Chi and Jing

Chi and Jing

Postby aikido-jo » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:21 pm

Hello all.

I am recently studying the Tai Chi classics book written by Waysun Liao, and it seems that there are a lot of aspects to Tai Chi practice that I have never come accross.
In fact before reading the book I had never even heard of Jing, or condensing breathing or any of the types of transfering power until reading this book.
I am well aware that a lot of the principles will be for the more advanced students, and I have only been practicing Tai Chi for 3 years (Li style for 3 years, but have recently over the last few weeks moved to the Yang style).
It is from reading the book that I have also started to doubt that I am infact aware of my own chi at all. A lot of the 'tricks' we were taught at my old class (unbendable arm etc.) could be carried out with very little effort, and without the sensation, it now seems, of chi. Also none of these 'tricks' are meantioned in the book.
Maybe the only purpose these tricks serve is to satisfy an ego, although they did seem useful to demonstrate the potential of chi and jing.
I have now decided to go back to square one, and descard my form for the time being and just practice meditative breathing to try and attain the proper sensation and awareness of chi, and then go back to the form, with an attempt at condensing breathing.

I appologise in advance if I am asking the wrong kind of questions, but I would greatly appreciate it if those of you who have had much more practice and experience than I have could let me know if I am right to do go back to meditative breathing, and how I will definately know (as I know I should) when I can feel the chi at my dantien.


Many thanks


Chris
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:58 am

I hope you'll get good advices from the direct students of the Yang family and other members of the forum. But meanwhile here is my opinion.

To study taiji, find an experienced teacher, who can show, not only talk. This is the most important requirement.

There are many books that contain mixed up stuff which may not belong to the authentic tradition. Pure taiji comes from the direct lineage successors. So I would suggest to look first into the authentic books. For instance, Fu Zhongwen's book "Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan". I have that book and can say that it's light, clear and profound. And Louis Swaim's (translator) additional notes are very helpful.

The main reference point in Yang Chengfu style is the Ten Essentials. I would suggest to verify purity of other theories from books with a teacher.
(I am talking generally, not about the book you mentioned).

As for chi (qi), don't hurry to attain specific sensations. Just practice naturally according to the Ten Essentials (in the case of Yang style). Only a teacher can guide you through the "gate" onto the path.

About jin there are a lot of info was told on this forum. Just read Image



[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 09-18-2006).]
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Postby aikido-jo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:08 am

Thanks for that, any info is a great help.
I think I will study this book for a bit longer, so I can get a grasp of the concepts, and then I will have a look out for that book you meantioned.

This morning however, during meditation I did experience a funny sensation. It felt like a very heavy-ness in my dantien, that passed all the way up my spine and also made my shoulders feel really heavy, it only lasted for about 5 minutes and then disspeared, and I was unable to get the feeling back.
Coincidentaly, I suffer from sleep paralysis (for those of you who are unaware what sleep paralysis is, it basically shuts your body down before you get to sleep, naturally, this happens in everybody when they sleep, but sometimes this can happen too early with me, it was quite frightening when I had my first experience of this!) and it was a similar experience to that, only it wasnt scary at all, I felt really relaxed. Any ideas?

Thanks again,
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:53 am

On the whole to improve your taiji you are best off pracising taiji.

Have you spoken to your teacher about this?

Waysun Liao's book is only an interpretation of what happens and there are different interpretations. When you are starting the most important thing to do it to be lead - rather than striking out on your own with a single book and your interpretation of what it means as your guide.

Eventually you can hit a point where you have a deep enought relationship with your practice that taiji leads you itself - but it is very easy to go off the wrong way and potentially waste years of practice.

Until that time trust your teacher and work with what comes up in your practice. The book should only corroborate what happens in your practice and not the other way around, fitting the practice to the book is the wrong way imho.

Stephen
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Postby aikido-jo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:11 pm

Thank you very much for that.
One basic question,

When practicing the yang form, or any other form for that matter, should every in breath be a 'condnensing breath' in order to realease the jing at the out breath.
I'll probably be answering my own question be saying that I understand that there is an infinite number of posibilites of combinations of energy transfers (please be patient, I have been doing tai chi for a very short period of time!) and things, so maybe the purpose is to constantly be condinsing and storing the jing for any requirement...?
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:14 pm

The first thing is to develop sung, relaxation. For that to occurr the breath needs to be able to release, concious control of the breath with create tension in your body. So I'd leave controlling the breath and trying to store.

Your teacher will provide the focus for your practice. It is more likely to be to learn the movements and work on releasing in them - pay attention to the posture, then release your breath and your attention to create an internal movement of weight.

This will start to create movement. Large, open, expansive movements created by large inner changes and releases. Propelled movement that comes from inner changes rather than postures created through your normal method of movement is the goal.

Eventually the releasing and sinking wil create a stretch in the body - the stretch is the storing of Jing. Like drawing a bow. Though this is also varied depending on tuition - some suspend the crown less and compress like a spring.

But I digress - start with your sung.

[This message has been edited by Anderzander (edited 09-19-2006).]
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Postby shugdenla » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:41 pm

aikido-jo,

Why discard one form that you know for another just to feel qi. I am sure you feel it in Li style so just apply the principles without changing styles unless you prefer the external representation of Yang style vis a vis Li style.

Yuri's relaxation comment is an excellent one. I know nothing about ;condensing; so perhaps more face to face with someone who does that style may be in order.
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Postby aikido-jo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:16 pm

thanks to both of you for your advice.

anderzander, i will do as you say, and just concentrate on what I am being taught, instead of trying to get ahead of myself instead of being an expert overnight. I can see that this makes sense now

shugdenla, thanks for you comment, i have moved from my old style because I just dont feel confident with it, I did give it 3 years before coming to this conclusion. It may have been the class, it may just be me, but I feel that the new yang style is helping me to 'empty my glass' and start fresh with a different approach. again, I shall try not to get ahead of myself and stick to what I am being taught at the time.

I shall be sure to keep posting and let you know how I am getting on!!

Thanks again

chris
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Postby Anderzander » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:49 pm

Good luck Chris Image

enjoy the journey
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:44 pm

Hi Chris,

I'd like to second Anderzander's recommendation that you start with relaxing first. I too found Waysun Liao's book in the early years of my practice and started the condensing breathing techniques too early. That is to say, I started practicing them before I'd learned to relax enough for the chi to flow easily and naturally. Practicing those techniques at that stage made me feel dizzy and head-achy. The general level of tension in my body was too high to practice those techniques without unpleasant side effects.

I like that book a lot--but unless you are quite naturally without tension, I don't recommend breath techniques at this stage. Yang style tends toward this instruction: breathe naturally, the rest will come in time.

Regards,
Kal
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Postby aikido-jo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:55 pm

Thank you kalamondin, may I ask how long you have been practicing tai chi for? do you practice the condensing breathing now? what does it feel like? did you find once you had learned to relax, that the book was helpful in it's instruction.
Ha ha, I know, I'm just a bit of an eager-beaver!! I will promise to concentrate on relaxing for the time being, it's just that the introduction to the new style has given me a bit of a new lease of life! Image
I started the tai chi when I was 19, and I used it to complement my Tang Soo Do, in that the theory was to balance out the external style with an internal style. I did it for 3.5 years, but when I was told to take my 1st Dan in Tang Soo, I stopped going to Tai Chi to concentrate on my fitness and technique. I have now since left Tang Soo (too many reasons to meantion) and recently discovered Morihei Ueshiba, I love reading about his history and philosophy, and have recently started the Yang Style to try and complement my aikido practice, but in a different way.
Any way I'll stop barbling
Thanks for the info!!
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:52 pm

Hi Chris,

I don't think I've learned to relax enough yet! I forgot about it actually, and haven't practiced it since. I tried it just now, just for kicks, and had similar effects as before. Then I isolated it to just my forearms and it made them spasm wildly. Gack. I'm just not ready for this one yet. I've been practicing for 13 years--don't let that discourage you though, I didn't practice much for several of them.

Kal
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Postby Audi » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:46 am

Greetings aikido-jo,

I support most of what is posted above; however, my own view is that there are many practices that may or not be helpful in their own right (e.g., stretching, warm-ups, Qi-gong, zhan zhuang, dim mak, strength training, aerobics, meditation), but which are not integral to some versions of Taijiquan. If you try to study such versions only from those viewpoints, you may run the risk of missing something important.

As far as I know, practicing condensing breathing during the form the Association teaches would be detrimental, at least at the beginning and intermediate levels. For a few years, I used to practice specific breathing techniques to match the movements, but ceased to to so once I made up my mind what type of Taijiquan to study. At least for me, this was definitely the correct decision.

If you practice the Association's Taijiquan (or the many similar versions with like lineage and/or principles), neither the breath, nor the Qi should be manipulated beyond a very minor level: i.e., keep the breathing long, deep, and continuous and generally sink the Qi to the Dantian.

It is definitely wrong to chase unusual Qi sensations, either to enhance them or eliminate them. In this sense, there is much more emphasis on what not to do than on what to do, because the goal is to be supremely natural and let the body processes calibrate themselves.

As for Shen, Jing, and Qi, these are difficult concepts to discuss succinctly, but I would say that most of what is needed within the Association's Taiijiquan is covered within the Ten Essentials. In other words, if you embody the Ten Essentials, those three concepts will largely take care of themselves and do not need special, dedicated techniques. Your body systems know what to do if you treat them right and do not interfere.

As you evaluate what type of Taijiquan suits you best, you may want to keep in mind that simplicity and complexity are on a different axis than shallowness and depth. Also, some things are often presented as emblematic of Taijiquan (e.g., extraordinary use of Qi) that are better thought of as the common property of all Chinese wushu and not particularly distinctive of Taijiquan.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby aikido-jo » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:15 am

thanks audi, thats great advice. and kalamondin, dont be hurting yourself on my account! Image
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:48 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">kalamondin, dont be hurting yourself on my account! Image</font>


Done! Of course, my stress level is through the roof at present so that probably has something to do with it.

Best wishes for your practice,
Kal
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