Archive for the Internal Development Category

Five Animal Qigong – Free PDF

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by chencenter

Five Animal Frolics Qigong

The 5 Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system (created by Dr. Hua-Tou), and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today. The series of exercises not only help to keep the body sprightly & strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well. [3 B.C. Chinese San Guo- Three Kingdom Period]

Feeling is a language. This language allows your body and mind to communicate. But if you don’t pick up this feeling, the effectiveness of the exercise becomes shallow.”

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming

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From CHENCENTER.COM

(CLASS HANDOUT)

Martial Art Practice Through The Winter

Posted in Internal Development, Kungfu, Martial Arts, Taijiquan, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by Combative Corner

winter-forest_photoAs the cold season comes on strong, the urge is to be indoors, warm and comfortable. Of course this urge is a survival instinct, because where we are located without the SUV’s, mechanical heating and other benefits of modern technology, it would be quite easy to die outside when the really cold weather comes on.

However, in Chen Taijiquan gongfu practice we want to at least challenge some of those natural comfortable patterns of behavior and use practice as a way of bringing the body ‘in tune’ with natural seasonal changes. Outdoor practice is really best for cultivation and martial arts. On the cultivation side, while naturally we may feel the aversion to the cold and desolate season, over years long practice in the outdoors we can learn to use each seasonal energy to our advantage.

In winter, if we dress appropriately and practice with spirit outdoors, we will build a sweat and cultivate heat inside while cycling the cold winter air from the outside. Upon starting we may need gloves and hats and scarves etc, but for a fairly experienced practitioner we can build a sustainable heat such that the hats, gloves and scarves may come off. The more of ourselves we can expose to the winter energy while maintaining a sustainable heat inside, the more attuned to the season we can become. This is not meant to be so deeply metaphysical, but in a common sense way, when one can practice successfully like this, one feels like a warrior, full of vigor. Afterwards the results persist, making tolerating winter weather and bitter cold much more comfortable.

Although winter is commonly seen as a season of natural death, and an uninhabitable situation, this is more of a relative psychology. Just as the Taiji concept holds that within every extreme is kernel of its opposite, winter (in most places) while extreme, is in fact not dead, but extremely YIN, cultivating the kernel of it’s YANG opposite towards rebirth. Winter here is full of life action, although a quieter, or often just less seen action. Through proper practice we can cycle winter’s strongly YIN energy from the outdoors into the strongly YANG energy we create with heating practice internally, to holistically balance our being, physically and energetically with the season at hand; essentially adjusting our thermostat and perception of tolerance and comfort.

For more on Mr. Spivack and the Chen Zhaokui Association of North America, please visit his website at MoLingTaiji.Com.

Marin “Mo Ling” Spivack

Chen Zhaokui Taijiquan Association, North America.

Disciple of Chen Yu. Teaches in Massachusetts.

*Originally published 12/31/2012.  Reposted w/ permission.

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Meditation Can Reshape Your Brain

Posted in Health, Internal Development, Miscellaneous, News, Peace & Wellbeing, Qigong, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by Combative Corner

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Martial Artists and ‘The Ego’ : Sifu Lee

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Development, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

A Martial Artist does not forever enhance this ego, he enhances it, & then he destroys it. He raises himself up, & then he lowers himself back down. He understands both.

He understands the ego way & he understands the way with no ego.

He knows how to be hard but he also knows how to be soft. He is gentle & sweet but he can be fierce when it is called upon for him to be fierce.  He does not enjoy seeing others suffer but he understands that at certain times others will need to suffer in order to grow.

Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook Profile]

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Creating Joyous Practice with the Five Animal Frolics

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Spirituality, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Combative Corner

Qigong is a unique & ancient Chinese exercise and healing system that allows you to enhance health & prevent illness by aligning the mind & body with Qi (“Chi”/Vital Energy).  Qi is the vital energy that we are born with, the energy that we receive into our body by the food we consume and through nature (e.g. the air we breathe). 

THE FIVE ANIMAL FROLICS

The 5 Animal Frolics (五禽戲, Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system, and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today.  According to Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong,”As story has it (Daoist Legend) Hua Tuo [110-207 AD/CE] received this text as well as instruction in Five Animals from two recluses living in a cave on Mount Gong Yi.”  The “more recent” teachers whom are credited with spreading qigong (and Five Animal Qigong, in particular) are Madame Guo Lin (1906-1984) and Feng Zhiqiang (who learned this from his teacher, Hu Yao-zhen)*.  The series of exercises that comprise the Five Animal Frolics not only help to keep the body sprightly and strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well.  The Five Animal Frolics helps to create depth to your practice by allowing your body to communicate in different ways.

“When you practice the animals, do not imitate the animals, become them!”

(Kenneth Cohen)

TIGER – Strong and ferocious, the tiger is skilled at pouncing and quick at snatching prey.  When practicing the tiger form, it is necessary to keep eyes alert and “paws” flexible at times and sometimes with great power at the fingertips.  [Organs: yin/Liver, yang/Gall Bladder]

DEER – Practicing deer play helps to develop grace and relaxation through stretching the legs and spine. [Organs: yin/Kidneys, yang/Bladder]

MONKEY – Practice the monkey form to develop suppleness and agility.  It is encouraged to not only do the large movements, but to squint and purse your face as a monkey would. [Organs: yin/Heart, yang/Sm. Intestines]

BEAR – Practice the movements of the bear to develop strength/power.  It fortifies the bones and develops energy in the kidneys, your fundamental source of vitality. [Organs: yin/Spleen, yang/Stomach]

CRANE – Light, agile and balance are qualities of the crane.  Becoming the crane, you stretch the ligaments and helps to release tension/compression in the spine. [Organs: yin/Lungs, yang/Lg. Intestines]

“Feeling is a language.  This language allows your body and mind to communicate.  But if you don’t pick up this feeling, the effectiveness of exercise becomes shallow.”

(Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming)

We encourage everyone to find the various movements/exercises of each animal that work for you.  Adding this to your training will keep you feeling young, invigorated, and well-balanced.  For more information on the Five Animal Frolics you can check out any of these suggested titles:  The Way of Qigong (K. Cohen), Five Animal Sport Qigong DVD (Dr. Yang), Five Animal Frolics Qigong (F. Fick) or Wu Qin Xi (Chinese Health Qigong Association).

Check out Master Jesse Tsao’s video for an introduction to Bear Play

*According to Kenneth Cohen, The Way of Qigong.

Informational sources:

Five Animal Sport Qigong (dvd), Master Jesse Tsao (Youtube Channel Videos), Wikipedia.org, The Way of Qigong (Cohen), Animal Frolics (Garofolo, Michael P.), Life Balance (Zhuang)

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A Few Words : Master Chungliang, Al-Huang

Living 100 Years, Re-Learning to Breathe : Joyce

Martial Effectiveness of Wuji : Rodney Owen

Living 100 Years: Re-Learning to Breathe

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Peace & Wellbeing, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by chencenter

The famous comedian George Burns was once asked, “What’s the secret of Life?” … of which he replied,

“Keep breathing.”

Wise words from a guy that reached the ripe ol’ age of 100 (and two months).

The word is Qi (pronounced “chee“).  We’ve heard it plenty… some of us have read up on it… but every one of us has experienced it [just most of us haven’t been aware of it]!

When I speak to youngsters about qi, I often allude to the Star Wars films in which George Lucas replaced “Qi” with “the Force.”  Qi is a term that means energy, or breath.  It is the prime-mover of our existence and permeates throughout the universe.

There are different types of “Qi Training” (called Qigong) such as: Buddhist Qigong, Taoist Qigong, Wushu Qigong and Medical Qigong.  Within these, the practitioner learns to harness and cultivate this energy for the purposes of: emitting, absorbing, cleansing, conditioning and healing. [Author’s note: Wushu Qigong should not be attempted without a qualified teacher. Practitioners should also have a basic understanding of qi and qigong training before wushu qigong is attempted].  And yes, there are even methods: Natural, Differential, Reversed, Dantian, Embryonic and “method of no-method.”  All have their benefits but it is the first, Natural Breathing Qigong, that we will focus on for purposes of “beginning at the root”, health and in developing a habit of “correct method.”

Breathing and its link to good health makes plenty of sense …for it’s the air we breathe, the oxygen that’s delivered to our cells and all the “energetics” at work that nurtures Life.  But it’s our awareness of our breath through both moving or non-moving activities that bolsters results.

  • Awareness: Concentrating on the “breath in” and the “breath out” focuses our mind internally and removes us from outside thoughts and common distractions.  Thoughts will always enter-in (it is our nature as humans to think).  But just as ripples appear on a pond… let the mind return to calm and think back to the breath as it is drawn into the body and finds its rest in the lower abdomen.

A MYTH:  Healthy breathing does NOT mean expanding the chest and letting as much oxygen in as possible.  By doing so, oxygen restricts the hemoglobin molecules and less is released to the cells.

THINK QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. 

  • Quality:  Soft. Quiet. Relaxed. Smooth… all of these should be words to describe how you are breathing.  As you breathe into your nostrils (at a relaxed, steady pace), imagine the breath going all the way down to your abdomen (aka. dantian).  By bringing your breath to your dantian, even smallest blood vessels will relax and open and will enrich your body with a greater flow of blood, oxygen and qi.
  • Natural or Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe through the nose at a soft and steady rate and bring the breathe to the abdomen.  Allow the abdomen to expand (by way of the breath, and not by your abdominal muscles pushing outwards).  As you breathe out, do so by breathing out through the nose and allow the abdomen to contract/go inward.
  • Relax: This cannot be repeated enough.  The better you are at relaxing, the greater the benefits you will attain from your practice.  Bring your thoughts away from school, work or any other outside distractions.  If your thoughts drift… return back.  Over time, over practice… the “return” will be easier and easier.
  • Posture:  There are many qigong postures and all of them will have to be adjusted slightly since we all are built differently.  I have 3 basic postures that I use and they are: standing, sitting and laying.  I use each of these postures throughout the day (as I am often in one of the 3 postures naturally).  For instructional purposes, a standing posture should be made with a straight spine, head erect, knees slightly bent, arms by your side and the tip of the tongue resting softly behind the roof of the mouth (behind the first two teeth).  For more on standing qigong, please check out Eli Montaigue’s Combative Corner contribution entitled, Three Circle Qigong.

Illustrations of qigong movements are helpful, however the mother of movement will always be stillness.  There are many great books that may help you to better understand qigong such as: Qigong Empowerment, by Master Shou-Yu Liang & Wen-Ching Wu and The Way of Qigong, by Kenneth Cohen… but the act of qigong is a relatively simple way to improves your health and longevity.  Time, patience, willpower and correct intention are the only requisites.

Michael Joyce

Original article posted, April 2008 at ChenCenter.Com

Us at the Combative Corner welcome your insights as well.  Here are just a few of the questions we’d like to know.  Please post your response in the comment section below.

  • HAS QIGONG WORKED FOR YOU ?
  • WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCES ?
  • MIGHT YOU HAVE ANY WISDOM YOU’D LIKE TO IMPART ON US ?
  • MIGHT YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US OR OUR READING PUBLIC ?

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Contained Spiral Force

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Arts, Internal Development, Taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by Combative Corner

Guest AuthorThe Master once said,

“Everybody in the world uses momentum-based movement, therefore we do not. Taiji involves ‘contained spiral force’ that generates momentum on something external to oneself.”

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Commentary:

Imagine a car is on a lift. The car is on, it has been put into drive, and someone is inside pushing the gas pedal to the floor. The tires are spinning rapidly on the axle. Now imagine touching one of the spinning tires. Ouch!

Now imagine the same scenario, yet the tire pops off the axle and rolls away, carried by its forward momentum, for thirty or forty feet to where you happen to be standing. Now imagine bending down and touching it as it approaches. It slows to a stop and impotently topples over onto its side.

In the first instance, the rotation is tightly contained, powerful and controlled. In the second instance the rotation becomes decreasingly powerful and cannot be controlled once it has been seperated from the axle.

It’s not that momentum-based attacks are ineffective, it’s just that the strong can always overcome the weak when both parties use momentum to fight. Yet, by mastering “contained spiral force” the “weak” can overcome the “strong.” Master Hong could not lift heavy rocks, yet could send strapping youths sailing through the air.

You must become a gearbox with machine-like precision.

Guest Author: Todd Elihu

Read More of his Material at: PracticalMethod.Org

originally posted in May 2008

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