Wednesday, October 12, 2005

3. Part Wild Horse's Mane 野马分鬃

1. Taking back the left foot and Holding a ball
With torso turning slightly to right and weight shifted to right leg, raise right hand until forearm reaches horizontally in front of right part of chest, while left hand moves in a downward curve until it comes under right hand, palms facing each other like holding a ball.

Loose the wrist and drop the elbow. Taking left foot back and holding the ball, the focus goes from left foot to left knee, left hip joint, Low Dan Tian, then Zhong Dan Tian, raising and accumulating the energy.

2. Bow Step and split the arms
Turn body to the left as left foot takes a step towards, bending knee and shifting weight onto left leg, while right leg straightens with whole foot on floor for a left 'Bow Stance'. As turning body raise left hand to eye level with palm facing obliquely up and elbow slightly bent, and lower right and to the side of right hip with palm facing down and fingers pointing forward. The focus is at left hand. The spirit goes from shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand (outside of thumb)

3. Sit back slowly, like take a seat and shift weight onto right leg, raising toes of left foot slightly and turning them outward before placing whole foot on floor. Then bend left leg and turn body to the left, shifting weight onto left leg and making a hold-ball gesture in front of left part of chest, left and on top. Then move right foot to the side of left foot, toes on the floor. The focus is at left hand.

Loose the wrist and drop the elbow. Make taking right foot back and holding the ball the focus goes from right foot to right knee, to right hip joint, to Low Dan Tian, to Zhong Dan Tian, raising and accumulating the energy.

4. Take a right bow stance by moving right foot a step toward left side, straightening left leg with whole foot on floor and bending right leg at knee. At the same time, with body turning slightly to the right, gradually raise right hand to eye level with palm facing obliquely upward and elbow slightly bent, and press left and down to the side of left hip, palm down. The focus is at right hand. The spirit goes from shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand (outside of thumb)

Point to remember: Hold the body erect and keep chest relaxed. Move arms in a curve without stretching them when you separate hands. Use waist as the axis in body turns. The movements in taking a bow stance and separating hands must be smooth and synchronized in tempo. When taking a bow stance, place front foot slowly in position, heel coming down first. The knee of front leg should not go beyond toes while rear leg should be straightened, forming and angle of 45 degrees with ground. There should be a transverse distance of 1 or 2 fists.

Friday, October 07, 2005

2 TaiChi Starting Form 太极起式

Starting form
Starting form is the beginning of the Taich form, it sets the speed, the height and the spirit for the whole practice. Starting form is born from Wuji standing post, it is designed to improve the harmonies among sprit movement, qi movement, and body movement.

Regardless practicing Taichi complete form or single set, always go through Wuji post and Starting form in order to reach the smooth even breathing, concentration, as well whole body relaxation. If the beginner have difficult to reach this state, he should repeatedly perform Wuji post and Starting form until comfortably relaxed.

The detail moves and spirit
Wuji post does not have any physical move or outer move, but Starting form and other forms after preparation are all have body moves that are led by the spirit. So, from this form forward, the body move and sprit must be mentioned at the same time.

Qi here is not your breathing, it is inner Qi – energy inside of your body. Move the qi with the spirit is called Moving Qi. Breathing includes inspiration and expiration. In Chinse, ‘Xi’ is equivalent to ‘Breathing’, one inhale and one exhale is one Xi.

Starting form is the continuation of Wuji preparation, it has two moves:
Lift hands and push palms down.

(1) Lift hands
Two palms face to back, naturally drop the fingers, relax the wrists and hands, while inhale slowly lift the two hands forward and palm face down until to shoulder height.
Pay attention to your feeling about Qi, Once it reaches the height, exhale and straightening your palm to point the fingers to the front.

(2) Push palms down
2nd inhale, your spirit is at your: Finger – Palm – Wrist - Elbow – Shoulder, end of inhale.
Exhale, spirit from shoulder to chest; push two palms downward slowly with keening down move, spirit from chest to Dan Tian region. At the end of exhale, two palms are at about the waist height, palm face down, sink the wrist, fingers point to the front. Spirit focus to Dan Tian. The body is alert, relaxed, use the spirit to lead the move, no force should be applied, one part moves, every part moves, inside and outside are connected.

Key tips:
Connection between inside and outside means open and close matches breathing inhale and exhale.

Push palms down, knee down should be done at the same time. Beginners should practice 1, and 2 repeatedly. During this practice (more than 20 times), most students will feel early stage of Qi.

Do it slowly, once exhale starts, pushing palm down and bending the knee, continue until palms reach to your height of waist and that is your end of exhale too.

Use your sprit to lead the move. Elbow should drop, no force up, shoulder is complete relaxed.

Your speed is controlled by the speed of breathing, so make that nature, do not stretch it to the level you don’t feel comfortable, with your practice, the breathing will improve.

Beginners do not need to too focus on the connection of Breathing and moves, with long time practice, it will come. To enforce it, will harm your body!

1. Key for TaiChi Commencing 太极预备式和无极桩 Postion

Entering WUJI or WuChi: In Chinese, ‘Wu’ means Nothing, ‘Tai’ means Extreme.
WUJI is preparation state of entering TAIJI or TaiChi.

In TaiChi practice, the commencing position actually has two parts:

Wuji meditation and Starting TaiChi. Wuji meditation has 4 focuses: Standing in right position, empting mind, adjusting breath, relaxing the whole body. Wuji meditation can be practiced alone, and it can be done as long as you like.

The last focus relaxing is a form of your body, but the other 3 actually are much more tie to your mind.

How to do it:
(1) Stand straight
Two feet parallel, with a fist distance in between. Two arms drop naturally with slight curve, and the palm toward back, hangs naturally in the thigh side. .

(2) Step to left
Take your vision back. Relaxes the knee joint, the center of body
gravity falls on the right leg. Then lift left leg and take a step to left, step over slowly and steadily. Tip of the toes to front, two feet parallel, is separated with a foot distance. The physique posture should achieve "sets up in the body, without bias and without favor".

(3) Adjust the breath
Maintain the posture. Adjust your breathing, and make the breath nature, even.
When the skill improved, your breath will become deeper, longer, more even, and is unified. After the breath becomes smooth, keep your physique posture unchanged, and go into the next step:

(4) Centralize your thought
Soon the attention concentrates on to your body. When inhale, pay your attention to the place you left focus from last time, started from chest (Tan Zhong region), when exhale, your thought is going from chest to abdomen median line downward until to your dan tian region. Repeat 3 ~ 5 breathes (In Chinese Medicinal Theory, Qi moves about 3 inches with each breathing!). Then maintains the attention at the Dan Tian region, this is called hold the spirit to Dan Tian. The student should try to feel the subtle changes on the Dan Tian, and stay as long he can maintain.

(5) Relaxes along with the breathing
Namely along with the breath bodily each (including muscles, skeleton, all joints, all internal organs, lips and teeth, vision, and facial expression) relaxes. (Hereafter refers to as intention). Use your spirit to direct, relax the body along with the expiration
from top to bottom, at the same time experiences the feeling of relaxation. (do not relaxes with inspirations). This is posture is also called WUJI Zhuang (Posture). Keep in mind, relax all joints!!!

Once you can experience the relaxations from each part of your body, you can begin your TaiChi form practice. Students should always try to reach to this state before each TaiChi form practice, this process is just like pulling out your radio antenna and turning on the power of the radio, then you are ready to receive the signal – Energy.

Hold the nature facial expressions, lightly shuts the mouth, the tooth
touches slightly, the tongue goes against roof of your mouth (this
promotes the saliva fluids) and then swallows slowly as necessary).