Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Classical Tai Chi is the epitome of "Neigong"

Neigong exercises by definition need to combine "special breathing" with movement and in most cases are indicative of the "large frame" Tai Chi needing additional exercises. When the Classical Tai Chi "Compact Round Form" is done correctly, each movement no matter how small is a Neigong movement and does not need special breathing techniques...the breathing is natural and without conscious/deliberate intent. From Wikipedia: "Neigong exercises that are part of the neijia tradition involve cultivating physical stillness and or conscious (deliberate) movement, designed to produce relaxation or releasing of muscular tension combined with special breathing techniques such as the "tortoise" or "reverse" methods."  

This Classical Tai Chi as a Neigong tunes the nervous system by using slow movement and sensitivity. Slow movement with sensitivity favors the nervous system with a more accurate and discriminating perception of the mechanics of the movement. Square form develops this. Yet, not all will have the aptitude or perseverance to develop the brains' ability to sense and correct any potential excess and unnecessary effort.

Learning "Round and Square" Forms

Classical Tai Chi as a Neigong refines the nerve signal in the body and is referred to as "Qi". Classical Tai Chi may be considered as a means to return to childhood. The Internal Discipline of the Form movements first tunes the nervous system in the body so that the complex and powerful internal movements will become natural and spontaneous. In China, a healthy and well-tuned nervous system is considered to be paramount to a healthy body. Physically, the internal movements penetrate to the deep recesses of the torso, stimulating and invigorating the organs and the circulation systems in the torso. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

You know several martial arts are they "offensive" or "defensive"?

Even a jury of non-martial artists would be hard pressed to find anything other than "guilty" when the defendant says:  "He was walking toward me in what I perceived as a threatening manner, using harsh language, so I launched myself at him first".  My common sense question as a juror might well be "Could you have gotten away in the first place, and why did you throw the first punch or launch yourself in order to "defend" yourself? 

My teacher Stephen Hwa, Ph.D. tells me that Classical Tai Chi is a pure "defensive martial art". In the video you see him explaining and demonstrating the difference between "offensive" and "defensive" with the catalyst explained as "jumping off" or momentum force. So the question is if you launch yourself in any fashion toward the opponent to "defend" yourself, how is that a "defensive" tactic?

I have taught quite a number of students that do external or what are called hard style martial arts. Certainly, one can be attacked by hostile people, hostile animals, etc. But the question for me is at what cost do you defend yourself?  I agree with Master Hwa that " a fight, anything goes..." But is your integrity, common sense, and training guiding you in "anything goes" defensively or offensively toward the attacker? From time to time, one of my students will remind me that that there are martial arts better, faster, stronger and quicker to learn that Tai Chi. So in that reasoning, could one learn to do several different martial arts, learning several times faster than Tai Chi and be several times better?  Many indeed, very pretty, even flashy but are these several arts "offensive" or "defensive" because if they have a hint of offense, then don't they cross the line? 

 In the 1990's I was contacted by a martial artist named John C. John had seen me doing Wu's style sword form and asked for lessons.  I told him I would teach him the sword if he learned the Wu's Square Form first. Note: This is not Classical Tai Chi's square form. John reminded me periodically that he had learned 7 different martial arts faster and appeared in an Inside Kung Fu article. He said that he learned those faster than he would ever learn Tai Chi and hence never did learn the sword. 

John, however, did not use internal discipline where one part in the core moves and one part does not move in any of the 7 arts, by the "jumping off" definition his arts were "offensive".  My student Barry who did Karate and taught defensive tactics as a parole officer did not use internal energy. Barry told me that he has learned several martial arts but that learning internal discipline has been the most challenging, by the "jumping off" definition his arts were "offensive" Another of my students Anh has done Wing Chun for a long time but says learning internal discipline is more challenging and sophisticated.

In conclusion Master Hwa makes a great point that there is a big difference in the use of force "offensively" as compared to "defensively". In another segment of the video he also states that Classical Tai Chi because of its dependence on a non-moving part of the body is a purely defensive art.  If one is not moving that one part of the torso in other words, then how can you launch yourself toward the opponent while maintaining that non-moving part albeit in full momentum?

Liked on YouTube: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Wu Style

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Wu Style
Classical Tai Chi Group Of Master Stephen Hwa & Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo Group of Sifu James Roach perform round & square form. In Chinese: Online School: First Online Video Tai Chi Class:
via YouTube

Liked on YouTube: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Workshop

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Workshop Segments of workshop on internal discipline by Master Stephen Hwa - (In Chinese: See our website for other training: Introduction to Wu Style Tai Chi - Tai Chi Martial Arts Application - Sports & Classical Tai Chi - Tai Chi Internal Discipline - Tai Chi Health Benefits - Tai Chi DVD Library - Online School: First Online Video Tai Chi Class:
via YouTube

Monday, October 1, 2018

How do you know not "believe" you are doing "internal"?

It goes back some time but I asked a former Tai Chi teacher to show me an "internal" movement.  His answer was "I'm doing it but you just can't see it". Master Hwa shows you "internal" in this video. In Classical Tai Chi, you know that you are doing "internal" by self-examination (seeing) where the movement is originating in the torso of your body.  In fact, you know whether anyone is doing  "internal" by examining (seeing) their movements.  You can see these things for yourself in your own body but as you progress you can feel (tactile) whether the movement is originating inside or outside the torso.  

Master Wu Chien Chuan passed this on that every move has to have Yin and Yang (not moving and moving) parts of the body and those are either in the torso (internal) or they are not (external). The moving and not moving parts form a "junction" called a Yin/Yang pair. One part of the "pair" moves and the other part does not move. 

Much Tai Chi says it is "internal" but ask yourself the following question when you see it:  Is the movement originating in the torso or is it originating in an extremity outside of the torso such as arms, legs, etc. ? You also have to reckon with the fact that any "extremity" is the furthest point or limit of something and that internal is always situated on the inside.