Archive for the ‘Taiji Principles’ Category

White Crane Goes Flying   Leave a comment

whitecrane 9x12

The Mountain extends to Heaven,

Where the Wind flows like Water…

The Thunder sparks the Fire,

That fills the Valley and renews the Earth.

DSCF1613

Master Dong Zeng Chen teaching at his 50th annual workshop in Honolulu, February 2018

 

You may see my teacher, Master Dong, do this simple set of moves while at workshops, over and over again when he is alone. I have often wondered what is his meditation, what he is up to? Obviously he is meditating, the form is expressed so beautifully when you can softly walk through these simple meditative routines. I have been copying him and a had a break-through today in training.

The Book of Changes, “I Ching” follows the changes of Heaven and Earth through symbolism. Yin/Yang is expressed in folding, rolling patterns that, like the DNA molecule, make a double helix woven tapestry expressing the changes of life. The eight changes represent different energies.

Heaven and Earth, Water and Fire, Mountain and Valley, Wind and Thunder, are the changes of Tao.

If you have never read the I Ching, it is a classic Taoist source book I recommend reading.  Watching Sifu, this is what I see him doing, expressing the eight “bagua” of the I Ching like a monk counting rosary beads, it is a spiritual meditation. Every Taiji posture expresses one or more of these energies;

  1. Mountain, Keeping Still… Shoulder strike
  2. Heaven, the Creative… Warding off
  3. Wind, the Gentle… White Crane Spreads Wings
  4. Water, the Abysmal… Lifting Hands
  5. Thunder, the Arousing… Pull Down
  6. Fire, the Clinging… Push (down)
  7. Lake, Valley the Joyous… Rollback
  8. Earth, the Receptive… Gathering qi and repeat

You can do this simple routine over and over on both sides continuously.

At the top of the page, is just a little poem written to help me focus on Taiji moves, Shoulder strike (Mountain) is “Kao” energy merging into “Peng” (ward-off) energy= Heaven, White crane spreads wings, move like Wind.  Wind is “Lie” (splitting) energy, Lifting hands flows like Water and pull down, is  “Tasi” energy, Thunder, Fire fits here as “An” energy directed downwards as the pull down ends, into “Valley” or Lake (emptiness) and  “Lu” (rollback) which returns to Earth energy…

Never stop practicing, though many things can get in your Way.  Being part of the Way, to be a Wayfarer, is that we never stop practicing; we cannot stop, life is a river of change.

 

 

 

Cory Williams ©2018

 

 

 

 

Thank You Sifu   2 comments

thumb_dscf1313_1024

With my teacher Grandmaster Dong Zeng Chen at the Maui workshop 2017

thumb_DSCF1304_1024.jpg

Maui Workshop 2017

DSCF1292.jpg

dscf1295

dscf1298

dscf1300

These are some pages from Masters new book unnamed

Our workshop was fantastic! Thanks to Gerri Nishida for making it all possible.

This is Taiji…   2 comments


The Dragon dwells in Heaven, roaming amongst the stars… drifting in and out of the clouds. Aloof from the world, he is always observant of it. Enigmatic and free, the Dragon soars effortlessly, adrift in time upon an endless sea of tranquility. He is clarity and calm, peace and emptiness. Like a mysterious cloud, the dragon caresses the Earth, always sensitive to the subtleties of the relationship between Heaven and Earth.  In heaven, he is yin as yin is within yang… and yet there is a yang spirit hidden within….

Gliding over the Earth, melding into the forests and mountain tops, the Dragon gathers Earth qi within, mixing Heaven and Earth, building and focusing his Heaven qi to interact with the Earth.

In an instant, the Tiger emerges, like a thunderbolt from Heaven. Heaven and Earth qi combine and the Tiger is born from the union. The Dragon’s energy transforms.  The Tiger pounces, Heaven and Earth are manifest. Entering the Earthly realm, the Tiger strikes and fulfills the needs of everything he encounters. He is action and strength, motion and power. Like a wildfire, the Tiger creates magic on Earth. On Earth, he is yang as yang is within yin, and yet, there is a yin spirit hidden within….

Sleeping by the lake, the gentle Tiger rests his yang…
Peacefully nurtured by the guidance of the Earth qi…
The Tiger’s spirit floats across the lake, rising in the fog…
His yin qi carried aloft bringing with it the resting yang energy, transforming, recombining, and emerging once again as the Dragon.

This is Taiji


Copyright: Cory Williams 2011

Nothing means anything… You do not “know” anything…   3 comments

To be real we must get over our perceptions that we know things. Knowing, in a way is prejudice, when we think we know something we shut down our awareness and stop being open to the moment.

Who we are changes each moment… we exist as a being not just in a physical form but as an entity in time, the moment by moment perception of reality defines who we are.

As such “who we are” is always in flux if we are always sensitive to the changing circumstances. Whenever I am fixed in my perception of who I am, I forget to take every situation as is comes to me. For example if I perceive myself as a “teacher” then I will act out by trying to educate…..  If I perceive myself as being “helpful” then I will act out by thinking I am above a situation.

I often hear people say……”I help people”  but this in effect is coming from a place that says…..”I am better than the people that I perceive as needing help”

Or for example “I teach” … In reality, no one teaches anymore than the student’s capacity to learn…and so learning is a higher skill than teaching. In this regard the student only “learns” what he wants to from a given experience, the teacher only shows the student whatever the “teacher” thinks is important coming from the teachers perspective.

When a person thinks they are teaching they are putting what they do above the student who is actually doing the work of “learning”.  After all, it is the learning that is important, not the teaching.

Thinking that things “mean something” disrespects the spirit of the moment in that if we are always learning then we must be open to the possibility that maybe “it” means something else…..Every moment has different possibilities. Getting over our perception that somehow we “know“ the meaning of something is a way to finding harmony in a new reality of infinite possibility.

These concepts are a subtle learning we get from Taiji practice. Indeed, it is somewhat arrogant to always be so sure we know what something means.  When we are so sure we know something, we show our lack of understanding that “things are not always what they seem”.

Basic Taiji Principles, Overview   1 comment

Like a stepped pyramid, we lay down a foundation, taking us higher as we go.

Taoist physics, the laws of energy.

This article is about outlining some of the basic Taiji principles that I have discovered through the years, and some taught to me by Master Dong. I will explain each one in time. These are not the “Classic Taiji Principles” that other authors have written about through the ages, but a pragmatic look at the common sense of practical Taiji.

These are not the only principles that I will discuss, many esoteric principles can be inserted in between and after the ones on this basic list, yet they are most basic and important ones. Understanding the physics of the human energy system and codifying, and sharing these principles is my life’s work.

Staying on your feet is an important skill that can save your life, whether talking about martial arts, or walking down a flight of stairs. There are many obvious gains from assimilating these principles into our lives but know that these principles go far deeper than Taijiquan.

The entire human energy system uses these same principles, not just your body, but also the mind, emotions and spirit. I am taking about the laws of physics; nothing is exempt from these basic principles of the universe.

For example, energy follows the path of least resistance; therefore reducing the resistance to energy increases the flow and the apparent volume of energy. The best way to remove resistance is to remove blockages. These blockages can be from misalignment and (muscle) tension. Again these principles are not necessarily only about your body, keep in mind the “big picture”.

The way to remove obstructions is to align and relax…. Know that aligning will facilitate relaxation. It is easier to relax when we have good alignment, like in the physical attribute of structural integrity.  A strong frame requires less reinforcement; look at an “earthquake resistant” building, a proper frame, allows for a flexible, less ridged, relaxed structure.

Likewise, in relationships, having the same values and interests with another is “alignment” with this alignment a person will be more relaxed. Being aligned and relaxed leads to balance, and with a little give and take (counterbalance) we can achieve a harmonious relationship. Understanding energy is about a relationship with it and it applies to all things accordingly.

While keeping the big picture in mind and realizing that there is a hierarchy to these principles and also that Taijiquan is a method of training and understanding energy, we need to start with the most important principles first. Layering principles overtime will bring enlightenment.

To get started, to keep things simple here is a basic outline to these principles. Each principle will require further explanation, so be patient, and check back to the “Taiji Principles” category here on this blog.

To make comprehending and learning these principle easier, I have organized them into three sub-groups of three principles each. Beginners should mostly be concerned with the first three. Intermediate students focus on the first six and as students progress keep layering principles until all nine are understood.

Principles:

Align
Relax
Root
Balance
Harmonize
String of pearls
Not too much not too little
Open and close
See all things

Understanding Reality, Being a “Real Human”   1 comment

The Universe

“The sage sees the whole universe without going out the door”

If you only learned to meditate, it would be the most valuable experience of your life.  To gain understanding, a wordless gift of knowing that you’ve always had, but haven’t used is a profound thing indeed. I am paraphrasing Roy Masters work “Be still and Know” and yet there is so much more going on when we do qigong.

By combining physical exercise and meditation, we gain more than can be had by just “exercising” or “meditating”.  The synergy is further enhanced by the other attributes of qigong, like the way we exercise, opening up the joints, and skeletal system and the sequential opening and closing of the muscles and energy pathways within our bodies.  There is really no other “exercise” like qigong; in my opinion there is no better exercise, and yet it is so much more.

Dissolving your mind and body using qigong also has a calming and strengthening effect on our emotions as well.  To liberate your mind from the emotional prison that has kept the real you locked up without your knowledge is not an insignificant gain!

The understanding gained from proper practice gives insight to all things. The meaning of the quote from the “Tao Te Ching” written above is this: Within everyone, there are elements of all things; a celestial world, we are a microcosm of the universe. Every atom is like a minute solar system, all our cells are virtual galaxies, and our consciousness is like God, indeed, if you can truly know yourself, then you can understand the whole universe.

I often wonder what if we all could expand our understanding in this way.  Yet it was once the normal way for humans. Our convoluted lives have dulled our sense of reality; learning to get in touch with our true objective self is to understand a separate reality, a primordial knowledge that is the “Way” we were intended to be….. Freedom from contrivance, like an un-carved block of wood, becoming what Nature (God?) intended for us.

If you have a goal in life, make it to be a fully integrated human being by being balanced in each realm of human functioning. Don’t be a “spiritual person” or an “intellectual”, and do not be a slave to your emotions and don’t ignore or indulge them. Stop always seeking physical gratification or obsessing about your body.  To be a “Real Human” you need to be in control of all of these things.

Balancing all these separate things naturally into one universe is, for me…..The Way, Taiji the “Supreme Ultimate” and qigong is the path to the Way….. The Way to divinity, to freedom, to perfect health, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Qigong Attitude   3 comments

First, gain an understanding of your energy system.
Align the body correctly to facilitate energy flow.
Relax the muscles to encourage energy flow.
Learn to dissolve your mind and body together.

Develop an emotional connection to the energy within.
Become intimate with your energy.
Practice until you know what is right in your heart.
Let go of your silly ego needs.

Gain freedom from your thoughts,
Become as open as Heaven,
Be as firm as the Earth,
Shine brightly like a star,
Be as flexible as water,
Gain inspiration from all things,
Know the truth that will set you free.

There are many paths to freedom yet only those who learn the truth will be truly free.  The real you is often hidden behind layers of physical and egocentric defenses.  Physical obstructions, thinking, and emotions, all inhibit your true self from shining through.

Spiritual qigong? Medical qigong? Martial qigong? Meditation? Internal, external, standing, sitting, moving, stillness, Taiji, whatever…. It makes very little difference; they are essentially the same thing. Don’t get confused by esoteric teachings. Do not be distracted from the truth by thinking too much about it.

Do not make your journey complicated; just follow the simple methods outlined in your training.  Adding too much just takes you farther away from the truth.  Practice “Wu Wei“; practice with diligence, yet keep it simple and you will gain profound awareness.

The truth is simple:
Love your energy as though it was the most valuable substance in the universe….in time you will discover the creator of all things.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site