internal martial artist from Shanghai and noted fighter and push hands practitioner, discusses internal principles and techniques. Qian is said to be one of the top fighters in all of China. He has trained in Xingyi, Wudang Taiji, Chan (Spiral) Taiji and a number of other martial arts, starting when he was a child in a Shanghai neighborhood called Wushu Village because so many martial arts masters lived and taught there. Most martial arts focus on becoming stronger and stronger. His emphasis is on becoming empty to get freedom of response.

Qoutes: ”The dantian power, he said, should be deep, hidden and very concentrated. ”It should be like a wild ball or ring that is floating until it moves and can then move spontaneously.” In movement, he is like a ball always in contact, as opposed to moving from point A to point B, where a gap is implied in attack and defense. … because Qian uses a balllike motion, the ball rotates in response to the opponent – his hand rotates, his dantian rotates, the whole body rotates together. ”His outside hand is in harmony with the dantian. Therefore he never lets you feel him point to point, which would create a gap and an opportunity to attack.” Because of the ball motion,… opponents are surprised and cannot fully deliver force to his body while he can easily redirect force. ”Because of the ball motion, he is like a chainsaw. The body at every point is like a chainsaw with teeth that can hurt the opponent. It is continous, spontaneous, rolling, with no beginning and no end.”

”A million harmonies” … this means that the whole mind, physical body and energy are completly harmonized so that they act as one, otherwise power is lost. While everything works together, yet everything is relaxed as water… …this comes from smooth training with focus on the dantian. ”There is deep invisible and smooth training so that all movements are smooth and the whole body is involved. This power does not come from punching the bag or lifting weights or hitting the sand bag. It comes from harmony and smoothness.”

”Big brightness.” This is like being crystal clear and giving off an aura. First you have to be empty and quiet as if you have no physical body. Then your qi starts moving. There is no physical trace or technique. The qi rises without physical effort. It is as if a tiger looks at you and you cannot move.

… fighting should not be against the opponent but should focus on sticking to the opponent and connecting to him. ”Let your force be empty. Follow your opponents force to use your opponents force. Don’t use force against force. You should always redirect the opponent’s force.”

Videolinks:
Qian Zhao-hong Xin Yi Liu He Quan 1 youtube.com
Qian Zhao-hong XinYi Liu He Quan 2 youtube.com

Links:
Every point on his body is a fist kung-fu.se (swedish language)
Xin Yi Liu He Quan – Vissa kommer aldrig att förstå kung-fu.se (swedish language)
Qian Zhao Hongs kraftprinciper kung-fu.se (swedish language)
Tillbaks till rötterna kung-fu.se 2005-11-01 (swedish language)
Xin Yi Liu He Quan och en vacker dojo wing-tsun.se (swedish language)

Master Qian’s Site

The way to relax your shoulders

With your feet shoulder width apart,
slowly raise your arms as if lifting a ball.
Breathe in with the upward movement.
Turn your arms outwards and gently
lower them back to the start, breathing out.
Don’t hunch your shoulders or stiffen your arms.
Make at least 30 complete circles with your arms.

Reference:
The Way of Power: Reaching Full Strength in Body and Mind Lam Kam Chuen Gaia Books Ltd 2003
ISBN:185675198

Page: 11

Red.: This wonderful exercise is normally used as a warm-up exercise before Zhan Zhuang (Standing Pole Exercises) together with 2 others exercises for the hips and knees. This basic exercise is done to relax, loosen and free up the energy passage for the shoulders. The shoulders are one of the 2 big roadblocks that prohibit energy to travel freely to the limbs, the other being the hip.