Donnerstag, 31. Dezember 2009

Article: To Talk about Perseverance

Xu Wen (Dr. Zee)

Issue 20, p. 7 of the Journal of the Jianquan Taijiquan Association Shanghai

Perseverance has the meaning of stamina. The five-point motto of Ma Yueliang finishes with perseverance. It says that while practising Taijiquan one has to have a long the four points of stillness, lightness, slowness and conscientiousness also perseverance. Only then Taijiquan can develop its effects.

Ma Yueliang in the 1930's

Taijiquan is not a panacea, which works right away. Taijiquan follows the "laws of the nature", does search for "being conscious" and the endowed inborn root of the movements. The basic ability of the conscious movement is inborn, but "being close to each other by our inner nature, we separate from each other by our habits". Because of this one loses the inborn. So in physical exercises one does not develop one's original capabilities to the full extent, as it would have been possible, or worse, one develops unfavourable variances. When practising Taijiquan one goes through subjective efforts, but it is a process that changes the objective world and where one looks for the lost endowed inborn.

This process is long-term and life long. Though the Taijiquan movements should become part of daily life, at best a kind of key idea, which you are looking for in all movements, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying down. However, if you "diligently work one day, but there are ten days of rest" you are not following the five-point motto of Ma Yueliang. This also means that you do not prevent diseases or strengthen the body. The goal of Taijiquan, the long life and the eternal spring, will be a question.

It is unusual for young people to begin to learn Taijiquan. They often find not much joy in this kind of movement or even think they are boring. So at the start one should make an individual plan for each one. It is essential to fix the time frame and the amount of stuff to learn. This must be done consciously. But one must also decide with the whole heart to improve. It's like in calligraphy:

"Only after a hundred days of practice with the characters it shows effect."

When you practised Taijiquan three months, you can see the first effects. One can e.g. feel fine, the appetite is good, the limbs are healthy, and after a long time, chronic diseases can improve or the outbreak of them can be prevented. If one gets the taste for it, it increases the confidence and the resolution to practice Taijiquan.

The conditions of individual students are not the same. This must also have an influence to the character and the level of training. The old teachers demanded that one should do the form a ten thousand times in about three years. This shows that if you do the form just once a day, it is only enough to keep it. For today's people, it is certainly very difficult to do the form ten times a day. It would be best to do the form twice a day, because the first time is just to warm up. This is important, because you can't reach stillness by just pushing a button. Only at the second time you can achieve "The heart/mind (xin) leads qi. The qi moves the body.", because now the mind got still. Body and spirit are in harmony, what even increases the result.

As in the phrase: "Relax and stillness as the reaction", you will feel very comfortable now. Even if you want to stop, you can't do it and you feel like a third time. On the other hand, if you are to much distracted by the daily live and it is just hard to concentrate and you have to force yourself to do Taijiquan you should stop the training for a while or take a rest after the first irregularities.

Taijiquan can be divided into two major parts. One part is called the "exercise of the foundation (ti)" or the "exercise of the cultural (wen)." The exercise of the cultural is the high ability (gongfu) of the knowledge of oneself and the practice of the conscious, original abilities. The doing of the form is the practice of the cultural. One must also practice to let the qi flow, even if "the qi flows throughout the body without hindrance" is not easy and it needs two or three years of practice. The second part is the Push Hands.

Push Hands is the "exercise of the application (yong)", also called the "exercise of the martial (wu)". It is the high skill of how to deal with somebody else. You have to reach the level of the understanding jin-power (dongjin), which is not easy and only succeeded after a long time. Only if you have done an extensive training for a long time, you can find step by step depth through practice. But if you go this way, you will find success. But, no matter whether exercising the foundation or the application, if you want go this way, in any case perseverance is the most important point.

Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2009

Classic: Secret Song of the Eight Methods (Bafa mijue)

How to explain the meaning of ?
To lead the other (yindao)
and let him come forward.
Following the other’s incoming force.
Light and subtle, without losing
contact or resisting.
The power ebbs out naturally (ziran)
into the emptiness.
Throw or attack follows naturally (ziran).
Maintain your own centre.
This can not be exploited by the other.

Translated by Freya and Martin Boedicker

Dienstag, 8. Dezember 2009

Link: On the Marionette Theatre

An inspiring text:

I was astounded to see the bear standing upright on his hind legs, his back against the post to which he was chained, his right paw raised ready for battle. He looked me straight in the eye. This was his fighting posture. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming, seeing such an opponent. They urged me to attack. "See if you can hit him!" they shouted. As I had now recovered somewhat from my astonishment I fell on him with my rapier. The bear made a slight movement with his paw and parried my thrust. I feinted, to deceive him. The bear did not move. I attacked again, this time with all the skill I could muster. I know I would certainly have thrust my way through to a human breast, but the bear made a slight movement with his paw and parried my thrust.

Read the full text.

Text: The Difference between Theory and Philosophy

With publishing The Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan I discussed the topic ‘Philosophy’ with a lot of people. I found out, that for many people the difference between ‚philosophy‘ and ‚theory‘ is not 100 % clear. Thus here a try for a definition:

Theory: A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure designed to explain observations and makes one able to give a prognosis

Philosophy: Philosophy (literally: love of wisdom) is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as human existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and so on.

Thus one can say, that theory explains, how Tai Chi Chuan works and philosophy explains why one should do Tai Chi Chuan.

Montag, 7. Dezember 2009

Text: Talking about Wu Style Taijiquan

An excerpt from the Club Magazine No. 17 of the Jian Quan Taijiquan Association Shanghai, 31.3.1986

Chinese martial arts look back on a long tradition. There are many different schools and styles. Taijiquan is divided into five styles: Yang, Wu, Chen, Wu (Hao) and Sun. A hundred flowers blossom and contend in their beauty. One day I asked my teacher Ma Yueliang for advice: „Master Ma, what is Wu Style Taijiquan?“

Master Ma Yueliang answered: „The Wu Style of Taijiquan was founded by the grandfather of my wife. His son Wu Jianquan continued it. Passed on from generation to generation it developed a calm, light and soft character and became a unique style.“ While saying this words he automatically started to perform martial arts movements and said: „Look at these movements. Like flowing water. Like a willow at the shore of a lake. Sublime like a wonderful flowing poem. No wonder that for some practitioners Taijiquan is a movement full of poetry.“