Qi Experience

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 26, 2003 12:13 am

David,

I don't think the question is really about if Qi is involved but rather what is the main focus. Chi is taken care of by proper structure and movement. I approach it from there, as do some others here. Some may choose to focus first on qi, then structure. But to my way of thinking that is the "cart before the horse" so to speak. I don't think anyone here says that "qi" is not involved, but where we put our focus at a particuliar time in our training may just be different.
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Nov 26, 2003 12:14 am

David, I don't think anyone is saying you are wrong about qi manipulation, only that the Yangs don't teach that. In their system qi and even jing are results obtained by working with yi, 'intent'. Where the yi goes, so goes the qi. There is nothing wrong with qigong, the Yangs just don't happen to teach it. If you want to have that be part of your practice, cool. No one here has a problem with it. They are talking about the system taught by the Yangs.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Nov 26, 2003 9:51 pm

Hi Jerry, Michael,

Thanks for the clarifications.

David J
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Postby psalchemist » Thu Nov 27, 2003 10:14 pm

Greetings David,

I appreciate the detailled commentary on my posting.


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Firstly, under the header "assorted notes" you wrote,
<Healing chi and martial chi are two different things> David

The differing uses of chi was the overall gist of the matter I wished to address in my post. The way I understand the issue presently is that healing chi and martial chi are actually the same things, but employed in different manner for different purpose.

Taiji employs qi in a less intentional, almost incidental fashion for martial purposes in combination with the primary structure essentials and the basic and extra hand and foot skills.

Qigong methods very deliberately and intentionally engender the growth and movement of chi throughout the body using various techniques, which include breathing, for medical and health purposes. Manipulation of qi is the focal point of it's art.

However, they do both make use of the common substance, both are conducted through the same meridian passage systems and both become manifest in their own ways.

Mind intention in practice of these are two different matters completely.

Personally, I find it only logical to be aware of most basic mechanics issues if one is to drive a car. Although perhaps unnecessary, it might be helpful to know how to tighten a battery cable, use a nylon for a fanbelt, or change a wheel, so that if one is stranded somewhere 'nowhere', one will not have to rely on a mechanic to correct the simple matter.

But, one could always just simply call AAA, right?

Hence, my interest of the underlying mechanics of Taijiquan internal movement, which do, in essence, include the use of qi.

Once again, two different arts. Intention placement in regards to Taijiquan and Qigong do certainly differ.

---------------------------------------------
You wrote of the spine:
<The spine isn't exactly straight. Thomas Jefferson wanted to build a wall the standard two brick thickness but he found he didn't have enough bricks, so he made the wall one brick thick, but gently curving back and forth, which gave the structure additional strength. The spine does a similar curving forward and back for additional lateral stability.>David

That is a very interesting fact...Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

I have a compulsion to recieve instruction on body construction!


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You wrote:
<I would be careful of this "to allow your shoulders to relax and sink down, slightly forward". I was taught to roll the shoulders up back and down and let them drop, that is, hang. When the shoulders move forward they must return back. In some movements having your shoulders forward can give you rotation cuff injury.> David

Thanks for that caution and advice, I will take heed of your note.


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<You should always have a space under your armpits about the size of a fist. I think this is the secret to the hollow chest oft mentioned.> David

Another interesting fact I'd not considered.


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To requote the quote you requoted:
<<The elbows are lower than the shoulders>>
<If this is supposed to be an overall rule, this might be a mistranslation...>David

Actually, more of a misconveyance on my part. Please allow me to re-paraphrase the source I had drawn from originally, to complete the idea you present...
The quote, in it's entirety is:
<If your elbows are below shoulder-level, it is easier for the shoulders to remain relaxed and down. If your elbow does come higher than your shoulder, as in Crane Spreads Wings, keep the shoulder relaxed and down. This helps the chi to sink from the head and chest into the belly to give a lower ceentre of gravity> "Principles of Tai Chi", Paul Brecher

I hope this is clearer now in it's totality.
---------------------------------------------
You wrote:
<If your hand is higher than your waist, your elbow should be below the wrist.> David

Interesting, I hadn't noticed this before either.


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Lastly you wrote:
<I was taught that the joints should be open in standing meditation for the chi flow.> David

Maybe I am confusing joints and meridians, but I was under the impression that if some are open then others are closed...So to be more precise, now I would inquire as to which ones should be open, which closed, how precisely, these openings should be achieved, besides the constant compulsion to know why we open these ones specifically as opposed others.


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The more I learn the more I have to question.

Thank-you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.



[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 11-27-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:12 am

Hi psalchemist,

> > If your elbows are below shoulder-level, it is easier for the shoulders to remain relaxed and down. If your elbow does come higher than your shoulder, as in Crane Spreads Wings, keep the shoulder relaxed and down. This helps the chi to sink from the head and chest into the belly to give a lower ceentre of gravity> "Principles of Tai Chi", Paul Brecher

> I hope this is clearer now in it's totality. <

This is clear. Very good.

> Maybe I am confusing joints and meridians, but I was under the impression that if some are open then others are closed...So to be more precise, now I would inquire as to which ones should be open, which closed, how precisely, these openings should be achieved, besides the constant compulsion to know why we open these ones specifically as opposed others. <

The joints, like your finger joints, are are not closed like a fist but open, though not all the way. The joints are not straight, nor closed. I was taught that in this instance if the knees and elbows are slightly bent they are opened properly for "staking."

In one typical posture, with your fingertips about 4 inches apart, your arms make like a basketball hoop. Is that specific enough? Image

Regards,

David J
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:28 am

Greetings David,

Thanks for the explanations on joints.

You wrote:
<The joints, like your finger joints, are not closed like a fist but open, though not all the way. The joints are not straight, nor closed. I was taught that in this instance if the knees and elbows are slightly bent they are opened properly for "staking" ... In one typical posture, with both your fingertips about 4 inches apart, your arms make like a basketball hoop. Is this precise enough? > David

Yes, quite precise! Image

In your opinion, David, can one compare the 'opening and closing' of joints with the 'opening and closing' of meridian channels? And if so, how would they compare?

Also, perhaps I am asking you to reiterate...but could you define "staking" as per technical meaning, please?

I have heard this Taijiquan term previously, in other context, but presently the precise definition (or allusion towards definition) eludes me.

Would you clarify or provide your view on such, as such, please?

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby dorshugla » Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:25 pm

it was stated "can one compare the 'opening and closing' of joints with the 'opening and closing' of meridian channels?"

Meridian channels have secondary or terciary importance whlle the opening and closing does comprise opening within closing and closing within opening!!! If one is practicing hand positioning as if an egg or tennis ball under the armpit an "opening" is maintained so as to not close the "rib/chest" area and decrease breathing range.

Single whip may be seen as opening (outstretched) while maintaing "closing" (compactness) of lower body. Waving hands in clouds may be seen as open/close shifting while being closed (compact) within waist turning movement and so on.

One has to at least practice for an appreciable time to feel these elements and actually apply them.
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Dec 03, 2003 8:39 pm

Hi psalchemist,

> In your opinion, David, can one compare the 'opening and closing' of joints with the 'opening and closing' of meridian channels? And if so, how would they compare? <

This question, and others, indicate that you may be getting ahead of yourself a little. I would recommend consolidating the information that you have, and working with it for a while.

Your questions for the most part have been very good, but you must see beyond the basic abstracts and get a feel for them in practice, otherwise the connection between the terms and their meanings will be strained.

I recommend putting meridians in the context of medicine at this time and, consulting with qualified acupuncturists. Later, after you grasp the where, whys, and hows, you can associate the meridians with TCC.

If you wish to know how the meridians relate to movement, you need to locate them and feel them without messing with them, if you know what I mean.

Regards,

David J
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Postby DavidJ » Wed Dec 03, 2003 8:57 pm

psalchemist,

Staking is Zhanzhuang and is also refered to as standing pole, post standing, and ZZ; and is Tai Chi Chuan's s standing meditation: reference hexagram 52.

DJ
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Postby psalchemist » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:28 pm

Greetings DavidJ,

---------------------------------------------
Thanks so much for the clarification,
one less muddle with technical jargon.

Zhuanzhang.......Poststanding.

Staking..........Stopping.

Concerning meridians your most likely right,
I'll take your advice,at least for tonight Image

Thank you........David.

Best regards.....Psalchemist.
---------------------------------------------


P.S. No, really, David, very reasonable, logical suggestions you make...I WILL take your advice and gain some experience in this area as things stand...invest in some "staking" where meridians are concerned. Thank-you for all your assistance. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.



[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 12-03-2003).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:01 pm

Greetings David,

Interesting. Do you know of a specific taijiquan tradition that links zhanzhuang practice to hexagram 52? I’m curious, because that hexagram has historically been referenced by various traditions as having to do with sitting meditation. For example, there was an important Ming dynasty figure, Lin Zhaoen (1517-1598), who established a syncretic movement (san yi jiao, ‘three-one teaching’) merging Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. His writings made frequent reference to hexagram 52 and the practice he called “stilling the back.” You might be interesting in reading a book by Judith Berling, _The Syncretic Religion of Lin Chao-en_ (Columbia, 1980). It’s out of print, but well worth hunting down a used or library copy. There’s some indication (perhaps not evidence) of Lin being associated in some way with Zhang Sanfeng. Whether that’s true or not, I found certain features of Lin’s thought to be highly congruent with classical taijiquan writings, which have always struck me as more syncretic than specifically daoist. Some of the documents in the Yang Forty, incidentally, make specific reference to the syncretic “three-one” notion.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 12-03-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:55 am

Greetings Louis,

You wrote, > Some of the documents in the Yang Forty, incidentally, make specific reference to the syncretic ?three-one? notion. < [ The merging of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism.] Isn't the I Ching considered a "holy" text by all three?

When I first began reading the I Ching in 1968 I found several very interesting things in it, to put it mildly. To make a long story short, I found Tai Chi Chuan the following year because of the I Ching. Since then I have found a fair amount of correspondance between the I Ching and Tai Chi Chuan, including "staking."

For me Hexagram 52 gives details for meditation, as in the man goes into his courtyard and doesn't see anyone, and it speaks of stillness inside, and stillness outside. In addition it gives me reason to believe that the meditation is done standing. The structure of the hexagrams shows relationships which include the "upper / lower" trigrams meaning "top / bottom" as well as "inside / outside." As such, hexagram can contain the idea that the lower body is below the upper body, rather than the lower body being in front of the upper body. **

The lower trigram looks like the legs of a man standing.
______
__ __
__ __

The idea that the three bottom lines belong to the lower body is included, as the changing lines specify the parts of the body to which they relate.

______ Hips
__ __ Calves
__ __ Toes

From this I went looking for a standing meditation before I ever heard of TCC, but that doesn't mean much in terms of research. Sorry I can't give you more.

Thank you for the book reference.

Regards,

David J

** This is not to say that the hexagram can't be interpreted in terms of a sitting meditation.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:52 am

Greetings David,

I’ve been fascinated by the Yijing for a long time too, and it seems like the more I learn about it, the less I understand what it’s about. Many of the commonly held beliefs about the nature of the book, which I also once subscribed to, have been strongly challenged by modern Chinese scholarship.

I think maybe the first book I ever bought about taijiquan was Da Liu’s 1972 _T’ai Chi Ch’uan and I Ching_. I actually started to try to teach myself taiji from his book, until I finally found a teacher a couple of years later. I was captivated by Da Liu’s correlation of some taijiquan movements with certain hexagrams. He correlates Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, for example, with the hexagram you mention, gen, 52. Liu’s first taiji teacher was Sun Lutang, and he later learned from Yang teachers. I’ve always found his writings to be thoughful and authoritative, and although I’m certain that his taijiquan-Yijing correlations were carefully considered, I think they were probably imaginative reflections more than a case of the postures being “based on” given hexagrams as he suggests. I don’t mean to discount that sort of imaginative reflection; it can be quite productive and inspiring, but it can also be misleading if one is trying to understand the development of taijiquan on its own terms. Da Liu, I seem to recall, remarked that the name for taijiquan came from the Yijing. I suppose technically that’s true, if one considers the Yijing (Classic of Changes) to be the entire compendium inclusive of the various commentaries. The core text, the Zhouyi, was a bronze age divination tool; most of the commentaries (including the Xi Ci, where the phrase taiji does appear) were probably added in the Han dynasty.

Many of us were introduced to the Yijing by way of the Wilhelm/Baynes edition—a translation of a translation—from the Chinese into German, then into English by Cary Baynes, an American student of Carl Jung. It’s a formidable work, but Wilhelm’s understanding of the book was very dependent upon his close colaboration with his teacher in Qingdao, Lao Naixuan, and upon Lao’s favored Song dynasty version of the text. It therefore has a particularly neo-Confucian flavor. I should add that Baynes' English rendering also bears the identifiable imprint of her mentor, Jung.

There have been some important fresh translations in recent years, including Edward Shaughnessy’s work on the early version of the Yijing discovered among the archeological findings at Mawangdui, and Richard John Lynn’s translation, which include’s Wang Bi’s commentaries. One very impressive work is the translation and study by Richard Rutt, _Zhouyi: The Book of Changes_, which includes an overview of most of the major scholarship that’s been done on the text. Very interesting stuff!

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 12-04-2003).]
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Postby DavidJ » Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:44 pm

Greeting Louis,

Thanks for the information.

I am rather fond of Da Liu from his writings, but I don't think he did a very good job in showing the relationship of the I Ching and TCC. It's more in the way of hints than substantial explication.

For example, as you wrote, "He correlates Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, for example, with the hexagram you mention, gen, 52. "
He merely mentions that right before the movement is a place to stop and rest. The Cross Hands posture that begins the movement is a ZZ, "staking," posture in the middle of the long form!
From the very first I was taught that one may stop and rest there...

I believe that the I Ching began with trigrams and was built into a very good reference book. Over the millennia, as times changed, it went off into divination and then was reconstructed back into a scholarly text several times before arriving at the version that Wilhelm and Baynes translated.

Does Richard Rutt's book cover that early version of the I Ching discovered at Mawangdui?

Too bad we don't live close enough to meet over a cup of coffee.

Regards,

David J

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 12-04-2003).]

[This message has been edited by DavidJ (edited 12-04-2003).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Dec 04, 2003 8:40 pm

Hi David,

Rutt certainly takes the Mawangdui version into account. The arrangement of the Mawangdui version is dramatically different, and Shaughnessy’s notes reveal a real hornet’s nest of alternate readings, substitute graphs, and scribal mysteries.

Rutt’s translation/study is a remarkable achievement; both deep and wide in its grasp of Yijing scholarship. Be prepared for some different ideas. For example, there is persuasive evidence that the gua you mention, 52 (gen) originally had something to do with human sacrifice, a far cry from meditation, sitting or standing! Here’s a link to a review, and from there you can find further links to reviews of just about any available English edition:

http://www.biroco.com/yijing/ruttzhouyi.htm

It’s now available in paperback from Curzon, but still rather pricey, I’m afraid. For anyone wanting to inquire deeply into the subject, it’s quite valuable.

Take care,
Louis
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