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.