Letter from the Chairman…
In this issue we finalise the profile of Professor Li Deyin. He comments on Push Hands, the mysticism of Taijiquan and the meaning of Taiji, as well as touching on the profundity of the “I Ching’ These are all key aspects to a greater understanding of the art of Taijiquan.
THE 5TH WORLD WUSHU CHAMPIONSHIPS
Simon Watson reports on the 5th World Wushu Championships including the latest developments.
YANG CHENG FU
There is continuation of Yang Cheng Fu’s ten impor-tant points for correct practice. While many of Longfei’s advanced students will have studied these principles in detail, we hope they are helpful to the understanding for the newer student. At any rate, it takes a lifetime for these to become firmly established in our everyday training. The com-mentaries are mine; they are however inspired by my own reading of others’ translations. We continue our survey of Qigong practice with some guidance to correct practice. The observations are from Professor Zhao Bao Feng, former president of The Qigong Clinic, Baidahe, China, April 1999.
MASTER WANG’S SPRING VISIT
This year we covered a great deal of material. First there was the gathering in Glasgow with Derek’s group. The weekend training took in basics of Taiji, the 24 routine, Xingyi Quan, Ta Lu, Qigong and Maclachlan’s Brew Bar. In Hertfordshire two meditational Qigong methods, one Buddhist and one Daoist were featured with pushing hands, Ta Lu and sensitivity training. The sensitivity training is proving to be very popular with all groups, as was the Friday evening studying applications. My thanks to Steve Price for organising an evening with his students in Stanmore. Master Wang will be back to continue the good work during the weekend of the 25th and 26th November. We will be looking to continue the two man Tui Shou, Ta Lu and sensitivity training.
LONGFEI SUMMER CAMP
Please don’t forget Dudley and the Longfei Summer Camp on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd July. Please book early to save disappointment.
PROFESSOR LI IN JERSEY AND GLASGOW
If you would like a weekend in Jersey with Prof Li, he will be there on the 29th and 30th of July. Derek Daly will be host to Prof Li in Glasgow on 15th and 16th July.
Congratulations to Ann Lo who won gold for her Sword in the British Open Tai Chi Chuan Championships.
A double whammy for Andrew, who won gold medals for his Taijiquan and his Taiji Sword, in the British Open Tai Chi Chuan Championships. Congratulations to Andrew’s student, Helen, who won a Bronze medal for her Taijiquan. Thank you all for flying the flag for Longfei.
Richard Watson, Chairman
The 5th World Wushu Championships
by Simon Watson
The 5th World Wushu Championships were hosted by Hong Kong in November 1999. The first time I visited Hong Kong was in 1991, accompanied by my father and coach after competing in the 1st World Championships in China. I could not believe I was returning, although when I first travelled to Hong Kong it was still a part of the “British Empire” and had been for 156 years. But in 1997 it returned to China. Hong Kong or “Heung Gong” (which literally means Fragrant Harbour) is a unique city full of magic and charm and steeped in both traditional and modern cultures; a place where East meets West. Sounds, smells, sights and boundless energy emanate from everywhere. It seems as if its 6.4 million population never sleeps. Well, I was back, but this time my father and I were accompanied by my brother, family friend and training partner David Lieber as spectators. The venue was the Hong Kong coliseum which is situated on Kowloon. This enormous event is one of the most spectacular and prestigious martial arts events that is held every two years.
Wushu gains Olympic Committee recognition
In 1995, the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) was accepted into membership of the General Assembly for International Sports Federations (GAISF) this was the first step. The second step was to fulfil the criteria set by the International Olympic Committee to have Wushu represented by a minimum of 73 countries, spanning four continents. At the 4th World Wushu Championships and Congress, held in Italy in 1997, it was reported that the IWUF had 78 countries in membership, spanning all continents (Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa and the Oceanic States). The British Council for Martial Arts (BCCMA) met with the sports minister of China, Mr Wu Shaozu, he is also President of the IWUF and the Chinese Olympic Committee to prepare the final step, the letter of application to the IOC. The current situation is that the International Wushu Federation have fulfilled the requirements of the Olympic Committee and are therefore a potential Olympic event. The championships were held over five days with the open-ing ceremony being held on the Wednesday evening. The Hong Kong police brass ensemble played and the Hong Kong Wushu Society performed many demonstrations which included Taijiquan, Shaolin Quan and Qigong displays. The climax of the evening was a demonstration from the Chinese Wushu athletes, which included many spectacular demonstrations.
The different styles within Wushu competition
Wushu international competition consists of:
(a) 10 Compulsory routines,
(b) Free style full contact fighting and
(c) Demonstration events. The compulsory routines were first introduced into the competition arena in the 1990 Asian games hosted by China.
The routines were compiled and standardised by many of China’s top athletes, coaches and traditional experts. Originally the Asian games and the first four World Championships only consisted of seven compulsory routines.
These seven routines were then divided into three categories:
(a) Northern School of Boxing (Bai Pai),
(b) Southern School of Boxing (Nan Pai) and
(c) Internal School of Boxing (Nei Pai).
Within each category there is a further category:
(a) Hand routines,
(b) Short weapons and
(c) Long weapons.
The Hand Routines are:
- Chang Quan (Northern Long Fist), based on the traditional Chang Quan School whose routines consist both moving and fixed postures characterised by expansive and agile movements which emphasise speed high leg techniques and high jumps.
- Nan Quan (Southern Fist). The movements of the south-ern style incorporate their own unique features and characteristics. These include powerful, explosive, energetic postures and movements. They combine to display a variety of hand striking techniques. Some of the attacking methods are accompanied by audible shouts whilst other features include low kicking techniques and close combat hand methods.
- Taijiquan (Supreme Ultimate Boxing). Taijiquan is part of the Internal School of Boxing based on traditional Taijiquan methods and skills and embracing the major schools of Chen, Yang, Wu, Woo and Sun. Athletes are required to display and interpret the different characteristics and technical require-ments of these major schools.
Jian Shu (Double Edge Sword) and Dao Shu (Broadsword).
Gun Shu (Cudel) and Qiang Shu (Spear Play).
The introduction of the New Routines
The 5th World Wushu Championships saw for the first time the introduction of three new routines. These were the Tau ijian (Supreme Ultimate Sword), the Nan Gun (Southern Cudel) and the Nan Dao (Southern Sabre). In time we will see the intro-duction of the Taijiqiang (Supreme Ultimate Spear) which is currently being choreographed. The athletes will have to perform three disciplines of bare hand routines, short weapons and long weapons in either the Internal School, the Southern School or the Northern School of Wushu. All categories are divided into male and female.
The routines (Talu) events are just a part of Wushu compe-tition which also includes San Shou (free fighting) which is Chinese full contact fighting. This exciting and physically demanding sport is held on a Lei Tai, a 24ft x 24ft platform, 21/2ft high. San Shou includes four main fighting categories: Ti (kicking), Da (striking), Shui (Wrestling/throwing) and Na (controlling and seizing). It includes eleven weight categories and the athletes wear boxing gloves and protective head, groin and body equipment. Victory is decided by knockout or points decision. San Shou requires great courage, skill and above all extreme physical conditioning. Finally, the championships include an exhibition event. This allows the athlete to use free form routines that are not compulsory. It also gives the individual a chance to demonstrate and perform the other styles of Chinese Wushu, boxing and weaponry.
- Imitation Boxing — Mantis, Eagle, Snake, Monkey etc.
- Soft Weapons — Rope Dart or Whip Chain.
- Dual Weapons — Double Broadsword Twin Rapier, Double Daggers or Hooks are some of the routines.
- Group or Paired Combat. These are choreographed routines where the athletes perform combat sequences or mock fights including hand to hand combat, hands against weapons, weapons vs. weapons and many combinations.
Also, one had a chance to see displays of Shaolin Quan and the other representatives of the internal school, Bagua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan. This particular event is very spectacular and allows the athlete more freedom to display the many wonderful and more unusual styles of Wushu. The British team were all new to the world stage with the exception of Richard Hamilton (San Shou), a former team-mate who is undoutedly one of the country’s top San Shou fighters. He has won two bronze medals in world titles and one silver in Europe. Richard has competed in all five- World Championships and is a talented and experienced athlete. Unfortunately Richard’s first fight was drawn against the Russian who eventually went on to win the gold. The Russian won two of the three rounds. I felt Richard’s conditioning and fitness had maintained a high standard, however the lack of quality sparring partners in the UK has had a negative effect on his timing and overall concentration. Richard is only a young man and I believe he has at least one more championship left. The Ta Lu contingent, however, were inexperienced by comparison to the teams I have captained in the past. The likes of Ray Park, Andrew Belamy, Andrew Hopkins, Chew Yeem Lawes, Vincent Hopkins, Mica Hudson and Mark Batt were not only European gold and silver medalists but some had received medals and achieved results in the top six places at world class level. The team were streets ahead of any European team and on a level par with the Russians. The previous British athletes were also far more versatile and not only performed the compulsory routines but were quite happy to perform in the exhibition events. Ray Park’s speciality was the Drunken Sword, whilst Andrew Belamy would demonstrate Baijiquan and Whip Chain. Andrew Hopkins demonstrated Fanziquan and Autumn and Spring (Halbered). Also, Ray, Andrew and Andrew would perform Dual Partner sparring. I believe the previous teams were far more balanced.
Although the overall championship is fascinating to watch, the main interest to my father and myself was the Internal Categories which featured the Taijiquan and Taijijian. Longfei member Andrew Austin represented Great Britain in the Taijiquan competition. Andrew is one of the members in the team with the greatest potential. Andrew’s performance in my opinion was the most out-standing in the men’s category in Europe. Both his Taijiquan and Taijijian were performed with technical accuracy and displayed a clear interpretation of the different features and characteristics of each school of Taijiquan. Upper body posture and transition were good and lower limb stability and flexibility were excellent. The opinion of both Dick and myself was that Andrew’s marks did not reflect his performance. However, with Andrew’s ability and talent, all he needs to do is compete and with time and experience gained he will achieve results. The women’s athlete, Joanne Kitchener was the top scoring European for her hand routine and deservedly so. Like Andrew, she received her best score for her sword routine.
I first saw Joanne in the nationals over two years ago and thought she was the best female Taijiquan athlete in Europe and the best I had ever seen. Joanne needs to pay some attention to the martial content and expression which I feel will improve her overall performance. Although keen to watch Andrew and Joanne’s perfor-mances, I was also eager to see China’s latest competitors, as well as the rest of the stadium who waited in anticipation. We were to see for the first time a new generation of Taijiquan competitors from China. The 1990s were dominated by Chen Sitam, Asian Gaines gold medalist 1990, twice World Champion 1993 and 1997. Wang Er Ping, World Champion Baltimore USA 1995. The wonderful Gao Jao Min, Asian Games silver medalist 1990, twice World Champion 1991 and 1993 together with the famous Su Sifang who, at the age of 40, won the gold medal at the Asian Games in 1990. We were not to be disappointed. In fact the new breed of athletes were quite staggering. China’s two new male Taiji players were outstanding and in a class of their own. Xiang Dong Kong (Minim) and Jun Jian Zou (Taijiquan) both secured gold medals for China. Although the standards of Asian Wushu is generally higher than Europe, the gap between China and the rest of the world is quite considerable. Although Europe and Asia are improving in leaps and bounds and the standard of Wushu is getting higher, we cannot forget the fact that mainland China are not standing still!
During the nine years that I competed, China’s standards have gone through the roof. You could liken it to making a comparison between Manchester United and the local Sunday side! Hui Fong Qui took the gold medal for mainland China in the ladies hand form. Fai Li, from Hong Kong, won the ladies category for Taijijian. Talking to Tony Swanson, team leader and Sanshou coach, about his summing-up report, the most interesting overall point for him was the comparison between the eastern countries and the western competitors. It is interesting to note that across the whole of the men’s Taolu events only two medals were awarded to Europe. These both went to a Chinese ex-pat Xian Fei, from Holland. In all categories only seven non-Asians managed a position in the first eight. In the women’s Taolu a similar position arose, again only two medals were awarded to non-Asians and twelve non-Asians managed to gain places in the first eight. But in the Sanshou, of the 44 medals awarded, 32 went to non-Asian countries. As Tony says, we could have some very good discussions on the reasons why — but for now an interesting fact.
Best World Championships
Overall the competition ran smoothly and the scoring was clearly displayed, although some of the judging was a little erratic and sometimes lacked consistency although the events finished on time. I met many old friends and made new acquaintances from all over the world. This was the best World Championships so far in terms of the athletes and judging standards as well as organisation. Wushu is going from strength to strength; lets hope in the not too distant future we can all look forward to seeing it in the Olympics.
A Glossary of Chinese Terms used in Wushu
Many students express a wish to understand the greeting when we salute a visiting Chinese instructor. Below we publish a few useful words and include both the greeting and farewell. The intonation is indicated as an introduction to the four sounds of pinyin Chinese.
Hello – nĭ hăo
Goodbye – zàı jıàn
Good morning – zăo ān
Good night – wăn ān
Thank you – xıè xıè
Thanking you – xıè xıè nĭ
You – nĭ
I – wŏ
Teacher – lăo shi
Classmates – tóng xué
Students – tóng xué
Greetings from your Teacher – tóng xué mèn hăo
Greetings from Students – lăo shī hăo
Good bye Students – tóng xué mèn zàı jıàn
Good bye Teacher – lăo shī zàı jıàn
one – yī
two – èr
three – sān
four – sì
five – wŭ
six – liù
seven – qī
eight – bā
nine – jiŭ
ten – shí
zero – líng
hundred – băi
Glossary A – Z
One of the four functions of Lan Que Wei (Grasp the Bird’s Tail). Generally translated as Push.
The crown centre of the head. The point to be lifted up when training Taijiquan and Qigong. Baduanjin: Perhaps the most popular of Chinese Qigong exercises for health presenta-tion. Consists of eight exercises practised eight times with breathing rhythms. Also known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade or The Eight Treasures.
One of the trilogy of the internal martial arts systems, based on the Eight Trigrams.
Refers to footwork and steps as in Congbu (Bowstep).
Pro. Tsai, one of the thirteen kinetic characteristics of Taijiquan. Generally translated as plucking, or pulling down.
Longfist boxing, takes its inspiration from the image of a continuous long flowing river (the Yangste).
Buddhist, branch of Buddhism intro-duced from India to China by Bodhidharma also the Patron Saint of Japanese Martial Arts, in Japanese, Zen Buddhism.
Intrinsic Energy, Air, Breath.
Work, development of Intrinsic Energy.
Ancient Chinese system of health care using movement to generate and invigo-rate personal energy.
The most commonly known area three fingers below the navel, sometimes referred to as the Field of Elixir. Also recognised as the centre of gravity. There is also Upper Dan Tien (between the eyes), Middle Dan Tien (at the heart level). All three figure in the refinement of Qi.
The governing meridian running up the back.
A Profile of Professor Li Deyin
The questions were supplied by Simon Watson and Simon Ward. The translation was carried out by Tarry Yip.
I have transcribed the text to the best of my ability. — Richard Watson Chairman, Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain.
Longfei Question Four
Is it possible to become a Taiji expert without practising Push Hands?
I would like to say first of all that Taiji has become both a martial art and a sport. It has the principles of body maintenance and the applications of a martial art. Traditionally they emphasise the routine forms (Talu) and Pushing Hands (Tui Shou) especially if you wish to qualify as a Taijiquan expert. In recent years the popularisation of Taijiquan has brought it into a different arena. The distinguishment has arisen from group needs, aims and requirements. Some groups and schools stress the importance of health and well being and others are attracted to the martial aspect. Those that practise routines only, do so for health and excercise, others with a leaning towards martial expertise practice Pushing Hands. As they say in Taijiquan circles: “to learn routines is the discovery of self. To train Tui Shou is to discover others.” In Tui Shou the final target is to learn to understand your adversary without revealing yourself. Dual practise is essential to show the overall skills of Taijiquan and pairs training serves the purpose of mutual discovery. A Taiji expert should have knowledge and control of both skills. If your ambition is to gain well being and good health you can make good progress in your Taiji with the practise of routines. There are many routines champions who lack proficiency in Tui Shou practise. We do not recognise them as Taijiquan specialists, we simply recognise them as routines champions. Conversely, some of the old traditional Taiji exponents were very good at Tui Shou with great experience but lacked in their ability to perform routines expertly. Finally on this question, while there is an important link between the two skills it does not follow that you cannot do one without the other.
Longfei Question Five
In the West there are groups that are attracted to the mystical side of Taiji. Indeed, some are not aware that it is an ancient matial art. What advice could you offer them?
Professor Li: I feel that the major significance of the art is the study of overcoming hardness with softness. So is it necessary to mystify the techniques and theories of Taijiquan. So while we say softness can overcome hard-ness, in the final analysis it comes down to an examination of the skills of the antagonists. The determination of who will win a contest will be decided in favour of the player displaying the largest array of skills. It was said by Wang Sung Yue: “Using 4ozs to overcome 1,0001bs is the skill of Taiji philosophy.” If you have not harnessed Taiji skills it does not matter how many pounds you can summon, you cannot win the contest. This theory and method have been incorporated in the strategy of war and military manoeuvres. When a small army defeats a larger opposition it is not a face to face confrontation. There would be more guerrilla warfare with strategic withdrawal and out-manoeuvring. (Transcribers note: think Vietnam). Taiji principles can be seen in other areas of sport as well as martial conflict. For example, in table tennis some players overcome opposition using subtle skills of spin in contrast to power, speed and strength. Tennis is similar — some competitors use strength and speed, others use subtle skills. In volley ball the Cubans are big strong athletes and they have great physical strength and presence. In contrast the Japanese team are small framed and employ techniques of a defensive nature to overcome and out-manoeuvre a stronger physical team.
Longfei Question Six
We understand “Taiji” to translate as the “Grand Ultimate”? You have said it would take a long time to give a complete answer Is there not some simple explanation that would help us understand the concept?
Professor Li: The words (heiroglyphics) first appeared in the I Ching some 3,000 years ago. They represent an inference that all the changes in the universe begin with Taiji. Some observers say that the I Ching is a book of prediction and fortune telling. Others comment that it is a book of philosophy. To this very day scholars are examining and researching the deep meaning and profundity behind this book. The concept of Taiji being the underlying, initiating force of all changes in the universe gave rise to Daoism and the philosophy of the Dao. Taiji brings into being the two forces/energies of Yin and Yang. The rotation and motion of these two energies are the fundamentals of all creation. The book has carried far reaching influence on Chinese thinking, philosophy, medicine, military strategy and also history. So the basis of this philosophy is the way of the Dao which determines the universe as Taiji. Nowadays we describe Taiji as the beginning of life or the most primitive function of nature. Some commentators say your heart is Taiji. So this concept of Taiji has been around for a long time although its connection with Wushu only occurred three hundred years ago. There are several reasons they used Taiji in conjunction with martial arts. The first is to bring to the Taijiquan practitioner a balanced training whereby the external and internal workings of the body are unified and coordinated. The second that the Taiji art adopts the principles of the universe the way of the Dao. This martial art has so many changes it remains by nature unpredictable. Thus enabling one to hold sway over and control your opponents without them understanding how it was achieved.
Longfei Question Seven
Our final question to you is whether you can tell my members what you feel has been your contribution to the development of Taijiquan?
Professor Li: I have been involved with Taijiquan for over 40 years. I began before I was twenty and I am now sixty. Beginning with my grandfather “Li Yulin” and his son “Li Tianji”, we have contributed a hundred years to the Taiji tradition. I feel that I have done two meaningful things to promoting and popularising Taijiquan. First I have been instrumental in laying certain foundations for the popularisation for Taijiquan. For example, I was the main compiler for the 42 International Competition Routine. This routine is now established for international competition and has been the recognised format in four world Wushu championships. It has laid the foundation for universal Taiji meetings throughout the world. My uncle, Li Tianji, was the first one to initiate this international enterprise with the creation of simplified Taijiquan. This process began after the forming of The People’s Republic of China. Along with my uncle I have contributed to the standardisation of teaching materials, promoting it to university and school curriculum and spreading it throughout China and further afield to Japan, Macao, Taiwan and Great Britain. When China hosted the 11th Asian Games I was responsible for organising a mass demonstration of 1,500 Taiji exponents. I have also made improvements for the coordination of movements by introducing training with music. I have done a great deal of research into the methods of standardising coaching and the regularisation for competitions. I have coached many of China’s prominent teachers and Taiji athletes and among these many function at world class. All the Taiji athletes who gained gold and silver medals at the 11 th Asian Games trained under my supervision. I feel that I have contributed to the sowing of seed for the growth and expansion of Taijiquan. When I began my adult life there were not many people familiar with Taijiquan. After much effort in my university, Taijiquan is now one of the standard formats for physical education courses.
Longfei Thank you Professor Li for giving so much of your time.
A brief guide to Qigong Practice – Part 4
by Professor Zhao Bao Feng
In the past three issues of the Newsletter we have looked at the background and theory of Qigong. In this issue and future issues we will be looking at the general rules and principles of Qigong practice and later (and in particular), the methods of Daoyin Yangsheng Gong. These notes will have a variety of authors and they will be accredited in each issue. I would like to thank Mark Atkinson who supplied much of this material and gave his approval for the reproduction. Unlike many books on the subject this material is quite uncomplicated and eminently practical and comes from reliable sources. To make progress in Qigong regular practice (daily) is the first priority as is familiarity with the system practised.
How to practice Qi Gong well
There are two types of Qi Gong:
Some standards which demonstrate good practice
- The student knows the method/procedure/postures.
Correct body position is very important for breath regulation
— the student must be natural and relaxed
— the student must have a good teacher
- Regulation of the breath — which must be deep and regular.
- Mind training/concentration — most methods require this. If you can fulfil these three elements, you can be confident that you are practising Qi Gong well. Similarly: the whole body should be relaxed and breathing regular. The individual may feel the Qi in some way.
— after practice, the body should feel full of energy, with the mind relaxed, happy and positive.
— there should be positive change, which is the aim of Qi Gong practice, i.e. improvement in body condition, cure or prevention of disease.
How to Practice Qi Gong Well
At the heart of good Qi Gong practice is: SONG (RELAXATION)
— the whole process should be natural and relaxed. (This can be better achieved in still Qi Gong).
— only concentrate on the exercises.
What is relaxed?
In Qi Gong terms this refers to muscles, joints and the mind.
How to reach SONG
— eyes half closed, muscles relaxed
— breathe in and out through the nose, which makes it easier to regulate the breath
— lightly close your mouth
— tongue touching the roof of the mouth (on the soft palate just behind the top front teeth)
— your facial expression should also be relaxed
— sink the chin slightly, helping you to relax the neck muscles
— keep the head straight, not tilted to one side or the other
— sink/hollow the chest
— keep a straight back
— keep the stomach in
— keep the hips relaxed
— feel your centre of gravity as being in the centre of the body between the Dantian and the back
— relax all the joints, especially the armpits, elbows, wrists and knees
— keep the feet parallel.
When practising (especially Still Qi Gong), you should check all of the above.
In Movement Qi Gong:
— the movement should be round and also soft, smooth and continuous
— the body should be straight, even during the movement.
In Movement Qi Gong you must still check the body for all the elements above. Obviously some muscles need to work during the exercise.
How to produce SONG in breathing
The breathing must be natural, not forced. Try:
— firstly with the mind, to bring the breath deeper. Then try physically — but only a little — to deepen it further.
— feel free, happy, quiet and without pressure
— don’t try to achieve everything at once
— don’t try to fulfil the requirements of the teacher
— don’t pressure your body/mind to feel something in particular. It will come
— try to find a quiet environment
— become quiet within yourself:
— clear your mind
— concentration should be relatively stable
— reduce reactions to internal and external stimulation.
If you can reach this level, we can say that you are entering into Jing.
Entering into Jing can be divided into three levels:
- After several weeks, one can reach the lower level
— body relaxed
— breathing smooth
— mind relatively clear.
- 2. After continued practice, you may reach the middle level.
— you are able to feel the Qi, perhaps as a feeling of warmth.
- 3. After long practice, one may reach the higher level.
— you forget your body and environment. Everything has ceased to exist your mind is so clear that you no longer feel the existence of the world. The higher level can be reached, but if you can reach the middle level, your Qi Gong will be very beneficial. Song and Jing need to be combined. Only when the body and mind are relaxed (Song) can you go into quiet (Jing). At the same time, when you go into quiet, your body will become even more relaxed.
— nervous people should be encouraged to breathe out for longer than their inspiration
— use the principle of “one thought to prevent a thousand thoughts’: i.e. by thinking for example about your breath, you can prevent extraneous thoughts from distracting you.
Both halves work together. (This will be fulfilled through Song and Jing). Therefore the waist is the axis of movement. Power comes from the waist. The arms are passive. The legs are the base. Abdominal breathing assists in this. Concentrate on Dantian. In practice we can use these principles to cure some diseases, e.g. hypertension, when the relationship between the top and the bottom is reversed. This can be altered through Qi Gong which will reduce the blood pressure.
Progress slowly by following the procedures
Don’t try to achieve too much too quickly.
- First learn the method
— the techniques as described above.
This will take a very long time. Positive effects come after time. Without this investment in time, the aims will not be reached. “You water the grass every day, but it doesn’t change. Then one day it becomes green — it grows.”
Quantity and Quality
Controlling the rate and type of practice will provide the best progress.
How Do You Regulate?
- Pay attention to the basic principles outlined above — movements, breathing, concentration .
- Try not to be too stressed, but also not too relaxed .
- Regulate your breath step by step. Never try to strengthen the inspiration. The breath frequency will be reduced naturally (from 16 per minute to <10 per minute). Try to lengthen your expiration .
- Concentration/Mind Training. Keep your mind between concentrate and not concentrate, i.e. return again and again rather than force the mind to stay in one place. To control your own practice you must gather your own experiences.
Training/Practice and Nourishment Combined
You need to combine practice with breaks. For example, Qi Gong for 20 minutes, then a complete break, then Qi Gong, then break, etc. Gradually the practice time becomes longer. It is also necessary to build a healthy lifestyle. This means taking care of diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep.
Movement and Stillness together
Practice Still and Moving Qi Gong to achieve the best effect. Moving benefits the external, Still benefits the internal.
Moving benefits the internal organs, still helps the mind training and the control of Qi. The best effects can be achieved by combining both. A good programme would be 30-60 minutes of Movement Qigong followed by 30 minutes of Still Qi Gong, then bed.
Before Qi Gong Practice
— prepare a good, quiet environment
— don’t do any hard work immediately prior to practice. Feel happy and quiet, without stress
— don’t drink any stimulants
— wear suitable clothing
— regulate your posture
— regulate your breathing
— begin to train your mind
— accept unwanted thoughts and images as inevitable
— if you find you are uncomfortable, change positions or stop for a while
— pay attention to the natural conditions. For example, if there is a storm or other violent weather, do not practise, even indoors.
— if you have been practising Still Qi Gong, regulate your breath. “Wash” your hands and then “wash” your face slowly
— if you have been practising Moving Qi Gong, use your mind to bring your Qi back to Dantian, and then remain a short while,
Side Effects of Qi Gong
Bear in mind that if we practice badly, we cannot maintain our health or cure illness.
Unusual but possible side effects include:
- The inability to stop practising Qi Gong breathing.
- The inability to stop concentrating on the Dantian.
- A variety of mental disorders which might include:
— imagining you have met the Devil
— hearing voices
Some of the main causes of bad side effects are:
— a desire on the part of the student to get the benefits too quickly
— practising the in-breath too strongly
— concentrating too hard
— trying to make yourself feel a particular way.
Notes from Professor Zhao Bao Feng. Former President of the Qi Gong Clinic, Baidahe, China. April 1999.
Yang Cheng Fu, grandson of Yang Lu Chan the creator of Yang Style Taiji, left ten instructional insights to correct training. The newsletter will carry an introduction to these, one at a time so they can be studied and cherished.