Welcome to the MIT Qigong Blog





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday MIT Qigong: November 28, 2011

Date: 11/28/11
Subject: Building 1/Room 242


Some notes on Qigong:

     Standing Meditation can be considered an advanced form of Taoist meditation, in which Xing Ming Shuang Xiu "spirit and nature are equally cultivated"! In Standing Meditation, externally, there is no movement, yet internally, the Qi and Breath are moving. It is thus both passive and active, both yin and yang. The practitioner does not try to do anything with the Qi, he or she simply becomes aware of the quality of Qi, how it is moving, where it is blocked or free, whether it feels clear or turbid, smooth or coarse.

     Thus, Standing Meditation is "a million dollar secret". It is a secret because it is so obvious, so ordinary that we do not give it the attention it deserves.  It is hidden as the air is hidden, or as the water is hidden to a fish. In the everyday Qigong of standing, we discover the deepest mystery and beauty. We turn standing into a discipline in order to go more deeply into the quality of what is happening and to bring back to wholeness the confused, scattered, and lost parts of the body, mind and soul.

***

Monday November 28 Session
10min gathering qi
10min turning cow
5min gathering qi
20min universal post
5min left hun yun
5min right hun yun
5 min gathering
seal/wash

***

Peace,


Jim Roselando   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chi Sao & Chuk Ging w/ Master Fung Chun & Jim Roselando

Pin Sun Wing Chun - 
Chi Sao & Chuk Ging w/ Master Fung Chun & Jim Roselando
Master Fung Chun and Coach Jim Roselando meet in Gulao, Heshan, China. 
November 2010

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday MIT Qigong: November 22, 2011

Date: 11/22/11
Subject: Great Session

Hello,

     Once again a big thank you to everyone for such a great session last night. There really is nothing more enjoyable for me than seeing so many people interested in this platform of cultivation. I firmly believe that Yiquan Qigong is one of the simplest and most effective methods of holistic health known to humanity. Such an incredible art deserves to be shared with anyone and everyone who wishes to better their quality of life. Many come to Qigong for relief of a physical injury and many come to Qigong to help relieve anxiety. Both are the most common reasons for people to test out our technology. With only a little investment you will find not only these two issues easily treated you will find that your overall quality of life has improved. So, come stand still every monday night and experience the rewards. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and we will see you next week!


Monday Nights Session:

5 Gather Qi
10/10 Half Supporting Post
5/5 Strength Testing
10 Moving Post
10 Leg Meridian Set
Seal & Wash

Best wishes,
Jim Roselando

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anecdotes of Wang XiangZhai

by Wang Xuanjie (Translated by Chen Shengtao) 
This article first appear in China Sports magazine

When Wang Xiangzhai created Dachengquan half a century ago, wushu which was popular among the folk was not close to the original and had become a show piece rather than a fitness exercise and combat skill. To preserve the quintessence of traditional Chinese wushu, there was every need for all martial artists to pay attention to the prevailing deviation and make concerted efforts for a renewal. His determined resolution strengthened as he saw the Japanese invaders beating their victim of occupation for fun in Beijing. “We are a great nation”, he said indignantly. “How can we put up with such insults?” Then, while absorbing strong points of various schools of wushu, he created a style of barehanded exercises – Dachengquan. To spread the newly-emerging routine far and wide, Wang recruited a large number of youngsters and gave them lessons personally. His aim was very clear and that was to help boost the morale of the Chinese people and counter foreign pugilism. He issued a statement in a local newspaper and declared that he was ready to take on any rivals including those coming form foreign countries. Wang’s remark angered Kenichi Sawai, a Japanese martial artist then living in Beijing. Sawai was good at karate, swordplay and judo. In his eyes, Chinese wushu was only something like gymnastics, having little value in actual fights. So, one day he went to call at Wang’s in the hope of showing off his prowess, when he saw Wang Xingzhai, he found that the Chinese shadow boxer, a man of middle stature clad in a long gown, looked very gentle and suave. He was very happy to meet with such a weakling, thinking that he would win without fail. After introducing himself and explaining why he had come, he produced a newspaper which carried Wang’s statement and tossed it on the table.

“You are ready to have a duel, aren’t you?” asked the Japanese karate practitioner, his face wreathed in contemptuous smiles. “Yes, I am”, retorted sneeringly my instructor. “I always mean what I have said. I would never refuse anyone who wants to compete with me. Foreign martial artists are especially welcome”. Hearing that, Sawai went out of the drawing room and stood in the courtyard waiting for a duel. Without any hesitation, Wang came out with his hands placed behind his back. Directing his strength to both hands through concentration, Sawai assumed a horse-riding stance and launched a sudden attack on Wang’s face with hands. Seeing this, my instructor, his left hand remaining still, extended his right forearm to parry Sawai’s hands. Then with a slight exertion of strength, Wang threw the Japanese muscleman 10 feet away. Before realizing what had happened, Sawai was already lying on the ground on his back. Not admitting defeat, Sawai wanted to have a swordplay contest with Wang because he was so skilled at it that he could cut an apple on the head of a man into two without hurting the head. Considering that Sawai should get an idea of what Chinese swordplay was, Wang agreed to have another contest. With a sword held overhead in his hands, Sawai delivered a hard blow at Wang’s head. Wang stepped a bit to the right and wielded his sword to block the opposing sword. As the two swords clanked, Sawai was also thrown several feet away and flattened with his palms benumbed.

Irreconciled, Sawai rose to his feet and pounced upon Wang with his sword towards the throat. This skill is very famous in Japanese swordplay, with which one can catch his rival off guard. However, Wang was so good at Chinese swordplay that it seemed as if he did not make use of eyes but sense only in a fight. Wang turned his body to the right slightly, leaving Sawai’s attack wide of the mark. In another instant, Wang pressed his sword against his opponent’s. Sawai tried hard to draw his sword back, only to no avail, since it was “pasted” to Wang’s at the guard of the hilt. When Wang mustered up his strength, Sawai was flung out and slammed against a nearby door, which caved in as a result. Later on, Sawai engaged Wang in a qinna contest. By then, he was already a 5th dan judoka in Japan. However, he could never get hold of Wang by the sleeve or the front in competition, no matter how hard he tried. Instead, he was grasped by Wang as soon as they came to grips. Then came an Italian boxer who had made a name for himself in West Europe. His surname was James. When he was on a tour in Beijing, he learned that Wang Xiangzhai, founder of dachengquan, was looking for a rival, so he was also eager to have a try, believing that it was a good chance for him to earn fame in China.

James was an experienced boxer endowed with long a powerful arms and highly proficient in the art. With his right hand in front and left hand at his lower jaw, he suddenly delivered a straight left to Wang’s face. As James raised his right forearm for a parry, Wang in quick succession made a powerful push that shot James up and grounded him six feet off. Without knowing what it was all about, James rose to his feet and composed himself for another bout. This time, he changed tactics. He first made an arm feint and then gave his chest a right uppercut. Turning slightly to the left, Wang put his right wrist gently on the left elbow of James, who felt benumbed all over at once, and collapsed on the ground after tottering for a moment. Now, he realised that he was not as good at fighting skills as Wang, which should account for his previous defeats. However he thought he could outplay his rival in the third bout; he believed that he was much more powerful than Wang. To show this Italian boxer what Chinese boxing was really like, Wang asked James to punch his chest and ribs. A hail of hard blows followed and Wang was as firm as a rock. Getting desperate, James gathered all his strength and landed a heavy punch on Wang’s abdomen with his right hand. Wang’s abdomen heaved a bit and James fell down onto the ground with his right wrist sprained. Later, a Mongolian wrestler, who had been living in the suburbs of Beijing, came to compete with Wang Xiangzhai.

This story sounds quite incredible, but it has been on the lips of martial artists to date, named Bator, this lad was a son of a former official in charge of military affairs in the Qing Dynasty (1644- 1911). Bator began to learn Xingyiquan (form-and will shadow boxing) from his father at the age of 14 and took a fancy to archery and horsemanship four years later. When he was 20 years old, he started to practise wrestling under the guidance of a former imperial court trainer. After five or six years of training, he made rapid progress and became quite versed in wrestling. He was strong enough that he could subdue a galloping horse. One day on his way home, a shying horse ran up to him, pursued by a yelling crowd. When the horse arrived in front of him, this Mongolian wrestler first moved aside, then to the great surprise of the pursuers, jumped forth to catch the horse by the neck and upset it.

When he heard that Wang Xiangzhai was willing to have contest with other wushu devotees, Bator went into the city to rise to the challenge. At the start of the contest in Wang’s courtyard, the two stood a few metres apart, face to face. Bator moved forward, trying to throw Wang down with a unique skill he had mastered in wrestling training. As they were about to come into contact, a small insect buzzed into Wang’s left ear. Disturbed as he was, Wang continued with his form steps forward while picking his ear with his left little finger. At the sight of this, Bator jumped out of the way and, bowing to Wang with his hands folded in front, said, “You are so good at martial arts. I am no match for you”. The two exchanged a smile out of their tacit understanding for each other and the contest thus ended. The onlookers were all in amazed. One of them asked Bator, “How come you acknowledged defeat? You should have a try for it”. “As an old saying goes, a master knows what a man is fighting against the moment he takes the opponent on. He was so sedate and self-assured at this juncture that he could afford to pick his ear. If he was not an adept in the art, how could he have so much confidence in winning the contest?” In the year he developed Dachengquan, Wang Xiangzhai kept having contests with dozens of martial artists, Chinese and foreign. They all came in confidence, but went in failure. Since then, the name of Wang Xiangzhai has spread far and wide and Dachengquan become a beautiful blossom in the flower garden of Chinese wushu.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dachengquan Martial Essence of Wang Xiangzhai

Dachengquan Martial Essence of Wang Xiangzhai
By Michael Tse
Qi Magazine | Issue 53 | February 2001

There is a saying in Chinese martial arts that “All heroes have the same ideas.” On doing some research into different master and founders of styles this seems to hold very true. But although the ideas might be the same, the way in which they make them into reality can be different.

Chinese martial arts are fascinating. They contain many unusual movements that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Even Hollywood movies today, like Mission Impossible, The Matrix, Charlie’s Angels, etc. have all been influenced by Chinese martial arts and movement. They have flying kicks, tumbling and other acrobatics and in these you can see the shadow of Chinese martial arts. Some people will say there is also a Japanese and Korean martial arts influence as well, but do not forget, these originally came from Chinese martial arts as well, although they eventually developed into their own styles. Of course, there will be other people who will say the movies also have Brazilian, Thai and Philippine styles in them as well. This shows that film makers will take all different styles and movements to create an action movie and its fight scenes. However, the deeper influence still comes from the Chinese martial arts. If the movies kept to their old ways to movie fighting, only punching and perhaps boxing, I do not think the audience would like it.

If you ask yourself who has had the most influence on martial arts movies, your answer will most likely be Bruce Lee. His popularity is still growing today and I do not think it will ever stop. Since his death, his skills and philosophy have attracted the newer generation and the older generation still love him, maybe even more than before. What made Bruce Lee’s fighting style different to the traditional martial arts was the fact he said that in martial arts you should be able to freely express yourself. You should be like water, when water is poured into a cup, it becomes the cup and when it is in a teapot, it become the teapot. From this you can see his fighting style Jeet Kune Do is about freedom and freedom of expression. You are not controlled and do not need to follow a traditional style, thus, his fighting style could be any style and anything. This is what made him so powerful. However, how can you be free and not follow any system, without learning anything first? In some way, beginners need to learn something first, and that something is fixed. Otherwise, if you had some one who had learned some martial arts and someone who had not learned anything, there would be no difference between them. If these same people were to fight and as long as one person defeats the other, then that sounds okay. But if you think about how injured they will be and that the longer it takes to win the more tired they will be, then finally you will see that you need to learn from someone who has more experience of fighting.  

So therefore, even Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do still has a way to teach you how to fight. Of course, at the end, when you have learned enough, then you can freely express yourself. When you fight, you will have your own style. So everyone who studies Jeet Kune Do will be different to each other because even the teachers will have there own style and way to interpret Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. But if fighting is really about “free fighting”, then should we then say that the thousands of years of martial arts development in China has been a waste of time? In the 1920’s there was a famous martial arts master who had very similar thinking to Bruce Lee. He combined all his martial arts studies into one style. In particular, he was very good at Xingyiquan, which is a very powerful and popular martial art style in China People always talk about, Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua together as internal martial arts, although, personally I do not like to separate martial arts styles into internal and external styles as all Chinese martial arts have internal and external training. Only the training is different. As long as they develop Qi, then it is internal training. This famous master’s name was Wang Xiangzhai. Wang Xangzhai started his martial art’s training when he was fourteen under the guidance of the famous Xingyi master, Quo Yunshen, who had a very high level of skill and was very a traditional teacher. Wang Xiangzhai inherited his teacher’s skill, and when his teacher died, he travelled all over China meeting masters of different martial arts styles. On one of his journeys, he met a Buddhist monk from Shaolin Temple named Xing Lin who had a very high level of Shaolin Martial Arts skill. They compared their skills with each other, shared their knowledge and had friendly discussions about the differences between their martial arts skill. They became each other’s teacher and also good friend. Even Xing Lin’s teacher, Ben Kong Shang Ren, who was already ninety years old, liked Wang very much. He also passed some of his skill on to Wang. Wang Xiangzhai stayed at Shaolin Temple for a while and absorbed more martial arts knowledge. Afterwards Wang continued to travel to different areas, provinces, cities and villages to meet famous martial arts masters. In Zhejiang he met a famous mast er named, Fang Shizhuang, who was very famous for his skill at “Five Hands Technique” which contained some very good fighting techniques. In Xian he met Master Liu Peixian who was very famous for his unpredictable kicking technique. In Fujian he met a famous Wudang martial art’s master, Xie Tie Fu. Xie Tai Fu had a very long beard and people called him “Big Beard Xie”. He was famous for his Crane Fist which was well respected in Southern China. Both Wang and Big Beard Xie compared their styles and learned together, not only bare hand techniques, but also weapons, especially the sword. In the end they had a great respect for each other’s styles, skill and knowledge. Wang Xiangzhai he also met one of Dong Hai Chuan’s (the creator of Bagau Palm) students, Cheng Jianhwa. They studied together and Wang realised that hand techniques in Bagua were very smooth, and could twist in all directions and angles and co-ordinated with the fast and turning footwork. All this meant you could really take your opponent by surprise. In Beijing Wang visited the famous Yang Style Taiji master Yang Shouhou. Meeting all kinds of different masters and learning about different styles gave Wang a lot of knowledge and also made him understand his own style, Xingyiquan, more. 

“Xing” means shape and refers to external movements, “Yi” means mind and refers to the internal mind. “Quan” means fist. The whole name means “External Shape and Internal Mind” martial art. However, when Wang went back to Beijing, he realised that many people only concentrated on the external shapes and missed the internal mind. Originally Xingyiquan was called Xinyiquan. “Xin” means heart, and so the name meant “Heart and Mind Fist”. This meant the heart and mind were more important than the external shapes. Master Wang had seen any different martial arts styles in China and found that most people only concentrated on the external shapes and forms and missed the internal spirit. When they were confronted with another high level martial artist they were lost, because they only concentrated on the external shapes and did not spent too much time on them in order to develop the internal Jing, Qi and Shen. Jing, Qi, Shen is the martial arts meaning of internal spirit. So he began to change his Xingyiquan and called it Yiquan. This went back to the internal spirit, and he said that studying martial arts was for developing true spirit and the mind and not external shapes. Master Wang found that the most important thing in all martial arts skill was true spirit and mind or internal spirit. At the end he even gave up the external shapes and had no forms, only concentrating on Zhang Zhuang - standing positions and Tui Shou – pushing hands (Although this is not exactly the same method as Taijiquan’s pushing hands, it is similar , but the method of training is not the same although the meaning is the same.) This new art he called “Dachengquan” which means, “Great Success Fist ”. It also means the essence of martial art Zhang Zhuang develops internal power, the mind, Qi, spirit, relaxation and breathing. Tui Shou develops fighting techniques, by learning how to read different people’s energy when you come into contact with it, and how to use your own energy in all different kind of techniques. Master Wang combined all his knowledge of Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, Baguazhang together with principles of Confucianism, Buddhism, Qigong training and philosophy to create Dachengquan. He used Xingyiquan’s strong foundation, Taijiquan’s sticking and contacting skills, Baguazhang’s fast and twisting body movements and foot work, plus his own knowledge. The principle of Dachengquan, Master Wang said is that “There is no method for martial art. Even with a method there is still nothing. If we do not accept any method, then we can have all kinds of methods.” In this case method means styles, skills and techniques. He also said, “Something comes from nothing and steadiness is the mother of movement.” Dachengquan concentrates on developing the mind and spirit. Practising Zhan Zhuang will develop the mind, calmness, relaxation and a strong foundation. When the spiritual energy is high and you need to defend yourself, you will be able to move naturally, powerfully and instinctively. Just like an animal living in the natural world fights instinctively and powerfully. Everything comes from natural instinct, just like a baby needs milk from its mother and bees need honey. Sometimes even a very weak person, if they have a sudden mad fit, can be very powerful and it can take many people to hold them down. This is spiritual instinct, but this power needs to be developed through stillness and a calm mind. This is what meditation develops and so when you need power it will come naturally. 

Today Dachengquan is becoming more popular. Although Master Wang Xiangzhai has passed away, his skill is still developing and so Dachengquan is becoming better and more effective. Sadly another famous Dachengquan master passed away on March the 6th this year. He was Master Wang Xuanjie who promoted and taught Dachengquan all his life and has students all over the world. Though another master has gone, I believe that if a skill is good it will live forever. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Master Shuren Ma - Low Post

In November 2009, Master Shuren Ma visited MIT for the first MIT Qigong Seminar. Over 30 people were in attendance. He lead the group through his warm-up, followed by a 45 minute Zhan Zhuang practice. He then spoke to us about the history of Yiquan and his experiences with his uncle, Professor Yu, disciple of Wang XiangZhai. He concluded the seminar with empty force advanced techniques and pushing hands. We then went for a Chinese seafood dinner. Everybody had a great time. We hope to see him again soon.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday November 7 MIT Qigong

Date: 11/10/11
Subject: Monday Night Session

Hello,

Big thank you for such an enthusiastic session on Monday night!  We had twenty people all practicing Yiquan Qigong's simple and highly effective standing meditation postures.  Natural conditioning, natural dynamics, natural breathing and natural meditation all from standing still!  Rise, sink, open, close, yin and yang all from standing still!  Master Wang Xiang Zhai stated: The ordinary is the extraordinary.  I truly feel that there has never been a more accurate statement made about the art of Yiquan Qigong!


Monday Nights Session:

5 Gather Qi
5/5 Heaven & Earth Post
5 Gather Qi
8 Turning Cow
2 Gather Qi
20 Zhuang #1
5 Zhuang #3
Seal & Wash


I look forward to working out with everyone on Monday!


Peace,

Jim Roselando

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free download of Wing Chun Illustrated Issue 1

Download the first issue of Wing Chun Illustrated for FREE and read Coach Jim Roselando's article on the origins of Pin Sun Wing Chun Kung Fu. 
Click Below:
 

Meditation: Aid to Qigong Development

Regardless of the style of Qigong you may practise it is vitally important to have a quiet and focused mind. In order to reap any benefit from your efforts you must be able to maintain your centre, your concentration, and your coordination during practice. Indeed the very length of your session is determined by the quality and quantity of your quiet, focused mind.

Meditation: Aid to Qigong Development
by J. Reynolds Nelson
Qi Magazine || Issue 51 || Dec 2000

One of the problems many beginners experience as they embark upon their Qigong training is that of random thought or voices. This is quite a prevalent situation in the west, especially where the pace of living and constant media bombardment tend to fill every waking moment. In fact many of us are unaware of our mind’s constant chattering until we attempt to practise some of the quiet arts. Unfortunately the speed and constancy of this mental activity gives us little opportunity for mental relaxation. We tend to follow the patterns laid down by western cultures, which dictate what is relaxing: watching a film or television, a pint with our mates, shopping, a meal out, or perhaps, if you’re lucky, a walk in the park or countrysidewith loved ones. 

It is not until we attempt to practise something like Qigong or Taiji that we may discover that, while our teacher looks peaceful and centred, we are bombarded with internal messages and emotions that upset our concentration. For some of us this onslaught of mental hyper-activity is like a motor going into overdrive. While we attempt to relax our body and coordinate our movement and breath, our minds are frenetic. The result of this mental cacophony is often emotional manifestations ranging the spectrum from anger to depression, ecstasy to anxiety. Therefore, just as form and structure is important to beneficial Qigong exercise, so is the practice of the quiet mind. 

Meditation, like any exercise system, must be built up over time. Perhaps in the beginning the student may only achieve a few moments of clear and empty contemplation. However, with regular practice, the voices and random thought will remain at bay for increasingly longer periods of time. Where and when to practise are an important consideration. The best time is always when you anticipate having a few undisturbed and protected minutes. Traditionally this was accomplished by rising earlier than the routine and sequestering in a protected environment. Additionally finding a harmonious, natural venue of exceptional beauty, assisted in bringing about the state of mind conducive to empty thought and being or Wu Wei. In our environment however we may not be so fortunate as to be able to pick and choose. A quiet room or even closet, isolated and separate from the outside world should suffice. Some may find darkness an aid; others may enjoy the flickering of candles or hearing light instrumental music. Incense or fragrant oils may put you at ease enough to relax away the random thoughts dominating your mind. What works best for you, so that you will accumulate time before losing your concentration, is optimal. However, it is recommended that you practise meditation only under the supervision of a qualified teacher. As with any form of esoteric learning many problems can arise that may lead you astray with detrimental consequences. Finally it is within your practice of Qigong or other Chinese Internal Arts that your time meditating is tested. You should find that you can belay the emergence of random thought and voices for increasingly longer periods of time. You will then be able to concentrate more on your breathing, or movement coordination for the benefit of your health and well-being. 

Meditation has been proven over the years to be a great aid to the practice of the Chinese Internal Arts and has been incorporated into many systems like the Standing Pole of Yi Quan, or the single postures of Taiji. It is hoped, regardless of the system of Qigong or martial art that you practise, you find increased concentration and greater inner tranquillity over time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

20min of Zhan Zhuang - Boston Esplanade

Time lapse footage of Zhan Zhuang Yiquan training (Low Post). Captured during an Autumn day on the Boston Back Bay Esplanade. The MIT Dome and MIT Green Building are visible in the background. Share pictures of your practice with us: qi@mit.edu

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Qigong in the News: The Telegraph

Meditation improves the immune system, reduces blood pressure and even sharpens the mind, according to research.


The practice - an essential part of Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions - has entered the mainstream as people try to find ways to combat stress and improve their quality of life.  Now new research suggests that mindfulness meditation can have benefits for health and performance, including improved immune function, reduced blood pressure and enhanced cognitive function.  The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, draws on existing scientific literature to attempt to explain the positive effects.  The goal of this work, according to author Britta Hazel, of Justus Liebig University and Harvard Medical School, is to "unveil the conceptual and mechanistic complexity of mindfulness, providing the big picture by arranging many findings like the pieces of a mosaic."  The authors specifically identify four key components of "mindfulness" - the state of meditation - that may account for its effects: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self. Together, these help us deal with the effects of stress.

Dr Hazel said the components are closely intertwined so an improvement in attention regulation, for example, may improve our awareness of our physiological state. Body awareness, in turn, helps us to recognise the emotions we are experiencing.

She said: "Understanding the relationships between these components, and the brain mechanisms that underlie them, will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients."

However, the framework underscores the point that mindfulness is not a vague cure-all. Effective mindfulness meditation requires training and practice and it has distinct measurable effects on our subjective experiences, our behaviour, and our brain function.

Dr Hazel said: "We hope that further research on this topic will enable a much broader spectrum of individuals to utilise mindfulness meditation as a versatile tool to facilitate change both in psychotherapy and in everyday life."