Tai Chi Chuan and Chigung

Postby The Wandering Brit » Thu May 13, 2004 11:04 am

Polaris, Wu Shuer,

Are you talking about some form of iron shirt Qigong training which you have both undertaken, or something different?


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Postby Polaris » Thu May 13, 2004 2:31 pm


Yes, it does seem that way to someone who may punch a person trained in this technique, but it isn't hard style "iron shirt" as such. My teachers call it "shielding" and stress that the technique uses a completely different, soft style, focus (based on internal circular neutralizing skills enhanced by ch'i kung) that the iron shirt practitioners don't use.

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Postby The Wandering Brit » Thu May 13, 2004 2:41 pm


I believe that my teacher's master may do something the same or similar - I know that at higher levels the spiralling energy techniques come more and more into play in his curriculum. I will have to ask my teacher whether he has has any experience of spiralling with regards to shielding. At my level (think amoeba...) my experience of it is limited to outward projection of spiralling energy in Chi Kung.

Who knows, maybe it's something to look forward to if I practice dilligently for the next decade or so...
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Postby Wushuer » Thu May 13, 2004 3:23 pm

P is right, it's not "iron shirt", but internal spiraling, it was described to me as a form of silk reeling, I heard it called shielding too.
I can only do the big spirals, not too internal yet either, but I left before I completed the training on this skill.
It's one of those skills that really takes a LONG time to learn, with intense instruction and hours of daily practice.
One of those things I wish I could have stuck around the old Wu school to finish up. Alas, I have to put beans and rice on the table and so I followed my work away from the Wu schools.
But, I'm learning Chin Na now, from someone who is expert in it. The Wu school only teaches what they call Na, and it's very different, at least on the surface.
I had barely heard of Chin Na, only Na through the Wu school, in fact when I first came to this forum I had to ask "What is Chin Na?", because while I'd heard of it, I'd never seen it. No one really answered, so I had to ask my brother and he told me that I'd learned Na but that the Wu schools don't teach Chin Na.
I'm beginning to see the differences, now, and recognize what I was doing was Na.
I have SUCH a bad head for languages, I didn't even know the word for what I was learning! I can barely speak English, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
I can't tell you how many times I've known a technique and not even known what it was called.
So there's ups and downs to learning differing styles of TCC. I didn't get to complete my training in shielding, but I get to learn the large circles and their applications, and I get to learn Chin Na.
As long as I'm learning, I guess I'm doing allright.
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Postby Wushuer » Thu May 13, 2004 3:32 pm

Wow. Go Sifu!
I've seen Sifu B from the Detroit school break some staffs with shielding that another student was poking at his chest, as I was reminded by my mother when I asked her about it. Glad her memory is better than mine.
So I have seen the technique be performed at a pretty high level. My bad.
The only thing worse than my head for foreign languages is my memory.
I had my daughter poke at me with my staff last night, just to see if remembered how to shield. Not hard, at first.
I eventually got it right and could shield, as long as I made big circles with it.
No way could I break a staff, or an arm or a leg, at this point, but maybe if I keep up the practice.
She's also been my guinea pig for Chin Na, and now she's all geeked up to learn that. I showed her White Crane Nods Its Head, and she does it very well.
I told her she'd have to learn the forms, again (she learned the Wu form when she was very, very young, but stopped practicing when she got bored with it and she took section 1 of the Yang form two years ago, but got involved in cheerleading... that was that), before I taught her any more Chin Na.
She is starting form training again on Saturday.
I guess now that she can see a technique from the form brought to life, with the Chin Na, it means more to her now. Hopefully she'll stick with it this time.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 05-13-2004).]
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Postby The Wandering Brit » Thu May 13, 2004 3:48 pm


Sounds like you are busy creating your own lineage/dynasty?

;> )

So am I right in thinking that you and Polaris took this training as part of your Wu-style instruction? Any Yang stylists have similar experiences?
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Postby Wushuer » Thu May 13, 2004 10:15 pm

Yes, I learned shielding from the Detroit Academy Sifu. I would imagine P learned hers from the Wu family as well since she's one of Eddie's own disciples.
I have no idea if Yang style has shielding. No one's mentioned it to me, but I haven't asked either. I would imagine they do, since Wu style is descended from the Yang style.
Whether they teach it or not, I have no clue.

A lineage? Naw. Too unclean (leper, unclean!) of a transmission from me.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 05-14-2004).]
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Postby Audi » Thu May 27, 2004 12:57 am

Hi all,

Qi Gong/Chigung:

I have not done Qi Gong/Chigung in my personal practice since focusing on the Yangs’ teaching. I did a moderate amount of it with other teachers who have had somewhat different approaches to Taijiquan. Each of these teachers seemed to have different reasons for teaching it. It certainly played different roles in their curriculums. I have not heard the Yangs focus on any of these particular reasons for Qi Gong and so have not tried to carry over this practice into their methods. Some of what I did previously I would even consider inconsistent with their approach; however, my impression of their views is that good Qi Gong is fine and bad Qi Gong should be avoided.

At present, I view Qi Gong as a practice that individuals may or may not benefit from, depending on their personal goals, the quality of teaching they have received, and what else they do in their practice. From what I have seen and heard, it seems that some people have very complex training systems, involving numerous forms, performed in different ways, and with numerous auxiliary exercises, such as Qi Gong, post standing (zhan zhuang), meditation, stretching, ruler exercises, ball exercises, etc. At the other extreme are those who simply concentrate on Grasp Sparrow’s Tail, freestyle Push Hands, and little else.

I think there are pros and cons to any type of training regimen, but that the best course is to find a good teacher, exhaust what he or she seems able to teach, and then perhaps look towards other practitioners whose level of skills you would like to emulate. As I have posted before, I am wary of being too quick to mix and match practices without having a thorough knowledge of the theory behind them and the role they are supposed to play in one’s practice.


I may have been exposed to something similar to what is described above as “shielding,” but various differences in terminology or approach make it hard for me to be sure.

What I have seen is a focus on the fact that Taiji techniques are not limited to particular combinations, that every part of the body should have Peng energy, and that every part of the body should be capable of striking. To demonstrate this, I have had one of my teachers use his torso to “push” me through my own pushing hand. He also once should me how he could neutralize my push against his body, trap my hand there, and then dance me around the room through control of my hand. This latter occasion was probably the closest I have come to being injured during Push Hands. Both techniques did involve subtle circling to neutralize my push, trap my energy, and then to emit energy.

These demonstrations were not presented as a separate type of technique, but rather as logical manifestations of other basic exercises I was studying. They were not presented as “shielding,” but I can see how these same “techniques” could be used that way if the practitioner had deep knowledge of energy and skill in manipulating it.

Take care,
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