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Leading into emptiness

LEADING INTO EMPTINESS

Authors: Marko and Dragi Bedina

In taiji we never resist force with force. If somebody hits us with the hand, we do not block it with our hand. Thus we would get hurt or even damaged. Instead of one ‘fool’ – as an English saying goes – there are two now! Unfortunately that is how we all instinctively react…

But in taiji we learn to follow the opponent’s force for some moments – time enough to asses his/her strength and direction of the hit and prepare in our mind a plan for successful defense. At the same time we can lead the opponent’s force past our body or into ’emptiness’ in which it diminishes or even disappears or we can even use it against the opponent himself before it is lost.

Marko_China

the movement in taijiquan is never linear – it is always circular or spiral… (Yangshuo, by the river Li, July 2013)

Thus are the movements made in taiji forms; if we want to advance to the right, we first go a little to the left… and vice versa. Before we go down we go up a little and vice versa. Yin-yang, changing, all the time in various body parts, from fingers of the hands and feet to the whole body trunk and head. If, on one side we are pressing with hands together, we are extending and relaxing in shoulders and vice versa. If we are closing the upper body, we are opening the lower; if one side of the body is closed, the other is opened, etc. Through such changing or exchanging we are producing the closing power (when we are getting close to the opponent, for example with the hit) and opening power (when we are leading the opponent into emptiness). We are closing and opening also with all body parts. In the form these two principles are exchanged as yin and yang.

The movement in taijiquan is never linear – it is always circular or spiral which produces even greater power. Spiraling is especially a characteristic of chen style. Master Chen Zhenglei says:

Chen style taijiquan combines the study of dynamics (force, energy, motion, and the relationship between them) with the theories of the traditional Chinese medical theory of ‘jingluo’ (which holds that there are internal energy channels and collateral channels within the body). It makes use of a spiraling method for moving internal energy, using a small amount of force to overcome a large amount of force, and using a weak force to overcome a strong force. It’s just like a very small screw jack, which can raise a truck carrying several tons of cargo.*

Inner energy is circling in the body all the time. When we strengthen it by the outer dynamic factors it becomes extremely strong and we easily overcome the opponent. And not only that – this power is invigorating and healthy for us.

So, when we move, let us try to know when to advance and when to lead the opponent into emptiness; when to attack and when to retrieve. Thus we will know where to open ourselves and where to close. Another expression is where to be empty and where full. The hands serve as a conductor of the orchestra. If the hands are the conductor, our body is the orchestra. The hands give command or draw a picture how each part of our body has to move.

Spiraling in taiji is also called silk reeling (chan si jin); for practice we reel or circle with left or right hand, with double hands, in front or on the side of the body, etc. Shoulders and elbows are completely relaxed and muscles almost not used; only our hands are circling around our middle finger; half of the circle is led by a small finger and half by a thumb. The circling is transmitted from the hands through our whole body – all orchestra starts playing!

When we are rotating the right hand in clockwise direction, it is led by a small finger – we are usually leading the opponent into emptiness. This is called direct rotation (Chin. shun chan). Our hand is also made that way that the power from the small finger is transmitted through to other fingers and then along the arm, elbow, shoulders and down the trunk. The power is coming into us. That is why we say that this power is ‘open’ because we are leading the opponent into emptiness.

When we are rotating the right hand in counterclockwise direction and the thumb is leading, force is coming from the shoulder (beforehand from the legs, waist,…), to the elbow, hands, fingers… and into the opponent, because this type of rotating is usually used for attacking. We also say that this power is ‘closed’, because it gets close to the opponent, it closes him/her. This is called reverse rotation (Chin. ni chan). The same rules apply for left hand except that it is reversed.

silk_reeling

silk reeling at Master Fu’s visit to Slovenia October 2013

These principles are difficult for taiji beginners. We need a lot of practice to master them. But each practice brings experience and experience brings knowledge. It is important that we relax, use as little muscles as possible and each time bring the energy right to the finger tips. Of course this won’t do if we don’t relax our shoulders, hips and remain in upright and stable stance. The masters say that at initial level we are only trying to feel this energy or qi and lead it wherever we want to by the help of external movements. On advanced levels we become so sensitive that we let qi lead our bodily movements. And on the highest level we are consciously able to lead qi and qi leads the body.

One of the greatest taijiqun classics Chen Xin describes:

When the opponent starts to provoke you, the tendency is for your mind/heart to advance impulsively in reaction, rejecting all thought to retreat. If you know nothing of retreat, your mind/heart resembles a trapped object. If you ask me what kind of trapping I refer to, then in this  case you should know that in order to advance you first need to understand the true meaning of retreat, which in actual fact, means to attract, that is, attracting into emptiness, using soft to defeat hardness. This means learning how not to be at the receiving end of the opponent’s strength. In other words, in order to learn to advance, one must first learn how not to suffer a bad retreat.

When you plan to advance you have to take into account all probabilities of ambush and the ways of retreat to save your remaining strength if something goes wrong. The moment your strength is exhausted, your arms will hang down and your soles will not feel the ground. But though you may have no strength to fight, you still should fight to retreat, which is not equal to defeat. This is a manifestation of gong-fu, the skill of rising before lowering, bending before stretching.

A good man may master many arts and spend much time in search of knowledge and its application in specific conditions, but most of this knowledge will sink into oblivion. In order to thrive, gong-fu skills need to be experienced and applied in practice. Despite the myriad systems and techniques existing, those who devote themselves to the mastering of gong-fu cannot ignore the silk-reeling method of energy regeneration that lies at the heart of the taiji boxing doctrine.**

These masters of taijiquan were great warriors themselves in their own time. They mastered various types of martial arts. According to them spiraling is one of the most important techniques for good kungfu. Not only it strengthens the force for attacking and enables to lead the opponent into emptiness – spiraling of energy invigorates ourselves, it gives us vitality and health.

SilkReeling2

ancient drawing of circling energy in the body from Chen Xin’s book

At another place Chen Xin explains how by following taiji principles we obtain good qi or this life energy. With its power we become almost invincible. There are two types of energy: the qi of earth and heaven. Everything is made of these two, even a human being. They exchange as yin and yang, as black and white, as…

Therefore when you move up or down, back or forth, straight or in a curve, fast or slow, in the opened or hidden manner, in opening or closing, in accumulating or releasing your strength, you cannot avoid the nimbus of yin and yang that surrounds your body like a colorful image. Just like a flying kite or leaping fish, the liveliness of your nimbus is in constant and ceaseless transformation.**

This exchanging is nothing new. It is happening all the time everywhere, even inside us. The problem is that we are not conscious of it; we are not having a control over these processes so we cannot derive greater benefits from them.

With regards to taiji boxing, you do not have to rely in the excitement produced by your ears, eyes or legs to bring you deep satisfaction and pleasant comfort. Rather, a student of taijiquan first has to delve into the principles and only after understanding and applying will he/she be able to obtain qi energy to produce active movement from within, which will be manifested as agility. Once engendered, such agility can stimulate further movement, thereby activating the mechanism of momentum and regeneration. If you can manifest this principle and support it with the principles of internal power, you will be able to release the latter outward. In a sense, to discuss internal power from this perspective would be superficial and would not do justice to the subject.**

In taiji there is a lot of talk of qi. Some think there is even no qi. Well, we’ll probably not experience qi in the sense of enlightenment according to our imagination. We won’t ‘see the light’ just like that, without following the principles and diligent practice. But if we persist, relax in all body parts, keep upright, carefully distinguish between full and empty and a few other principles (see article The five most important taijiquan skills for beginners) we will definitely feel that pleasant, warm tingling feeling in our hands and feet and then in our whole body. We will also become aware how taiji is regenerating us every time we practice.

Chen Xin also says that once we obtain that power then we can use it. Only then we usually become aware of how great this force is. He gives an example of a Single whip movement – it could have been any of the 74 movements of chen old form.

It is also said that the inability to fight an opponent is evidence of gong-fu deficiency. However, if your gong-fu is mature enough, it will resemble a circle so large that it has no external boundaries, while your internal limitations become so minute that you cannot discern its boundaries from within, until you face a stronger opponent and experience your internal power suddenly unleashing outward like a blast of wind or awesome lightning striking the withered and rotten trees around you. This is what you can demonstrate through your current Dan Bian posture. To perform the technique properly, you have to first of all accumulate energy through closing, otherwise your performance of Dan Bian will have minimal effect. So if you do not know what you are doing, do nothing. It’s that simple.**

 

originally published on: www.taiji-zlatipetelin.si

____________

Chen Zhenglei: Chen Style Taijiquan, Sword and Broadsword, 2003

** Chen Xin (1849-1929): Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan (Beijing: Guanghua Publishing Ltd., 2008

Body Structure and Low Back Pain

Authors: Marko and Dragi Bedina

Low back pain is the most common concern nowadays. The authors, having had some experience of teaching taijiquan and studying expert literature are investigating interconnection between correct posture and low back pain. In their article they lean upon domestic and foreign experts and are inviting the reader to see the endnotes for more thorough medical and professional research.

pokoncnost

Incorrect posture is in fact bad or broken body structure and it is the main cause for chronic low back pain.

Low back pain is affecting up to 90 % of people at some point in their lifetime. Up to 50 %
will have more than one episode, says a well known Slovenian expert. And he adds, that up to 85 % of people with low back pain, despite a thorough medical examination, no specific cause of the pain can be identified. (dr. Košak [1])

Nevertheless, the experts agree that bad and incorrect body posture, especially prolonged one, causes such pain.

A typical low back pain is coming from the muscles (myofascial pain syndrome). Sudden pressure or prolonged incorrect posture produce in a muscle trigger points or muscle knots. The muscle cannot work properly and pain slowly spreads into larger area. It is also expressed as headache, dizziness, drowsiness, low back pain, tingling sensation in the arm etc. (physiotherapist Purkart [2])

Scientists nowadays are more and more focusing their attention on functioning and strengthening body muscles in order to reduce force on the spine and thus lower or cure back pain. Studies have shown, that people with back pain have much weaker certain back muscles. This causes greater instability of the spine and with prolonged incorrect posture the center of gravity shifts – usually forward. The forces of gravity are enevenly distributed among the disks of the spine and they wear out. (Predan [3])

Further in the article we shall focus on what incorrect posture is, its logical results and possibilities of establishing the correct posture once again. We shall take into consideration an excellent article by Beconcini [4], an expert of manual therapies, with whose kind permission we are reproducing some of his thoughts and pictures.

drze
We can see on the picture three most common incorrect postures that are usually causing low back pain. The first two we recognize immediately, the third one has a problem of general body tightness.

The human body relates continually to the force of gravity. It is built up from various segments and good structure means well balanced relationship between these parts at rest or in motion.

If the body structure is well organized, its various segments must be aligned one on the top of the other: pelvis, abdomen, chest and head balance easily when their centers of gravity are in the same vertical line. Upright balance comes from the deep muscles which are mainly pushing against gravity. This easy structural relationship can be disorganized by many factors: injuries, emotional traumas, bad movement patterns and poor postural habits.

All the structures of the body; muscles, bones, joints, nerves, blood vessels and organs, are embedded in a matrix of soft connective tissue called fascia. Fascia is a continuous network throughout the whole body. As we struggle to move in the gravity field, the fascial web adapts to support our movement patterns. Fascia can thicken and increase its stiffness in some areas of the body in response to tensions and micro-lesions in the muscles. The continuity of the fascial network implies that changes will happen through the whole body, much as a local strain in a sweater distorts the whole sweater.

pulover Strain in a sweater
affects the whole structure.

Fascia net has very elastic, conductive tissues. Some scientists [5] study it as biomechanical regulator of the whole body. Distorted or damaged fascia can be re-organized through deep pressures and stretching for re-establishing the natural alignment of the human body. This connective tissue plasticity may explain the beneficial effect of many manual therapies.

A well-balanced body doesn’t feel pressed down by gravity. Even though it is pressing against the ground it is at the same time expanding upward. Expansion is the result of a balanced relation between the extrinsic muscles and the intrinsic ones. Basically, the extrinsic muscles are the voluntary ones that we control consciously to do whatever we want to do. The intrinsic are the deepest level mainly engaged in maintaining our position in the gravity so that we don’t fall over when we do our movements.

Injuries, negative emotions and over-use syndrome can cause an overall pattern of tensions in the body. For these reasons most of the people don’t have a body that is able to expand. Instead it’s limited by contractions. This poor biomechanical organization will lead to the myofascial chronic pain as well as other illnesses and problems.

polarnosti
vertical and horizontal inner expansion of the body

A well balanced body expands inside vertically and horizontally. Vertical polarity is our upright balance. Horizontal polarity refers to the arms and open shoulder girdle.

Only if the body structure is well-balanced across the planes, the body is able to find its internal extension. Especially important are correct structure of pelvis, diaphragm and shoulders. They constitute 3 important geometric rings: pelvic ring, diaphragm ring and shoulder ring.
In a well balanced body, the centers of all these 3 rings must be in the same vertical line.

The center of vertical polarity is the sacrum. The sacrum is the dividing point between the legs and the spine. If we want to achieve the pelvic extension we have to provide its horizontal position and find the connection between the movement of the legs and the top of the sacrum. The legs may be thought to begin at the top of the sacrum. Important muscules also connect legs with sacrum. Any imbalance of the pelvic ring is connected to an improper walking gait.

krogi In a well-balanced body, the centers of the pelvic, diaphragm and shoulder ring lie on the same vertical line.

Diaphragm ring is very sensitive and complex segment where the upper and lower body parts integrate, basic breathing movement begins here and arms and legs movement as well.

The horizontal polarity is an expansion from the spine through the shoulders into the elbows out to the hands. Shoulder ring plays an important role with big back muscles which connect moving of the arms with the spine.

Now we can see why we so easily distort these three levels with wrong posture. How often we unnecessarily keep one shoulder or hip higher than the other? Not to talk about bent spine!

When shoulder girdle is open, the vertical polarity can go through the neck up to the crown of the head. It is important how we keep the structure of our head. How often we keep it forward? Jaws play important role in good structure. Only after releasing the tensions in jaws, the internal extension of the neck up to the crown of the head will be possible.

We can easily see from the picture bellow troubles that will follow.

glava
incorrect and correct head posture

Instead the energy would flow into the head it is stopped in the neck or actually sent back into the spine. It is not unlikely that thus some pressure or knots are formed. In taiji it is said that head is free as if hanging on a string – absolutely relaxed and unblocked.

So, with good body structure we keep all the centers of three rings on the same vertical line. Any deviation causes muscle strains which are the main reason for low back pain.

Imagine that we have more than 600 muscles; it is almost impossible not to damage any with prolonged incorrect posture. And to look from another angle – no matter how damaged the parts are we can smoothen and straighten them with proper structure and exercises. That is the golden rule that we prove again and again with practicing taiji. In taiji all the movement and postures are following the rules of correct posture and body structure because it is deriving its knowledge from traditional Chinese medicine. A good teacher of taiji allows no tolerance, because he/she knows that it would harm the students either physically or in the light of achieving good results.

Physical exercise is essential. We have to know that incorrect body structure has formed through larger period – maybe in decades – therefore it will take some time to straighten it back again. We have to straighten in body and in ‘our head’.

navpicnost
incorrect and correct posture

Low back pain is an increasing problem in modern world because of a low-quality life style in free time of most of the people with such pain. Because of their inactivity, fear of even stronger back pain or lack of time, they become more sensitive to other weaknesses that such life brings. They often gain in weight, especially in fat mass while muscle mass is reduced – thus less muscle mass has to carry heavier body mass which is a great burden on lower spine and other joints. The result of such life is pain – because of it people cease with sport activity and thus deprive themselves of certain good exercises that would otherwise prevent low back pain. (Predan [3])

Too often we skip exercise under the excuse of pain. There is also a deep rooted thought that body cannot be restored with aging. Doctor and professor Goodman reports that studies have proven that muscles can grow and become strong even with 80, 90 years old people; with the help of exercise even some bedridden people started to walk and regained vitality. The good effect of anti-gravitational activity of deep muscles on the bones is especially recommended; the bone mass increases and loss of calcium is prevented. (dr. Goodman [6])

As we have mentioned, deep muscles are pushing against gravity when we stand, sit or are in any static posture. In everyday life we mostly move around and when we are at rest, we usually sit improperly in our comfortable sofas, thus having not many opportunities to use deep muscles. In taiji it is the opposite; we move very slowly so that gravity can have its role and between almost all the moves or postures we stop for some moments. These moments are golden; we relieve all the muscles and tissues and body weight is sunk to the feet. Each time the body gets an opportunity to bring itself back into correct structure. So, not only muscles and bones – each time the whole system of nerves, lymph, organs etc. harmonises – that is, our whole self – physical and mental!

Low back pain is medical disorder associated with high direct medical costs and indirect costs such as sick leave and disability pension. Even though the latest world therapeutic recommendations put excercise on the top of the list, they still highly support pain relieving drugs. (dr. Jamnik [7]). What are the consequences we can imagine!

When we build a house or make any other product it is logical, that the structure for example of a wall, its foundation etc. must be right, otherwise the building will not stand long. The tower of Pisa is disturbing us for centuries because of its tilt. It is leaning only for four degrees but we know it will fall one day. How is it that we are so careless about our improper body structure and are not aware of its unnecessary negative results?

other articles

Sources quoted:


[1] dr. Robert Košak: “Low Back Pain”, Rehabilitacija, volume 9, suplement 2 (2010) p.3-8, e-document

[2] physiot. Barbara Purkart: http://www.fizioterapija.net/blog/trigger-point-masaza-bolecina-v-krizu/

[3] Uroš Predan: “Connection between strenght of body muscles with back pain” (graduation paper), Ljubljana: University for sport, 2012, 31 p., e-document

[4] MSc. Physics Stefano Beconcini: “Structural Bodywork”, http://tao-garden.com/chronic-pain-management-program/

[5] Mayers T. W: Anatomy Trains. – Elsevier, 2009, 295 p.

[6] dr. Anthony A. Goodman: Understanding the Human Body, Lecture 28: Musculoskeletal System (Montana State University), DVD, 45 min., youtube

[7] dr. Helena Jamnik: “Rehabilitation of persons with chronic widespread pain / fibromyalgia syndrome”, Rehabilitacija, volume 9, suplement 1 (2010) p.71-76, e-document

Manos con Jing

Muchas veces decimos en el Taiji que las manos deben de estar llenas. En China se diría que las manos deben de tener  “jing” (“fuerza”). En el siguiente articulo miraremos más de cerca a este concepto mientras examinaremos también unas nociones equivocadas y errores que pueden ser la razón porque nuestros movimientos, especialmente de las manos -hasta a veces tras mucho tiemp de práctica- pueden parecer vacias y muertas.

 Ma Lin Listening to Wind in Pines
Ma Lin (马麟), siglo xII, China
Pintando Eschuchando el viento entre los pinos;
Un ermitaño sentado en el tronco de un pino pequeño,
sus ojos cerredos y su pecho descubierto,
absorbido por el acto de escuchar los susurros
del viento, olvidandose hasta de la sacudida de la cola del caballo
usada para espantar a las moscas. (Fuente: The Art Book
of Chinese Paintings, published by Long River Press).
Qi está por todo, interior y exterior
.

 Qué les llenas a las manos? Obviamente el qi, la bioelectricidad, la fuerza vital o cualquier otro nombre que quieres darlo. Hay muchos conceptos diferentes sobre el: el occidente no lo reconoce, no se puede demostrar en un laboratorium; en algunos circulos del taiji se dice que es na frivolidad; mientras otros dicen que el qi llegan tras años de práctica,…

Qi como energia o como fuerza en el cuerpo es algo absolutamente real, presente, sin ella no podriamos ni siquiera levantar la mano. Fluye  por todo el cuerpo – según la medicina china tradicionalaccording (MCT) pasa por varios canales o “meridianos”, de los cuales los 12 principales se conectan con un organo interno. Cada meridiano acaba en los dedos o en los dedos del pie.

Se dice que el qi se potencia con la práctica del Taiji y que fluye mejor y sin obstaculos lo que ayuda a mejorar la salud. Los chinos dividen el qi en más y menos puro, hasta en muy sutil y espiritual. El taijiquan no solamente mejora la salud, también puede representar un camino (dao) para llegar a unos objetivos espirituales como ha sido propuesto por las sistemas filosoficas el Daoismo, Budismo, etc. Luego hay una tercera faceta -que es lo que le da su popularidad hoy en día- el arte marcial. Cada uno de los tres aspectos se entrelazan y cada vez que practicamos trabajamos los tres, aunque practiquemos el taiji solamente por razones de salud o diversión.

Las formas que fueron desarrolladas por los grandes maestros tienen como objetivo el desarrollar y expresar o usar el qi. La primera forma Laojia yilu containe sobre todo figuras que expresan el qi a través de las manos. Es decir, las manos deben de estar llenas, llenas de qi. Desde el punto de vista del arte marcial solamente tendremos exito con las manos llenas.

El problema en la lengua eslovena es que solamente tenemos un termino, roka o brazo (desde los hombros hasta los dedos se llama roka). En inglés hay una palabra “hand” que se refiere a la parte de los dedos hasta la muñeca, la palabra arm indica la parte desde la muñeca hasta el hombro. Cuando traducimos textos o escuchamos un seminario en Inglés muchas veces no nos damos cuenta de que tendríamos haber hecho el movimiento con la mano y no con el brazo. Sería más correcto decir que “dlan” o mano (no roka o brazo) tendría que estar llena de qi y que el movimeinto se debe de hacer con  “dlan” o la mano. Pero por regla general no lo decimos asi porque en al hablar solamente usamos una sola palabra  – roka o brazo.

Debido a esta limitación o inconsistencia en la lengua ejecutamos movimientos de Taiji con el brazo, usando hombros y codos. Cuando decimos a alguien de levantar la mano, él o ella automaticamente levanta primero el hombro o el codo. A un nivel subconscienta pensamos que hay que levantar el hombro, luego el codo, si queremos levantar la mano. Por lo menos asi parece – y mecanicamente parece necesario, no podemos llevar la mano a un sitio si no llevamos el codo y el hombro a ese sitio. Entonces, donde está el prob At least it looks so that– and mechanically it seems necessarlema? Porqué no levantar primero el brazo si la mano le sigue? El problema se encuentra en nuestra conciencia, en el uso de fuerza muscular y tensión.

Casi siempre usamos fuerza muscular para mover nuestros hombros y codos. Los clasicos del taijiquan dicen que el qi se bloquea al usar fuerza muscular, porque los musculos se están tensando y ponen estres en varios tendones y tejidos. Nuestra atención suele estar en los hombros y codos y ahi se suele quedar. Tensión, bloqueos y rigidez se forman en estas partes and asi el qi no puede llegar nunca a los dedos en su maxima potencial. Nuestras manos se quedan vacias y sin jing.

La atención influye mucho el fluj y la intensidad del qi. De hecho, esto es el Taiji, con la consciencia y la atención llevar el qi. Debemos saber de donde y hacia donde llevar el qi. En cada postura en la forma tenemos que saber el recorrido del movimiento, que es también el recorrido del qi y de nuestra atención.  No es sin importancia si al pegar un puñetazo la atención y el qi se pararía en el antebrazo tenso donde se dispersaría en los musculos tensos. Qué pasaría si nos enfrentaramos a un enemigo real?

Un buen profesor nos lleva a unos movimientos correctos, efectivos y hacia la expresión del qi. Nosotros mismos muchas veces no nos damos cuenta de que hacemos un gesto con una parte del cuerpo que no toca, tampoco notamos donde tenemos la tensión y se bloquea el qi. Un buen profesor nos ayuda a darnos cuenta y con varias técnicas superar ciertas costumbres y problemas.

Lo más importante es el relajar (fan song). Hacemos el movimiento de manera relajado  – en los hombros, los brazos, las piernas, la cintura, las caderas,  etc. Solamente a traves de una profunda relajación de las partes del cuerpo, sin uso de fuerza muscular el qi corre con fluide, sin obstaculos y en abundancia. A veces – otra vez debido a la expresión – pensamos que ya estamos relajados (sino no estaríamos practicando Taiji!) o que la relajación es meramente simbolica – para que suene bien. No, es 100% necesario. Si queremos 100% de resultados tendremos que relajar el cuerpo al 100%. Es posible? Los grandes maestros dicen que s pero solamente tras años de práctica intensiva y correcta.

Practicamos la relajación cada vez que practicamos el Taiji, sea en la forma, en chan si gong, en meditación o en el empuje de manos. Todas estas técnicas tenemos el mismo objetivo, ayudar a relajar para que pueda fluir el qi por el cuerpo hacia las puntas de los dedos y hacia los deods de pie. Hemos mencionado ya que en los dedos empiezan la mayoria de los meridianos importantes de acupuntura; ahora podemos entender porque la práctica correcta del Taiji beneficia tanto a la salud. Por lo tanto, si hacemos por ejemplo chan si gong debemos prestar atención a las manos, a donde va nuestra mente. NO podemos esperar de tener las manos llenas si la atención se queda en la cintura. Obviamente para una práctica correcta del Taiji hay que considerar más principios como enraizar, verticalidad, conexión, espirales,… etc. Pero acuerd aue todos estos se basan en la relajación.

Al pensar en la relajación, intentamos sentir nuestro cuerpo, especialmente en la parte de los hombros y las caderas para tratar de relajarlas. No tenemos que entrar en extremos. Maestro Fu en el seminar en Eslovenia de 2012 nos avisó que pensar demasiado en el qi pued provocar lo contrario. En vez de relajar una parte se vuelve tensa porque nos centramos demasiado en dirigir el fluyo del qi con la mente y la atención. Contó que este problema surge en principiantes que han practicado o aun practican qigong donde conscientemente se guia el qi de una parte a otra. En Taiji no podemos hacer las dos a la vez -por lo menos no en el nivel del principiante – vigilar el recorrido de qi en cada milimetro y al mismo tiempo moverse en acuerdo con los principios del Taiji.

Mantengamonos relajado fisicamente y mantengamonos relajado mentamente. Ejecutamos el Taiji con el cuerpo y la mente. No necesitamos pensar en muchos detalles. Hay una frase en Inglés que me gusta “let go” o soltar, que significa relajar, soltarte, no pensar. Un profesor te dice como moverte, o te dice el recorrido y la posición final. Nosotros intentamos hacerlo – tan reladamente que podamos. Quizas no lo conseguimos a la primera, quizas habrá que intentar miles de veces, pero de repente un día lo conseguimos? Eso es el Taiji y ahi está su belleza.Review Android Smartphone

Para resumir: manos llenas se refiere a las manos y los dedos llenos de qi. Conocemos la regla básica que dice: la fuerza viene de las piernas, se dirige por la cintura y se expresa en las manos. En el Chen Taiji se expresa más, con movimientos lentos alternandose con explosivos (fajing). Qi o jing, lo tenemos o no lo tenemos. En China se dice que tenemos kungfu o no lo tenemos. Qi que se expresa a traves de movimiento en la forma o en el empuje de manos no es sujetivo; no es una cuestión de imaginación. Lo sentimos y usamos y otros lo notan. No podemos hacer nada en empuje de manos sin jing.

Si queremos dejar fluir el qi hacia las puntas de los dedos, tenemos que relajar los brazos por completo. La manera más fácil es alargar los brazos (en China al estilo Chen se llama “brazos largos”). No extendemos los brazos por completo, se alargan porque relajamos los hombros, los codos y las muñecas. Solamente sabremos relajar estas partes si de manera consciente iniciamos y guiamos el movimiento desde la mano. Hay tantos factores en el Taiji que se interdepienden que a veces nos sentimos atrapados en un circulo vicioso. No te sorprenderá que el simbolo del Taiji es un circulo con dos polos y cada uno tiene una mezcla del otro.

Author: Dragi Bedina

English proofreader: Roy Hanney

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* The author’s native language is Slovenian

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