Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video of Chen Style Taijiquan at Wushu Demo

As requested here is more video from Hunan, China this time of Chen Style Taijiquan. The students of the Yue Shan Temple (Moon Mountain) wushu gongfu demo, filmed in May of 2004. As you watch this video remember how old some of these kids are, and then think about how long many people have been practicing their forms as you watch these kids.

For those who enjoy YouTube:

As many of you that read this blog know I believe internal martial arts is much more than a form or some kind of dance move and that the "way one moves" instead of the form it's self is what is most important. Now, I will say watching this video, seeing kids of this age practicing Chen Style Taiji looks pretty damn good at their age and for wushu.

Now I know these kids practice their forms a heck of a lot and after all they live there at that gongfu school. My hope is in sharing this video, that it may inspire some folks who watch these kids as they do these forms to think more about how and when they practice. After all there are lot's of blogs with Youtube videos of various masters doing forms. Yes even on this blog. Yet simply watching kids doing these kinds of forms can put things in a certain perspective.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Different ways to train Zhan Zhuang

There are many different ways for training Zhan Zhuang in different martial arts. Some focus more on imagination as a process for discovering the feeling, others more as a Zen meditation, and others still as an endurance or structural practice. There are many different flavors of Zhan Zhuang or standing meditation practices.

In Wujifa, (without going into the philosophy of the triangles) Zhan Zhuang is first practiced to discover structure, then connection. This is a very functional place to begin, as it calibrates the body and the mind to be able to work with more advanced practices.

In many martial arts, what is considered basic training in one art is considered to be the secrets in another. For example, one martial art may have the practitioner working with a weapon, because he’s not ready yet to engage in hand to hand combat. In another martial art, they might say the person’s not ready for a weapon until they can work empty-handed. In Wujifa, weapons are seen as an extension of the body, and/or tools for calibrating the structure.

Wujifa practice’s first focus is to get the body functional within a certain basic structure. When one first starts working with stance and structure, they may notice how the mind wanders, and the method of structure is a way of starting to engage intent of the alignment of the body. After one starts to make fascial connections and can maintain a good relaxed, balanced structure as an intention and as a physical practice, additional mental focuses can be engaged in a more practical way with the kinesthetic experience gained from practicing the structural intent.

The common mistake when people engage in various mental aspects is to only imagine leaving behind the function of structure. By focusing on the structure first, the imagined connections become less subjective in the sense that the physical responses of a connected aligned body will be verifiable. It is always important to verify the results one is getting lest one’s mind drift off into a fantasy world and that person becomes unable to produce any physical results or applications.

Another issue with many arts is only to work on the physical, and they forget to bring along the mind. We start by engaging the mind for the beginner in seeking the feeling. This feeling is the fundamental process of true Wujifa practice. Once one gets to this stage, noticing the intention and how this is engaged with the body takes one to the next level.

Also Read: A System of Martial Arts Training and Objectives for Wujifa

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A System of Martial Arts Training and Objectives for Wujifa

In the martial arts system of Wujifa there is a certain progression or evolution in the process of training. In the system of Wujifa, there are certain stages or steps that should be aimed for as one trains. When someone first starts training, working at understanding very basic “methods” or “forms” of method is key. These “methods”, like a finger pointing at the moon, are not about the “methods” or “finger”, but are more about the direction one will be heading in. Methods are much like a medicine and can assist or hinder one’s progress depending on the usage of various methods and when they are used.

People in Stance

In the beginning, we start with 1234, 1234 (Zhan Zhuang Alignment). 1234, 1234 work with the structural aspect of the first Wujifa triangle. As  understanding the concepts of balance and relax are slightly more subjective concepts for the beginner, structure serves as a good starting point. As one gets a good feel for the method of 1234, 1234 we bring in the concepts of being balanced and relaxed within this structural foundation of the Wujifa martial arts and qigong training systems.

As one progresses and develops a deeper kinesthetic awareness for structure, balance and relax of the first Wujifa triangle1triangle the weight will start to sink and the new practitioner will find and become aware of the weight they have carried beginning to sink into the legs at a point in the center of the quadriceps. These are very good signs, and normally take anywhere from a few months to much longer depending on how seriously the practitioner trains. The aim is to stand for at least an hour one to two times a day. The Wujifa system is much like a doctoral program, and requires dedication by the practitioner to achieve these desired results.

At first, it is very common for people to find it very difficult to stand for even 10 minutes and that’s okay. Getting to the hour of stance, which is ultimately very important in the long run, can be accomplished by the method of slowly adding a few minutes every few days with the focus on the structural elements of 1234, 1234 and the more subjective meanings of balance and relax. When we say “subjective meanings”, we are talking about actual functional, physical results that are contributed to by the understanding of these kinesthetically experienced concepts.

The next step and objective in the martial arts training system of Wujifa is when the practitioner working with these concepts we’ve talked about begins to notice through sinking of the weight, the appearance of the fascial stretches. Commonly, these are noticed in the lower back. As talked about in other posts (The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing...), turning the femur heads out and relaxing the quadratus lumborum and other lower back muscles creates the space for this fascial system of the lower back to move into a more functional organization of one’s body . Training at this point creates the opportunity for the practitioner to begin to notice how the fascial system functions, and is noticed as what is commonly called in Wujifa “fascial stretch”.

At this point in Wujifa training, a practitioner is now getting a deeper understanding of the principles suggested in the first triangle of the Wujifa philosophy. Remember, the methods are not the truth. Understanding the principles and philosophies, through a kinesthetic awareness, are key to gaining this greater understanding of what balance, structure, and relax mean. As the student progresses and the body’s fascial systems open to a more functional organization, other fascial stretches are also noticed.

As one continues along this progression, the concept of connection starts to be explored. The practitioner’s goal at this point is to notice gaps between the fascial stretches by refining subtle adjustments within the philosophy of balance, structure and relax and the method of 1234, 1234 and adjusting accordingly to connect these fascial systems. This is the next step on the path of understanding internal strength, power, and movement.

Many times at this point, simple movements such as side to side (Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice ) have been introduced and contribute to the refinement of connection while moving and while standing. Also, it takes time for the body to adjust and strengthen these connections: it takes practice over time to develop these. For the serious practitioner, who puts in the time and effort, this can be accomplished in six months to a year from the previous step, and they begin to understand the meaning of the second triangle in the Wujifa system of connection, ease, and equilibrium.

At this point, the practitioner has come to have some skill and more advanced means of training are employed that continue to develop and refine these fascial system and connections. Working with gentle forms of resistance, light weights and partner practice have been introduced. At all times, the practitioner seeks opportunities for further refinement (gaps, breaks, and other areas) which they can gain insight from to help in their understanding of full-body movement and strength.

Now the practitioner is starting to gain some understanding of the third triangle of Wujifa which is Power, Poise, and Unity. Instead of practicing form, which can be limiting and slow the development in growth and understanding, the practitioner begins to analyze and 3 triangles 2 take more ownership, and seeks validation from someone who has skill in this area. Also the practitioner continues practicing and exploring the opportunities they are discovering within previous “basic” practices as well as developing unique methods for themselves by adding in free-form movements such as a slower form of solo combat dancing, increasing of weight bearing trainings while practicing for resistance, and issuing power by using heavy bags and sparring.

This system of objectives in Wujifa martial arts training above maps out the steps that the practitioner takes to gaining a more true understanding and skill of practice of what is called “Wujifa”. As one puts in the time and focuses not on problems, but what contributes to growth, while seeing the opportunities in the particular difficulties that might be perceived as holding them back, growth and progress within the system of Wujifa can be easily attained with dedication, attention, and focus.

For More Information on this subject these other articles may be very helpful to understand this topic in more detail:

Visit and Read: Zhan Zhuang Alignment

Visit and Read: Wujifa Triangles

Visit and Read: More on Zhan Zhuang and Movement

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zhan Zhuang Alignment

When practicing Standing, or Zhan Zhuang, getting good alignment is one of the common difficulties for beginners. The method for Zhan Zhuang alignment in Wujifa is called “One Two Three Four, One Two Three Four”. The two sets of One Two Three Four are different and complementary sets of alignment points.

The first set of alignment points are: (these links open new windows)
2. The knees are over the feet.
3. The hip/inguinal crease/kua are lined up over the feet and knees.
4. The shoulders are lined up over the kua, or inguinal crease.

Looking at the foot first, draw a line from the center of the heel to the second or third toe. If we do this on each foot, these would be two parallel lines. This is what we mean by the feet are parallel. In this model, we extend these lines using visualization which will let us calibrate the accuracy of how parallel these lines truly are. Using these longer lines, small mis-calibrations will be easier to notice. It’s important to mention that the feet are only about a foot to a foot and a half apart. Many people stand with their feet much wider when standing. We will not address that method in this post.

Next, apply the same process to the knees. From the center of the knee cap to the center of the area on the back of the knee, we create two lines again and extend these visualized lines as we did with the feet. If the knees are turned out, the backs of the lines will intersect behind your body. If the knees are turned in, the fronts of the lines will intersect in front of your body. The aim is for the two lines to be parallel and over the two parallel lines of the feet.

The same method is applied to the hips from the center of the inguinal crease and center of each glute. If we tuck and tighten the glutes to pop the inguinal crease out in the front, the lines will intersect behind your body. If we tuck and crunch in the front with relaxed glutes, the lines will intersect in front of your body. (These are just two of many common misalignments.) Rolling the femurs out, relaxing the glutes, and relaxing the belly and lower back simultaneously corrects many common mistakes and will allow these visualized lines of the hips to be parallel, which will allow the parallel lines to stack up, over the knees and over the feet. If the lower back is arched, the lines in front of your body will be tilted down. If the lower back is tucked, then the visualized lines in front of your body will tilt up. What we seek is to have the visualized lines parallel and level with the ground and with each other.

For the shoulders, somewhere between the acupuncture points L1 and L2 and the outside of the shoulder is the point on the front (depending on the person) and the back point is relatively on the same area in the back. If people hunch forward, which is a common mistake, the extended visualized lines will intersect in the front. If the chest is puffed up with the shoulders pulled back using tension in the rhomboid and other upper back muscles, the lines will intersect behind you. Keeping the spine straight and allowing the rib heads to turn or relax naturally will allow the chest to relax and keep the shoulder lines parallel and over the hip, knee, and feet. This is the first set of alignment vectors.

The second One Two Three Four of basic standing Zhan Zhuang alignment consists of the following four points:

1. Inguinal crease "in"

2. Tailbone and lower back relaxed and sinking "downward"

3. With the spine straight and the rib heads relaxed, the sternum drops "downward" without hunching the back or shoulders.

4. The head relaxes "back and upward", maintaining a natural relaxed curve through the cervical vertebrae.

In the Wujifa system, we address the second model of One Two Three Four as puzzles. These puzzles are figured out over time through training.

The first puzzle that we normally address is the inguinal crease "in" and lower back/tailbone "down". This is different than tucking. As we’ve mentioned in other posts like "Basic Tips for Zhan Zhuang and the pelvis", and in the first model explained in this post, the femur heads roll out, creating a feeling of widening in the lower back, the glutes relax, and the lower back relaxes. This allows the inguinal creases to go in, the lower back to lengthen, and the tailbone to sink.

The next puzzle is the combination of points two and three. When the lower back sinks correctly, many people tend to hunch forward or lean backward. Keeping the spine straight and vertical and then allowing the rib heads to rotate is the key to understanding the relationship between points two and three, and is the aim of “Three” in this set and model.

In point number four (the head back and up), in connection with number three, many people pull the head forward, or back in a military “Attention” posture both which make the neck rigid. We correct this common problem by guiding them to straighten and elongate their spine by relaxing. Next we have them look up to the ceiling, and then bring their chin down by allowing the head to pivot on the top of the axis bone at the pinnacle of the spine. This results in the ears lining up over the shoulders in a natural way. Using this method allows a person to understand what is meant by the head back and up in a relaxed natural way.

An important point to remember is not to force this alignment. Some people have hunched for many years or stood with their feet turned out for many years, or have carried a lot of back tension for a long time, thereby shortening muscles in those respective areas. The mistake is to force this alignment instead of relaxing into it. So we bring the alignment as close as we can, challenging ourselves slightly so the muscles can relax and open in the problem areas. As we practice over time, we continue to adjust the parallel lines to where they will stack naturally and create better connections throughout the fascial systems of the body.

As one understands this more, one also understands how the method is not the truth, and how the connection of the fascial system of the body is what is being sought. Ultimately, these methods of alignment can be bent or broken slightly to the level of fascial connection manifested through this kinesthetic process.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wujifa Triangles

The triangles in Wujifa are a principle and a method to help people understand the aim of practicing Wujifa. In math, there is a saying that knowing any two angles of a triangle will help you discover the third, and hence, the same is true in Wujifa. Within the principle of the Wujifa triangles, there are successive triangles, which in one way can be linear… or better said “progressive” and yet because of multiple reference points, non-linear at the same time.

The first triangle consists of three points: structure on the left, relax on the right, and balance on the top. The concept of WUJI in Wujifa on the method level is to be thought of as a fulcrum on which the creation of polarity (or yin and yang ) is born within this paradigm. In Wujifa, unlike other arts, we don’t focus on polarity, we focus on discovering the connectedness or one-ness of the principle of Wuji. When attention is applied manifestation will come about to the level that one understands how Wuji works as a principle.

The first triangle, as we said, any two angles helps discover the third, so with the Wujifa triangle, the practitioner discovers the two that work easiest for them to help them work and understand the third. For example, if one understands relax and structure, this leads to an understanding of balance. If one understands balance and relax, it leads to an understanding of structure. Understanding structure and balance leads to an understanding of relax. Remember, relax is not limp. Structure is not rigid. Balance is not polarity.

As one understands structure, relax and balance, a new understanding will evolve which leads into the progression towards the next triangle of connection ease, and equilibrium respectively. For example, if one starts to develop a kinesthetic understanding of structure, relax and balance, they will start to notice the fascial connections within the body. Working with these fascial connections will bring about an ease of movement and the harmony that equilibrium will bring. The next level following the same progression would lead to unity, power and poise.

Unity grows out of connection, which is a concept of structure. Power grows out of ease, which is a concept of relax. Poise grows out of equilibrium, which is a concept of balance. Each aspect of each triangle: structure, relax and balance; connection, ease and equilibrium; then unity, power and poise; are not imagined concepts but physical manifestations of skill or kinesthetically experienced realities within the body.

Remember, these are all just words, and practice over time brings these into being through one’s awareness. Over time, and understanding, each one of these words will come to be understood as meaning basically the same things as well. Balance cannot be balance without structure and relaxation. Structure cannot be structure without balance and relaxation. Relaxation cannot be relaxation without balance and structure. Understanding the flavor of each word and how they harmonize with each other to create the same meaning is the suggestion of this method of the Wujifa triangles, and hence the principle.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bagua Video Tai Dao or Large Saber

The Bagua Tai Dao or the large saber is considered by most practitioner's to be Bagua's ultimate training tool. In Bagua this saber's large size aids and is such great tool for developing coordination, strength, and to aid in the development of whole body movement and power which Bagua is well known for in the martial arts. Due to the saber's lager size makes the weapon difficult for the practitioner to wield and or maneuver compared to the normally smaller sabers used in other martial arts.

In the following video Master Di Guoyong shows how gracefully the Tai Dao or Bagua's large saber can be trained and worked with as he performs a demonstration for a few students. This video was shot in Beijing back in 2004. After training all morning we took a break and Master Di Guoyong decided to show us the Tai Dao and the following form.

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

Bagua is a wonderful art and the Tai Dao a great training tool as well. Hopefully you have enjoyed this video. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have had the chances to meet and study bits of this wonderful art with a number of differt teachers. Bagua, Taiji, Xingyi all have different flavors, yet internal movement is key to all of these arts. The forms are just methods to help train and to aid in understanding the flavor of each art but without the internal connect the forms just become another empty dance. On that note remember the basics and seek the internal connections that these wonderful arts have to offer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bagua Stepping and Tang Ne Bu (Sliding in the Mud)

In Bagua stepping is very important. In this video clip of Master Di Guoyong of Beijing shows the basics of Tang Ne Bu (Sliding in the Mud) which is one of the points he wanted to make sure was understood. There are some nice close-ups of Master Di Guoyong showing very clearly how this should look.

A persons understanding of stepping and Tang Ne Bu (Sliding in the Mud) is a very important one in Bagua. Tang Ne Bu is one of the basics skills for correct Bagua practice. Hopefully this video clip will be helpful in aiding one in this understanding as well as the practice of this art form.

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

Master Di Guoyong is a disciple of the late Bagua Master Li Zi Ming (his third teacher). Also Master Di studied with Wu Binlou (his second teacher) and Zhao Zhong (his first teacher.) Master Di Guoyong Is also part of the the Xingyi Research Society and Baguazhang research society which are a part of the Beijing Martial Arts Association.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wushu Video

I just finished editing a wushu video I shot back in May of 2004. It was a demo done by a bunch of kids and is very inspiring to see the level of skill for their age. This is just a small bit of the afternoon long display of their wushu skills and gongfu training. I hope you will find this inspiring as well no matter what style you practice.

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

The Video was filmed back in May of 2004 at the Yue Shan Temple (Moon Mountain Temple) which is in Bo Ai County, Henan Province, China. Moon Mountain Temple (a Chan or Zen Buddhist temple) was built in the 12th Century. This area of China also has a very long martial arts history.

Like I said I have a lot more footage from the time I spent there including some nice footage of a Chen Taiji form. Also there is some good video and instruction in fighting and working different movements.

The next video project is some footage of Master Di of Beijing doing a very nice Bagua Sword form in a private setting and then going over some good pointers on footwork, basic practices, and circle walking. We will have to see what ends up on the floor of the editing room. Let me know how you like these video and I'll post more of course!

Also, stay tune as I will also be posting some good pointers on Wujifa and Zhan Zhuang alignment focusing on key points to aid people with getting into a good stance, what we like to call 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4. Until then be sure to stop by and check in.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spacing out in training

Many people zone out when they engage in different types of training. As we know connection is one of the points we seek to develop when training Wujifa. Here is an interesting post at: which I think is very common with a lot of people, that is "trancing out." Trancing out is like disconnecting from one's self which may or may not be that useful when one is training to engage connections.

"Trancing out" or "zoning out" feels like not-here-now, not-present, not-connected. Breaking the stance trance results in a feeling of present-ness, of being here now. And through greater present-ness, I feel connection to my kinesthetics, to my body which presents me a greater opportunity to feel deeper into my body, where there are tensions, where there is relax. I needed to feel both to feeling-understand the feeling difference.

There are so many ways people can disconnect from their training. Awareness is key. Where are you noticing? Where are you focusing? What else are you focusing on? What is the purpose you seek to train for?

Ones focus can be functional or disfunctional depending on ones purpose. I will suggest that it is very useful to allow at least one or two bits to stay open to the present which would include this connection with one's self. When I say one or two bits open I'm suggestion keeping a bit of your mind open to what you feel and and experiencing in the space of the moments.

Focusing and returning back to what one is doing can be a useful tool as well when watching and learning something new... Yet, when you are training... those open bits and noticing what is showing up as you train can be such a very functional approach to discovering and growing.

Summer is here (in this half of the world) and I have been having a great one... I know... I've been very busy and a little behind in posting here... Yet, I wanted to share the link to the website above... Also, I'm working on a few new posts so check back as I'll be putting some new stuff up very soon! So, until then I hope everyone is having a GREAT August 2009 and a wonderful time training and noticing the oppertunities for growth, learning something new, and discovery!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wujifa Facebook Fan Page

The Wujifa Facebook Fan Page is for those of you who would love to jion in and more on Wujifa. Join the Wujifa on Facebook too. Yes, you'll get feeds, links, wall comments, and all the other wonderful stuff that Facebook offers. So if you love Facebook, click on the link below and join in on the Wujifa Facebook Fan Page... Woohoo

Wujifa on Facebook

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gao Style Bagua

Gao Style Bagua and Bagua in general is something I believe can have a lot to explore and offer. Here are two wonderful exercises from the Gao Bagua system from Taipei, Taiwan. The following two videos were filmed back in February of 2000. Like foundation skill sets from the Wujifa system the following two videos I believe are very good fundational skill sets for development of full body movement.

Over the past few months I've hesitated to put other exercises on this blog and have been encouraged to do so. I also believe in these skill sets and practice them as well with my Wujifa and so I feel pretty good about sharing them here with all of you.

The first Video is called "Ban" which is one the the skill sets from the "10 Heavenly Stems" or "Tain Gan." Like silkreeling this exercise aims to engage full body movement and development.

From the Gao Bagua system:

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

From the Gao Bagua System:
Golden Chicken

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

I hope you enjoy these two Videos from Taipei,Tawain and the Gao Bagua system... Yes they are a bit rough and grainy, yet they are pretty darn functional to play with...

So, I'll end with simply saying... I hope you enjoy doing them as much as I have over the years. As you get a better feel for the Kua or inguinal creases these are two excellent methods to take things up another level or notch in your practice!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More on Zhan Zhuang and Movement

Here are more basic functional things to look for or a functional aim to understand while practicing your Zhan Zhuang (standing post practices), and for when you practices movement as viewed through the Wujifa system. Many people will find these helpful for other practices as well. Development and understanding of fascial connections or pathways are keys for strong powerful movement. Many internal arts like Taiji or other “internal martial arts” may also seek this kind of connection which links the body.

More on Zhan Zhuang and Movement

Standing Practice (Zhan Zhuang)

A. Beginner’s targets for functional standing practice and body awareness:

1. Learning to adjust structure and to discover relaxed balance. Remember “relaxed is not limp” although depending on the level you are at this can be understood in a number of ways.

2. Sinking the weight... As one starts to understand this first point they will feel an area in the quads about the size of an United States twenty-five cent piece or fifty cent sized area about 6 or 8 inches up from the top of the knee or almost half way up in the center of each quad get very warm, if the weight hits other places then something may be off in the structure and one structure should be adjusted accordingly. Although some people may feel general heaviness in the legs, as one learns to adjust their structure more clearly they may discover this smaller fifty cent sized area as they get a little more understanding. Many people will also get very warm and sweat a lot. This is just a sign post and this should be viewed as only one of the many "byproducts" of one's training. More important is that fifty cent sized area. If it gets too heavy one can adjust their stance a little higher, although it is possible to stand with legs almost completely straight and still get this weight down into the legs like this. A common mistake is the feeling hitting the knee area; this is commonly caused by holding in the pelvis or lower back, or even by tightness in the ankles.

3. Fascial connection… For most people (but not everyone) the next functional step is when they start to notice the feeling of fascial stretch in the lower back or the thoracolumbar fascia area of the 300px-Gray409body. This is another good sign in understanding. This means they have started to understand the correct way to widen the femoral heads by relaxing the glutes and relaxing the lower back while keeping the shoulders over the hips, etc. A few people will feel this fascial stretch in the upper back first, although if it’s the first or second thing noticed the key is to connect the whole back. It can take some time to develop the correct feeling. As one continues to develop, so too does the understanding of this suggested fascial stretch as just one of many ways to move as one connected whole.

B. Mental aspects of physical development

1. Development of neural connections both in the mind and body: as one practices, the neural pathways in the mind and the body also develop. As we understand the feeling of physical connections so do the pathways in the mind and body that send information. They also MRI_braingrow and develop and become more functional. Like a simple path in the woods that is traveled often becomes a road and then later a highway as they get used over time. Neural pathways develop in the same fashion.

2. Intention and how you notice is important as well. Learning to eat bitter is a common saying. What I mean by this is that some people will notice opportunity as they practice. This is a good method. Some may want to notice what is wrong, yet if you go one step deeper you can notice there is opportunity in there as well. This can even be suggested as a deeper understanding of being open. I will say at times it is good to be critical of what one is doing, although noticing opportunity in this is still possible. Imagine later if sparing the difference in noticing an opportunity or noticing what is wrong. Building in this kind of intention early on is a good idea.

3. Moving Practices

A. Learning to move and maintain a functional structure and to relax and balance: remember relaxed is not limp. Maintaining a good structure will help one understand this idea of not being limp better as well.

1. As you develop those good fascial connections made in doing a good stance practice movement can be very helpful as well. As you start to move these fascial connections and pathways also come into play here. Your understanding of the feeling will be very helpful as you start to move. Also, movement can help you gain a greater understanding of these connections as you continue to do your Zhan Zhuang or standing.

2. The feeling of movement is a wonderful way to notice breaks in fascial connections and pathways. Sometimes people will believe they have them so getting good verification of proper movement is necessary when you start out on this path. Although if you can discover some of these while standing you can simply stop moving and double check to see if the connections you’ve discovered in standing are still there. As I said before, there are a number of pathways in the body, so different movement may take some time to understand.

B. Continuing to understand the feeling which is different than understanding the method of movement:

1. Method can be looked at like a medicine, although the drug is not the answer. There is a feeling that one is seeking to understand and explore and in Wujifa we believe this is how progress is made. Understanding the feeling of movement while maintaining fascial connections is one of these.

2. Development of neural pathways is also key. There can be many many pathways that one can explore here as well. There can be the intention of movement. There can be the intention of what the movement is for or what the movement is doing. Either way, noticing the feel of how the body moves brings awareness. I’m not sure how many will understand what I said here. Attention is different than intention. “Noticing” the feelings while practicing is what I’m getting at. This is a very deep subject and as one understands attention and intention even more neural connections can be developed and explored.

C. Learning to maintain the weight being sunk down and moving while maintaining facial connections:

1. Learning to move while keeping the weight in the legs is key here. When you move, the same principle applies here. I’ve seen people who have gotten the feeling of sinking the weight have a hard time at first just doing a few movements. As you develop, this will get easier. At the same time, don’t short change yourself when you train.

2. Remember the neural pathways; what you do to compensate also builds different pathways in the mind and neural connections to the body than when you choose to practice correctly. Always seek the opportunity to grow and develop as you practice. Yes, there is always opportunity and that is what you should seek. Notice when you choose to compensate and when you choose to explore more. This should give you insights to where there can be some nice opportunities for future growth.

D. Developing how intention and feeling connect with movement and furthering the development of neural connection in the mind and body.

1. Opportunity is in the noticing. Noticing the feelings and connections while moving is so very important as we have said before. Paying “attention” by noticing is a big key here.

2. Intention,” what are you doing and why…” There are many levels of engaging this depending on what and where you are and your skill level. Make sure you are clear on what the intention is while moving and paying attention to the fascial connections and the feeling. Remember, what you do is what you are building in and that is one reason the Chinese call this kind of deep training gongfu even if your gongfu is making tea.

Also check out: Basic Tips for Zhan Zhuang and the pelvis

Also check out: Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice

Also check out: The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More ways to follow this Wujifa blog

There are more ways now to follow the Wujifa blog. The goal here is to share as much free and useful content and pointers as possible. In saying that many might find some of this information helpful, like those who practice Zhan Zhuang (stance practice), Taijiquan, or other Internal Martial Arts.

So feel free to join up and comment at these other places. We can now be found on:
Twitter @wujifa
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Facebook at the Wujifa fan page

We will be posting a few new Gao style Bagua Videos recorded back in 2000 from Taipai, Some Bagua videos from 2006 in Beijing, and of course some more Wujifa basic trainings and Kau development practices videos and Zhan Zhuang pointers in the next few weeks.

Please feel free to post comments and or questions or suggestion. You can post them here in the comment area or at any of these other places...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

45 Gongfu Hints and Pointers

The following 45 functional points are some of many statements used and remembered, as one trains in their Wujifa and gongfu practices. These hints and pointers are commonly returned to, referred to, and explored as lessons or as simple puzzles to aid one in discovering the deeper meaning(s) that one seeks to explore with their Wujifa, qigong, gongfu, and/or their internal martial arts practices. As in many internal martial arts, gong fu, qigongs, or other practices of these types, it’s commonly found that these saying that are frequently used in Wujifa are aimed toward providing the opportunity to explore the depth that can be discovered in one’s own trainings, skill sets, and even in daily life. Take some time and explore these for yourself as you may discover the deeper understandings of these may change as one’s level of understand develops with time.

45 Gongfu Hints and Pointers

When we think of “intention” we might notice this word suggests an aim or goal, a target or an objective, even a purpose or a meaning and a plan. When we think of “order” we might think of a command or request, a sequence or an arrangement or even a harmony. When we notice the word “direction” we might notice a directive or direction as a means of regulating or focusing, to supervise, manage, or lead. Direction can be a way or a heading, a bearing, a target or to govern.

In many deeper teachings the goal can sometimes be to understand the real meaning of simply one or a few words. That is to understand the feeling of the word or idea more than to simple just know the word.

  • You are where you are, and that’s where you start.
  • Relaxed is not limp.
  • Relaxing in one area will aid relaxation in another area. The body is connected.
  • Connected is not locked.
  • Connected is not stiff.
  • Structure is not rigid.
  • Easy isn’t necessarily ease.
  • Ease isn't necessarily easy.
  • Don't rush it, it'll happen faster.
  • Your strength is your weakness.
  • Your strong point is your weak point, your weak point is your strong point.
  • Attention is different than focus.
  • Noticing changes everything.
  • It’s better to fall down than quit.
  • How would a baby learn?
  • Now I know what the "Chi" is? (Laughing)
  • Match is not living.
  • Pay attention to the minutest details for the largest gains.
  • Your questions reveal where you are, your experience, and what you’re working on.
  • Practice a pattern until the feeling reveals itself to you. Pay attention. Notice.
  • What's your purpose?
  • Why are you doing this?
  • If you can’t feel your body, then what’s the point of having a body?
  • The purpose of the method is to feel.
  • Feeling is a key, as kinesthetic is to foundation.
  • Feeling is a key. Grounded is foundation.
  • How do you know?
  • There is no end to feeling, understanding, and being aware.
  • The method is not the truth, once you get the feeling, get rid of the method.
  • Once you get the feeling, principle is second nature.
  • The method is not the truth.
  • The method is a medicine.
  • The various (suggested chi flow) feelings are signposts. Don’t confuse the signpost for the actual destination.
  • Using imagery is a trick (a method, a medicine) to get the intention to move.
  • Monkey mind and stallion – keep the monkey busy so the stallion runs freely.
  • A small step, no matter how small, starts the momentum. Keep taking small steps. Many small steps will take you a long way.
  • One small step for “a man,” a giant leap for most of mankind!
  • Practice the ordinary until it becomes extra-ordinary.
  • Technique -> Form -> Principle -> Philosophy
  • Three Rules: 1. Be responsible for your own development – be, response-able 2. Be rational and functional 3. Experiment, try, feel, get results
  • A good lesson teaches to where the student is. A not so good teacher teaches where the teacher is.
  • Different People learn in different ways.
  • Once you get the feeling, the principle is second nature.
  • Going to McDonald's

There are many more of these enlightening saying used in the Wujifa system and throughout many different styles of internal martial arts, Taijiquan, Qigong and Taoist and philosophical practices as well. I would like to end this article on helpful gongfu hints and pointers with something written by Jurgen Habermas in his Theory of Rational Reconstruction and explored by Lawrence Kohlberg’s system of Morality.

"The model of “rational reconstructions” represents the main thread of the surveys about the “structures” of the world of life (“culture”, “society” and “personality”) and their respective “functions” (cultural reproductions, social integrations and socialization). For this purpose, the dialectics between “symbolic representation” of “the structures subordinated to all worlds of life” (“internal relationships”) and the “material reproduction” of the social systems in their complex (“external relationships” between social systems and environment) has to be considered." Jurgen Habermas Theory of Rational Reconstruction

“…a rational person, one has an insight into the validity of the underlying principles and has committed oneself to them.” Lawrence Kohlberg’s system of Morality page 71

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Basic Tips for Zhan Zhuang and the pelvis

A full articulated human skeleton used in educ...Image via Wikipedia
In Zhan Zhuang (stance practice) the pelvis and the method for correct posture is often commonly misunderstood. Stance training is one of the primary organizational skill sets in the Wujifa system. Having some basic tips for this practice can be very helpful to gaining greater understanding of this skill sets. This will be the focus of what will be shared here in this article. Also, come back, because we’ll present more in depth information in the future. But for now, enjoy these basic and helpful tips.

Basic Tips for Zhan Zhuang and the pelvis

There has been some talk recently about a couple of the posts put up on this blog. These two articles are: “Keys for developing the inguinal crease” which is about the Wujifa “Side to Side” practice and the other “Concepts of sit down in Wujifa standing." Both in standing practice(s), what some call Zhan Zhuang, and the side to side practice(s), which are basic keys for developing the connections that many martial arts seek as well as those who practice certain types of qigongs and some forms of yoga.

The first point I’d like to share is that many people carry a lot of tension in the glutes or more simply said the butt muscles. When people have a normalized patterning of tension that is carried in the glutes you will find that the femoral heads are pulled back and twisting the legs so they often stand in daily life with their toes angled slightly outward. The second pointer is also very common in so many people and that is the muscles found in the lower back area are shortened and tight. Some of these seemingly normal imbalances are found in these muscles and fascial groups: Erector spinae, Thoracolumbar fascia, Latlissimus dorsi muscle, Petlit’s, Gluteal aponeurosis, Quadratus lumborum, Psoas, just to name a few.

When one simply relaxes more deeply or as one learns to relax the muscles of the lower back and supporting muscles and relax the glutes while practicing stance training then the back can lengthen and the femoral heads of the right and left legs can be allowed to widen. This gives more room for the pelvis to adjust on the hip joints and with the opening/lengthening of the spine “allows” the tailbone or sacrum to shift and drop downward in these practices. This is VERY different than tucking.

Many people try to lengthen the back by tucking the pelvis. That may be a method used in some practices that use force and tightening as a method although I am not going to comment on those. As for others they may not understand how to relax and maintain structure without being limp and so they feel the need to create some type of tension to maintain these structures. So, they tuck the tail bone and use opposing muscles to counteract the tightness in the lower back and glutes with even more tightness and muscle. As they are simply trying to achieve an outward look of a practice with a conflicting set of tightness and contraction which will normalize and create even more rigidness.

What we aim for in the Wujifa standing practice skill set is to repattern or build in a more open responsive posture. We do this in learning to relax and adjust accordingly. Often is the case found in hip adjustments and relaxing the glutes and lower back muscles so the pelvis can shift and adjust to a more functional space for example in the standing practices.

Hopefully sharing some of this the information may be insightful to the readers here. Saying that, I would like to share a simple method for helping one allow a better structure in their practices to shift and develop as they train Zhan Zhang, Wujifa standing, other internal martial art or qigong practices as they may apply.

Stand up, and take a deep breath. Go ahead try this now. Wiggle around a bit as this can help you access the lower back and hip area. Now take another deep breath and as you exhale relax the butt muscles and lower back muscles. Allow the hip area to widen and the lower back to lengthen as you get more in touch with the tightness that has started to release. Feel how there is a more groundedness showing up and how there is less conflict between the muscles. This is a good place for the beginner to play. As one practices a deeper awareness will develop. You could look at that as a basic philosophy that some talk about in ideas such as Taoism. This is one of the basic keys in starting to understand more of what we train and call Wujifa and the standing practices and side to side skill sets.

Hopefully you’ve noticed some “basic” differences between using forceful tucking and
the practice of opening to allow shifting to take place. Simply by widening the femoral heads, relaxing the glutes, and allowing the back to lengthen you will start to notice how the posture can be guided into the more formal structure of a stance practice as utilized for example in Wujifa. This is a good place to start. The study of Wujifa stance and other practices may seem simple yet are very deep. Developing alignment and body and fascial connections and understandings are key for making good progress. We will write more on this subject in the coming weeks. Until then remember the key is in the doing. Check back often and ask questions and comment. Feel free to contact us!
Also check out: More on Zhan Zhuang and Movement

As with any exercise, make sure you are in good enough physical health before attempting this. Ask a doctor if in doubt.

Also check out: Zhan Zhuang Alignment
Also check out: Wujifa Two Feet and What Does This Mean?
Also check out: Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice
Also check out: The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice

Wujifa "Side to Side" practices are a basic element to understanding the Kua (inguinal creases), and in that regard, many say elegant in their simplicity. There have been many good questions, some asking for help, and others for more information about these recent Youtube videos that we've posted.

Those videos show people at different levels of proficiency, from newer people, to those who have practiced Wujifa for a while now. On that note, we post the following, about this simple yet enlightening skill set and the Wujifa practice called "Side to Side."

"Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice"

The first question you may find yourself asking is what would be the advantage of doing a side to side practice, like in the recent Wujifa “Side to Side” short video? Because it will help you develop the crucial region of the body known as the Inguinal Crease, or kua, which is key. This area needs to move correctly during grounded full body movement. If not you could find yourself spending years trying to understand this with more complicated practices or discover that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like with so many things to focus on.

What if you never heard of… practical or useful practices, for example, like that of the Wujifa system of side to side? Could you imagine practicing for years and years or spending hours upon hours with those possibilities trying to discover more useful keys toward full body movement?

Over time, people have come up with so many different methods to working with the hips or kua, such as Yoga, massage, physical manipulation, and a multitude of qigongs and internal martial arts. It’s funny how, over the years, so many people are not developing the internal or full body movements that they were so actively working toward discovering. It’s unfortunate that some people, even after years of practicing these other methods, still seem confused about these things and the type of movement they are looking for.

YouTube link to this video: for those who have iPhones or enjoy YouTube formats.

The process of side to side allows a very specific focus to guide people in making progress towards understanding the inguinal creases which is so very helpful in deeper discoveries of full-body movement and practice.

First, it is necessary to keep the principles learned in Zhan Zhuang (Standing Practice). Keep the back aligned and maintain body structure while sliding weight from one leg to the other. When done properly, it will feel heavy just like in stance. If things seem too heavy, feel free to move to a higher position to be more comfortable. At first when one begins this kind of practice, you start simply by noticing that one inguinal crease is closing as the other opens. Then, as your skill becomes more refined, shifting to one side, you might notice the kua is closing on a 45 degree angle, yet opening or stretching vertically. At the same time, as the opposite kua is opening it is also actually closing and stretching horizontally, when looked at from a slightly deeper level. As is often the case In Wujifa, doing the exercise is necessary to understanding.

At a deeper level of complexity, there are multiple openings and closings happening at the same time, on different vectors throughout the length of each kua. In fact, through the entire length of the inguinal crease, there are any number of vectors we could notice both in opening or closing in the exact same physical crease on different planes at any point in time. One simple example was the vertical or horizontal axis. As one learns more they discover intention plays a big role throughout this simple extension of our Zhan Zhuang (or as we call it Wujifa Standing practice) and side to side.

As one first starts they may notice that one Kua or inguinal crease simply opens and closes. As another level of understanding develops, depending on which vector you look at, the Kua or inguinal crease is both open or closed as I touched on earlier.

Growth has a process and there are many levels. What was once understood as one way develops and changes. Then as you continue training or practicing this gongfu you understand more deeply how alive the movement is and that vectors in a open or closed Kua are more like a "twining" which is felt in more than just the hip area (you can see the parts of the video where the one of the practitioners is twisting his hands together during movement to illustrate this feeling).

Stand up right now. Find your grounding in Zhan Zhuang (Read: The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing , or check back as we will be posting many more helpful articles on these topics), and try sliding gently from side to side if you can. Just relax and notice these basic openings and closings happening in your kua (don’t push it). Over the next weeks and months of practice you can start to notice and develop more key insights to these deeper levels of understanding of development through doing this practice. Along with this understanding, the fascia of your inguinal crease will also develop as your awareness grows in making these new connections.

What if you were to make this part of your daily practice? Can you picture how you would benefit with this seemingly simple yet deep practice as you develop your kua, and move towards a more grounded full body movement? If you do the exercise, you will be able to enjoy the progress you will make in the coming weeks and months. As you continue practicing and learning, check back here. Our goal is to share hopefully useful Wujifa practices that make what might seem more complicated easier to understand. The key is in the doing. Remember to check back often and we will post more keys to internal movement and more videos. Also, ask questions and comment. Feel free to contact us!

As with any exercise, make sure you are in good enough physical health before attempting this. Ask a doctor if in doubt.

Also check out: More on Zhan Zhang and Movement
Also check out: Basic Tips for Zhan Zhang and the pelvis
Also check out: The Kua More Methods For Developing The Inguinal Crease

Friday, May 22, 2009

(Part 3) Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices

Intention, actions, and congruency, are so important. Also, understanding the need for verification as well as connecting with an “openness discovered,” what could be called by some as beginner’s mind are simply suggested keys here.

Acceptance and assessment of functional ways, and being practical at the same time hopefully are some of what I have dared to try and share here. The following is part 3 in this series. Hopefully you may find some of these suggestions in what I’m calling mindsets helpful.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 3 of 3)

Let me tell you why I believe this topic is so important and what I’ve noticed many people have missed out on when training. What I have noticed personally and with those who train and make good progress is a basic key. This key is the willingness to discover more about themselves or of themselves through being open while training for discovery... that is “in” self discovery. This is what I mean by “in” self discovery: taking time to notice, develop, change, and grow. All the while “in” being open to this knowing that this is also the type of process that changes and will evolve.

Personally, I love the way I continue finding myself returning to this, or should I say, in returning to noticing self and how what I once was has changed as well. We get the opportunity to notice and evolve and develop. In this opportunity, the chance to develop new neuro-pathways (both in the mind and the body) can be revealed. With the practice of functional discernment, there is a potential with this internal and external noticing in one’s awareness as we allow, accept, and notice change. We can both discover ourselves, and the love we have, both (I use the word “both” here as ambiguities deliberately) within and the opportunities that exist all around us... in very functional and in very real ways. Some battle with their training, some notice difficult aspects, yet finding something deeper there in one’s practice, I will suggest, is pretty outstanding, and this process is something I have noticed in those who make real honest progress.

Allowing, accepting, and noticing... keys, I believe, to unlocking the secrets of training. Noticing what is or was hard, or what we would have found difficult are things that can show us more about ourselves. Exploration of the keys to loving, discovering more of ourselves... not in some woo woo fairytale ideal of love (I know that some people have just tuned out as they read that), although I say it in a very functional and real tangible way... noticing connections. This is such a wonderful gift we can gain from training, noticing shifts with external to internal pathways in noticing as they develop and grow as we discover the potential of more of who we are. What I love about what we train in Wujifa is also this opportunity to discover more about who we are... and allow, accept, and notice this as we open the space for us to grow, develop, and change in functional and grounded ways. There are so many reasons people start exploring any art form. Knowing more about Self, for example, as one simply stands is one of those that for me has been a worthy one.

So how big is this concept of functional connection?

One reason why we train is to develop connections: developing connections in the mind as neurons grow, concepts develop, and in the body as fascial systems are discovered and structure is explored, again both, on so many levels... As I said in part one of this series and I am reminded and I will repeat again what Grand Master Chen Xaiowang often said while teaching the principle of his Taiji “one part moves all parts move.” So I will ask again, does he mean in the arms, the legs, and the body as a whole? Or, your physical body and the person you’re pushing hands with for example. Or how movement and intentions are seen, felt, noticed while sparring… or is the concept even bigger than that at some point. This I would suggest could depend on your frame (I use the word “frame” here as an ambiguity too) or the skill level of development with noticing.

I started out posting in this series, talking about some simple concepts for training and I almost hesitated at that point to mention some of this philosophy. I say that because for me it is really about the basics and verification of many, many hours of noticing and practical refinement over time. I spoke of love in this topic of connections too. Yet, so often people are willing to gloss over basics and foundational skills and choose to simply imagine progress and connections and leave the basics and the simplest of practices behind, missing a lot of good opportunities to develop and notice in the most practical ways in these opportunities found in doing their gong fu.

Keys for mental unification, as I’ve said, are often found with congruency, intention, and working simply with the basics. In being practical and if you are “willing” to stay open with your attention to connection... allowing your intention to congruently explore the development of yourself as you train basics in this fashion now... then results will commonly start showing up like fruit on an apple tree. Simply noticing, exploring deeper, being practical and no worries, forcing, or imagining in wanting to feel the woo woo stuff... Functional... is the one simple key... with the body and the mind in so many trainings and in Wujifa practice. So you want to develop internal movement more clearly then develop your fascial connections... relax and ground and get some verification... test it out... being practical about where you are... even the high level masters have pointed out that they don't always do it correctly and that is the wonderful part… to be able to discover new and deeper refinements and growth in this opportunity and in Wujifa liangong and other gongfu and qigong practices.

Hence this is why I believe... for example in practices like Wujifa stance training... it can be so very helpful to explore and notice your mindset, the frame(s) which you are looking through and how these frame(s) color everything else. People may have many different intentions... lead the Qi, quiet the mind, martial intent… I might suggest that noticing the parts like this cannot be called Wuji and/or Wujifa. Yet, when we notice connection and connecting... our intention and attention with being connected... we begin noticing everything as being one... big or small. We are where we start, and so we start where we are and grow. Hence Wujifa as a practice, method, and in principle has a lot to be explored and discovered, and reveals as much about you as you are open to... within... this kind of discovering.

Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 1)
Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 2)

Friday, May 15, 2009

(Part 2) Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices

There are as many different ways to train as there are different methods and frames we might choose to engage in doing. As this blog is about Wujifa practice, I’m sure it will also be bound to apply to other aspects or practices. Saying that, here is part 2 of the series and some more simple suggestions for other ways for practicing Wujifa, let’s say as an awareness practice, for an example as in standing.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 2 of 3)

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of people there are? People have different personalities and different approaches in how they engage, how they train, and the methods of their practice. In Wujifa, let’s keep it simple and say in the practice of standing or side to side. Some people like and follow the belief that ultimately the key is in training the mind... others the body. Some would like to skip over basics and seek out and/or move right to more advanced practices or aspects. Foundations are always so important to whatever you’re building.

What I have noticed for myself over the years is “You are where you are,” and that is the simplest place to begin. Although, I want to say that it is also important to have skilled teacher’s (or teachers’) insights (we’ll leave that for another series.) Although, I will say having these insights and verifications are key for also discovering useful methods and truly making progress. At the same time, remembering that you are always the one who makes the choices is very grounding. In this choice, be honest with yourself and what you choose to do.

Personally, I believe the very basic practices are the most important, and where the most gain can be found time and time again. Simply remember, whichever door you chose to enter, the body and the mind are an important connection in whatever you do. Allowing these to connect and develop can be so helpful in rediscovering more depth in your training, motives, and overall outcome.

By noticing connections... and attuning with ones attention... and developing the options to explore the results of one’s intention with congruency one will discover these fundamental keys and opportunities. Here are some examples of ways to engage in them.

  1. A grounded Intention… Each person, his or herself, is responsible for their re-organization. Whether they know it or not, the power for change is with self. Owning this is a mind-set I believe is basic for practical self discovery and practice in Wujifa. In saying that, I will repeat that working with a qualified instructor and validating progress is also very important. It may take years to weed out the crap, as well as to understand what works for you.

  2. Experience... the body and mind "dance" in a sense that they influence each other... willingness to allow how they influence congruency is a response-ability within.... notice the word "willingness." Experiencing the dance is a key to the mindset, and for making personal progress.

  3. The Dance of Mindset… For example, trance as in Milton Ericson’s world is similar to what I’m talking about. It is more about letting the subconscious respond effectively and directly... there is a difference between zoning out while training Wujifa, and in trance, or (being "in" as in a focus that leads you to the door) entrance... allowing you to open (the entrance) to the possibility (the entrance) to change... "Notice, how, you feel"... and how you can... do this more... as you train.

Milton Ericson, in a paper titled “Hypnotic Therapy” (1948/1980b, p.461): The induction and maintenance of a trance serve to provide a special psychological state in which people can re-associate and reorganize their inter psychological complexities and utilize their own capacities in a matter and accord with their own experiential life.

More on this for those who are interested can be found at Google Books in: The Psychobiology of gene expression By Ernest Lawrence Rossi

Zoning-out while practicing Wujifa “stance” training for example is akin to, or a component of what might be called a dead-post stance. I will suggest that this willingness, this sub-conscious focus and how this engages RAS responsiveness is more about waking up, and seeing with new eyes as you train as we are walk through what I’m suggesting as the entrance as stated above. For example, notice how so many arts talk about the beginner’s mind. This beginner’s mind is or can be so helpful, as this can allow one the space to be critical in a “functional” way to what one is doing or what we are doing at the time. This is one form of personal “allowing” I find helpful, as there is always more to be revealed and discovered.

Notice... how many... useful ways... You can

Do this all the time... naturally...

Even when you notice those things… you

Might believe distract you... yet you notice

How they are really

Contributing to…

This place you find yourself

Right now

So, here is a practical simple focus one can start with: being open to noticing the feeling. Being, open is a keyword here: feelings can change as you grow and learn... also, over thinking for example, can bring too much focus, and a closing down... A “simple” focus in noticing may "ALLOW" more opening to noticing with congruency and intention to be discovered. The beginners mind, open to discovering and with the willingness to “eat bitter” (eating bitter for most people is a developed taste, and like a medicine, at times very useful), as well as the other more pleasant flavors.

The beginner’s mind I believe is so helpful in so many ways as you’re learning. Being open to discover… as it may be easier for one to have less ego attached to old habits and patterns that may hold back noticing of more useful practical aspects that could really boost progress.

I have found that self discovery and moving toward exploring this energy (I mean that in a normal everyday way) develops as we learn “how” to notice ourselves, and how we grow and change in the process. This is the unique opportunity for noticing, growing and caring for ourselves. This opportunity is not the methods themselves, but in the quiet time we take to look inward and outward (for example as we stand) and notice. Yes, that is still a method, depending on how you look at it... Yet, this is an opportunity to discover and train self discovery... within the method or process.

This is Part 2 of 3 in a series on some of the various mental unification paradigms various people use to assist in their Wujifa practice and training.

Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 1)
Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 3)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices Part 1

There is a Daoist saying that suggests “hide universe in universe.” Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that can the most elusive. Hence people mystify or complicate various aspects of what should be basic and self evident. In this 3 part series we will attempt to explore some simple ideas of what and where one can begin to explore this deeper aspect to training.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 1 of 3)

Let me start off by saying that I personally consider and contemplate the philosophy that wuji is all around us, as a useful one. The awareness that everything is one, connected, and commonly be rediscovered by simple refinement practices and training. I have found that this model has been helpful and have discovered myself returning to this as one of the useful paradigms for training.

Often many, or even most people spend their whole life dividing and separating (mechanical thinking) everything into bits, objectively or subjectively separating themselves from everything, exploring connections outside themselves or even forgetting the simple practical basics, even to the extent to imagining and seek mystical connections.

It's started with a choice. Simply begin with noticing, and being responsible with accepting this concept is a good place to start. Developing and noticing of simple connections that can be resolved starting with one's self, and/or where you realistically believe you are in that moment.

In Wujifa we notice the opportunities to rediscover this connection personally in what and how we train. To the level we train is the level we can express these connections... like the theory of relativity or the big bang and the universe... the size is relative... yet noticing our simple physical connections in how and as we train... this is an opportunity for each of us... and the gift... called Wujifa... there for those of you who are willing to!

Chen style Taijiquan Master Chen Xiaowang often says “one part moves, all parts move” as the principle for practice. The method often used, for example in silk reeling start out with a very basic step-by-step procedure. Yet, as one develops, one discovers "Chan Si Jing" or silk reeling runs throughout the whole of the practices and becomes a very deep practice in and of its self. This is just one example of hiding the universe in universe. The elusive obvious and as one gains more understand one can also explore the expression within these different models and methods.

This is Part 1 of 3 in a series on some of the various mental unification paradigms various people use to assist in their Wujifa practice and training

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing...

The basic concept of "sitting down" is an important one when you are first learning Wujifa standing (Zhan Zhuang). So, with this in mind I will do my best to sharing some helpful information on this and a few other helpful bits to explore. On that note hopefully you find something below to help as well with your own personal Qigong training.

The Concept of "Sit Down" in Wujifa Standing...

One of the opportunities we get to develop in Wujifa is intention. Overtime you will develop different ways to "allow" your intention, one is by simply playing with some of the basic concepts of Wujifa practice while you are learning and training. Of course if you train Wujifa you are well aware of the basic ideas of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4 that are methods to help you discover the feeling of aligning your structure are one of these tools. Although as we know this example is only a method or opportunity for discovering the feeling of alignment. The ideas of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 3, 4 as shared in this practice are simply a method or frame work to notice and discover the feeling of a relaxed structure. The focus is on getting and developing the feeling of connection and developing these. The connection that you'll develop when you have a relaxed aligned structure.

Now I will say I have noticed over the years that it is pretty common for people to make the methods of discovery more important than simply discovering more deeply the feeling of a relaxed connected and aligned body. Also, those who have often discovered this, that is developing your intention, can also be very useful as well not only in Wujifa but in so many areas of your life. Now, I will say at times it can be useful to do something (methods) to help one in discovering these insights. If I were to share one simple thing here, I would say "Be congruent with the intention" with the understanding this is very important for developing/development of neural pathways in ones brain and strengthening the connections both in this brain and in the body.
Learning to notice the "feeling" of your development and how it changes is a good step on the path. Also, learning to simply notice the different feelings is a good habit to develop. Many times a new person might feel that there is so much new information they need to track "all" this different data or in the process they put all their faith in the methods and data, and "methods" becomes their primary focus.
When you are first learning and practicing Wujifa it is true that focusing on certain methods can be productive. Although, as students, we also need to be aware that these are not the primary focus or intention. Actually I will suggest that even this noticing of the feelings in a way is actually another "method" as well, as you progress, and is not a primary focus, as you grow and develop these connected movements.
So, you might ask “What is the primary focus?” I would suggest that simply the metod of being “congruent” with how you connect and move and respond functionally in a unified and productive way can be a good idea that can help you with developing the so called “feeling” of the intention that Wujifa can assist us with as we train.

All that being said I would like to share something that I believe is another good "method" for developing some of the feeling that can be very useful when starting out with basics in Wujifa qigong. Many have heard that sinking the weight so the top is light and the bottom is heavier is one of those feelings one can discover and play with that is helpful both for those who have practiced for a little while and even for the person who is relatively new to Wujifa standing practices (Zhan Zhuang). In saying this, what I will also suggest looking for the feeling of "sitting down" or the process of sitting down.
As we know in basic Wujifa method of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 1, 2, 3, 4 that the discovery of the feeling of the inguinal crease area. What we also call “1” in this paradigm is the inguinal crease. The inguinal crease is suggested as "in" and "2” in this model the sacrum is "allowed" to relax "down" by relaxing the lower back (This is different than tucking and take a while for some to get). So, the common feeling for many people is the feeling "as if" they are starting to sit down on lets say a bar stool.
I would suggest that people should "relax and allow" their practice to seek and develop this for awhile until they build in the feeling, as well as the commonly suggested feeling of light on top and the lower parts heavy. As you might discover this "image" of sitting down can be helpful for people who want to allow the noticing of this feeling while standing. Remember, continue to notice this intention of sit down in a relaxed way (Remember the Wujifa saying "Relaxed is not limp"). Over time if you play as suggested here you may start to notice how much this will contribute to your Wujifa stance practice (Zhan Zhuang).

If you have any questions... as always... feel free... and ask…

Also check out: More on Zhan Zhuang and Movement

Also check out: Basic Tips for Zhan Zhuang and the pelvis
Also check out: Zhan Zhuang Alignment
Also check out: Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease, aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice
Also check out: Wujifa Two Feet and What Does This Mean