The Leg Comes From the Mud

Qi shi is the beginning posture in taijiquan. To start the form the person stands arms at side, looking forward, with feet together. The arms hang naturally and the head also is natural with the eyes looking forward. To step left, first the knees bend slightly and the hips relax as the weight of the body sinks downward and as the tail bone drops and the waist drops. The left foot will rise slightly and take a half-step to the left. As this leg is lifted from the floor/the earth the leg should feel as if it is being pulled from the mud. The leg moves gently and smoothly and should feel as if there is a thick goo that the foot is releasing from deep in the earth. Feel the heaviness of the earth pulling the leg as the body lifts the leg and moves it to the side.

Later on as the right leg lifts in Jin Gang Dao Dui, Pounding the Mortar, this leg too feels as if it is being pulled from the mud. As the right leg drops in this form it remains heavy and the stomp executed at the end of the form is a dropping, not a stomping. One should be able to hear the drop of the foot as a heavy resounding that comes from the energy of the waist and the hip.

Three Rules for the Waist

When training focus on the waist movement. As the tailbone relaxes and sinks the waist drops and loosens. The loose waist can twist more easily. The twisting waist causes the energy the limbs and especially to the arms to move as the torso moves. The arms do not move without the waist movement. Feel the waist connected to the mingmen, the kidney, in the back as if there were a force connecting the back to the dantian. The tail bone drops and with it the waist drops and loosens and allows the energy to sink to the feet. A dropped waist is loose and allows twisting to occur and for energy to circulate.

Drop the Waist

When the waist drops then energy can sink to the feet. To allow the waist to drop the back at the Mingmen point slightly presses out. The perineum drops as the tailbone straightens slightly, and presses down. This will allow the chest to become very slightly concave, empty and allows an arch across the back and shoulders horizontally, and vertically from the base of the neck to the base of the spine. As the tailbone drops let the chi sink to the feet.

Peng: Open with Loose

Open refers to the state of being peng. Peng can be described as a rounded, arched form that is exhibited in every part of the body. This roundness produces an equalized pressure in all directions: back and front, and side to side-similar to that found with a basketball. Think of each part of the body and the body as a whole as an inflated ball with equalized pressure going out from all sides and coming in from all sides.

Peng gives great strength to the body, making it, in a way, invincible. The roundness and openness is held, not with force, power, or strength. Peng is held with looseness from which comes agility, flexibility and strength.

Peng is held with looseness and openness at the same time. Peng cannot be stiff or hard, nor can it be closed or cinched. The openness in peng is held with looseness.

Ding

Ding is the vertical center of the body, the core. One can sense ding internally when one gives a slight gentle push up with the top of the head. This push is not stiff and is not hard on the neck. At the same time the chin is dropped to a natural position, neither stretched upward nor dropped. Slightly push the chin inward, which will slightly raise the crown of the head. The shoulders drop relaxed. It is as if there was a thread gently pulling the head up. At the same time the thread gently pulls the center of the core of the body down to the earth. Ding has the meaning of being upright, straight and centered. It has the feeling of a vertical and central stretch from the crown of the head through the perineum and into the ground.

February 25, 2015

Grandmaster Wang demonstrates Ding, Springfield, MA.  

Grandmaster Wang demonstrates Ding, Springfield, MA.

 

Jin Gang Dao Dui

The second posture of Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame, First Form), is Jin Gang Dao Dui, Pounding the Mortar, or Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar. When Jin Gang Dao Dui is completed consciously and correctly, then the entire Lao Jia Yi Lu form will be completed well, correctly, consciously.

In this form, focus on the crotch being open, dang, with the knees slightly in. The toes grab the floor and the foot sticks to the floor. The body is upright, ding, and there is no internal twisting of the organs. The organs remain upright and stay in the right place.

Peng is held throughout the move. The move is completed without stiffness and the body remains loose without collapsing. The knee stays connected energetically with the elbow and protects the crotch. Leave the crotch open and closed simultaneously and connected to the knee and elbow at the same time. The arms are not too close to the body and are loose and peng. The arm pits have the space of a fist or of an egg between the arm and the body. One is correctly peng when one can hold a raw egg in the armpit without cracking or dropping the egg.

Notice the connection of hand to wrist to elbow to shoulder. They are aligned and follow each other in one direction.

When turning the hand or moving the hand notice that it does not pass the center of the body.

The chest is lightly sunk and the back slightly bowed in a natural position. The body remains loose yet closed and not tight.

Check the elbows : the side, front, back. The front is peng which creates back peng automatically. Loose peng in front will have loose peng in back.

The head is in control of balance in all of the postures or forms. The head is held straight and is pulled upward as if it were being pulled with a puppet-like string. At the same time the seat is pulled downward to the ground. This causes a slight stretching.

At the end of this form the body sinks. The energy drops to the dantian, and to the ground.

 

February 25, 2015

 

Bai He Liang Chi

Bai He Liang Chi, White Crane Spreads Its Wings, is the 7th posture in Lao Jia Yi Lu and is repeated three times. Each Bai He Liang Chi is followed by Xie Xing, Diagonal Posture.

At the completion of this form the left hand faces down and is connected with the left knee, energetically. It is connected to the earth and is heavy. The right hand faces upwards and is light and connected to heaven. Even though the right hand faces upward the elbow remains dropped to retain peng. The back forms an arc leading from the lowered left hand to the raised right hand.

The two hands, as they move within the execution of the form, follow circular paths in opposite directions in front of the body with the upper protecting the head and the lower the body.  As one goes through the transitional twining of this position weight shifts take place with turning of the body, driven by the waist energy. In the final section of the posture the body relaxes and sinks down sending the energy to the dantian.

One day, while kayaking, this blogger/taiji student saw a blue heron take off. As I watched the bird propel itself with its wings I realized that the power for the flying and flapping of wings came from the bird's back and that the bird's movement was perfectly coordinated. Since then I imagine myself as the blue heron, which I expect moves similar to a white crane. I now move into this form sensing that the power of the movement comes from the center of the back just as I saw with the blue heron.

February 27, 2015

Grandmaster Wang: Bai He Liang Chi

Grandmaster Wang: Bai He Liang Chi