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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some Notes on Movement

Great Monday session with Coach Jim last night!!
                    10m Gathering Qi
                    10m Turning Cow
                    10m Moving Post
                    10m Low Post
                    10m Cow Post
                    5m   Low Post

Some Notes on Moving from Zhan Zhuang 
by Michael Garofalo
From stillness comes movement. All of the basic still stances lead to various moving forms. If the forms are done using Silk Reeling skill: chánsīgōng, 纏絲功, one then creates "Winding Silk Power" (or Silk Reeling Power): chánsījing, 纏絲勁. It is this silk reeling power (jing) that creates peng jing 掤勁 (ward off power). It is the combination of both that is the power behind the internal martial arts and Qigong. Without these two primary jings, Taijiquan is just slow dancing and Qigong is just slow breathing. Using the technique "Yin-Ru-Yang-Chu" (陰入陽出): "moving-in when breathing-in" and "moving-out when breathing-out", Qigong practice channels Qi through the body with movements that are synchronized with breathing. Moving in or closing and moving out or opening refer to parts of the body. However, with the principle of Yin Yang, when one part of the body is closing, another is opening. As an example: You are inhaling and your arms are spreading from directly in front of you, to out to the side. This is opening of the chest; however, it is also closing of the back. Reverse the movement of your arms and exhale; you are closing the chest and opening the back.

Observe closely what happens in your body just before you move. Say you get ready to move but you 'abort' the move just before it actually happens. If you try it few times, you are quite likely to notice a certain type of feeling in the part of the body that you were going to move. At the beginning, it is probably easier to feel it in your hands or arms, so if you have difficulty with it, choose a hand movement. Eventually you will be able to feel a sort of 'inner' activity in your body. What happens is that as you form an intention to move and as you get ready to move, there will be some muscular activity associated with stabilising your body in such a way so as to enable the movement to take place. Normally this muscular activity is not noticed as it gets subsumed in the sensations of the actual move that normally takes place. We can't call it a movement, as there is nothing actually moving, yet it is more than 'not moving' - that's why I call it almost-movement. This is the basis of 'sensing strength'.

Zhan Zhuang is the first step in acquiring Internal Power. The emphasis should be on relaxing all muscles and feeling how the body balances against gravity. Gradually the use of phasic muscles is eliminated from the postural function of the body. Slow, very subtle movements can be felt under the guide of movement in stillness. Later on, when learning to move using 'intent', the body's structure should always be supported by postural muscles only, producing the feeling of standing at any point in the movement (stillness in movement).