Thursday, November 24, 2011

Zhan Zhuang and Sex in Wujifa

From time to time the subject of sex, Zhan Zhuang, and Wujifa is a topic that shows up and to be honest there is no one answer to this question. The real question is one that you must ask yourself. As you know we have addressed purpose, as in ‘What is your purpose for training?’, a number of times before. Understanding your purpose and the principles of Wujifa should be enough to help guide you to the answers about this topic but we will address it in more detail.

Most Wujifa practitioners practice their Zhan Zhuang training for an hour at a time at least once or twice a day. This does not include other Wujifa practices, only the standing or Zhan Zhuang practice(s). We will use this as a starting point for answering some “basic” questions about sex and Zhan Zhuang.

Becoming aroused while practicing

When we relax, the parasympathetic nervous system (the following is an oversimplification) we could say it kicks in to play. The parasympathetic nervous system  is involved in the functions of salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion, defecation, and sexual arousal just to name a few of the systems involved. As you can tell many of these are also common so called qigong side effects.

When becoming aroused in your Zhan Zhuang practice the best answer for most people is to just recognize this as a sign of the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system and a good sign of health. Think to yourself, ‘Nice, a sign post of health’ and don’t get distracted from your purpose and training. Getting sexually stimulated while practicing isn’t abnormal and as we say in Wujifa, it is just one of many sign posts along different paths. If you are driving somewhere and you see a sign on the road saying 100 miles to where you are driving, you don’t stop at the sign, you keep driving. The same is true with signs that show up in practice.

Now that we have talked about sexual arousal the next question is often about how often can one have sex. This is a very good question and one we should take a look at.

Is having sex a good or bad thing when training?

First lets start by asking the question of purpose. If you understand your purpose and the principles then these kinds of questions become much clearer to the practitioner. If they are unclear to you from the level of basic common sense then you might want to simplify your purpose and goals or understand why you are making something so complicated.

Many qigong Masters and teachers suggest waiting a moon cycle (28 days) or at least two weeks (14 days) before engaging in sexual activity.  Many of these schools of thought lean toward the right and see celibacy as a key to training. I’ve heard other teachers which suggest you wait 24 hours before engaging in sexual activity after Zhan Zhuang practices. Now if you practice every day or twice a day you are basically again choosing the path of the monk. Again if you choose to follow this kind of advise, simply understand how it aligns with your purpose and the principles of your training.

I’ve heard it said that girlfriends can be the biggest problem for those learning Gongfu. That a person will spend many years training and then meet a girl and forget about their practice. I believe some of the reasons behind limiting sexual activity  given to students without functional explanations is aimed at solving this problem of losing students to relationships. It may be true that rules like this can help cage a student, then again if a person gets so easily distracted then they most likely will get distracted by other things over time and they may not really be cutout for deeper practices.

Personally I have found a good loving and supportive relationship can make your Gongfu training easier and better. Although finding a good woman is the key. If you take the time, allowing good people into your life and you will find them supportive and helpful to your Gongfu goals.

So when can I engage in sexual activity?

You understand your purpose and the principles of your personal practice. You have found a good girl and want to engage in sexual activity. Leaving all the cultural and morality issues aside for a moment as these could also be addressed under purpose and principles. When can you engage in sexual activity after practicing Zhan Zhuang. There are other high level practitioners that have expressed the fact that they are not monks and enjoy sex with their wife and they have shared a couple different opinions. One is to wait 4 or so hours before or after training, eat and relax and go about a normal day and then sex is fine. They explain that this is enough time for your body to rebalance. 

Other advanced Wujifa practitioners have simply said it’s a good idea to wait an hour after or before engaging in sexual activity. They explain an hour is enough time to return to normal status, and that they would wait an hour or so after eating a big meal or after work as it just gives some space. I also know of some practitioners who practice and have sex when they feel like it after training. They have some martial skill and they say they don’t have sex every time after practicing Zhan Zhuang but if their girl is ready and the time feels right they haven’t had any problems.

So you can see there are many different answers to these questions. Are you engaged in Zuo Dao or tantric practices and the practice of Zhan Zhuang? Are you like some boxers and refraining from sexual activity until after the big fight? Are you doing a special qigong practice like Yijin Jing  (Muscle/tendon Changing) and also practicing Wujifa Zhan Zhuang? If you understand your practice and you know the principles of your practice then you already know the answer. If you don’t know you are most likely playing with an advanced practice and you should seek some personal guidance and ask your senior school brothers or teacher. 

If you just are beginning a Wujifa Zhan Zhuang practice and you simply like doing the Zhan Zhuang practice, maybe just give yourself an hour before spilling your qi as they say.  New lovers tend not to take much real advice anyway, they’re hopelessly in love don‘t you know. So some of this advice may be a mute subject, just use your common sense that's always best.

So, I hope this sheds a little light on the question of sexual engagement and Wujifa Zhan Zhuang practices. Remember in Wujifa the simple and deep practices are the real key to success. Don’t complicate your practice. You are where you are and that’s where you start. It may take work but it should also make sense. If it doesn’t your doing something wrong or you need to ask more questions before training mindlessly and losing your way.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Filial Piety In Our Gongfu

Filial Piety In Our Gongfu (Xiào 孝)

The Confucian classic Xiào 孝 Jing (Filial Piety) aims at building the foundations stones of how one should set up an honorable and functional society. In Wujifa we believe we should always take a closer look at the principles and so let’s take a look at this concept here. Filial piety means to honor and be good to your parents, to take care of your parents, to conduct yourself both publicly and privately in respect to the good name of one’s parent’s, ancestors, those who came before you.

"Now xiao is the principle of Heaven, the righteousness of Earth, and the (proper) conduct of people. The principle of Heaven and Earth - people's affairs should follow that principle. We should study Heaven's brilliance and take advantage of Earth's bounties in order to bring harmony to the world; that way the teaching is not stern and yet it is successful, the governing is not severe and yet good order reigns."

Do you practice filial piety in your gongfu practice?
In Chinese culture Filial Piety or Xiào 孝 is considered to be the first virtue and a primary virtue. In our Wujifa Gongfu practice we say “The method is not the truth, once you get the feeling get rid of the methods.” Wujifa is a principle based practice so simply to follow the methods of honoring your parents, or your University, or your Gongfu Master when the principles are not expressed in your heart and your practices is then simply just a form of make believe.

In Wujifa our ancestors, our parents, are our foundational “principles” of practice. In Wujifa we say “you are where you are and that’s where you start” and so we start with our body, our mind, and our spirit in how we practice and train. The first and basic foundational principle in Wujifa is that of developing connection(s). We develop this in our basic practices Zhan Zhuang and side to side for an example. We pay close attention to our alignment and structure which is the first of the three points in the Wujifa triangle of Balance, Structure and Relax.

The way you engage in your Gongfu practice is though Xiào 孝 or Filial Piety to the principles. In Wujifa we seek that of the principle of connection(s). Every great Gongfu practitioner has had filial piety for his training in his heart. If he can not train his Gongfu with Xiào 孝 or Filial Piety then what does it matter the name of his style of practice? If one does not train with passion in his heart to adhere and refine the principles of his practice what does it matter who his master’s name is?

Respect for the principles of our Gongfu are fundamental and starts within ones heart. Each person must truly look deeply into his heart first and examine him or herself and then take responsibility for bringing the principles of their training into reality through their practice.

It is only “Make Believe” to say you honor your style, or your teacher, or you school of practice and not put in the time it takes to eat the bitter of personal examination and bring about real transformation of yourself though your training. This is real honor, this is real filial piety, this is the real meaning of Xiào 孝. In our Wujifa practice this is what we mean by Xiào 孝 or filial piety.

Personally I have made mistakes and have fallen short in my training many times over the years. I have overlook principles and cut short my training when I knew I should have. I have fallen asleep by simply following the Wujifa methods without holding dear our principles of our practice in my heart and within my mind. I share these things here as my hope is each of you may also look deeply into your actions and see where you may have fallen short and where you can make real improvements in your practice. Please take the time to make your practices functional and real.

Willingness to admit and even more important make the corrections to one's mind and heart to truly keep to the principles and filial piety in respect to these principles in all of our gongfu practices.