Sinking the Qi

Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Sat Aug 19, 2006 5:08 am

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[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 08-31-2006).]
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Re:

Postby UniTaichi » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:04 am

César wrote:Hi!
I found this article which I think it will be helpful to everyone:
"...How Jing Moves
Yang Cheng-fu, the third generation master of the Yang family, said, "Taijiquan is a martial art which is strong in softness, just like iron wrapped in cotton." The iron in Taijiquan is its internal force, achieved through correct and diligent training. First, let’s find out what internal force is. Internal force is very similar to the ordinary force. The main difference is that internal force moves mainly in the joints and bones, and from the feet to the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, elbows and the hands. It is the force of the whole body, and so is stronger than ordinary force and can penetrate deeper and cause internal injury. The development and movement of internal force involves 'song', the lining up of bones and joints, the twining of the legs and waist, and shifting body weight. But we need to know the route of the internal force first.
The route of the internal force

As for the route of the internal force, there are different theories. Most internal stylists believe internal force begins from dan-tian. Master Ma Hong, a famous Chen stylist, said, "Fa-jing (power discharge) should originate and be executed from dan-tian and the waist." But the Taiji classics say, "Jing is rooted in the feet, released through the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers." These two statements may appear contradictory, but in fact they are compatible.

Indeed, internal force originates from dan-tian. If we are truly relaxed our jing (internal force) , which originates from dan-tian, will sink to our feet and go up along the path described by the Taiji classics. So the two theories are complementary to each other, as one tells us about the origin of internal force while the other describes how jing, after arriving at the feet from dan-tian, moves from the feet to the hands. When we have to release power quickly (e.g. quick punches), the force can go straight from dan-tian to the hand and out. In this case, the force is divided into two. One part will move down to the feet and the other will make use of this force (that goes down) to go to the hands. The two forces are actually one, just as Chen Xin, a sixteenth generation master of the Chen family, said, "It is divided into two, and yet they are one united force..."
http://www.geocities.com/tukylam/improveqi.htm

César


Sorry to bring up such a old thread but having read it, it is very similar to what I have written in my post on the'' When one move all part .... '' thread. Anyone with similar experience or training with your teachers ? Also the complete link is not available. Can anyone provide an updated link or from which book by Yang ChengFu. Would like to read the whole article. :P

Cheers,
UniTaichi
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby Audi » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:14 pm

What we teach is that energy, or Jin, has both internal and external components. If we are speaking internally, then we say that Jin comes from the Dantian. If we are speaking externally, then we say that it is rooted in the feet, develops in the legs, etc. These two methods need to be joined as one (i.e., Nei wai xiang he 內外相合).

To explain why Qi in the Dantian is helpful, we talk about the Dantian as a reservoir or the main channel in a river system. If that main reservoir is full, all the side channels (i.e., the meridian system) will be full. That is why we do not talk much about the path the Qi takes back out of the Dantian. It will be where you need it naturally, as long as the Dantian is full and you use your Yi ("mind intent") appropriately.

Since the pairing of internal and external is an aspect of Taiji (i.e., the principle, not the art), the internal also includes some external and the external includes some internal. We therefore also talk about external things that make the internal work easier, and internal things that make the external things easier.
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby BBTrip » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:49 am

Audi wrote:we talk about the Dantian as a reservoir or the main channel in a river system. If that main reservoir is full, all the side channels (i.e., the meridian system) will be full. That is why we do not talk much about the path the Qi takes back out of the Dantian. It will be where you need it naturally, as long as the Dantian is full and you use your Yi ("mind intent") appropriately.


This has been on my mind every day since I read your post. I find the simplicity of the statement intriguing. I don’t have a direct question but I’d be happy to hear anything more you have to say on this point.

BBtrip
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby Audi » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:58 pm

Hi BB,

I don’t have a direct question but I’d be happy to hear anything more you have to say on this point.

Now that is definitely a friendly challenge. :D Let's see if I am up to it.

According to my understanding, the principles traditional Yang Style are based on should be simple, but deep. If there is only complexity, something is missing. On the other hand, if there is only simplicity and no suggestion of greater meaning and application, something is also missing. This is what I think of as a natural way.

For example, the principles of gravity can be stated elegantly and simply, and yet you can surprise most people around a dinner table with experiments pioneered by Galileo. (E.g., roll a marble off a table at the same time as you drop a napkin. They will hit the floor at the same time.) We think we know gravity, but in fact, most of us do not. Even those who do often do not act in full harmony with this knowledge.

I like to understand each principle in four ways to ensure thorough understanding. I want to be able to articulate the theory of it accurately. I want to be able to express additional data about it, such as how it relates to other principles and what views different masters or lineages have of it that may differ. I want to be able to apply it physically in a given situation to prove that I can use it. And I want to be able to explore it physically to feel its different aspects, in my own body, my partner's body, and/or with some sort of object or "toy."

To explore this "reservoir principle," try taking an unopened plastic garbage bag or tall kitchen bag. Try opening it just a little and flicking the bag to catch more air inside. If the bag is not open enough for your technique, nothing will happen. If the bag is open and there is enough air inside, the entire bag will open in one crack. The air will penetrate every closed crack and crevice. This is how I understand the Qi to move when we practice explosive Fajin. If I ensure that my Dantian is full, the Qi will penetrate to all my extremities when needed. I do reverse breathing, but I do not need to try to do it. This is a law of nature that I need not help along.

Now, although you need do nothing to make the Qi penetrate, you must avoid doing things to stop it. This is the internal part of structure. Going back to the plastic bag, imagine that it is torn in many places and filled with holes. In that case, the bag may not fully inflate. If you do not coordinate the placement of the hands and there is no separation of Yin and Yang, the bag may not inflate. If you flick the bag in the wrong direction and there is no separation of empty and full, it may not inflate. If you tie the bag off at the middle (similar in effect to misaligning a joint), the bag will not inflate. In other words, there is a law of nature that you can use, but you must act right in order to be able to invoke it and not thwart it with other laws.

Consider how this concept relates to the "nine bends of pearl" and "relaxing." To use whole-body Jin, we talk about threading it through "nine bends of pearl." Try taking some beads and physically aligning each of the beads one by one in a single straight line. This is quite difficult, and yet it is the result we want to have with the Jin. To do this most simply, just pull both ends of the strand and the beads will align perfectly all at once. In other words, you must simply relax, loosen, and lengthen the limbs and the paths of the Jin will align naturally, removing all blocks to the flow from the "reservoir."

In order to fill the reservoir of Qi, we stress certain things, such as "hollowing the chest," "sinking the shoulders," "loosening the waist," keeping the mind calm, and breathing deeply and thinly. All of these things help the Qi to sink. They sound simple, but each could easily generate fifteen minutes of discussion or thirty minutes of experimentation.

Master Yang also talked once about the "four tips" which is a similar concept where abundance is the key. This is apparently a concept coming from Chinese martial arts in general, and not especially from Tai Chi. The idea is that the muscles, tendons, blood, and bone are all important from health and martial ability, and each extends to a "tip." If your muscles are healthy and have abundant Qi, it is said that this abundance will show up in the tongue, which is the "tip" of the muscles. The tongue should be strong enough to break teeth or stone. If your tendons are strong and have abundant Qi, this will manifest in the nails, which are the tip of the tendons. I forget what the nails should be able to pierce. The blood should be strong and have abundant Qi. Their tip is the hair, which should stand on end as if charged with electricity. Lastly, the bone should be strong and have abundant Qi that will reach to its tip, which is the teeth. These should be strong enough to bite iron.

I hope this is along the lines of what you were looking for or was at least helpful.

Take care,
Audi
Last edited by Audi on Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby yslim » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:16 am

HI AUDI,
WHAT A MASTERPIECE ! YOU ARE GETTING TOO DAMN GOOD.
I SINCERELY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

I WON'T ASK YOU "WHERE IS THE BEEF?"

YSLIM, THE VEGETARIAN.
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby BBTrip » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:54 am

Hey Audi, thanks for responding to my ambiguous open-ended question.

I don’t have a direct question but I’d be happy to hear anything more you have to say on this point.

Audi wrote:Now that is definitely a friendly challenge. :D Let's see if I am up to it.


I may have said this to you before, but one of my English teachers tried to drill into me, stop writing to be understood. Write so that you are not misunderstood. I have yet to get it right.

When I asked you to expand on your statement it was totally friendly, however I did not mean for it to imply a challenge. What I meant by simplicity was, that I felt the statement was clear, simple and unambiguous.

Your statement rang true to me.

In my application of Tai Chi, I focus on sticking to a point on their body in order to “listen”. I listen for the opponent’s direction of momentum, in order to take advantage to strike, push, punch, kick, leverage or pull in the direction they are falling. The two of us moving like two people dancing in sync, except at the end they are thrown. Like most Tai Chi practitioners, I issue energy from the ground up through my body thru the sticking point into the opponent’s body.

I do my best not to push with extra force. I have found if I step past their front heel and simply strike a posture from the ground up, it seems easy (to me) to eject the other without using a lot of force: without muscling them.

I have also found that I can uproot from the top down. The sinking sends an upward energy through my arms much like the handles of a wine opener that screws down in to a cork in a bottle and the handles go up, then you pull the handles down and the cork pops out. Or, the motion of a jumping jack done by spreading your legs arms go up; bring your legs together the arms go down.

I noticed when sinking an energy would go into my hands without any effort on my part. If I sink at the right time while sticking and following the opponent, there is an opportunity to throw the opponent without much effort.

Here is practical example of the energy I am attempting to explain:
1. put your hand lightly on a chair or light table
2. Without bending or straightening your arm, sink your torso.

If I explained this correctly, hopefully, you will notice that without effort or conscious thought a light energy would flow through your arm into the object you are touching causing the object to move or tilt. I do my best to put that light energy to use, combining it with the direction of the opponents momentum, and the various other kinetic energies formed from our moving body parts, yadda yadda, blah blah blah.

The more I sink the stronger the movement of the light energy through my arm. Most times I sink with my step in order to issue or I separate the two issuing of energy with one following the other in order to elongate the effortless strike. In other words, first striking from the ground up smoothly followed by issuing the energy I get from the sink/relaxing downward into the ground.

Though the classics speak of sink and release, somehow this was never enough for me. Then I read your post…
we talk about the Dantian as a reservoir or the main channel in a river system. If that main reservoir is full, all the side channels (i.e., the meridian system) will be full. That is why we do not talk much about the path the Qi takes back out of the Dantian. It will be where you need it naturally, as long as the Dantian is full and you use your Yi ("mind intent") appropriately.


That struck a chord with me. I accepted it…so I wanted to hear more.

Thank you for your reply. I really enjoy reading your replies to others. They always seem useful and well thought out. Often I want to write you and say well said; that is just what I would write if I could write.

Peace
BBtrip
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:45 pm

Greetings Audi,

I’m intrigued by your mention of the “four tips.” I’ve encountered mention of this in Gu Liuxin’s book, The Art of Taijiquan 太極拳術. Gu describes the four tips (四稍 si shao) as “兩手兩足尖端” (liang shou liang zu jianduan)—the extreme ends of the two hands and two feet. (Gu, p. 5) He mentions this in his discussion of traditional Chinese meridian theory, saying that there are important conduit points (xue and luo xue 穴, 絡穴) in the hands, feet, wrists and ankles, and that taijiquan movement encourages the flow of jin to these points.

I find contradictory information on the “four tips,” however, some more in line with what you’re referencing. In She Gongbao’s Dictionary of Essential Taijiquan Terminology 精選太極拳辭典, he has an entry for the four tips 四稍 as a term of art in taijiquan. He states that a fundamental practice requirement in taijiquan is for the qi and blood to penetrate to the four tips. Then he quotes the following formula without attribution:

髮為血之稍, 手為氣之稍, 眼為神之稍, 足為力之稍. (roughly: the hair is the tip of the blood, the hands are the tips of the qi, the eyes are the tips of the spirit, the feet are the tips of the strength.)

There seem to be other versions of the four tips, however. For example one I found on this site: http://www.sztjq.com/Article/qjql/770.html has it as:

发为血之稍
舌为肉之稍
齿为骨之稍
甲为筋之稍

This appears closer to what you mention. (roughly: the hair is the tip of the blood, the tongue is the tip of the muscles, the teeth are the tips of the bones, the nails are the tips of the tendons.)

I’m very curious about the sources of these variant ideas regarding the “four tips.” It would appear that Gu may have been drawing upon a notion of the 四稍 more in accord with traditional Chinese medical theory. (There is evidently very old usage of the four tips, more typically written as 四梢, meaning simply: the extremites—that is, the hands and feet.)

Any addition information you may have on this concept and its origin would be appreciated.

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby Audi » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:51 am

Greetings Louis,

My memory is that Master Yang Jun was keying off of the idea of having abundant Qi by quoting some sayings coming generally from Chinese martial arts, rather than expounding on a specific Tai Chi or Yang Style Tai Chi method. I may not have remembered some of the specifics correctly, but I think what he said was more like the second set of correspondences you quote.

In doing some quick Google searches on 四梢 ("si xiao," "four tips"), I came up with many sites that purported to explain Tai Chi concepts, but my Chinese was not good enough to chase down anything concrete without putting forth a lot of effort with my limited language ability.

For example one I found on this site: http://www.sztjq.com/Article/qjql/770.html has it as:

I also looked through this link you copied, but couldn't understand all the classical language.

I did find these sites that did shed some light, however.

http://baike.baidu.com/view/974659.htm

This Baidu reference gives four possible meanings for the "four tips," including a couple that talk about the four limbs or the hands and feet, as well as an interesting reference to what seems to be a Xingyi concept of 四梢要齐(The four tips must be even?). The Xingyi "four tips" seem to be almost the same as what Master Yang Jun mentioned. If you read the section starting with 修炼四梢 ("refining the four tips"?), there seems to be a discussion of of Qigong and the Dantian similar to what Master Yang Jun was getting at.

This site (http://www.lasp.com.cn/jkbj/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=56577) also talks about the same "four tips" from the perspective of Chinese medicine:

  中医学认为:指为筋之梢,舌为肉之梢,齿为骨之梢,发为血之梢。老年人注重“四梢”的保健,是维护健康、益寿延年的重要保障。

My guess at a translation would be: "Chinese medicine considers that: the fingers are the tip of the tendons, the tongue is the tip of the muscle, the teeth are the tips of the bone, and the hair is the tip of the blood. When the elderly emphasize preserving the health of the 'four tips,' it is as a guarantee of protecting the health and promoting long life."

I hope this responds to what you wanted and is at least somewhat helpful.

Take care,
Audi
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Re: Sinking the Qi

Postby Louis Swaim » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:57 pm

Greetings Audi,

Thank you for your additional information. I can kind of understand the interpretation of the “four tips” as being the extremities, and the efficacy of improving the circulation of blood and qi to the hands and feet. I’m at a bit of a loss on what to do with the other interpretation of the four tips being hair, nails, tongue, teeth. This strikes me as more folkloric, if you will. Perhaps these make more sense as loci of symptoms indicating good health, but I can’t see how they would have a theraputic function. Traditional medical theory emphasizes treating the root to improve the condition of the branch. Anyway, it’s just coincidental that your post mentioned the four tips, as I had just recently encountered Gu Liuxin’s reference. I’m still puzzled about why Gu made reference to the 四稍, and why there are these different meanings of the concept.

Take care,
Louis
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