Monday, November 29, 2010

The Kua More Methods For Developing The Inguinal Crease

The inguinal crease and developing the Kua are fundamental in our practice. Wujifa has a number of methods that are helpful for those just starting out and for those who have practiced different skill-sets for some time. The sitting practice is one of these practices. Different practices like the sitting practice are good for the beginner and actually have even more to offer to those who have practice the Wujifa standing side to side skill-sets. There is a saying about how deep the rabbit hole goes and I will say the depth is discovered by those willing to keep an open mind, explore, and do the work.

The body, more than skin & bones
In June of 2009 you may remember the Wujifa Standing side to side post and video. I would suggest reading this article first if you missed that one here is the link "Keys for Developing the Inguinal Crease aka Kua, with Wujifa Side to Side Practice" as this will be helpful. Those of you who remember that article may still want to go watch the Wujifa “Standing Side to Side” YouTube video again at this link: Wujifa “Side to Side” Inguinal Crease as the insights from watching that video again will aid in noticing more in the video you'll discover below.

Let me say up front that the Wujifa “Sitting Side to Side” skill-set isn’t really a beginners practice although I will say it is much easier for many Wujifa beginners to play with this skill-set as many times their legs may not be strong enough to do the standing Side to Side Kua practices. The reason I say that is beginner may find it very difficult to get the correct movement in the Kua while seated. In the video below you will notice that even for people who have practiced these Side to Side Wujifa Kua sill-sets discovering connected movement of the Kua or inguinal crease area while seated can be a bit of a puzzle. This is why I suggest that it is a much deeper practice. Also one shouldn’t avoid the standing practice as the standing practice helps develop the leg in a different and more direct way. The cool thing about this seated practice is the greater understanding one will gain from its practice over time. Both practices offer very different insights to these kinds of connected movement.

For those of you who watch on YouTube Click Here

I hope you enjoyed this video and have hopefully gained some insights from watching it. As with all forms of exercise one should always check with their doctor first before starting any practice. Those who do practice Wujifa hopeful this video will aid in helping your practice as you engage in the exploration of this skill-set and take the time to notice how deep the rabbit hole goes. What seems simple may actually be much more of a challenge than it might seem on the surface. In sharing this I am really thankful to have a space like this blog to share Wujifa and insights to aid in the discovery about these kinds of connected movement and some of the methods used for their development. Thanks again… and if you enjoyed these videos please feel free to leave comments below and/or at YouTube. Let us know what you think!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Methods for Understanding the Relaxed Shoulder or Song Jian 鬆肩

One of the common problems to development of connection with relaxed shoulders (song jian, 鬆肩) is having good methods to understanding the feel of this while moving. In many of the internal art understanding the relaxed or “song” shoulder is a very prevalent issue with many practitioners and the same is true in the practice of Wujifa.

Of course there are many tricks to relaxing the shoulders. Relaxing or dropping the elbows is very commonly talked about. Also, warm ups like turning or rotating the head, crossing one arm across the chest and stretching it with the other hand, tightening the shoulders pulling them up toward the ears, holding for them there for a count of 5 or 10 and then letting them drop and other such methods are seemingly customary. Personally I believe those maybe good for a beginner to get some hint of how tight their shoulders are, although may not be all that helpful at understanding how a relaxed shoulder feels and moves.

In the following video are a couple of “methods” which aim to give some insights to the practitioner and enthusiasts of how the relaxed shoulder feels is real time while moving.

Those who enjoy watching videos on YouTube: CLICK HERE

In the first example the hand are place on the “swing” and use the arcing of the swing to create a couple dimensions of movement to be explored. The movement is slightly down and forward as the practitioner moves forward and the opposite shifting back. This can be changed by where in the arch of the swing one chooses to practice. The key to this first method is allowing the shoulder joint to simply be a pivot point. There is a tendency for people to want to do more than needed and by simply allowing and noticing, many insights can be discovered in real time in repeated practice. Remember Wujifa aims at finding experiential understanding in doing. Now remember the saying “the method is not the truth” and this is true here as well. The key is to notice how freely the pivot points in the shoulders feel and move.

The second exercise is much more difficult and it is include here as a variations in this example of real time feedback. Again having an experiential understanding in doing with a form of simple bio-feed such as this can be very helpful in a very real and practical way.

Those of you who have seen some of the methods shared here on this blog will notice that what may seem very simple on the surface can and may have a very deep impact on practice. One of the keys is the willingness to experience simple methods such as these in the repeated doing. As one gains deeper and direct kinesthetic understanding of a practice the more that can be discovered over time in the practices. Like the finger pointing at the moon the key is to understand what your purpose is for doing something and then being open to what the practice is allowing you to explore. One of course should, as we said many times before, will need the help of senior school brothers and instructors as for 3rd party verification of your understanding. Remember, at the same time you are doing the work and being open and responsible for your own growth is also a real key to making progress.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wujifa: Mental and Physical Means for Discovery and Growth

“Different people learn different ways.” This is one of the most important sayings my teacher shared with me early on in my practice. Over the years, I’ve understood this to mean many different things. Working with other people, I’ve noticed how true this actually is.

Continuing on with this concept, one should learn to be open and develop the skill in exploring both practical methods and the meta aspects to paying conscious attention to input and how one engages with opportunities for input as well as managing input as one discovers how to focus one’s attention in connection with the targets aimed for.
In the beginning before 10,000 things

By “practical methods” I mean practicing repeated forms, or what we like to call “medicine” in Wujifa over and over again (whether they be standing, movements, working with tools or training aids, etc.) to develop a sense of feeling and connection. As we say in Wujifa, “the method is not the truth, once you get the feeling, get rid of the method.” We must have these practical methods though, because “we are where we are” and the methods give us a place to start practicing feeling and connecting more.

“Meta aspects” are noticing how you notice. The reasons you want to notice this are:

1. To notice and develop what you tend not to notice

2. To notice what ways of noticing work really well for you

What I mean by “input” is the way information comes into your conscious and subconscious experience, and the way we recognize it. For example, we have fingers with nerve endings that send signals to our brains. We have ears that pick up on the sounds of the voices of our teachers as we are taught. We have eyes to see the effects of what we are doing in the world. I say “input” to encompass all of these ways and the many others that exist though which we experience.

The reason I use the word “opportunities” is that it reframes the way we look at the world and how we engage with the world. Hence, it makes it possible to notice the information that’s coming to us in its various forms. What happens when we look at things in a frame other than opportunity is that there tends to be a lot of disconnection and forcing or manipulation of data, or even missing it all together. The reason I talk about how one engages with opportunities is more about “how”. If you can notice how you engage with opportunities, it takes you back to noticing the surface and meta levels of input. The learner learns about the way they learn.

What I mean by managing input is that people can become under or overwhelmed, and so understanding both the surface ways we learn and the deeper meta ways we learn can help us to relate to the input we’re receiving in a way that can be optimally explored, even if unfamiliar or uncomfortable and best facilitates our integration of that input. This is why in Wujifa we do certain exercises like side to side. Seemingly simple, but there’s lots of information to be integrated first before we can begin to notice deeper levels.

Noticing is seen as a complex process; how Wujifa enthusiasts and practitioners take in both the meaning and the form of the process. It takes time for those who engage with a practice to progress from first learning to recognize what it means and what it feels and looks like, to understanding and internalizing the basic underlying rules and methods, to subconsciously embodying the principles and philosophy.

Being willing, as a learner, to repeatedly explore the opportunities recurring with practice by noticing the types of questions asked and the types of results noticed, and to explore deeper what these practices mean and how they contribute functionally to the results expected at each level of practice helps in developing other and more effective means of noticing as one continues to evolve.

At the same time it’s important to keep these methods simple enough so the deeper understandings are not overlooked by the practitioner who would otherwise become overloaded with the intake of data.

For many people, understanding the meaning or result aimed for on a simple and basic level is useful before one can recognize and make sense of the different definitions various forms can take on.

It is important that one understand the difference between, on the one hand, methods used to define meaning of a practice and those that help one make sense of the connection and forms of the practice, and on the other hand, to cognitively understand what, why, and how at different levels of practice clearly as they begin and proceed with any Wujifa practice and developing the desired kinesthetic result. The reason it’s important to understand this difference is otherwise one may gloss over what it is that they are aiming to develop at any given stage. Understanding the difference creates a foundation for receiving and noticing, being receptive to processing the opportunities for growth with clear and defined mental and physical means for discovery and growth by process of engaging in these methods and practices.