Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Re: Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Postby extrajoseph » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:30 pm

The chest and the back don’t exist on their own they are connected to each other with the spine, so when the chest relaxes inward the qi sinks down, it involves the whole body and not just the chest.

Li Yuyi emphasised the spinal column as the qi conduit and others, as you mentioned earlier, used the concept of the Ren and Du Mei as the qi channel and still others, like Chen Yanlin, talked about the qi being stored in the back waiting to be released.

But they are all talking about the same phenomena, because the body works as a unified whole and not in separate parts.
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Re: Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:24 pm

Audi,
I'm a bit pressed for time right now but wanted to address something you mentioned about the shoulder blades coming together, not opening.
And what I'd like to say is...
EXACTLY!
And when that happens pay attention to the nape of your neck, along your spine downward to the bottom of your shoulder blades.
When I perform this movement, I feel my chest and arms "open" in that they pull further away from each other, my back "close" in that my shoulder blades come closer together and a distinct, to me unmistakable, feeling of "opening" along my neck and spine at the same time.
I cannot speak to the physical reason for the manifestation of this feeling at this time, as I have not explored it in any depth.
I have no expertise on "channels" for Qi or anything like that so will not even try to dip my toes into that pool.
But it's there, it's very clear.
And it happens every time.

Bob
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Re: Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Postby extrajoseph » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi Bob,

Here is a nice French animation of the movements of the shoulder blade, towards the end and from 5.50 onward, you can see because the scapula is hinged at one end, during the lateral movements, one side will be open while the other side is closed, so both feelings of being open or closed can be experienced depending on the area of focus of the person doing the movements. This is just looking at the scapula bone, and because the movement of the muscles and the chest is associated with the shoulder blade movement, so a different feelings of open and closed can also be experienced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSW0EObEYrw

Have a nice weekend.

XJ
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Re: Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:57 pm

Greetings Bob,

Regarding your message:

“And when that happens pay attention to the nape of your neck, along your spine downward to the bottom of your shoulder blades.
When I perform this movement, I feel my chest and arms "open" in that they pull further away from each other, my back "close" in that my shoulder blades come closer together and a distinct, to me unmistakable, feeling of "opening" along my neck and spine at the same time.”

It’s great to see this. I think my whole objective in starting this thread was to explore the implications of T.Y. Pang’s highlighting of the feeling in this area of the spine, to pay attention to it and try to understand its importance. You’re clearly doing that. There have been lots of other good contributions to the discussion.

Some years back (2005), we had a “what have you been working on in your form” discussion thread. At the time, I was working in particular on “containing the chest” (han xiong). Here’s what I wrote at the time:

“I thought I had a fairly good grasp of the practice, but I’ve discovered that I was only really aware of it in certain postures. I’ve been trying to integrate it into the whole form, so that I focus on ‘containing the chest’ in movement and transition rather than in ending postures only. I’m finding that this focus is helping me to feel more of a connection between my two arms, and a greater sense of arm movement being integrated with my torso. I’ve also been noticing a difference in the way the more extended and stretched-out postures feel as a result of containing the chest. Overall, it seems to enhance the focus on the torso as opposed to the limbs, and on core movement as opposed to peripheral movement. It also occurs to me that the notion of containing the chest is just another aspect of the all important requirement to fangsong.”

I also dug up an old translation I did of Gu Liuxin’s explanation of hanxiong babei, from Taijiquan Shu (The Art of Taijiquan), from his section on the back and spine that I think relates to our discussion here, as he mentions the spinal vertebra between the shoulders:

~~~
“Contain the chest (hanxiong)” and “raise the back (babei)” are interconnected. When one is able to contain the chest, then one is able to raise the back. “Raising the back” is when the chest is contained slightly in, the musculature of the back loosen and sink downward (wang xia song chen), and the vertebra between the two shoulders (the spinal vertebra, the third fundamental beneath the neck), have an upward rising stimulus and a slight leading or drawing toward the rearward upward direction—it cannot simply pull toward the rear. In this manner, the muscles of the back have a certain elongative tension and springiness, the skin has a sensation of being drawn up. Since the spine, shoulders and arms are mutually linked, therefore the taijiquan treatise states: “the strength issues from the spine.” In actuality, it is the musculature of the shoulders and back working together in the application of strength, rather than one group of muscles working independently in the application of force.
—Gu Liuxin, Taijiquan Shu, p. 35
~~~

Take care,
Louis
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Re: Some reflections on Wild Horse Parts Mane

Postby extrajoseph » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:08 pm

Hi Bob and Louis,

I have found if I only "hanxiong" and babei" (contain the chest and raise the back) but don't "song yao" and don't "qi xia dan tian" (relax the waist and let the qi sink to the dantian) I would not feel any jin connection in my body in Wild Horse Parts Maine. So to me it is not only the musculature of the shoulder and the back working together, but also the whole body working together, top and bottom, to make a movement complete.

It is good to concentrate on a particular movement but IMHO it makes more sense to seeit inrelationship to the whole body and not a particular group of muscles.

XJ
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