Qi Experience

Postby psalchemist » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:03 pm

Greetings Louis,

Thanks for the reply.

What I have gleaned from your posting is that Qigong is relatively young and widely encompassing in its nature.


Being unpossessed of a particularly "royal" lineage does not necessarily detract from the value of its practices or methods.

However, I can appreciate the fact that not all teaching institutions will convey ideal representations of Qigong.....Just as there are many schools which do not convey the ideal representations of Taijiquan-Even though it is a well established, traditional art of very long standing and true, traceable lineage.


I believe caution should always be exercised when exposing oneself to educational endeavors.

It is probably wise to add a grain of salt to all new input one reads, hears, learns...if not at times, a pinch or dash.


Thank-you for providing your personal views and knowledge of the Qigong materials you have examined.


Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby dorshugla » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:28 pm

psalmqimico,

It is the other way around. Qigong (it is a modern word) used to describe what was previously known as neiging, yangshengong, etc and similar expressions. The change occured (1950's and perhaps earlier, late 40's!) due to the need for a standard word to describe similar terms and meanings which were shrouded in secrecy associated with Daoist and Buddhist imagery grounded in superstition and folk gibberish.
It was hoped that the single word qigong would rectify things but as we see this has not changed.

For the historical record, what we know as qigong was banned many times due to the social upheaval that it caused. THe I ho quan (Boxers) fueled the Taiping Rebellion alon gwith WHite Lotus Sect, etc(martial arts societies) and these are documented in many sources.

Taijiquan imitated qigong in many ways but qigong's origins began as shamanistic rituals and many are still retianed in "older" systems. Many qigong systems are called New QIgong becayse they came up after the CUltural Revolution (1976/77).
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Nov 07, 2003 9:06 pm

Greetings Louis,

Do you have any knowledge as to the first, original official Taijiquan documentations?

How old is Taijiquan?

Thanks,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:06 pm

Dear Ps,

It would be nice if the documented history of taijiquan were so simple and solid that certain answers could be given to these questions.

I’m afraid it is not so.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:32 am

Greetings Louis,

Permeated with controversy as well...Hmmm?

Thank you kindly for all of your council.

Best regards,
Psalchemist Image
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:30 am

Greetings all,

In the "Song of the Thirteen postures"
It states:

<The chi sinks into the bones, and
<The chi permeates the bones,


In the text written by Yang,Jwing-ming, "The eight extraordinay vessels", he uses the expression "Marrow washing" in reference to Qigong or Chinese medical sciences.


Is anyone aware if there is a correlation between the two references?
OR
Is the "chi permeating the bones" equivalent to the method called "Marrow washing?

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Audi » Sun Nov 09, 2003 3:09 am

Greetings Psalchemist,

For whatever it is worth, I basically agree with what Louis has said about Qigong.

You may also be interested in looking at the following website of Peter Lim, if you have not already done so.

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~limttk/historg1.htm

This link discusses a number of the theories surrounding the origin and development of Taijiquan and gives an idea of the various controversies that surround this topic.

In my view, equally extensive, varied, and contradictory material could be written about the practice theories of Taijiquan and also about their relationship to Qigong, traditional Chinese Medicine, Daoism, Confucianism, the Yi Jing, the Bagua, the Wuxing, etc. These traditions and theories also have significant variation even among themselves.

Believing that all Chinese have always seen things like Qi in the same way is like believing Pericles, Jefferson, Marx, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor would all agree on the essential components of “democratic” government.

Because of all this confusion, I believe it is important to understand the context of any material one consults. Most people use the same words, but often the meaning or the idea beyond the use of the words is very different.

With respect to your latest post, I could show you an exercise that would demonstrate what I feel to be “allowing Qi to permeate the bones,” but this would take many words to describe and probably would be misunderstood without many other words to give proper context. At the end of the day, the exercise itself would only be one of scores of possible exercises that one could engage in to accomplish various training objectives.

Practically all the concepts important to my actual practice are things that I consider to be fairly concrete and demonstrable, even if difficult to describe in words. I consider them all to be non-controversial in terms of modern scientific belief. At the same time, Even though these concepts have a concrete aspect, I find that the Taijiquan I study does have a clear “internal” aspect that is an essential component and that makes it very different from many other arts.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby keechy » Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:14 am

Psalchemist,

I am also a student and with my limited understanding, I will try to provide information here as accurately as I can.

<Is QiGong within the realm of "internal martial arts"?>

Both qigong and tai chi are internal arts. The invention of qigong preceeded that of tai chi. Whereas tai chi is a martial arts, qigong is not but is a self-healing therapy. And (medical) qigong is one of the foundation from which traditional chinese medicine (TCM) was built on, more than 2000 years ago.

<..."main part"... Have you any idea which components would, in actuality, complete this "system"?>

The Chinese median network forms the basis of acupuncture and TCM. The network is complex (understandably) which explains why there are so many acupoints in the body. Of this network of meridians, we can categorize them into three types: the 8 extra-ordinary meridians, the 12 organ meridians, and the rest. The first 8 are actually reservoirs of qi. They are not associated to any organs. Of the 8, the du and ren mai hold a special place because an abundant qi flow in these two meridians will benefit all the other meridians. The 12 organ meridians, each, are associated to an organ in the body and are pathways from which qi flows from the reservoirs to the organ. The rest are secondary qi vessels that are not really significant from qigong point of view because they will function well if the 8 meridians function well. From the health standpoint, the main meridians (8 extra-ordinary and 12 organ) govern the overall health of a person. And the rest of the secondary meridians are to treat more specific illnesses.

Comparing the qi flow with cycling is a very good analogy. Come to think of it, as qi is a form of energy, it must possess inertia.

The way I understand qi flow and with what I’m doing, I think it relies on the body having qi flow memory. If qi flows the same path regularly enough, the body will remember. And the stronger the flow, the easier the body remembers. We can induce qi flow with whatever methods available. The main difference is the time it takes to accomplish the task. For my qigong, with much practice, I believe that there is a stage when I can reduce the body movement significantly and then, finally, to a stage where I just use the mind to circulate the qi. Nowadays, my body movement is already reduced by 90%.

<I personally have become aware of the channels from (1) the pinky to the elbow and (2) the one that crowns the head down the spine (only to the neck) and (3) accompanied by a similar horizontal sensation crossing the back of the head from ear to ear. (4) Only very recently have I experienced the continuation towards the front, and only to the xuanguan point. Could you please, if able, name these specific channels and vessels for me?>

Of the 4 listed above, I can only conclusively say that I know only one, that is, (3). This is one of the dai mai loops. Even though dai mai generally is understood to be a horizontal belt circling the navel-kidneys-mingmen, there are also a few others. Yours may be associated to the eye. As for (1), I’m not sure but I belief it may have something to do with lao gong. This is an energy point in the palm and one that tai chi uses to transmit qi (power). For (2) and (4), they could be part of the microcosmic orbit.

Hope this helps.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:21 pm

Greetings Audi, Louis, all,

Audi,

Thanks for the feedback and thanks for the link which you provided.

One point you made caught my attention, you said:
<Even though these concepts have a concrete aspect, I find that the Taijiquan that I study does have a clear "internal" aspect that is an essential component and that makes it very different from many other arts> Audi

I am indeed endeavoring to discover and understand these unique "internal" aspects which are integral to the essence of movement in the art of Taijiquan.

What is it precisely which makes it "different from many other arts" ?


Your words seem to imply also, that there is a similarity with other arts(the rest of the "many other")

Which arts do you liken to Taijiquan, similar in internal concepts?


I was considering Qigong, moreover as a means for development of "internal skills" in Taijiquan.

Can I assume that Qigong activities would reside within this same realm of "internal arts"?

As studying Chinese medicine might provide a certain assistance in the comprehension of the "internal" mechanics.

As reading Classical texts and historical documentation might provide certain insight into the practice of Taijiquan.

As pondering the latest technological advances in the areas of movement or motion, body mechanics or mind innovation may bring new perspective to old theories and principles.


I was assuming that Qigong theories were similar enough in nature or "internal aspects" to be able to draw insights from it's content, methods, ideologies and principles which might then be useful in Taijiquan application.

Both you and Louis express reasonable concern over being cautious and discriminating in choosing and absorbing the enormous variety and considerable amount of sources of knowledge available in these lines of study today.

With caution, consideration and discrimination, combined with a quality formal education, I believe one should be able to avoid most of the more obvious pitfalls while accumulating supplementary materials, without sustaining an extensive amount of irrevocable damage Image

Accumulate data from various sources,
Compare with what one already 'knows'.
Confirm with good authorities,
Compare with consideration of all facts in mind,
Reject or retain,
Readjust,
Conclude,
and then begin the process of,
Implementation of this 'conclusion' in a concrete manner.

: Repeat process

This is a process I consider for learning new information.

A 'process', as in Taiji, we do not stay stagnant in any one point, (at least not for long).

Usually, one reaches a point in study where most new input becomes repetition, and matches most consistently with our preconceptions.

When engaged in learning something new, one is constantly assimilating new information, theories and views. Almost anything can serve as material for growth...due to a lack of "established" ideas.

As we gain more experience and knowledge these ideas become more estrablished, more set, the discovery of new input becomes less and less frequent. Or perhaps we just become less willing to accept the new input which is around us because we already have our established views. I am a student, still soaking it all up. Image

Controversy and disagreement have been alive and kicking since the dawn of man, and I don't imagine it will evaporate like a puddle of water overnight either. This happens because we think...

Observing a dozen differing views on the same subject allows for a dozen new possibilities.(Without reconciliation it is a stagnant position)and uncomfortable.
Whereas,
Observing a dozen similar views in accordance on the same topic allows one to confirm and conclude.(Without new input, it is a stagnant stance) but comfortable.

I personally enjoy being exposed to the former concept, where differences of opinion may reign, in the main. It is an opportunity for me, I find, to be able to factor in fresh new information and therefore widen the scope of my vision.

Differences, debate and controversy are thought invoking, change provoking, constructive entities, I find, as long as everyone keeps on smiling Image .

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:58 pm

Greetings Keechy,

Thanks for sharing the knowledge you possess, it is assistful and enlightening.

You said:
<Both qigong and taiji are internal arts.
The invention of Qigong preceeded that of tai chi.
Whereas tai chi is a martial arts, qigong is not but a self healing therapy.
And medical qigong is one of the foundations from which traditional chinese medicine(TCM) was built on, more than 2000 years ago> Keechy

Thank-you very much for those details, it definitely adds a little clarity.

You answered my question:
< The rest are secondary qi vessels that are not really significant from qigong point of view because they will function well if the 8 meridians function well. From the health standpoint, the main meridians( 8extraordinary and 12 organ) govern the overall health of a person. And the rest of the secondary meridians are used to treat more specific illnesses.

This puts the question of the extra (secondary) meridians on hold for me, for now. I accept your explanation as such. Image


Also you spoke of "qi flow memory".
I think I understand what you say...this is like establishing or preparing passageways for proper, efficient use.
As a baby's brain sets up neurological passageways or connections for all future functioning from birth until three years old, we must set up connections and discover awareness of these passages, and set a basis for facility in circulation. I have heard that we must repeat a stance approximately ten to twenty thousand times, before we will be truly progressing towards that clarity.

Lastly, I really appreciate the explanations into the meridian poits I requested. Your attempts possess a certain resonance which leads me to believe your conclusions may be accurate. It's a good start!

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist. Image
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Postby dorshugla » Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:22 pm

psalmqimico,

Taijiquan is around 500 years old and this is not grounded in stone, although pretty close) The various chronicles (official, historical, etc all state that around the end of the Ming dynasty ("around the end...is a vague expression, be it allegory, metaphor, hagiographical, etc) which was 1644. It may also mean the 1640's (getting ill defined as we continue).

Chen family style is just that. It was influenced by Shaolin temple methods, Buddhist and Daoist influencs, folk and whatever method was taught in the military.
This syntheseis created Chen syle.

The word taichi as a philosophical concept is as old as the country itself but the quan (fist) was added around the end of the Qing dynasty to name it since few people were aware of Chen style (a village art). As a matter, people though Chen style was second rate (not knowing that Yang style was an "offshoot" (call it variation, style, etc) and that the original was Chen.

I personally do not believe that Zhang sanfeng had anything to do with taijiquan. Just a tall tale to make the art seem impressive! The old ways held that things were to be named after so called patron saints to insure longevity of the specific method, art, vocation.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:18 pm

Greetings d,

Although I don’t entirely disagree with most of your post, I’m curious about your “500 years” assertion, and I wonder if you could be more specific about your sources. I’m looking at your sentence: “The various chronicles (official, historical, etc all state that around the end of the Ming dynasty ("around the end...is a vague expression, be it allegory, metaphor, hagiographical, etc) which was 1644.” It seems to be about to say something, but it doesn’t. What precisely is it that they “all state”?

Finally, my training was in Chinese history, not mathematics, but I am able to manage simple equations.

2003 minus 1644 equals 359.

What kind of stone carvings yielded your “500 years” figure?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby dorshugla » Mon Nov 10, 2003 11:12 pm

Hi Louis,

The actual syntheses of Chen taijiquan took place with Wangting Chen, which was around the 1640's (i am aware that towards the end of the Qing dynasty may literally be 1644 or the 1640's and that disticntion i am incapable of making, so please excuse my diligence).

Prior to Wangting Chen, Chen family moved to their present location with the family art intact (called it Chen family art lack of distinction). When they arrived in Chenjiagou, changes took place (i.e. closeness to Shaolin, meeting with master(s) of the time, incorporation of village art, exchanging of technique, formu8lation of others, synthesis, etc). For me to pretend all that happended around the 1640's only is foolish on my part so I apologize.

Whatever the masters name was, whether it be Jiang Fa?? or Master with no name, etc. all that is allegaory and metaphor for change. The extent of change is not known to me but whatevr it was was enought to propel Chen art so Luchan Yang (The Invincible) wanted to learn it. The changes were distinct enough where no other art had that depth of training or knowledge.

In short, Chen family art did not start/begin in 1640, but it was synthesized during that time period.

I am just being honest to know all taijiquan source is the same. Different and distint where each can take what they want from it.

Your book tranlation on Yang style was excellent. Please keep up the good work so all can enjoy its benefit.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 11, 2003 12:22 am

Greetings d,

Thank you for your kind words.

I am still interested in knowing what your sources are for this interesting historical synopsis. Do you have anything in the way of evidence to corroborate any of this information, or is it just hearsay? In other words, is there any compelling reason to take the things you say to be historical fact rather than theory, conjecture, or legend?

Take care,
Louis
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:17 am

Greetings all,

I have put the following together from many sources, including my teachers.

I love mythical stories, and I'm a real fan of Joseph Campbell. Those who look only for for written material might never even follow a history that has been mostly handed down by word of mouth, nevermind understand it.

If I have a point to make it is that Tai Chi Chuan is way older than many want to believe. I don't however, consider these things carved in stone. I present them to you to consider. Whether you "believe" the ideas or not is not important to me, only that you think about them. I'm willing to discuss these thing, but not argue over them.

This is my present take on some of the history of TCC. It has five parts.

1a. The legendary Emperor Fu Hsi invented the trigrams, which grew into the I Ching, the Book of Change(s). He was credited with getting people out of caves and into houses, creating the marketplace, inventing the calendar, among other things.

1b. IIRC in 4464 BC, Fu Hsi, when he opened his court, had a courtier named Ting Dan introduce a "theraputic dance" to the people. This theraputic dance was fully formed at the time it was presented. I look at this as quite possibly Tai Chi Chuan. Huang Wen Shan writes of this in "The Fundamentals of Tai Chi Chuan." As this story is said to be from one of the oldest writings in Chinese history, then the roots of Tai Chi Chuan may predate the I Ching, and may well be lost in the mists, and myths of unwritten history.

1c. The I Ching mentions the holy dance that was performed in the temples, and refers to the secret teachings of Chinese yoga hidden in the words and structures of the hexagrams. For much of its history the art we now call Tai Chi Chuan was found only in the temples, and only occassionally out among the people.

2a. Over the years, in ancient China and India, men traveled between the two countries and, as part of the exchanges between them, eventually Tai Chi Chuan traveled from China to India. Both cultures practiced a form of Yoga, had some medicine and some beliefs in common. I believe that there were regular high-quality exchanges between healers and holy men from both countries. I think that some Gongs now in use originated in India, and I believe that Tai Chi Chuan was in India well before the Chen family had it. As in China, in India Tai Chi Chuan was mostly found among the religious. **

2b. Things can be lost over time, and at one point Tai Chi Chuan may have been in danger of dying out. The day was saved by a monk traveling from India. In his travels Bodiharma found a temple, Shaolin, which had lost the tradition of Tai Chi Chuan, and the monks were in very bad shape physically. What Bodiharma did was bring Tai Chi Chuan back to the Shaolin monks. Thereafter they made a real point of preserving it, and retained it long after other temples lost the tradition.

3a. The Shaolin monks kept it as an internal art until they did something that they regretted. At one particular point in time there was a tyrant on the throne of China and, with the idea of protecting the farmers from the tyrant's rapacious soldiers, the Shaolin monks went among the farmers and taught them the fighting applications of their art, leaving out the internal aspects. This seemingly ended well, as the farmers won, but it lead to the formation of martial art factions. The Shaolin became sought-after teachers because of their fighting prowess, and they had to turn many away.

3b. Over time, as the popularity of martial arts rose and fell, the Shaolin eventually realised that they had to rid themselves of at least part of their reputation, lest an Emperor and his soldiers acquire their skills. The Shaolin decided to keep some of the higher teachings hidden while openly practicing Kung Fu, but, since the higher art was widely known to exist, they needed a comprehensive solution. The solution the devised was ingenious.

4a. A grandmaster, Chang Sang-Fung, agreed to go to Wu Dang mountain and claim to originate it, and thus "carry the banner." They expected it sooner, but, many years later, when an Emperor got wind of this marvelous art and wanted his soldiers to learn it, the legend told by Wang Tsung Yueh was in place.

4b. Though it has been there all along, few people seem to notice: one version of the stories told by Wang Tsung Yueh was that Chang Sang-Fung *reunited* Shaolin Kung Fu with the principles of the I Ching, and that knowing one tenth of Fung's art one could easily defeat Shaolin Kung Fu. Thus the official story was that the Shaolin had *lost* the original art. The solution worked, and the Emperor decided to look for 200-year-old Chang Sang-Fung. Needless to say the Emperor never found him.

5. Over time the Chen family and the Shaolin each earned the trust of the other, and in a natural course of events shared a great deal of martial arts knowledge. Chen Wang Ting, in retirement, did what Chang Sang-Fung was credited with doing, he combined the fighting art with the principles of the I Ching. Chen Wang Ting may have learned it, or he may well have discovered quite a lot on his own. At any rate, he was certainly in the right atmosphere to do either. So the banner was passed to Chen Wang Ting. The story went from "Chang Sang-Fung reunited the fighting art with the principles of the I Ching" to "Chen Wang Ting reunited the fighting art with the principles of the I Ching."

Anyway, that's the story. What I present makes a possible link from Ting Dan to Chen Wang Ting.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Regards,

David J
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