In working towards clarifying Qigong, Taijiquan differentiations, qi for healing in comparison with qi for purposes of generating power for internal martial arts, towards understanding the internal mechanices of both, I deliver this information for purposes of scrutiny and questionning.
I am in the beginning stages of the learning process, and so might go awry , occassionally
, with the logic involved.
All comments to seek out the truth of the matter encouraged and most welcome.
Here are some "Taijiquan posture rules", coinciding with health benefits, and meridians, hence qi, involvement...
These have been drawn mostly from the book "The principles of Tai Chi" by Paul Brecher, (endorsed by Earle Montaigue, origins of some quotes said to be derived from "Awakening the Tao" by Liu I-Ming) quoted or paraphrased for summarization purposes and peppered with personal commentary and questions concerning these points.
-Feet grip(claw) ground
-Spine is straight and stretched
-Tongue on the roof of mouth
-Shoulders relaxed and down
-Elbows lower than shoulders
-Armpits have a space under them
-Arms maintain circular shape
-Hands slightly flexed and concave
Do these ring correct and sound, based on your experience in Taijiquan?
Here are some brief explanations and correlations to bind these various topics together:
Claw the ground
Taijiquan orientation: Clawing the ground assists in the developping of the skill and the acheivement of 'rooting'.
For health and healing, perhaps Qigong, as well as Taijiquan, this action uses the healing powers derived from the connection of the feet with the earth, through the associated meridian.
The meridian association is through the K1 point of the kidney channel( on the bottom of the foot), which taps into the healing energy from the earth and helps create an efficient 'rooting' through the feet.
"By curling the toes under, you create a slight flex in the tendons. The meridians correspond to the tendons, so the flex draws the qi down them to the toes."
Is clawing the ground standard Taijiquan practice (among practitioners in general) towards encouaging grounding?
Does anyone employ other methods in conjunction with or independantly from 'sinking' or 'clawing' to establish 'rooting'?
Bending the knees
"Whether you practice Tai Chi in a low or high stance, always keep the knees slightly bent, as though you are about to sit down"
Taijiquan utility: This develops internal power of the legs and improves stability by lowering the centre of gravity (activated by the lower Tan Tian).
Health benefits: If your legs are strengthened, you can continue to be active into old age.
How do meridians contribute?:
"This lowered position creates a slight flex in the leg tendons, which draws Chi down the corresponding meridians ensuring a strong circulation of chi, blood and nutrients to the legs.
To my knowledge this is standard fare for Taijiquan.
I think the 'bobbing' thread is discussing the particular details presently
Does anyone have more to say about knee posture?
Spine straight and stretched
The text states:
"If the spine is straight and stretched while you perform the rotating, spiralling movements of Tai Chi, its flexibility is increased.
The flow of spinal fluid and function of the spinal nerves are unhindered and Chi can ascend up the centre of the spine, through the Governing vessel to the head."
Is the power for martial arts in this case generated by the overall improved efficiency of the body's functionning?
I had read somewhere that power was generated through the rotations of the waist, but cannot recall precisely where...also, perhaps it was a curved expression...
Louis, and all, have you any knowledge of this unremembered quotation I mention?
If so, is there a 'curve' visible?
You are very good at seeking, detecting, and interpreting "curves"...
Have you any comments to contribute?
As for health benefits, "Straightening the spine stops the edges of the vertebrae from damaging the discs."
Tongue on roof of mouth
"Put the tongue on the roof of the mouth at the front, just like when you say the letter L. Keep the tongue in this position while you practise Tai Chi forms, most Qigong, and meditation.
It allows the Chi which has risen up the Governing vessel and over the top of the head, to connect with the Conception vessel and descend down the front of the body into the belly (Tan Tian). This circulation of energy is commonly known as the "Small circulation of Qi", and with each Tai Chi move, the enrgy completes one orbit."
"If your tongue is not connected with the roof of the mouth, energy accumulates in the head instead of travelling down to the belly. It is important to never leave excess energy in the head, beacause the hard bone of the skull cannot expand to take the pressure. Trapped Chi causes headaches and excessive mental activity."
This I know to be true from experience. In personal experimentation, without proper tongue placement, I would be stricken by extreme and devastating pressure in the head...headaches of grandiose proportion...So, I believe that this is an important point to retain.
"Neither should excess Chi be left in the chest, because the ribcage cannot expand enough, and it will cause discomfort"
"Only by bringing the Chi down to the belly (Tan Tian) can you be balanced and stable.
The belly is soft and can expand to accomodate the excess Chi: this is the safest place to store Chi"
Louis, I also heard something about "storing the Chi in the curve of the spine"...is this only a temporary state in transition towards expression? Or is this yet another curved expression?
"The only times the tongue does not touch the roof are during Fa Jin explosive moves with a shout."
Is Chen style the only family to use Fa jin techniques in their forms?
The next four points are rather straight forward and well accepted ideas in Taijiquan, I believe, but comments always welcome.
The shoulders are relaxed and down
"Allow your shoulders to relax and sink down, slightly forward. This stops the shoulders, neck and upper body from storing mental and physical tension, and allows chi to sink into the belly "(Tan Tian)
The elbows are lower than the shoulders
"If your elbows are below shoulder level, it is easier for the shoulders to remain relaxed and down...This helps the chi to sink from the head and chest into the belly to giva a lower centre of gravity."
The armpits have a space under them.
"You should always have a space under the armpits about the size of a fist, so that energy can flow freely through the shoulder joints and down the arms."
"If the undersides of the arms are touching the torso, the shoulder joint is closed and the chi flow to the hands is reduced."
The arms maintain a circular shape
"Extending the arms in front of the body, but don't quite lock the elbows. They should not be too bent, however, because this reduces the chi flow, in the same way that bending a hosepipe stops the water from flowing. Stretch the arms forward until you feel them connected across the upper back and they form, horizontally, the shape of an archers bow, or a horseshoe...similar to hugging a tree."
Are these issues generally agreed upon by all practitioners?
The hands are slightly flexed and Concave
Flexing the hands slightly "draws the chi down the meridians that correspond to the tendons, so you feel a fullness in the fingertips."
Chi, or heavy bloodflow to the fingertips, or both?
"The fingers should not touch each other. The hands are concave so you can hold the chi in your palm."
On the meridian front, "This poosture activates the 8th point on the Pericardium meridian, which is used to emit chi for both the martial and healing arts of Taijiquan"
I note here the use of the expression "emit chi", is used in conjunction with healing arts, it's existance makes alot of sense in this context.
The martial reason for having the fingers flexed and extended is that "they develop great strength with the increased chi flow; eventually, they become like steel daggers and can be used to stab an opponent"
A healthand healing reason for this: "Powerful hand and fingers capable of of emitting a concentrated flow of chi also increases the healing effects of an acupressure massage"
"Hold the thumb away from the other fingers"
creating a Tiger's mouth
"This activates the fourth point on the large intestine meridian (LI-4), which helps bring chi from the belly and the lungs into the hands."
Audi, I can see some correlation between Tigers Mouth and the angle I mentioned in another post, albeit a little abstract. Have you heard of this chi tendancy before?
I can see how Qi, meridians and vessels play integrated roles in Taijiquan martial, health and healing practises.
Not necessariliy something to consider while practising the form perhaps , but certainlyexcellent food for thought afterwards.
Yi is a separate issue for me presently.
But I am quite convinced that further study into the mechanics behind the internal movements will bring further enlightenment and insight to my practise of Taijiquan.
All comments, thoughts, references pertaining to said so, welcome and useful.