Mind Intention in Taijiquan

Postby Kalamondin » Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:45 am

I know what you mean about heaviness having the meaning of something to lug around. I’m still pretty confused by the concepts of substantial and insubstantial. I think it’s something that I do ok, and am constantly refining. I can feel when my steps aren’t perfectly balanced and when I haven’t got my weight distributed properly…but I have a hard time visualizing those words.

As you may have noticed, I tend to think in images. I had some good luck with the idea of rooting though. I was thinking about growing roots down through my feet. I used to just think of a single tap root, but at some point I started thinking about root structures. The roots of some trees have the same dimensions as the branches: as above, so below. So I started thinking about my rootball—what shape would it have to be in order to support my branches in this position? How about that position? How would the rootball have to change in order to support me while in constant motion? I ended up with a vision of a kind of vegetative growth, advancing into the ground as one leg became substantial, retreating as it became insubstantial, and growing more to one side or the other depending on the limbs it needed to support.

I want to say more about light, but want to organize my thoughts a bit more first.

Thanks,
K
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Postby Kalamondin » Mon Mar 29, 2004 7:15 am

Hi Psalchemist,

I’m glad you’re finding my posts interesting and informative. That’s a lot of what I was hoping for in posting here: ideas that would expand my practice and to share what I’m learning.

I’m glad the light/heavy, light/dark ideas worked out for you. I hadn’t actually thought about dark things being heavy when I was practicing that day, but when I think back, that’s how it was….

P: Although focused on the complete lower body...the results manifested moreover in the Tantien. It became very heavy and full like no precedent similarly with my hands.

K: That’s exactly how it was for me too, except that I was focused on the lower body. But it really did have the effect of filling the Dantien. I think it was allowing these “substances” (light chi? Heavy chi?) to separate themselves (like oil and water) that allowed the Dantien to fill as much as it did.

I’ve been instructed to remember that the Dantien is more than just that one point below your navel—rather it’s a belt of energy that surrounds you at that level, and as such, extends beyond the body. Have you ever done standing meditation with your arms in a circle and your hands facing your Dantien? As I breathe into my Dantien when I do this, I can feel the chi pushing against my hands like a balloon expanding and my hands move with my breath, floating on that ball of chi.

P: And I developped two pressured points, one behind each ear, that I had never felt before?
Do you find, personally, that it affects your ears?

K: No, not me personally, but I think people are so different that when the chi gets moving dramatically, it manifests very differently when it comes to which specific acupuncture points you feel it at. I’m not sure where behind your ears you felt it, but I was introduced to “doing Tiger balm” at a party one night, and it involved the application of Tiger balm just behind the earlobes—so there must be something there, but I don’t know enough about the different points to say what that one was. There were other points involved too but I don’t remember all of them and felt no effect other than the usual tingly heat of Tiger balm.

Ah, I just thought of another possibility: your Triple Warmer meridian runs behind your ears. It governs the 3 main chi reservoirs, including the Dantien, so that must be it. It starts at your ring finger, runs up your arm and shoulder, goes around the back side of your ears and then ends at the temple (roughly). It governs your response to allergies and is kind of like the high command of the fighting forces of your immune system response.

Have fun with punch. I experience it much like Wushuer—as a wave that comes from the right leg, up my back, and out through my right arm. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to experience it as coming directly from the hip. It may be your body’s way of reinforcing your understanding that power is controlled by the waist—or it could be that you’ve got some tension between hip and fist that is blocking the feeling.

I’m very much enjoying this correspondence. Every question posed brings up several more and I’m glad I’ve joined your exploration.

Kalamondin
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Postby Wushuer » Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:34 pm

Psal,
Kalomondin hit the head of the nail that I forgot to mention in my last post.
There are accupoints behind the ears that are directly linked to the rest of your body. In Dr. Yang Jwing-Mings book "Chinese Qigong Massage" he lays out these correlations very clearly.
To be honest with you, I had never quite understood the chi channels and thier correlations to movement, chi flow, power generation and health before I read that book, despite some quite in depth training on these things at WTCCA. I understood their martial arts uses very clearly, as that was the main thrust of the training I had recieved from WTCCA, however thier overall relationship to my body and how it all links together was not clear in my mind previous to reading this excellent text.
Very powerful TCC information in this text that is not, on the surface, a TCC related book. My wife actually bought herself that book this past holiday season when she bought me almost all of Dr. Yangs books on TCC. She likes it when I give her chi kung (Qigong) massages, and wanted me to get better at it, so she got that book for herself, and gave it to me to study up with. I had learned the basics of Chi Kung massage at WTCCA for help with sore muscles and healing from martial related injuries and have freely massaged her in this manner for years, she loves it so she felt that this book was "her" present to herself.
I have read this book about ten times since December. There is SO much information in there you would not believe me if I told you and even though it's sometimes overwhelming with the chinese words that I have to keep going back over to understand, I feel that this book has moved my understanding of chi and how it works up about a thousand times.
The chi channels and resevoirs are clearly laid out, methods and theories of Chi Kung massage are explained in depth.
More importantly, accupoints and accupressure points are mapped and thier relationships to the human body both for massage and martial purposes are clearly defined.
If you really want to get a grasp on this type of theory and begin to understand why the chi moves through the body as it does and how best to help it, I would highly recommend this book.
I'm sure there are others, and just as soon as the Yang Jun seminar is over this summer (I'm saving my pennies so I don't miss it) I will be back in the market for every one I can find.
If anyone has any suggestions for texts that cover this subject, or any others related to TCC or Chi Kung, feel free to let me know what they are.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you're making good progress. It may be simply that you don't know what "feeling"s to look for in your punch. If you are feeling the chi in your leg, your hip and then your hand, you would almost have to be passing that chi through your hip, waist, back and arm before it got there. Right?
So you may just not be "feeling" for the proper sensation.
Let me once again refer you to the simple exercise of punching out candle flames. I know it has taken a beating on this website in the past, but it's the easiest, most inexpensive way I know to work on "internal" types of punching.
If you need more specifics on the how of this, e-mail me and I'll be happy to give yo ua detailed set of instructions offline rather than on the board so I don't repeat myself.
My e-mail addy is in my bio if you need it.
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:13 am

W: <<If anyone has any suggestions for texts that cover this subject, or any others related to TCC or Chi Kung, feel free to let me know what they are.>>

Maybe this needs to be its own topic. Forgive me for throwing it up here, but this is where the conversation is...

The more I practice tai chi, the more interested I am in both the martial and healing aspects of the art. I’ve been reading up on Energy Medicine, and some of the metaphysical implications of chi. Much of it is not directly tai chi or qi gung related, but I’ve found all of it to be simply fascinating. I’ve tried to add little snippets of how I think they apply to tai chi. I’d like to invite everyone to share their libraries this way too: what are your favorite books on tai chi? What texts have most influenced your practice (whether tai chi related or not)?

“The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing” by Kenneth Cohen. Very informative, an excellent overview of how meridians work, how qigong works, and a summary of the scientific literature on the topic.

“Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis of Bioenergy Therapies” by James L., Ph.D. Oschman ,Candace, Ph.D. Pert. Written for health care professionals and laymen it provides an in-depth, carefully footnoted review of the scientific literature regarding chi.

“Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance” by James L., Ph.D. Oschman. I haven’t read this one yet, but it has sporty people on the cover and looks like it could be really relevant.

“Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field” by Barbara Brennan. This is a book written by a woman who was a research physicist for NASA before turning to psychotherapy and later becoming a medical intuitive. Particularly of interest is the early chapter where she reviews advancements in physics from Newtonian physics through field theory to a holographic view of the universe and how this supports the idea that we are composed of different fields of energy. She talks about attuning ourselves so we can perceive increasingly higher vibrational fields through the practice of any kind of meditation (I’m thinking tai chi, of course). There’s another section toward the back where she’s talking about expanding our ability to access or perceive beyond the limits of ordinary reality both in physics terms and Buddhist terms. She correlates physicist David Bohm’s unfolded explicate order with Maya (the world of illusion that we experience as reality) and his idea of enfolded implicate order with Brahman (“the basic reality that lies beneath Maya and supports what is manifest”).

“Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. This one ties directly to the Brennan book above. He relates the physics model of the universe as a giant hologram as a plausible way of describing feats of chi, miracles, paranormal events, and why paranormal activity is often culture specific. He’s not merely citing one or two crackpot physicists, but rather cites some of the top theorists in the field and then does a great job to tying it to things that normally get dismissed out of hand by people who haven’t experienced them.

“T'ai Chi Classics” by Waysun Liao. In addition to being another translation of the Classics, he’s also provided a fascinating description of how chi works in tai chi for martial uses. He too speaks of increasing the vibrational frequency of chi, refining it through practice until you can achieve next to instantaneous delivery of chi to your target. He presents advanced a description of advanced internal techniques that I haven’t seen anywhere else. His understanding seems to have significant overlap with the holographic universe theory (each part contains and is the whole): “When you are able to yield yourself totally to the infinite, you will be able to relax and merge into the unity which the Taoist philosophy describes as the “integration of sky and human.”

“Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tai Ji” by Al Chung-Liang Huang This documents a seminar he taught and provides a lot of imagery to spark your imagination and some playful exercises for experiencing a hint of the kind of movement we seek to master in tai chi. He seems to have a lot of fun with his tai chi, a very light-hearted (though not lightweight) book. He reminds me why my first teacher used to talk of “playing” tai chi instead of “practicing.” Has anyone heard of this, or was that specific to him?

“Energy Medicine” by Donna Eden, David Feinstein, Brooks Garten (Illustrator), Caroline Myss. She also has a good overview of the meridian systems, along with some very practical techniques (tracing your meridians according to the time of day it is where you land is great for jetlag!). She too is a medical intuitive and has done a study of the various techniques used for hands-on healing worldwide and has compiled many of them here.

Enjoy, Kalamondin
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Postby Polaris » Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:01 am

People who run traditional martial schools should have quite a body of knowledge on the subject of using specific healing techniques to repair their students' mistakes, the two go well together. I have learned practical approaches to nei kung, acupressure and other energy work from my T'ai Chi teachers without recourse to other systems. It is taught at advanced levels as an integral part of the curriculum. I have actively studied these principles for about 10 years now, and IME they don't contradict the teachings of, say, acupuncturists, but the technique is different in its methodology. Aspects of it can be taught separate from the martial art, but the technique cannot be taught completely by someone who doesn't know the martial art well. I'm told that traditionally such healing technique was the province of the families and their most senior disciples, but lately (the last 10 years or so) it has been being taught a little more openly, at least by my teacher.

Just my 2 cents...
-P.
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Postby psalchemist » Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:43 pm

Greetings Kalamondin,

Your posts are very interesting...I am deeply pondering your concepts of "martial virtue" and "manipulation".
Excellent question.
===============================================================

[[P: Although focused on the complete lower body...the results manifested moreover in the Tantien. It became very heavy and full like no precedent similarly with my hands.
K: That’s exactly how it was for me too, except that I was focused on the lower body. But it really did have the effect of filling the Dantien. I think it was allowing these “substances” (light chi? Heavy chi?) to separate themselves (like oil and water) that allowed the Dantien to fill as much as it did.]]

Thats a concept I had not considered before...light/heavy chi...interesting, possible...
(When I tried that experiment, I was thinking, empty/full.)

Have you heard anything of "quality of chi" before?
Is there any actual documentation on the substance "chi", that you know of?
===============================================================

<<I’ve been instructed to remember that the Dantien is more than just that one point below your navel-rather it’s a belt of energy that surrounds you at that level, and as such, extends beyond the body. Have you ever done standing meditation with your arms in a circle and your hands facing your Dantien? As I breathe into my Dantien when I do this, I can feel the chi pushing against my hands like a balloon expanding and my hands move with my breath, floating on that ball of chi.>>Kalamondin.

I tried it myself without results, personally.
I can sometimes feel it between the hands...but not at the tantien...yet, anyways.
Although the sensation felt like a bowling ball...I could not feel it with my hands.
I shall have to experiment with this technique more often.
Are these Qigung techniques?
===============================================================

<<Ah, I just thought of another possibility: your Triple Warmer meridian runs behind your ears. It governs the 3 main chi reservoirs, including the Dantien, so that must be it. It starts at your ring finger, runs up your arm and shoulder, goes around the back side of your ears and then ends at the temple (roughly). It governs your response to allergies and is kind of like the high command of the fighting forces of your immune system response.>>Kalamondin

I was considering this...however both ears were affected...
I was under the impression that the meridian point only went behind the left ear???...So this threw a wrench in the initial idea...but I know very little of meridians, so please don't hesitate to correct any blatant errors.
===============================================================

<<Have fun with punch. I experience it much like Wushuer-as a wave that comes from the right leg, up my back, and out through my right arm. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to experience it as coming directly from the hip. It may be your body’s way of reinforcing your understanding that power is controlled by the waist-or it could be that you’ve got some tension between hip and fist that is blocking the feeling.>>Kalamondin

"The body's way of reinforcing your understanding"
Brilliant concept! Image

but, also, possibly a blockage, or simple unawareness.
===============================================================

It's been a pleasure exchanging thoughts. Image

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.



[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 03-30-2004).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:22 am

Psalchemist,

You wrote: <<I am deeply pondering your concepts of "martial virtue" and "manipulation".>>

I’ve been thinking about it some more myself. It’s been on my mind for much of the week. I’m coming to this conclusion: if you are operating from a place of stillness, if you are working from your center, centered, still, then manipulation (in the pejorative sense) doesn’t play into it at all. If you can just be, with out thought, feeling or remorse, then there is no need to act, no need to verify, no need to analyze, no possibility for acting out of fear or the expression of guilt because you are simply existing with the universe and there can be no wrong that comes from this. Truly, all the great artists manage in one way or another to channel the stillness. This precludes violence, acts of domination and acts of will. There is something to be said for noninvolvement (as in not trying to manipulate). The Tao Te Ching is right when it says that non-involvement leads to mastery (severe paraphrasing on my part—I’m at work and can’t remember what exactly it does say)..

===============================================================

[[P: Although focused on the complete lower body...the results manifested moreover in the Tantien. It became very heavy and full like no precedent similarly with my hands.
K: That’s exactly how it was for me too, except that I was focused on the lower body. But it really did have the effect of filling the Dantien. I think it was allowing these “substances” (light chi? Heavy chi?) to separate themselves (like oil and water) that allowed the Dantien to fill as much as it did.]]

P: Thats a concept I had not considered before...light/heavy chi...interesting, possible...
(When I tried that experiment, I was thinking, empty/full.)

P: Have you heard anything of "quality of chi" before?
Is there any actual documentation on the substance "chi", that you know of?

K: Well, I’ve heard acupuncturists talk of it with different adjectives before: sluggish, hot, cold, damp. I suggest looking at some of the books I recommended for greater detail.

Personally, I’ve experienced chi as hot/warm (ginger tea, a friend with a fever, really great sex, the sun), cold (a tree at night, a mossy stone), imperceptibly fine and smooth (my teacher), pulsing (most people have a kind of fine vibration, an oscillating tremor that I can feel when touching their skin), blasting (my cat when frightened and scratching), prickly (a cactus), buoyant (like practicing the form in a very salty sea), sludgy (my head when hung over).

I don’t know much about whether or not chi has substance. I think Daoist philosophy says that matter comes from chi, but I can’t claim to know anything about it. It doesn’t really feel like a substance to me per se. It feels a little like I am feeling the quality of a substance, the way that you can tell what something sounds like or looks like without the sound waves or light waves being the thing itself. I suspect that chi may be a kind of field or force that the physicists haven’t quite managed to describe yet—but then I’m not up on the latest research either, being a layman with little aptitude for physics (but man, is it fascinating!). I can’t quite describe it either b/c my understanding is not very deep. I feel like I’m just scraping the surface of something.
===============================================================

<<I’ve been instructed to remember that the Dantien is more than just that one point below your navel-rather it’s a belt of energy that surrounds you at that level, and as such, extends beyond the body. Have you ever done standing meditation with your arms in a circle and your hands facing your Dantien? As I breathe into my Dantien when I do this, I can feel the chi pushing against my hands like a balloon expanding and my hands move with my breath, floating on that ball of chi.>>Kalamondin.

P: I tried it myself without results, personally.
I can sometimes feel it between the hands...but not at the tantien...yet, anyways.
Although the sensation felt like a bowling ball...I could not feel it with my hands.
I shall have to experiment with this technique more often.
Are these Qigung techniques?

It can definitely take a while to feel anything, just keep letting go of tension when you try this and try to let go as well of the expectation of feeling anything in particular. I would say that yes, standing meditation is a qigong technique…but you will, of course, find it as a part of many martial arts disciplines, including tai chi, as it can help you develop an understanding of stillness, structural alignment, chi flow, patience, perseverance, rooting, balance, quieting the mind, etc. etc. I don’t think it’s necessary to practice standing meditation in addition to tai chi, but it can certainly be a valuable auxiliary practice.
===============================================================

<<Ah, I just thought of another possibility: your Triple Warmer meridian runs behind your ears. It governs the 3 main chi reservoirs, including the Dantien, so that must be it. It starts at your ring finger, runs up your arm and shoulder, goes around the back side of your ears and then ends at the temple (roughly). It governs your response to allergies and is kind of like the high command of the fighting forces of your immune system response.>>Kalamondin

P: I was considering this...however both ears were affected...
I was under the impression that the meridian point only went behind the left ear???...So this threw a wrench in the initial idea...but I know very little of meridians, so please don't hesitate to correct any blatant errors.

K: Hmm, I don’t feel the least bit qualified to answer this, so don’t take my word for it, but my understanding is that for each organ system you have two meridians that are mirror images of each other on each side of the body. They are generally spoken of as one, as in “the lung meridian,” etc., but one side can have strengths or weaknesses that the other one doesn’t have, and thus different sensations.

Kalamondin
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:47 am

Greetings Wushuer,

Thank you for your post.
=============================================
You wrote:
<<Kalomondin hit the head of the nail that I forgot to mention in my last post.
There are accupoints behind the ears that are directly linked to the rest of your body. In Dr. Yang Jwing-Mings book "Chinese Qigong Massage" he lays out these correlations very clearly.
I have read this book about ten times since December. There is SO much information in there you would not believe me if I told you and even though it's sometimes overwhelming with the chinese words that I have to keep going back over to understand, I feel that this book has moved my understanding of chi and how it works up about a thousand times.
The chi channels and resevoirs are clearly laid out, methods and theories of Chi Kung massage are explained in depth.
More importantly, accupoints and accupressure points are mapped and thier relationships to the human body both for massage and martial purposes are clearly defined.
If you really want to get a grasp on this type of theory and begin to understand why the chi moves through the body as it does and how best to help it, I would highly recommend this book.>>WUSHUER


Thanks very much for that reference and the explanations thereof, I shall keep my eyes opened for this book, sounds like a valuable tool for my studies.
=============================================

<<Anyway, it sounds to me like you're making good progress. It may be simply that you don't know what "feeling"s to look for in your punch. If you are feeling the chi in your leg, your hip and then your hand, you would almost have to be passing that chi through your hip, waist, back and arm before it got there. Right?
So you may just not be "feeling" for the proper sensation.>> WUSHUER

Oh...step by step...You're probably right there, about lack of awareness.
I'm sure I'll "find" it eventually, thanks.
=============================================

<<Let me once again refer you to the simple exercise of punching out candle flames. I know it has taken a beating on this website in the past, but it's the easiest, most inexpensive way I know to work on "internal" types of punching.>> WUSHUER

Glad for the reminder...I haven't tried it for a few...more than a few years...and I have not tried it with Taijiquan. Good idea for experiments.
=============================================

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:58 am

Greetings Polaris,

You wrote:
<<People who run traditional martial schools should have quite a body of knowledge on the subject of using specific healing techniques to repair their students' mistakes, the two go well together. I have learned practical approaches to nei kung, acupressure and other energy work from my T'ai Chi teachers without recourse to other systems. It is taught at advanced levels as an integral part of the curriculum.>> POLARIS

I think that is excellent theory and methodology.

Taijiquan and Chinese medicine, as well as Qigong ideas and techniques all seem to be helpful to each other.
And it makes alot of common sense as well, I think....

Where did I hear that expression?...here maybe?...'If one learns to inflict harm, one should be able to heal it' (awful paraphrasing, but...that's the overall gist of it).

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 04-01-2004).]
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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:08 am

Wushuer,

I’ve been thinking about something you said on one of the other topics—it was in the section about other members of the Yang family (Misc.) and you were wondering about opening the qua and how the front leg is supposed to push against the back leg. I really liked Jerry’s (I think it was Jerry) analogy about the wishbone.

Anyway, you might have resolved it to your satisfaction by now, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents and this seemed like a better place to do it. From what you wrote, I wondered if the idea of the front leg pushing against the back leg was giving you grief b/c of the word “pushing.” It’s easy to feel the back leg pushing against the ground, but the front leg pushing against the back is more confusing. I once heard my teacher describe it as though the front leg were a sea wall and the energy of your back leg was like the sea crashing into a wall, deflecting the force of the wave upward. He made a gesture with his hand indicating an upwards diagonal movement in the same line that the push posture and right ward off have--like an airplane taking off.

The shape of the front leg, when viewed from the side, also reminds me of a flying buttress—those things used to hold up cathedral walls on the outside. Passive, but exerting pressure all the same.

I understand your frustration about the transition movements in Yang style. When I first started out, it seemed completely counter-intuitive to go one direction before heading in another. It seems really inefficient, but it really isn’t so at all. I find that it allows for a much wider range of movement from a stable position, and it also reduces friction (with the ground and in your joints). I’m sure that Wu style has its own methods of dealing with footwork and stability, and I mean absolutely no disparagement of it when I tell you my understanding of Yang style footwork. From the various discussions, I’ve picked up that Wu style is adapted to close quarters fighting, but that Yang style can be used in larger spaces as well. The Yang style footwork strikes me as adapted to this. The weight shifts that precede stepping out into a bow stance allow you to take very long steps to close in quickly and efficiently without raising your stance (and thus your center of gravity). The weight shifts allow you to be centered before stepping out, allowing you to step in many possible directions without losing balance, even allowing you to change where you’re going to step before your foot lands.

Of course, it is tricky. If I don’t make the weight shift correctly, then I end up double-weighted and when stepping out I feel awkward, tight, or just in pain. My error is usually the standard one: failure to open the qua enough to keep the weight bearing knee from turning inward (even a few millimeters makes a difference) and also failure to shift forward enough in the direction of the toe when stepping forward (in the brush knee and push sequence, for example). This second error makes it so my center of gravity isn’t quite supported by my supporting leg. I’m just a little bit off kilter and it’s enough to make the whole stance tense and uncomfortable as I’m forced to use muscle tension to hold myself upright.

Yesterday I figured out a technique that lets me feel my way out of errors like these. I imagine that my Dantien is child’s flotation device—the kind for toddlers that looks like a colorful inner tube and has holes for the kid’s legs. So there’s my Dantien, a buoyant doughnut filled with chi, and I’m floating, as if in water. All I have to do is imagine that it carries the weight of my body and I can feel very clearly when the buoyancy goes away. It further helped to relinquish control over direction: it felt like I was floating along with a current (the flow of the form itself) and then it was totally unnecessary to see what “floated” and what didn’t.

I’m in an awkward phase at the moment—I’m in the process of lowering my stance, so every point of balance needs to be reconfigured on days when I’m not lucky enough to jump into the stream of things and just know where I’m balanced, inside and out.

Hope that this is helpful for you,

Kalamondin
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:58 pm

Greetings Kalamondin,

Thank you very much for your post.

To address the first portion...

[[You wrote: <<I am deeply pondering your concepts of "martial virtue" and "manipulation".>>
I’ve been thinking about it some more myself. It’s been on my mind for much of the week. I’m coming to this conclusion: if you are operating from a place of stillness, if you are working from your center, centered, still, then manipulation (in the pejorative sense) doesn’t play into it at all. If you can just be, with out thought, feeling or remorse, then there is no need to act, no need to verify, no need to analyze, no possibility for acting out of fear or the expression of guilt because you are simply existing with the universe and there can be no wrong that comes from this. Truly, all the great artists manage in one way or another to channel the stillness. This precludes violence, acts of domination and acts of will. There is something to be said for noninvolvement (as in not trying to manipulate). The Tao Te Ching is right when it says that non-involvement leads to mastery (severe paraphrasing on my part-I’m at work and can’t remember what exactly it does say)..]]


That agrees rather well with the theories I have been considering, concluding to be an appropriate response in a push hands situation...particularly the idea of restricting reactions to be strictly dependant upon those of the opponent.

If one is simply returning the opponents energy...(and not using ones own energy)...then there really is no "manipulation" involved...In essence, the opponent would be imposing his own strength upon himself....

If we want to become really picky about words...A chiropractor certainly "manipulates" his patients...certainly not to their detriment...it's just one of those words that can have a bad reputation...a word of wide scope.

In returning an opponents energy, one is still "manipulating", I believe, no matter how one likes to regard it...But you are right, I think, that this would preclude violence.

Fighting without violence... Would be my option.

There must be some glitches to iron out in that theory though... Wushuer mentioned punch...how does one use punch without ones own energy becoming involved?

All in all I think we are basically on the same wavelength in opinions....
Please correct me if I have misinterpretted your meaning in any way.


It has been an interesting conversation. Image

Thank you,
Best regards,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:41 pm

Greetings Kalamondin,

Returning to your post...Hope you don't mind if I chop it up...I have only brief intervals of time to invest at the moment.

Discussing the quality of Qi...

[[P: Have you heard anything of "quality of chi" before?
Is there any actual documentation on the substance "chi", that you know of?
K: Well, I’ve heard acupuncturists talk of it with different adjectives before: sluggish, hot, cold, damp. I suggest looking at some of the books I recommended for greater detail. ]]

I will try to obtain some of these texts...Thanks for providing that list of references.

"Sluggish" (as opposed to lively, I imagine), which would imply speed, velocity in it's nature..."Damp" very interesting (as opposed to dry, I imagine) hmmm. Hot and cold...temperature...although I've known warm/hot...I wasn't aware of the thought of cold chi .... Perhaps cold hands are not a lack of chi (as I assumed/ or never really pondered before), but perhaps a different quality of chi...

<<Personally, I’ve experienced chi as hot/warm (ginger tea, a friend with a fever, really great sex, the sun), cold (a tree at night, a mossy stone), imperceptibly fine and smooth (my teacher), pulsing (most people have a kind of fine vibration, an oscillating tremor that I can feel when touching their skin), blasting (my cat when frightened and scratching), prickly (a cactus), buoyant (like practicing the form in a very salty sea), sludgy (my head when hung over). >>Kalamondin

Interesting and creative analogies.

I have felt warm water...buoyant.
Electric heat...I guess that would be dry/hot.
I've never thought of identifying cold until your mention...
Electric shock, buzz...prickly?
Blasting? Don't think so...
Sludgy? Maybe.
Fine and smooth...not! Image
Pulsing...I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean...
But sometimes when I become absorbed in the form I do note a faster slower rhythmical cycle...Which I am still trying to identify...Any correlation, do you think?

<<I’ve been instructed to remember that the Dantien is more than just that one point below your navel-rather it’s a belt of energy that surrounds you at that level, and as such, extends beyond the body. Have you ever done standing meditation with your arms in a circle and your hands facing your Dantien? As I breathe into my Dantien when I do this, I can feel the chi pushing against my hands like a balloon expanding and my hands move with my breath, floating on that ball of chi.>>Kalamondin.
P: I tried it myself without results, personally.
I can sometimes feel it between the hands...but not at the tantien...yet, anyways.
Although the sensation felt like a bowling ball...I could not feel it with my hands.
I shall have to experiment with this technique more often.
Are these Qigung techniques?
It can definitely take a while to feel anything, just keep letting go of tension when you try this and try to let go as well of the expectation of feeling anything in particular. I would say that yes, standing meditation is a qigong technique…but you will, of course, find it as a part of many martial arts disciplines, including tai chi, as it can help you develop an understanding of stillness, structural alignment, chi flow, patience, perseverance, rooting, balance, quieting the mind, etc. etc. I don’t think it’s necessary to practice standing meditation in addition to tai chi, but it can certainly be a valuable auxiliary practice.>>Kalamondin


Thank you for your advice.
And I agree that Qigong and Chinese medicine are valuable auxilliaries to Taijiquan.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby Wushuer » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:50 pm

Psal,
That's only part of what I said.
What I was asking is how do you throw a punch when you're not in contact with your opponent without using your own energy, not how to punch if you are.
This is an important distinction.
If you intercept incoming force from your opponent and redirect it into your punch then you are giving your opponent back his own power.
If you tumble forward and come up delivering the punch to your opponent, then you are using your own internal power against your opponent.
These are entirely different forms of power. One is borrowed and returned, one is internally generated.
Both are TCC.
These are the differences, as I understand them, between wrestling and sparring. Contact with your opponent/borrowing his power to use against him vs. not touching your opponent/using your own power against him.
Wushuer
 
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:13 pm

Greetings Wushuer,

Thanks for clarifying that distinction.
Yes, very important.

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

Postby psalchemist » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:35 pm

Greetings Kalamondin,

To conclude my comments and questioning of your posts...

Concerning roots, you wrote:
<<As you may have noticed, I tend to think in images. I had some good luck with the idea of rooting though. I was thinking about growing roots down through my feet. I used to just think of a single tap root, but at some point I started thinking about root structures. The roots of some trees have the same dimensions as the branches: as above, so below. So I started thinking about my rootball-what shape would it have to be in order to support my branches in this position? How about that position? How would the rootball have to change in order to support me while in constant motion? I ended up with a vision of a kind of vegetative growth, advancing into the ground as one leg became substantial, retreating as it became insubstantial, and growing more to one side or the other depending on the limbs it needed to support.>>Kalamondin

I always enjoy pondering new ideas, and you seem to be a storehouse of innovation.
Experimenting with this concept will be interesting.

Would all of these root structures still stem from the bubbling root?

I have been wondering how the Diagonal Flying (Tsi Feng Shi) posture, which has the substantial leg (left) rotating on the heel momentarily, would handle rooting, while in transition, while losing contact with the bubbling well...

May I ask what you have deduced, personally, concerning rooting in conjunction with the rotating substantial (progressing to insubstantial) heel turn.

Thank you very much for providing your knowledge on these matters.

It's been a pleasure. Image

Best regards,
Psalchemist.
psalchemist
 
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 6:01 am

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