Breathing and the Form

Breathing and the Form

Postby Audi » Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:50 pm

Hi all,

From time to time, I hear people who talk about coordinating the breath with the movements of the form. I believe I understand some of the basic principles of this, but I am curious about some of the specifics. At one time, I used to do the form with a particular breathing pattern, but decided to abandon this for various reasons.

If I take a posture like Roll Back, this is something that I used to perform with an inhale; however, if one perceives this movement to be an attack, rather than a mere redirection of energy, it would seem that an exhale would be more appropriate. How would one decide which is more appropriate?

I have a similar question about the Beginning Posture (Qi Shi). If one compares this with similar Qi Gong postures, it would seem that an inhale would be most appropriate; however, if one perceives this movement to be an attack, would not an exhale again be more appropriate? How does one decide?

Another interesting posture is Turn the Body and Chop with Fist (Zhuan shen pie shen chui). How should would handle the fact that the back fist is immediately followed by an openhand strike, without a separate neutralization in between that would allow for an “inhale”?

If multiple breathing patterns and principles are acceptable, why bother choosing any particular one?

If one has a fixed pattern for the barehand form, is this same pattern applicable to performing the form at other speeds? If not, why should the principles change? What do you do when you are forced to form at another’s pace? Should you match their breathing pace even if this is not completely comfortable? What about weapons forms and push hands?

Any comments about this issue would be welcome. Just for the record, my understanding of the Yangs’ teaching is that there are certain situations where it is natural to breath in or to breath out, but that one should generally not pay much attention to the breathing while learning the form and should let breathing patterns develop “naturally.” I would appreciate any corrections about my understanding, if I am misstating anything.

Fruitful and happy practice,
Audi
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:47 am

Greetings Audi,

Interesting thread.

Concepts I have been milling awhile.

I must say first off...that my intentions of co-ordinating breathe with movements is full of pitfalls and obstacles.

As you allude, there are definitely some points to be considered.

As a new student I am not placing much emphasis on this in practice.
Developing ones own natural rhythm first, does seem quite logigal for students, considering the complexity of the tasks already assigned them.

Thought I might have a go at the ins and outs of it though...

A guess...a hypothesis...a theory...

If each posture is composed of it's integral yin and yang portions...I would guess that logically the breathe should follow suit...IN to sink, OUT to manifest...

In LU...moving to the right (breathe in)...moving back to the left (breathe out).

Does this make any TaiChi sense?

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby César » Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:04 pm

Hi!
The following is an article written by Master Yang Zhenji (you can find it here: www.chinataijiquan.com/en/en/default.htm

"...As the breathing is concerned in the body movement, it is required in Yang style Taijiquan that the breath should go naturally as deep as down to the Dan Tian (lower abdomen). The question whether the breath should be coordinated with the actions is illustrated with the idea that nothing special is required but the air should be inhaled and exhaled naturally. It is the idea understood in Yang style Taijiquan that when an idea comes to the mind, the Qi could follow immediately, then at the instant the force arrives automatically. From this sense the actions have nothing to do with the breath, it is possible to strike the opponent out on either the exhalation or the inhalation."
Take care

César
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:42 pm

Greetings Caesar,

Thank you for that reference.

I am relieved to know there are no particular requirements for Yang style TaiChiChuan breathing.

I have never been required to breathe in any particular way before.

It was simply a concept that struck me...
Practicing form co-ordinated with breathing seemed a plausible manner to discover, or uncover ones quiessence.
If the breathe (in form) were synchronized...
Maybe not.

But I realize that in actual combat, or exchange with a partner, that it would be a different subject altogether.
One would have to adapt and follow the circumstances, it would not be plausible to try to coordinate breathing.
In a quick exchange the breathing would become shallow.

More of a practice tool, perhaps.

I will explore that link you provided.


Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby rvc_ve » Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:00 am

The way I was taught, first we did a looooot of brething excercises and sanding qiqong sets, wirking with both normal abdominal breathing and reverse (taoist) breathing. This went on for a while. Then we were introduced to individual taijiquan movements such as brush knee, repulse monkey, etc, which we repeated many many times while trying to coordnate them with brathing patters. The generar rule was to inhales when the body was withdrawing/acumulating energy and excale when it was opening and/or emmitng energy. At the time I didnt really know what the heck was emmiting or accumulating but the way I understood it, when the body "closed" I would inhale and when it "opened" I would excale. It seemet to work pretty well.

BY time we got to learn the form, breathing was somewhat natural, but still folowing the princliples studied earlier.

Now at days, when I do my form, I inhale whenever IM acumulating or coiling my body in praparation for emmiting jing, and I would exale on the openin/emmision (even if Im not practicing fah jin in the form). Learning the applications of every movement gave me a clearer understanding of this actions and it helped me "tune" my beathing.

But I know that this way of doing it is not a universal requirement, and that ultimately, we have to stop paying attention to breathing patterns and just "let it flow" naturally with the movements. After all the methodology becomes secon nature, just stop paying attention to it and it will still happen correctly.


Now, the interesting part is that when I started doing xingyiquan, I would apply this same way of breathing, and it helped me relax and catch on the movements faster than other people who would just be dead stiff.

I guess that any internal art is, from a piont of view, just another form of qiqong practice, therefore general quqong rules should apply to them, in terms of breathing and chi flow.

Sorry for the long reply!
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:51 am

Greetings RVC,


About breathing, you wrote:
<<The way I was taught, first we did a looooot of breathing excercises and sanding qiqong sets, wirking with both normal abdominal breathing and reverse (taoist) breathing. This went on for a while. Then we were introduced to individual taijiquan movements such as brush knee, repulse monkey, etc, which we repeated many many times while trying to coordnate them with breathing patters. The general rule was to inhale when the body was withdrawing/accumulating energy and exhale when it was opening and/or emmitng energy. At the time I didnt really know what the heck was emmiting or accumulating but the way I understood it, when the body "closed" I would inhale and when it "opened" I would exhale. It seemed to work pretty well.
BY time we got to learn the form, breathing was somewhat natural, but still folowing the princliples studied earlier.>>RVC

Thanks for explaining your schools methods.

Which style of Taijiquan do you study?

Also...for clarity...can I ask you to give an example of what in and out/open and closed/ accumulating and emmitting/ would be in a specific posture.
Could you please provide an example within a posture framework?
============================================


<<Now at days, when I do my form, I inhale whenever IM acumulating or coiling my body in praparation for emmiting jing, and I would exale on the opening/emmision (even if Im not practicing fah jin in the form). Learning the applications of every movement gave me a clearer understanding of this actions and it helped me "tune" my beathing.
But I know that this way of doing it is not a universal requirement, and that ultimately, we have to stop paying attention to breathing patterns and just "let it flow" naturally with the movements. After all the methodology becomes second nature, just stop paying attention to it and it will still happen correctly.>>RVC


Yes, I imagine this would be the final effect...automatically breathing in/out with the posture...However, I am swayed by the thought that this would be difficult, strenuous in a rapid exchange, so I can see the ultimate logic of not training this method overly much...and learning to flow at will, as you stated.
=============================================

<<Now, the interesting part is that when I started doing xingyiquan, I would apply this same way of breathing, and it helped me relax and catch on the movements faster than other people who would just be dead stiff.>>RVC

I can see how learning to have control over ones breathing would assist in many areas, especially relaxation...A necessity of Taijiquan.
Good point.
==========================================

<<I guess that any internal art is, from a piont of view, just another form of qiqong practice, therefore general quqong rules should apply to them, in terms of breathing and chi flow.>>RVC

I certainly lean towards this same opinion....
=============================================

<<Sorry for the long reply! >>RVC

What long reply? Image
Where? Image
Take all the space you need!!!

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 04-01-2004).]
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Postby rvc_ve » Fri Apr 02, 2004 2:44 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by psalchemist:
[B]Greetings RVC,

Which style of Taijiquan do you study?

Also...for clarity...can I ask you to give an example of what in and out/open and closed/ accumulating and emmitting/ would be in a specific posture.
Could you please provide an example within a posture framework?
============================================


I study Yang style taijiquan from the yang ban hou lineage as taugh by dr yang jwing ming.

Examples on open/closed:

wardoff:


arms in a circle, weight on left leg, redy for executiyng wardoff, inhale = closed


bow stance, wardoff posture, fah jin (if aplicable), exhale, ha sound (if applicable) = open.


This is just a very veeeeeeryyyyy basic example. its more comlicated than that but im lazy right now! but I think you get the idea!
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:31 pm

Greetings RVC,

Thanks for your reply.

You wrote,
<<I study Yang style taijiquan from the yang ban hou lineage as taugh by dr yang jwing ming.
Examples on open/closed:
wardoff:

arms in a circle, weight on left leg, redy for executiyng wardoff, inhale = closed

bow stance, wardoff posture, fah jin (if aplicable), exhale, ha sound (if applicable) = open.

This is just a very veeeeeeryyyyy basic example. its more comlicated than that but im lazy right now! but I think you get the idea!>>RVC

Thank you for your explanations of close(inhale) and open(exhale).

You mentioned also that you use sounds...ha (if applicable) ...

Are there other sounds which your system employs?
And what do you mean by if applicable?
Could you elaborate on that a little bit?
I am curious to know why, exactly, sounds such as these are employed.

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist
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Postby Wushuer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:59 pm

And sometimes the Ha sound is used as you inhale and contains Yin and Yang both...
Sometimes. That's the important word here because that means there are very important choices that you must make to utilize these things effectively, like knowing when to use them and for what purpose.
First I'd like to ask what do the Masters Yang, from this brach of the family, have to say about the Hen and Ha sounds?
Does anyone know?
I've heard these things before, I 've read Dr. Yang Jwing-Mings books, and others as well, very carefully. I have tried the Hen and Ha sounds as indicated and I've had some mixed results with the practice.
Those mixed results may be because of my not learning these things from a good teacher, rather than out of a book.
I'm certainly not against the use of Hen and Ha sounds, I'm merely pointing out that the theory is complex and it's certainly something you wouldn't want to try to learn from one breif post on this message board.

So, any idea on the use of Hen and Ha sounds in this families transmission? I really am curious to know thier point of view.
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Postby WU » Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:44 pm

Good day, everyone!

This is a very interesting forum and it's my first time to join in your discussions on the 'Sound of Tai Chi'. Shaolin martial artists have been using 'Six Sounds' for their training for centuries. So do Daoist priests. Master Chen Chang Qing taught his students how to do their 'Hen' & 'Ha' in his garden. The noise got Master Yang Lu-chan noticed then Yang watched them practising behind the wall. Rest of the story was part of the Tai Chi history...

Have a good day!

Best regards,

WU (–³)

[This message has been edited by WU (edited 04-02-2004).]
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Postby rvc_ve » Sat Apr 03, 2004 12:02 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Wushuer:
[B]And sometimes the Ha sound is used as you inhale and contains Yin and Yang both...

Actually,the Ha sound is a purely yang sound, therefore used when emmiting jing with exhalation. the Heng sound on the other hand, contains both jing and yang, When you exhale with heng, you are not emmiting all the jing but keeping some in reserve for counter attack, and when you inhale with heng sound, the jing is acummulated all the way to the bone marrow.

I think thats how dr. yang explains it.
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Postby psalchemist » Sat Apr 03, 2004 12:28 am

Greetings WU,

Welcome to the Taiji board. Image

Thank you for the historical citing.

Concerning Taiji sounds you wrote:
<<Shaolin martial artists have been using 'Six Sounds' for their training for centuries. So do Daoist priests.>>WU

I was wondering if you knew what the six sounds were...precisely...?

Is there no seventh???

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby WU » Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:42 pm

Greetings psalchemist!

Thanks for your reply! Yes, Shaolin monks would use "Six Sounds" for their internal training. Each sound would be for specific Yin or solid organ like Heart, Lungs & Kidneys, etc. Most of times, these sounds would pronounce silently or in the mind. Occasionally, they can be yelled loud for fending off any hostility.

'He1' would be for the Heart organ or channel as well as Small Intestines’.

Have a good day!

Best regards,

WU
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Apr 06, 2004 1:00 am

Greetings WU,

Thank you very much for answering my question.

He1 for the heart and intestines...
I am not at all familiar with the pinyin sounds...would that sound be similar to HA in translation???

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Apr 06, 2004 1:24 pm

Rvc_ce,
Whoops. I did get that backwards. My bad.
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