Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life

Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life and Performing Three Regulations to Maintain Health

Shi Song

The health-preserving philosophy of Health Qigong has a profound philosophical foundation. It is quite different from other sports in that it lays emphasis on self-cultivation, on the improvement of psychological quality, on the comprehensive development of morality, intelligent, physical fitness, and aesthetics, on the cultivation of spirit, Qi, and essence, on self-experience and comprehension, on the dominant role of health preservation, on disease prevention and health preservation, on self-defense, and on low-profile self-cultivation. To sum up, the practice of Health Qigong not only strengthens the body, but also facilitates serenity and spirit nourishment, regulates the mental state, corrects the temperament, produces wisdom, and optimizes qualities.

Entering Serenity, Nourishing Spirit, and Regulating Mental State

The practice of Health Qigong requirements combined body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation. Entering serenity and nourishing spirit are exactly the mental regulation of Health Qigong. Entering serenity and nourishing spirit will facilitate health preservation and help us alleviate our mental pressure caused by the fierce competition in the modern age. Ancient people compared man’s given life span to the combustion duration of wood. With the same volume, the hard Chinese oak burns much longer than poplar wood. It is also said that “my life depends on myself rather than the heaven. Abuse of it will shorten it, while proper use of it will prolong it.” By frequently entering serenity and nourish the spirit, we can save the life energy and prolong life.

The basic requirement of mind regulation is to enter serenity. In order words, we are required to consciously regulate the mental activities and enter serenity and nourish the spirit through mind concentration. The essential characteristic of mind concentration is the relaxed mind concentration. It does not require any clear understanding of the directive things. This is the elementary serenity. Advanced serenity should be free of thoughts. Anyone that enters this stage will forget himself. The “heart will be calm and clear as a mirror and still water” and “the spirit will travel freely in the outer space”. This indescribable delightful mental state is most favorable for health and longevity.

Under the serene conditions, the automatic regulating system of the human body will be free of interference and play its due role. All imbalances between Yin and Yang will be eliminated. However, when the automatic regulating system is seriously damaged and out of service, medical intervention will be necessary. A well-trained exerciser can also use mind concentration for active regulation and control. This is related to the beneficial psychological suggestion and imagination. For example, when mind is concentrated on the head, the blood pressure will rise. When it is concentrated on the feet, the blood pressure will fall. By guiding Qi with the mind, Qigong can regulate the ascending and descending movements of blood and Qi. By concentrating the mind on the lower Yu acupoints, a person with Yin deficiency and predominant Yang will lower Yang. Such a person can also imagine the cold things such as the moon or water. By concentrating the mind on the upper Yu acupoints, a person can raise Yang. A person having Yang deficiency should image the sun or fire. Specifically, high blood pressure and hyperglycemia patients approximately belong to predominant Yang or asthenic Yin in traditional Chinese medicine. Therefore these patients should concentrate the mind on Yongquan Acupoints at the feet and imagine cold things. On the contrary, hypopiesia and hypoglycemia patients are equivalent to asthenic Yang or blood and Qi deficiency patients, who may concentrate the mind on Baihui Acupoint on the head and imagine warm things.

It has been proven in practice that Health Qigong exercise can make man’s cerebral activities more orderly and synchronous. Serenity is not rest or sleep or any hypnoid state. It is an integrated functional state. Health Qigong exercise will reduce the complexity of the brain in the conscious state and reduce the chaos. When the cerebral cortex of the advanced nervous center is in the inhibited state, the center controlling the visceral activities will become active. Therefore the disorderly functions can be automatically regulated. By entering serenity, the exerciser will keep a sound mind, reduce the nervousness, and achieve the optimal state of the physiological functions. Due to the cheerful and concentrated mind, external interference will be screened and the automatic regulating functions of the organism will be fully exerted. At this point the intuitive immunity and adaptability will be developed.

Self-Cultivation and Correction of Temperament

The temperament and disposition relate to the health, longevity, and success of a man. It is important to build a strong and handsome body. But it is only spiritual beauty, i.e. the temperament beauty that achieves permanent charm.

The so-called “temperament” is the natural and intrinsic stable psychological characteristics. It covers many mental activities, such as the consciousness, emotions, speed of motion reflex, intensity of emotions and will, the stability of emotions and attention, and the introversion or extroversion of the orientation of mental activities. Its physiological foundation is the nerves of the individual-humoral regulation system, such as the nerve types, endocrine characteristics, etc. Temperament is subject to the influence of genetic factors. It is stable to a certain extent but not unchangeable. When influenced by the living environment and educational conditions, temperament may also be changed to a certain extent. For example, some quick-tempered persons living in a group will become self-restrain and some slow-tempered persons will become quick in action.

Different dispositions have their unique temperament features. Temperament will influence the formation and development of disposition but disposition is more ductile and is usually formed under the acquired environment, education, and fitness exercise. Disposition is a core psychological characteristic in the personality structure. It has significant effects on the ability and temperament of an individual. Disposition is ductile. For example, a person who has developed high self-control in a harsh living environment will be good at controlling his irritable and impulsive temperament. A person who has developed the habit of caring about the group and others in group living will strength his connections with other people and reform his introvert temperament.

In traditional Chinese medicine, persons are divided into Taiyang persons, Shaoyang persons, Taiyin persons, Shaoyang persons, and Yin-Yang balanced persons by temperament and disposition. Yin-Yang balanced persons have the strengths and do not have the weaknesses of all the other four types of persons. The temperament and disposition characteristics have both active and passive sides. People who know themselves are good at utilizing their own strengths and overcoming their weaknesses. In practice they can build a perfect image bit by bit. This process is called “self-cultivation”. In actual life, no everyone belongs to a certain temperament type. Except a few persons who have typical characteristics, most people belong to the intermediate type or mixed type. Through Health Qigong exercise, we can regulate equilibrium, regulate Yin and Yang, and properly reform the body constitution, temperament, and disposition of the person.

Health Qigong exercise can change the characteristics of the cerebral activities and regulate the functions of the endocrine secretion system, which are exactly the physiological foundation for the psychological characteristics of temperament and disposition. For example persons of “Type A temperament” are typical “quick-tempered” persons that are easy to get agitated, impatient, irritable, easily angry, and susceptible to diseases like hypertension and coronary artery diseases. Health Qigong exercise can not only facilitate the control and prevention of these diseases but also moderate the disposition. Persons of “Type C temperament” are typically “gloomy”. Their emotions are often distressed. They seem to resign themselves to adversity but are actually angry at heart. This temperament will easily lead to cancers and ulcers. Health Qigong exercise will not only facilitate the rehabilitation of cancer in the combined therapies, but also lead to a broad-minded and optimistic temperament. This means that adverse temperament and disposition can be corrected by Health Qigong exercise.

Peace and Serenity Produces Wisdom and Optimizes Qualities

Normal people cannot do the stunners of the acrobats. Without practice, we cannot produce the masterworks of calligraphy and painting masters, the works of miniature engraving artists, and the paintings painted by disabled artists with feet. But they did make it through hard training, because they have developed their own potential. People usually use the left brain more frequently than they do the right brain. Modern computers have replaced the mechanical memory and abstract thinking and calculation of man. Development of a person’s ability is mainly dependent on the right brain which exerts the imagination and creativity. Innovation is a specialty of the human kind. Only coordinated left brain and right brain can lead to creativity.

The “serenity” and “mind concentration” of Health Qigong exercise are methods to practice the concentration and distribution of attention. The quality of attention is related to the labor efficiency and occurrence of accidents, and thus to the success of a person’s cause. Experimental psychology has proved that normal people can focus their minds for at most 20 minutes. But well-trained Health Qigong exercisers can maintain high serenity free of distracting thoughts for a long time. The “visualization” of Qigong is also known as “inward contemplation”, which is exactly a general method for the exercise of imagination. Imagination is a symbol of man’s wisdom. In the modern age, intelligent resources are developed by using both the left and right brains and fully utilizing the imagination and concrete thinking functions of the right brain. It is only in this way that we can exert the greatest strength of man-imagination.

Health Qigong exercise will optimize the qualities. “Peace and serenity will produce wisdom” and “inspired thinking” will lead to the optimal physiological state after the understanding and comprehension of life and universe. Experimentation has proved that exercisers have significantly less nervousness, significantly faster response, significantly higher IQ, and significantly better studying speed, memory, language expression, agility, and creativity than the non-exercisers.

Comprehensive Health Qigong exercise includes morality cultivation. It is an exercise of self-control, a healthy lifestyle, and an art of health preservation. With the advent of the information-based society and the development of open education and lifelong education, health education and health preserving methods will definitely be popularized. Health Qigong requires the development of morality and the cultivation of lofty sentiments, which are also the key points of the new health concept proposed by WHO.

Reference: Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life and Performing Three Regulations to Maintain Health jsqg.sport.org.cn

Mind Exercising of the Health Qigong

The Health Qigong is one kind of Qigong exercise combining the mind, Qi and body exercise rather than the single muscle exercise. Regulating the mind, breath and body, called as three regulations in the following, are three basic elements of practicing the Health Qigong. The key word for three regulations is to regulate and adjust the body and mind intentionally. Therefore the spiritual activity is needed to be done in three regulations with the active mental activity. Yi generally means the consciousness or thinking of which is the functional activity of the brain. Mind exercise is to concentrate the mind on some points or something, which is called Zhuyi in Chinese words. In fact we use the mind exercise in doing everything but it is different in the exercise of the Health Qigong.

Man often initiatively think about something apart from his own body with mind activity, which is exterior. It is just in contrary with the former that the practicer concentrates the mind on his own life activity, which is interior. The practicer should cut off the connection of the sensory organs with outer world and initiatively control himself with consciousness and gain the gnosis for the relation of the life and nature. The process is called the introspection. Interior mind application is basic characteristics for exercising the Health Qigong. Correct and appropriate understanding the criteria of mind application can overcome or surpass the routine skills taken the movements as the main ways of the exercise. The healthy effect of the Health Qigong is mainly embodied in the mind exercise. For this reason, the practicer should aim at exercising the mind and get oneself into the state of natural relaxation of which is inner active and outer quiet by ways of regulating the breath and body in order to obtain the target of strengthening the body and prolonging the life. Mind application should be set in the first position and kept in the whole course of the exercise. The contents and orders of mind activity can be different at the different stage of the exercise.

The stage of stressing on the body instead of the mind

The Health Qigong is one kind of Gong emphasizing both the body and mind. But it is hard for the beginners to understand and grasp the actions of the Health Qigong and impractical for them to lay stress on the mind activity. In this stage, the attention of the practicer should be paid to imitation and exercising the body movements rather than the mind regulation, which is not specially emphasized. However, it is required that the practicer should concentrate on the routine itself such as the change of the direction and line, how to move the hands and feet, the main points, how to connect the different parts, etc. The mind is concentrated on some point, line or part with relaxation of other parts to form one natural and relaxed moving body. The first task for the beginners is to learn and correctly and proficiently accomplish the routine. It is one kind of mind activity of low level as the mind is concentrated on the figure itself and aimed at learning and grasping the routines. Practice makes perfect. The routines can be correctly and proficiently grasped after the repeated exercise. Thereafter the practicer can start to concentrate on the mind itself and get into the next stage. It is one kind of the gradual comprehension for the practicer.

The stage of emphasizing both the body and mind

On one hand, the practicer should lay stress on the specifications and standard of the routine and deformation is unacceptable in this stage; on the other hand, the practicer should explore the inner essence and quintessence of the Health Qigong and regulate the mind in high level. The basic style of mind activity is inward vision and imagination such as inner vision of the Dantian, inner vision of the Qi and blood circulation, imagination of entrance of some mental state, etc. The practicer can harmoniously combine the inner mind with the body to make more proficient and standardized routines, further know the meaning of the movements and store the inner strength based on the transformation of motion and quietness, opening and closure, being imagined and factual, being hard and soft, yin and yang and twist etc. The routines can be done in the state of running like flowing water without interruption. The practicer can gradually attain the aim of running the Qi by heart and running the body by the Qi and eventually reach the stage of interior and exterior integrity, body and spirit containing for the Health Qigong.

The stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body

The practicer naturally gets into the stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body with the automation of the routines after the long-term exercise. Routines are already automatic for the practicer just like walking after the repeated exercise in the long run. The practicer has already comprehended the essence of the movements and coordinately combined the body, mind and outer world according to his own characteristics and understanding for the Gong and had his own gnosis. The routines won’t deviated from the basic principles even the practicer doesn’t pay attention to the movements themselves any longer in this stage. Therefore, the practicer lays stress on the exercise of the inner mind and concentrates on the genuine mind of which is self-consciousness under the condition of quiet consciousness. That it should be stressed is to pay attention to the moderate degree in the mind activity as the mind is like water and fire, water can carry and capsize the boat; the fire can warm the man or burn the fire-player to death. The practicer should abide by the rule of mind activity, which is not to intentionally or absent-mindedly seek for the mind activity. Intentional mind activity will deviate the body, being absentmindedness will be fruitless.

The stage of emphasizing on neither the mind nor the body

The Qi flowing is sloshing all the body instead of the feeling of the figure in the brain of the practicer when the exercise is done to the highest level. That is called the state of non-body. At that time, the brain naturally is entering the state of unconsciousness (non-mind) without any distracted thoughts. In fact, the state of non-mind and non-body is the stage of forgetting the body and obtaining the mind of which is the milieu of the Health Qigong that the vital Qi flows normally with tranquilized mind. It is said that consciousness is unconsciousness, which can produce the genuine consciousness in the narrations of the Quan (one kind of traditional boxing skills). That is to say, unconsciousness is not to stop mind activity but the true knowledge of the essence of the mind. The practicer needn’t adhere to the concrete actions in the stage of getting mind essence. It is also the stage of forgetting the body just as it is said by Lao Tzu( a renowned philosopher and the founder of the Taoism) that the great Tao is formless. The practicer can be thought as comprehending the essence of the Health Qigong only when he can reach the stage of free receiving and dispatching without body or mind restriction. The practicer can gradually feel the delicate alteration of the nature and bring about the essential change in the body and mind and concentrate on the state of reversion to the baby-like innocence, which can sublime the constitution, disposition, personality, and accomplishment to the state of elegance at last.

Above all, the Health Qigong can regulate all the unreasonable nervous state deviated from the physiological characteristics and bring into the potentiality constrained by the nervous state full play. Therefore, mind exercise should be strengthened in order to improve the effect of the Health Qigong.

(Writing/ normal university of inner Mongolia Zhang Cai Qin)

Reference: Mind Exercising of the Health Qigong Chinese Health Qigong Association

Theory of essence Qi and spirit

Basic contents of theory of essence, Qi and spirit
Essence, Qi and spirit is substance basis and basic elements consisting and sustaining life activity. It is commonly said that there is three kinds of treasure in the heaven, which is sun, moon and star, three kinds of treasure in the earth, which is water, fire and wind, three kinds of treasure in the body, which is essence, Qi and sprit. The theory of essence, Qi and spirit, which study the relation of essence, Qi and spirit with the life activity play an important role in the health Qi Gong.

Essence is the basic substance of body structure and it is the basis of substance sustaining all kinds of functional activity and general name of varieties of nutrients. It is different in the conception from the aspect of narrow meaning and extensive meaning. Essence is commonly essential substance for reproduction in its narrow meaning and it is a vague reference to all essential substance including Qi, blood, normal body fluid and nutrients taken from the food in the aspect of extensive meaning. Its conception also has the difference of the congenital essence and the postnatal essence. The former is essential substance for reproduction and origin of life originated from parent and the latter is nutrient substance transforming from water and cereals. The congenital and postnatal essences complement each other and the former depends on the successive breeding and cultivation of postnatal essence to take physiological effect. The latter also depend on the energy assistance of congenital essence to make generations on.

Qi is nutrient substance of which immerse and nurture the body and motive power of which push about the life activity. There are two kinds of Qi, which are comparatively congenital Qi and postnatal Qi. Congenital Qi is also called archaeus, which is the most basic and important Qi as well as motive power of life activity. Although it comes from the congenital Qi of parent, but it can help the growth and development of human body as well as warm and stimulate the physiological function of Zang Fu and meridians only through successively being supplemented and nourished by the nutrient Qi and inhaled air. Postnatal Qi, which is transported and transformed from the nutrient Qi and inhaled air, include thoracic Qi, nutrient Qi and Wei Qi. Choracic Qi, which only comes out of the respiratory tract and be in charge of respiration and utter but also passes through the blood vessel to propel and regulate the pulsation of heart and stores in the Dantian by way of descending action of lung, is combined of nutrient Qi transformed from the spleen and stomach with nature air inhaled from the lung. Nutrient Qi, which runs in the vessels with abundant nutrient, is mainly the essential part of water and cereals transported and transformed from the spleen and stomach with the function of nurturing and producing blood. Wei Qi is transported and transformed from the essential part of water and cereals. Its main function is to regulate the open and close of muscle and viscus, discharge of sweat, and sustain the stable temperature along with guarding the outer part of body and the invasion of exogenous pathogen and warming the Zang and Fu, the outer part and skin and hair etc.

Spirit is the appearance of thinking and consciousness as well as internal Zang Fu essence. It has the same substance basis as it arises from the essence and Qi. Spirit embodies its function depending on the existence of Qi and body. Man’s normal life activity depends on the normal activity of spirit from the whole body to brain, from five sense organs and seven facial orifices to meridians, Qi and blood, essence, body normal fluid and limbs activity. There is narration in the ancient books that patient with spirit will live well and patient without spirit will die. It is thus evident that spirit is very important in life activity. Spirit can be divided into congenital spirit and postnatal spirit. That organic integration of male essence and female essence result from the birth of life is called congenital spirit, which can dominate the life activity without the governing of the mind, consciousness and thinking. Postnatal spirit eventually means the function of brain including mind, consciousness and thinking. It is the image of surroundings in the brain and dominates all the psychological activity as well as behaviour of body, in the meantime, it can affect the harmony and balance of all the physiological function. Based on the congenital spirit, postnatal spirit is also nurtured by the postnatal essence and Qi. In order to bring into the inherent action of congenital full play one should suppress the postnatal spirit and guard the former.

Application of the theory of essence, Qi and spirit in the health Qi Gong
Essence, Qi and spirit are the whole body among which can use, promote and transform each other just as the life-cultivation practicers said: accumulating spirit produces Qi, accumulating Qi produces essence, refining essence transforms into Qi, refining Qi transforms into spirit. The exercise of health Qi Gong plays a markedly promoting role in the mutual sprouting and transforming among the essence, Qi and spirit.

How to exercise the essence, Qi and spirit with the health Qi Gong, different Gong has different methods. Most of them implement that through dredging the meridians, regulating respiration and nourishing and cherishing the spirit step by step including mind concentration, inward contemplation and specific exercise and regulation of breathing of some meridians, acupoints three Dan Tian in the upper, middle and lower part of human body, especially the lower Dan Tian of which is centered between the kidneys and acupoints such as Tan Zhong, Lao Gong and Yong Quan etc. Mind concentration on abdominal Dan Tian, of which is centered on the umbilicus, mainly exercises the spirit and Qi. Except for exercising the spirit and Qi, mind concentration on Ming Men, Guan Yuan and Hui Yin mainly exercises the essence. The exercise of mind concentration on Lao Gong and Yong Quan is more helpful to induce the ascending of clearing Qi and the descending of dirty Qi. As Dan Tian, which is centered on the umbilicus, and kidneys are closely related with the Zang Fu and meridians, it decides their specific position and important action.

The health Qi Gong enhances the Qi Hua of human body by way of exercising the respiration for cultivation, which means the motion and change of Qi, and it thinks highly of life-cultivation and regulating respiration. With strong vigor, Qi is flowed and filled in the whole body. The motion of Qi including ascending-descending and coming-in and going-out is called activity of Qi. It can endlessly flow in the Zang Fu, meridians, limbs and all orifices to sustain, promote, arouse, coordinate and balance the physiological function of human body only when the activity of Qi is unblocked. The body is healthy with the smoothly movement of Qi activity. The pathological state such as Qi stagnation, abnormal rising of Qi, Qi sinking, Qi stasis, Qi depression and Qi-stagnant dysuria etc will ensue under the condition of disorder of Qi activity. As soon as the Qi activity stops, the life activity will end as well. So the Qi is the primary substance sustaining the life activity of human body. How does the health Qi Gong cultivate the life and regulate the breath? Firstly, it can arouse and invigorate the primary Qi by ways of daoyin, running Qi and kneading; secondly, it can enhance the Qihua function and improve the circulation of Qi and blood by ways of varieties of regulating mind, regulating breath and exercising the body.

Nurturing of mind is especially paid attention in the exercise of the health Qi Gong of which constantly regards the body and mind with the same origin, life and existence as the two important elements. It advocates cultivation of body and mind together and thinks that man can live a long life only when he makes the body and the mind together. The cultivation of body and mind together means that one should stress the nurture of body along with the regulation of mind in the practice of the health Qi Gong. Besides the body health, together with the happy mind, one still should make the body and the mind develop in the balanced state. To nurture the body to sustain the life and cultivate the mind. To keep the mind to settle the mind and cultivate the character. Exercising like the above-mentioned methods in a long run can cultivate and mould the noble integrity and achieve the aim of cultivating one’s heart with full essence, abundant Qi and harmony mind.

The Health Qi Gong and theory of essence, Qi and spirit Chinese Health Qigong Association

Martial aspects of yiquan and its fighting application

Internal “Intention” for Health and Self-Defense

By Fukui Yang as told to Bob Feldman

A Short History of Yiquan and My Family’s Relationship to this Martial Art
Yiquan is a relatively new Chinese martial art created by the great master Wang Xiangzhai. Master Wang was the last and favorite student of the Xingyiquan master Guo Yunshen. After Guo died, Wang, although he was very young, was already a formidable fighter. He spent more than ten years traveling throughout China meeting other masters and improving his skill. Even as a teenager, Master Wang was already an excellent martial artist who rarely lost a challenge. After spending time at the Shaolin Temple as well as with numerous other masters, Wang incorporated many Buddhist and Daoist principles directly into his practice.

Master Wang originally came from Shen County, Hebei Province, and later moved to Tianjin City which was at that time a crossroads for many Chinese martial artists. In Tianjin there had developed a unique open exchange of ideas and techniques within the martial arts community in the early years of this century, common in the rest of China. My maternal great uncles Zhai Yuwen and Zhai Yongwen became students of Master Wang as their father, my great-great uncle, Zhai Xujin, was friendly with him. Master Zhai and Master Wang were from the same county in Hebei and had much in common. Our family’s traditional martial arts, however, were predominantly Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, as taught by Master Zhang Zhaodong, who had also introduced Master Wang to my family. My great uncles, however, always had a healthy respect for Yiquan and its fighting capabilities, although it was not their predominant system.

Another student of my great grand Uncle, Zhao Daoxin, also began to study with Master Wang and became one of his most accomplished disciples. He later followed Wang to Shanghai where he trained the resistance during the war years but, because of his association with the Guomingdang Nationalist party, was subsequently imprisoned by the Communists, only to be released after the Cultural Revolution. Master Zhao was quite well known in his own right throughout China. He was both educated and had won the 1936 All-China Full Contact Championship in Nanjing. This competition attracted representative competitors for many martial art styles all over China. It was a famous “Leitai” competition and was subsequently banned because of the numerous deaths that occurred during these fights.

After being released from prison and his reunion with my great uncles, Master Zhao agreed to teach Yiquan to both my older brother and myself. He also taught us the system that he created, Xinghuizhang, or “Spirit Meeting Palm” in which he combined Yiquan mind training with the spiralic postures of Taijiquan and Baguazhang, and the explosive movements of Xingyiquan, the “mother system” of Yiquan.

As a child I met Master Wang Xiangzhai on numerous occasions, as he spent his final years in Tianjin. I was finally given a chance to study Yiquan with his closest students in my late teens and early twenties, after I finished my university education at the Tianjin Sports Institute, and studied Yiquan for over 8 years in Tianjin with Master Zhao and several other first generation students of Master Wang.

What is Yiquan?
Yiquan can be translated as “intention” or “will” boxing. It is, according to some, the distillation of the “essence” of “Xingyiquan” and other Neijia, or internal martial arts. The core of Yiquan is standing meditation, practiced in a variety of postures, with the goal of merging one’s intention, and internal energy, with the physical power required for martial arts. If in one’s practice one only concentrates on intention, or “Yi,” but not upon energy, or “Qi,” the effects of practicing postures are weak and empty. If there is only energy practice, but no intention, one cannot apply or utilize this energy efficiently for fighting or for healing. Therefore, in order to succeed, one must practice both intention and energy in order to use Yiquan effectively as a martial art.

Master Wang had developed his unique philosophy after studying martial arts and Chinese medicine and was of opinion that one cannot see or feel energy, only the effects of it. If one attempts to focus upon feeling or moving the energy, it is very easy to have mental delusions and misinterpret somatic feelings as being the energy itself. This is perhaps the case historically with many uneducated martial artists who were not capable of explaining their own internal feelings.
In his later years, Wang Xiangzhi made an extensive study of traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as of anatomy and physiology. After the Second World War and the Communist Revolution, he began to work in a traditional hospital, and turned his attention to healing. Master Wang felt that one can feel the effects of Qi or energy, such as an increased vitality, or developing the ability to perform “fali,” that is, the emission of explosive force during fighting, or use the energy for healing. With further refinement as one’s practice advances, the energy increases within the internal organs and within the meridians. The blood circulation is also heightened, which enables us to react faster to challenging physical situations. This internal energy circulating within the organs and the meridians is called “Shen” or “Heart Spirit.”

While it is beyond the scope of this article to present an in-depth discussion of the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and qigong practice, it should be noted that many current Yiquan students outside of China are taught solely to utilize standing meditation to increase their internal energy. By practicing the standing postures alone, they are not practicing the complete system of Yiquan, and it is difficult to use this energy for fighting.

While practicing the standing postures is excellent for health, it is unfortunate that some Yiquan teachers are either unfamiliar with the complete system of Yiquan or purposely withhold its martial aspects. Such teachers give their students the impression that their standing meditation will, in and of itself, enhance their fighting ability. Usually these students must study other martial arts in order to substitute for their inability to use Yiquan for fighting. While this is especially true for the majority of Western practitioners of Yiquan, in China it is still very possible to find qualified teachers and study the complete system, particularly in Beijing, Tianjin, and in Hebei Province. Personally, I am not familiar with the extent that authentic Yiquan as a fighting system is taught in other parts of China, such as Shanghai or Hong Kong, although Master Wang had some good students who moved there.

The Essential “Mind Set” Needed for Yiquan Fighting
In order to fight, one must use both intention and qi to utilize the power of the standing meditation postures, to conduct the “li” (force) outward. By engaging in standing mediation and in learning how to externalize the internal force, Wang Xiangzhai felt that Yiquan would stimulate both the circulation and the bone marrow to harden the bones and toughen the connective tissues, similar to the “Marrow Washing” which is a part of many Daoist and Buddhist practices. Yiquan does not stress the use of external techniques and applications in order to harden the body as do other systems, but rather it relies predominantly on internal meditation, push hands and fighting to harden the body and test one’s internal strength.

In order to stimulate the bone marrow and specially harden the bones, one should imagine that during both fighting and “Fali” practice, that is, the process of directing force externally outward, that the body is primarily made of bone. When one imagines this, the connective tissue, namely the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia, will relax and not tighten. This is because tense muscles during a fight do not allow the force to be emitted efficiently. Therefore, standing meditation is utilized both to relax the mind and the soft tissues, as well as to create an environment for hardening the bone and centering our mental state.

Paradoxically, in Yiquan, one’s mental state must be both relaxed and focused simultaneously, Intention, or yi, cannot be only concentrated, as this too will lead to tightening of the soft tissues and inefficient force emission during fighting. Although to be both relaxed and focussed at the same time may seem to be paradoxical, in truth, it is not contradictory; both processes can occur simultaneously in a natural state of awareness. For example, one can be both relaxed and attentive when driving an automobile.

In addition, the postures will allow us to sink our energy and lower the center of gravity to the Dantien in order to develop a deeper root. This permits our emitted force to be conducted up from the ground through the legs, hips, waist, shoulders and upper extremities, as opposed to only from one part of the body. This greatly enhances the power and speed of “Fali.”
While the emitted force appears to be sudden and explosive to outsiders, internally one may first sense an internal drawing-in of the energy prior to its emission. This process is called “She Sen,” namely, the ability to gather energy and emit force. If one has a blockage or imbalance of the energy within the meridians or insufficient qi when one emits “Fali,” at best one’s force is minimal; at worst, this explosive stress, particularly if repeated over and over, can be stressful to the internal organs, and cause health problems later. The practice of repetitive Fali, without relaxation during standing meditation, is called “Qijieh.” Such improper repetitive Fali practice can also damage the bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.
In addition, Wang Xiangzhai felt that the movement of internal energy was intimately connected to the circulation of blood. When a practitioner “feels” or “senses” the energy circulating, the practitioner may be feeling the results of increased blood circulation; it is certainly not the actual increased circulation of energy, as energy is invisible and not something we can specifically feel, although the energy may be causing it. Wang Xiangzhai advised that during standing meditation, try to “imagine” the energy moving according to whatever internal imaging one is practicing; however, if one does feel “something,” forget about it, don’t dwell on it, let it pass.

When one has sufficient energy, one can focus the intent of the posture and emit force. This aspect of Yiquan practice is called “She Li,” during which the internal energy is accumulated for maintaining health and for fighting. While practicing She Li, one’s mind should attain a state that is relaxed and calm, confident and open during the daily practice of meditation. However, during a fight one must also bring out a “crazy” tenacious intention in order to win. This is similar to what we observe in animal fights. The difference, however, is that animals do not have higher thinking processes as do we humans, and, as humans, we must also confront our habits, fears, prohibitions and predilections during a fight. This “crazy intention” is called “She Shen.”

She Shen is often translated as the use of sound, such as in the Japanese “Kiai.” This is perhaps true in part, but it is not totally correct. She Shen rather refers to the mindset of crazy intention during which sounds may be emitted like those of an animal. The sound should be natural and spontaneous, and should, in fact be emitted from the Dantien. Regular standing meditation helps us not be become tense, not allowing our emotions to take over, thereby greatly increasing our fighting efficiency.

Real fights are usually intense and short in duration. There is little or no time to think of what techniques to utilize. Wang Xiangzhai felt that techniques in and of themselves are not useful in fighting. Rather, fighting applications should be spontaneous and natural and should appear when needed. The “techniques” of Yiquan are therefore infinite variations of natural movements found within the postures. Wang Xiangzhai often said, “The best technique is no technique.” Different postures allow us to open different types of energy. Realistically, however, we need only practice several postures to fight efficiently and naturally, if one has good yi and qi. This is because we are all different in our strengths and weaknesses.

Master Fukui Yang began his practice of internal martial arts at the age of 6 and his practice of external martial arts at the age of 8, under the guidance of his grandfather and great uncles. Master Yang and his brother began their study of Yiquan and the related martial arts of Xinguizhang and Loshuenquan under the tutelage of Masters Zhao Daoxin, Chu Jenhe and Master Zhang Entong, all first generation students of Master Wang Xiangzhai. Master Yang is the Director of Heath Mind Martial Arts (Xinyi Wushu Guan), in New York City.


Fukui Yang on youtube.com