Feelings gained during tai chi practice

Feelings gained during tai chi practice

Postby Tcon » Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:27 am

one of the feelings I sometimes had when practicing the long form medium frame was uncontrollable laughter which lasted about 5 minutes.
I have also felt a few times hollow inside and had a lot of butterflies in my stomach.
any one else felt these...
Tom
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:29 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tcon:
<B>one of the feelings I sometimes had when practicing the long form medium frame was uncontrollable laughter which lasted about 5 minutes.
I have also felt a few times hollow inside and had a lot of butterflies in my stomach.
any one else felt these...
Tom</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hello Tom,

I'm feeling a bit of uncontrollable laughter coming on just now.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Tcon » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:57 am

So, it seems that you are not very serious when it comes to replying to serious questions and you prefer to take the piss.
Tcon
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:37 pm

Tcon,
I do believe you may have missed the point.
If you look around this forum and read through the threads you will find numerous postings speaking of the power of Tai Chi Chuan to induce laughter.
I would hazard a guess that nearly everyone has experienced that stage of the art if they've perservered in their training.
I personally have found that when my center is compromised and I get thrown by my opponent I laugh out loud as I'm sailing through the air.
I'm not entirely sure why, but one beneficial side effect of this response is that you expell the air from your lungs. That way when you hit the ground your lungs don't explode.
So you see, there is a major health benefit to laughter right there.
Laughter also releases all sorts of endorphins into your system that are quite beneficial for your health. Laughter is very good for you, as I think most would agree.
You will feel a lot of different things during your time practicing Tai Chi Chuan, most are good but there will be times when the not so good will happen. This will be different for everyone, but just know that it will happen and if you continue diligently with your training you will get past it and move on.

My teacher tells us that "the language of the art of Tai Chi Chuan is 'feeling'".
I have found more truth in that than I thought possible the first time I heard it.

Bob
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Postby Tcon » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:53 pm

Hi many thanks for your reply, it seems I realy did miss the point I am sorry I allowed myself to fall into negativity by getting annoyed with the first answer, please, forgive me
Regards
Tom
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:18 pm

Greetings Tom,

Although I was being whimsical, I had no intent to offend. Given the opportunity, I will give way to laughter. I concur with Bob's admirable and serious response.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Audi » Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:07 pm

Hi Tom,

I have never felt uncontrollable laughter during the form, but I have felt momentary strong feelings of surprise, wonder, and intense delight. The last time this happened to me was when I was doing a third repetition of the form. I suddenly felt an intense link between the waist, spine, and the flow of Jin.

I basically began to get "drunk" on the feeling and began to whip my limbs around and express Fajin overtly. It felt like I was suddenly doing the fast and slow changes of Chen style.

I have since learned to temper my enthusiasm and tame these feelings. I was also surprised a few weeks ago when I saw someone on YouTube who was basically practicing the entire form with this flavor, showing an alternation of fast and slow and showing Fajin in each posture.

On the whole, I think that strange sensations can be evidence of good things happening in your practice, but they can also be evidence of Qi blockage and bad things. In other words, are the effects resulting from stronger Qi flow, the release of a blockage, or the building of pressure behind a blockage? The traditional advice is to ignore these manifestations and try to stay on course with what your teacher advocates.

Wishing you happy and fruitful practicing,
Audi

[This message has been edited by Audi (edited 12-15-2007).]
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Postby Steveg219 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:08 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
..... I suddenly felt an intense link between the waist, spine, and the flow of Jin....and began to whip my limbs around and express Fajin overtly....</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It is hard to know exactly what you mean by this but I would suggest you do not ignore or suppress these particular urges. If you start to feel power emanate in new ways I think you should explore that and practice it. Fu Zhongwen demonstrated this type of movement and it seems perfectly valid, see this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oiNdF_uuWE

Why temper this, isn't it one of the attributes one seeks to develop in TCC practice???

Steve
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Postby Tcon » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:34 am

Hi there,many thanks for the link it was very interesting, I was practicing Taichi every day and most of the day for 12 years, then I had a breakdown which suddenly killed my enthusiasm dead, all I could do for 2 years was look at 4 walls indoors, and I am on so many pills I rattle when I walk
I still suffer from anxiety and depression although it is not as extreme as it was, I am now slowly getting back into the taichi that I love and thankfuly my enthusiasim is slowly returning. This forum will be a great source of inspiration to help me on my journey as I am constantly seeking knowledge to better my understanding of this fine art
Tcon
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Postby Audi » Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:28 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steveg219:
<B> It is hard to know exactly what you mean by this but I would suggest you do not ignore or suppress these particular urges. If you start to feel power emanate in new ways I think you should explore that and practice it. Fu Zhongwen demonstrated this type of movement and it seems perfectly valid, see this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oiNdF_uuWE

Why temper this, isn't it one of the attributes one seeks to develop in TCC practice???

Steve</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Steve,

I think I need to clarify my post. Some of what I say below is probably already obvious to you, but I find it easier to repeat the obvious in a setting that implies many readers.

From what I understand, practicing good Tai Chi should have certain effects. These effects are basically good, but may be slightly "bad." Let me discuss two: lowering blood pressure and making your leg sore.

If you practice correctly, you may be able to lower your general blood pressure, which for most people, is of great benefit. Some people who hear this might think they should practice the form and concentrate directly on lowering blood pressure. This would probably be a mistake.

Some people can mentally control their blood pressure to a great degree. If you concentrate on developing this skill, you might inadvertently pass out and risk serious injury. The benefit of the form is not in learning to control or lower blood pressure actively, but rather in controlling and lowering blood pressure passively. As a result, if you have a sense of your blood pressure dropping during the form, you should not chase this sensation and try to magnify it directly.

Sore legs are obviously not a benefit of Tai Chi, but they can be evidence that you are beginning to develop leg strength that has been inadequate in the past. This can be of great benefit to various health concerns. This benefit does not mean, however, that you should chase the sensation of soreness and do things intentionally to make the legs sore.

Laughter in the form can be evidence of many things, but it is not a sensation to chase. Warmth in the hands is usually evidence of good Qi flow, but directly trying to make the hands warm destroys the value of the evidence. Heat in the hands is thus not a sensation to chase. Similarly, being "drunk" on Jin may indicate that one has potency in the Jin, but it is not a sensation to chase.

I am not saying that you should reject all feelings, since some are necessary to establish the natural reserve that the form calls upon. For instance, having the breath long and even, establishes a reservoir to allow the breathing to naturally adapt to the demands of the form. But this does not mean that you should actively control the breathing.

As for exploring new sensation of Jin, I guess I would say that I do do this, but within the confines of normal form practice or within push hands. From what I understand, the difference should proceed more from my mind than from the physical expression.

What I think triggered the experience I described in my previous post was a sudden jump in my appreciation of long energy in the form. For some time, I have felt able to express a degree of short energy, but long smooth energy was more elusive. After practicing three consecutive repetitions of the form for a while, I think I was able to make the breakthrough as I was able to relax my mind more.

As for Fu Zhongwen's type of movement, that is indeed what I have been taught and what I try to practice. I was actually surprised that you used him as a reference, because his flavor of the form seems even smoother than what I practice. I show more of a pause or more definition at the end point of postures. Sometimes I even try to show a hint of fajin without changing the flow or rhythm, which is something I see some of my teachers do.

One thing you should note from the video clip is that Fu Zhongwen demonstrates fajin only in drills. Contrast his even and smooth flavor of the form with this clip (Note: I am not comparing levels of skills, but rather the flavor of the performance):

Yang Chen Fu Fast Long Form - Tai Chi

I think that expanding on my brief bout of speed changes in the form would lead to a form that would look something like that clip. I like the creativity that lies behind that kind of experimentation and can see how this could develop certain types of practice. I myself, however, have no desire to practice in that way and do not think it would be as good in teaching me the particular skills I am most interested in.

Right now, the most disciplined practice I do for fajin is doing repetitions of a simple staff drill. I do a little with individual movement practice, but find that this has low priority compared with the other things I do. As for long energy, I do now feel it more clearly in the form, but explore it at speed only in push hands. There I see multiple oportunities to explore its characteristics.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby Steveg219 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:20 am

Audi,

These are wonderful clarifications, thank you. I think your point about not chasing sensations and focusing on the by-products of Tai Chi is a very important and profound point.

It seems that in all cases if you make any of these by-products an end in itself you are probably focusing on the wrong things and can even have dangerous consequences.

It is also a great point that Fu was demonstrating the Fa Jin in a specific manner as a type of drill. I think you are suggesting that as practitioners we really should stick to what we are trained to do and strive to do it properly. For example, if you start to feel that your energy alternates between smooth/slow and rapid bursts, you ought not change the Yang form into a Chen style like motion by speeding up and slowing down!

I completely agree with this. I do however let myself at times play with movements in alternate ways as a learning experience. This is pretty rare but sometimes you just feel something open up and I will allow myself to go with it. It might be doing certain moves with a martial feeling, even allowing tensions and muscular activations to enter in just to feel it and experience it. Sometimes I will even just feel the desire to improvise movements as a different kind of energy or insight has opened up.

This is relatively rare though and in general I think the point is quite sound to avoid modifying standard practices and forms. I think I would just add to that to be open to new experiences as I do believe that we tend to limit ourselves too much in how we think and practice. Sometimes we might find the true meaning of what we are being taught by allowing ourselves to stretch a bit and experience it in a new way.

Thanks again for sharing your ideas and insights.

Steve
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Postby Audi » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:12 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steveg219:
<B>
I do however let myself at times play with movements in alternate ways as a learning experience.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think this is a good strategy, especially if you use the experimentation to gain incite into the standard practice and what might be hidden within its depths. It is also a good way to make connections between movements and generalize the discoveries you make. On the other hand, some people feel the standard practice constrains too much and look for ways around the constraints. Such an attitude can make it difficult to deepen your practice. I think the trick is to balance the two approaches.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This is pretty rare but sometimes you just feel something open up and I will allow myself to go with it. It might be doing certain moves with a martial feeling, even allowing tensions and muscular activations to enter in just to feel it and experience it.</font>


I think I do this as well, but draw a distinction between putting something into a movement that was not there before and simply accentuating something that was only subtly expressed before.

As I understand it, all the movements should be done with a martial feeling; however, this feeling can often be elusive. I first began to feel it when I was able to see how the torso could make most movements efficient over very short distances or even starting in contact with the point of attack. Once this felt possible and powerful, doing the whole movement felt like simply prolonging this possibility over a range of movement.

Take Push for example, when I do the posture I want to feel that at any time during the "withdraw" phase I can seat my wrists, "turn the circle," and issue from my spine, all while in contact with the opponent. (I stress contact with the opponent, because I do not want to feel that I have to gather energy by disconnecting and retreating before being able to release it. Enough energy should already be stored in my legs.) After I eventually do seat my wrists normally and begin to move forward, I try to feel for the ability to issue over every inch. When I can no longer issue, I know that I have reached the end of Push and change the energy to begin the next posture.

As for "tensions and muscular activations," I think I follow your meaning, but may be somewhat of a maverick with respect to these terms. Although I think my form has more or less the flavor that is normal for the Association, I do not like talk of eliminating "tension" or avoiding "muscular activation." Viewing Tai Chi through that prism once led me into a dead end, and so I do not use these concepts in my internal dialog.

In many ways, I would say that my Tai Chi form has much more "tension" in my tendons and activates many more muscles than my Karate forms ever did. For me, Fajin and the form are more or less the same. Fajin is just more of what I already feel in the form or maybe one end of a continuum of feeling. In other words, I do not think of the Yang Style form as Tai Chi with the Fajin removed, but rather with the explosive flavor removed. The essence of the Fajin should still be there.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby shugdenla » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:01 pm

Tcon,

Bob's response is the best! Jsut because someone may not experienceing the same feeling as you, remember everyone is unique!
Sometimes I writhe in laughter when I read the many responses of the tai chi forums but joy is a great healthgiver!

Enjoy!
p.s. I laught a lot anyways to prevent from crying! haha
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