"If you have had good results with the Qigong you have learned, then continue v, the things you used to do straightaway. However, I believe if you practise Qigong properly or other internal art which will cultivate the Qi in the body and help the injury to heal itself.
I broke my wrist when I was 14 and it was because of this that I went to wrist. You need to listen to your body, though. If you keep creating strain on that area over and over, so that it getting damaged again and again, it maybe that the next time it will not recover. You have to be sensible and let it take its time. Yours sincerely, Michael Tse
Why do we need to meditation after we practise Qigong?
Qigong is an ancient Chinese skill which is based upon the principles of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements. We know, that Yin and Yang is a balance of hard and soft, dark and light, movement and stillness. Therefore, if we are doing Qigong, this is Yang and active. Movement helps us to release the negative energy in our body and open the channels and acupuncture points so that Qi can flow smoothly and positive Qi can be gathered to replace the ill energy released. Once we have gathered this good energy, we need to take care of it. We would not leave a thousand pounds of money laying on a table for just anyone to take, so we should consider the Qi we have just worked hard to accumulate as something even more valuable. We need to keep it where it is safe and can be stored for later use and our bodies have conveniently provided just such a place. It is called our Dantian.
The way we store our Qi is through meditation. Movement is Yang and active, therefore, we need something Yin and still to balance it. Only through stillness can the Qi gather and be stored.
There are many types of Qigong meditation and so it should not be difficult to find one which suits you. You can try either standing or sitting on a chair or even the lotus position, sitting on a floor or cushion. Many people think only of doing the Qigong movements and forget their meditation. So they have worked very hard, but the money they put in their pocket is gone when they need it, having slipped through the hole in their pocket because they have not stored their Qi through meditation.
Everyday we receive many letters from people all over the world, sometimes asking for advice, sometimes just sharing their experience. Unless specifically asked otherwise, we will consider these letters for possible publication in Qi Magazine. In this way, we all come together like a family and share and help each other. That is the reason I began Qi Magazine and particularly the PO Box. - Michael Tse
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Yang Jing Hao. On Yang Jing Hao said, "the principle of Buddhism is very simple. Buddhism means enlightenment, to understand what will happen and what has happened. Shakyamuni is Buddha, he found out the true meaning of life and what happens outside of our own environment."
So far, I am not sure whether I believe in any religion. I like true philosophy and knowledge that can help me and make me understand, which is more than just believing in God. I do not mean that I will never believe in any one religion, but if it has some knowledge that can help me, then I am hungry to learn. I always had doubts about what I should study. But at first I followed for a couple of years and most of the time I found they were good. Even if at the time I found something I did not think was right, or something was missing, I thought that when my level was higher, then I would understand.
Because Jing Kong said Buddhism was not a religion, I started to listen to the tapes as if they were someone telling me some knowledge. I started to think, is this right, does it make sense? Yes, it made a lot of sense.
Buddhism tells what has happened to us. We come to this life because of what we have done in the past life and that we have come back to pay our debts. No one can escape this. Everything that happens in your life is due to cause and effect. We all know that when we blow the air, the air will move somewhere, at the same time your body will be missing some air and so the next thing will be to breathe in a little harder. This is cause and effect.
If you put your hand into water, the water will disappear from the space where your hand is, but the water has not gone, it has moved to fill another space. When you pull your hand out of the water, the space left by your hand will fill up. Nothing disappear as it is just transformed to another area. Everything is still there. No one will take more than the others and no one will take less than the others.
Today many people are not happy about themselves, because they think they should get more than they are getting. But they forget what they have done in the past. Doing things for charity is sometimes not enough. If you do something charitable and want to show and tell people how kind you are, then your act will not have a good result as it does not come from your true heart. Because you want something, you will not get a true result. When your heart is not true, the result you get is also not true.
Today we see people who have a lot of money, running big businesses, the boss employs 100 or more employees and everyone can see how good he is. Actually this is all wrong. The boss is paying his debts. He has to take care of these people because he owes them from the past. The longer the person works for him, the more debt he owes him or he r. S ome employees are very loyal to him. This is because they have some debt they need to pay back to him.
Life is mixed up with credit and debt. It is the same as a bank account. If you think you can take some credit from someone and run away, then you are wrong. You still need to pay back to someone with interest.
In this life, if you owe many debts, not just financial ones, and you get help from everyone, then you will have to pay them back in the future.
In Buddhist theory all living creatures are the same, so you might come back as an animal. It all depends on what you have done. Buddhism tells us to be peaceful and not get involved with things, to be empty. If you want to do something, you should just let people understand what happiness is and help them so they do not suffer so much. Then in the next life they will not owe so many debts.
Only when you are empty will you not go back into the cycle of life.
This is the same as the principle of Daoism. Wu Wei means nothing. Yin and Yang means cause and effect.
This all makes sense. When you let go, you will have no debt and credit. Then you will be free and you will become a Buddha or an Immortal. However, it is not that easy, but do not forget everything. It is what we do that counts.
Amitabha Buddhist Society of Hawaii 100N. Beretania Street Suite 402 Honolulu, HI96817 USA. Tel/Fax 808 523 8909.
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ. Tel 01442 842455 Fax 01442 84372
Most popular schools of Taijiquan, with the notable exception of Wudang Taijiquan, are directly descended from Chen style. YangLuchan (founder of Yang style) was taught Taijiquan by Chen Changxing (14th generation) in the nineteenth century
The System of
Yang, Wu, and Sun style are all derived from the revision of the Chen family's 83 step Laojia. It is only the Chen system that has the Pao Choi.
The biggest change to Chen family Taijiquan came in the early part of the Twentieth Century, when Chen Fake revised the system and developed the 'New Frame'. Chen Fake was born in 1887 and was a seventeenth generation successor of the Chen family He used to practise the frames more than a hundred times a day. By the age of seventeen he was already renowned as a powerful martial artist. He had an eventful life and took many challenges. He moved to Beijing in 1928 and soon established himself as a great teacher and fighter. The New Frame that Chen Fake developed retained the same basic structure and order as the "Old Frame" but its use of energy is slightly different and the spiralling is elaborated in such a way that additional applications are added to and concealed within the frames.
Since Chen Fake, Chen Taijiquan has become almost two separate systems - the Old Frame and the New Frame. There is also a "Small Frame" but this is much less well known. These two systems largely consist of the following empty hand frames: 83 step Laojia, 83 step Xinjia, 71 step Laojia Pao Choi and 71 step Xinjia Pao Choi.
The whole system is comprised of these open hand forms plus silk reeling exercises, push hands sets, and weapon sets which include: Broad Sword, Straight Sword, Da Dao, Double Broad Sword, Double Straight Sword, and Spear. From this list it should be clear that Chen Taijiquan is a large and complex system and just to learn the frames, let alone gain any degree of mastery, is a project that would require years of dedication.
This for me is part of the appeal of Chen Taijiquan - it isn't easy, it is a challenge. It is a superb system and scarcely a day goes by when I do not marvel at its ingenuity and subtlety. Sometimes, on days when things go just right, it is possible to appreciate the philosophical mystery at the heart of the system. The fact that someone had the genius to encapsulate a mystery into a form and that it is possible to experience this mystery in the movement of your own body, makes Chen Taijiquan very special and precious.
"Yin & Yang are more differ en tia ted in Chen Taijiquan"
Taiji and Pao Choi, The Old and The New
Yin and Yang are at the heart of any system of Taijiquan. They have many attributes. Yin and Yang can be dark and light, earth and heaven, death and life. Almost any phenomenon can be described in terms of Yin and Yang. For Taijiquan some of the more important attributes are: movement and stillness, hard and soft, fast and slow, forwards and back, open and close.
It is perhaps fair to say that Yin and Yang are more clearlydifferentiated in Chen Taijiquan than any of the other systems. Chen clearly has fast movements and slow movements, hard movements and soft movements. This is not to say that other styles do not use Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are, after all, relative terms. You can make ever more subtle differentiations between shades of grey oryou can have black and
white. I n some senses it is an aesthetic choice, in others it is a matter of intention and application. Even within the Chen system you can see different degrees of polarity between Yin and Yang when you compare Old and New Frames, Taiji and Pao Choi.
In the Old Frame the Taiji principle is expressed in a number of ways. The most obvious is the concept of the circle. In the first of the silk reeling exercises one hand is moved in a circle in front of the body During the movement around the circle the hand moves from Yin to Yang and Yang to Yin. During this exercise the further the hand is away from the Dantian the more Yang it is and the closer to the Dantian the more Yin it is. If you are doing the exercise with the right hand then there is a relationship of equivalence between the right hand and the left foot. Another way of considering this exercise is to imagine an invisible circle around the body. This circle represents the limit of movement. Its centre is the Dantian. The hand moves away from the Dantian and when it reaches the extreme limit it returns. The same is true of the left foot. This is what is meant by opening and closing.
At the same time you learn to coordinate breathing in with opening and breathing out with closing. Thus the inhaling and exhaling become part of the Yin Yang cycle g by Glenn Gossling [email protected],qimagazine. com
I had my son in China in 1989. This year I had twin girls in Manchester. It has been interesting to experience first hand the differences in the way the east and west looks after the mother following labour.
Postnatal Care in China and the West
Traditionally women in China have to stay in bed for a whole month after delivering a child. This is called 'Zuo YueZi' literally meaning 'sit month'. She is not allowed to have a shower or bath, or to wash her hair, nor is she allowed to brush her teeth. Her head and feet are wrapped to keep herwarm and windows and doors are kept closed. She is expected to sit cosy in bed. The fear is that wind may attack the body. The Chinese believe that blood vessels are empty after labour, making a woman vulnerable to illnesses such as arthritis, backache and migraines, for example.
Chinese tradition dictates that during the postnatal month, the mother must eat very rich food to tonify the body. She will try to eat fish soup, eggs and chicken every day. When relatives and friends visit her they often bring gifts of these foods and ginseng. The new mother must never eat cold food.
The final part of this ritual is an event to publicly celebrate the child's arrival. It is called the Full Month Party. In China this is a very important social tradition for mother and baby
When you have a baby in the west the care you receive is quite different. Firstly the nurse or midwife will insist you have a shower the next day and you are encouraged to walk as soon as possible. No particular attention is paid to keeping warm beyond what is normal. Women can walk around hospital wards barefoot. They can even drink cold water. No gifts of fish soup. Traditional gifts for new mothers in the UK are flowers, cards, celebration balloons, baby clothes and teddybears.
Overall, the Chinese way looks at the postpartum mother as a seriously weak person, and the western way views her more normally, and treats her more naturally. I feel the eastern way can make you feel even weaker from being bedridden. It can also make you prone to retaining weight gained during pregnancy. The western way enables you to gain energy back relatively quickly because you get up and move around, which also encourages your weight to return to normal.
When I had my son in China twelve years ago after four weeks I still felt weak when I climbed stairs-I even felt weak when I tried to write. While this time, after having my girls, although I had a caesarean for the second twin, I managed to do a little mild office work, and gently exercises two days later. A week after the birth I even managed to write a long article for a book in China which I didn't find time to do before the birth.
If you have a caesarean in China you must lie still in bed. A full week later you will feel a lot of pain when you move or turn over. In a western hospital you are encouraged to walk within a couple of days. There is a tendency to walk bent for fear of stretching the wound, but you are told to walk straight and the pain eases very soon. By the end of the week walking feels quite normal.
Perhaps the Chinese could review their methods of postnatal care for the mother. I think the tradition is better suited to a thousand years ago when people more frequently suffered from
hunger and cold and lack of nutrients generally. No wonder after labour they would need a lot of rest and keeping warm and tonic food for once! Nowadays lifestyles have changed and generally body constitution is stronger, so I think the western way may be a better way in this case.
Anyway, whether you receive western or eastern care Chinese herbal medicine is needed after labour to tonify the Qi and blood in order to strengthen the body and promote blood circulation. Also it will remove blood stasis and stop the bleeding quickly as well as brightening the complexion.
The effective formulas are Nu Bao for a cold body constitution and Tai Tai Kou Fu Ye for a hot body constitution. Many of my patients take these after labour. These nurturing herbs means sleepless nights with baby won't affect their health as much as it might. Infact they all look younger and happier^
by Dr. Shulan Tang email [email protected],qimagazine. com ltivating a Good Heart
I'd like to spend a few minutes with you just thinking out loud. We could perhaps simply sum up what a good heart entails by using the term sincerity, knowing one's shortcomings and weaknesses and being determined to overcome them whilst retaining a dignified humility. This is essential for progress in martial arts training and in life.
It's amazing how many martial arts dojos I visit that display some sort of club manifesto on their walls, usually something to the effect that their particular style exists only as self defence and that the true essence of the art is self
Many times there has been talk of the need for "a good heart" in both instructors and students alike. It's obviously something important and therefore deserves a close scrutiny. Why is this so, and how do we know whether we are doing the right thing?
cultivation, the perfection of character. It's also amazing how many times I fail to see this ethos manifested in the attitudes of the instructors and students. There are notable exceptions in my area but there are also many more clubs who not only seem to rather short-sightedly regard their style as the best there is, if not the only style there is, but seem unable to make any connection between their manifesto and their personal conduct.
As I become older this sort of thing becomes more important to me. I never realised the importance of Xiu Xing, self cultivation, in my youth and it's only now, close to my fiftieth year, that I sense it acutely and appreciate it in others. Something from within a person shines and connects with my own lowly light, my aspirations. We lift each other somehow, simply from that meeting of lights. You can experience the opposite of that by listening to two people slagging off a mutual enemy (or friend!) - it can get really nasty, often centring on a physical attribute like a haircut or a speech mannerism. It's shallow and degrading and that way lies discontent and hypocrisy. They drag each other down. They divide. They divide people, they divide and diminish the light.
Buddhists and Taoists alike believe in transcending the ego. Buddhists call this process Xiu Xing (bhavana - cultivation in the Sanskrit language) meaning the work of meditation and the detachment from one's mental processes, the Wu Xin or "no mind" inner stillness that can serve as our wellspring whether sitting alone undera tree or engaging with others in a work or social situation. Taoists prefer the term Zuowang which means self forget-fulness, the kind of spontaneity of mind, a free fl oati ng quality that can arise when playing music, push hands or just being fully involved in a Qigong form. Both Wu Xin and Zuowang are free form self-based mental phenomena, even when the body is busy with sitar, Tui Shou partner or computer keyboard. Thoughts may arise but they're not pursued or clung to. This is true stillness.
Much of our Qigong and Taiji practice and probably the Shaolin as well, though my knowledge of Shaolin is more slanted to the "religious" side, is centred upon another Taoist concept, that of Xiu Ming, cultivation of "life energy". It doesn't end there though. As well as being healthy we want to be happy. All beings do. Forsome, that pursuit of happiness results in a frantic accumulation of security or material comforts and of course physical well being is an important factor in a happy individual. But that's just the first step. To be truly happy and healthy we also need a positive interaction with the outside world. Feeling that we're making a useful contribution to the world, that we share common goals with those we respect or have affection for, this is another important element of our contentment. Happy people tend to be healthy. Body and mind cannot be divorced from one another.
"As well as being healthy we want to be happy. All beings do."
I would venture that some kind of so-called spiritual practice or even a spiritual perspective is important too, Feeling a connection with something beyond ourselves gives our aspirations and daily experiences a deeper meaning. Whether it's a belief in God, an aspiration to attain enlightenment or simply a deep love of nature, it's good to sense that connection to something noble, bigger than us. It struck me a couple of days ago, when I was sitting, getting ready to meditate, that just turning the mind towards something other than the usual emotional roller coaster ride, the psychic warfare we now laughingly call normal life, can bring about a corresponding lightness in the body and a lessening of the usual clamour of self-based opinions, self doubt, self adornment.
The effects of this simple turning of the mind, the body, towards something noble, something clean, something beneficial, should never be underestimated. We are what we do, we are what we say, we are what we think. How healthy are you?
I'm beginning to believe that there 's no such thing as an inconsequential thought, word or action. Everything we do, say or even think, not only vibrates within us, leading us one step nearer total serenity, total health or towards total self obsession, total ruin, but also continues to reverberate for the rest of time. Once said, once thought, and once acted upon, a whole mess of karma unfolds upon us and others, and it can take a very long time indeed to stop unfolding.
Traditionally in China gentlemen were supposed to study and become competent in the five excellencies, that is martial arts, medicine, poetry, painting and calligraphy and meditation. This may seem outmoded now but I believe
the idea of a well rounded character is still relevant. The five perfections are a useful guide to developing valuable social skills for the modem world,
Wu Shu is the art of not having to fight, the art of being able to avoid conflict, the art of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even street thugs have this skill sometimes. Last year I was, against my will, involved in a bus stop scuffle with a number of youths. When I was gently holding one of them by the throat and discussing his conduct, another began to threaten me, with the rest of the gang, with his gun etc. I had placed myself in an unfortunate position, wasn't going to back down, and was quite frankly beginning to think that I wasn't in full control of the situation, and quite possibly soon, not fully in control of my bladder either! However, much to everyone's surprise, including my own, the ringleader then began to reason with me, appeal to my better nature, thus allowing me to climb down without loss of face. I applaud the young thug's street savvy. We were all able to walk away from a potentially nasty situation. Though martial arts training is good for the spirit, it shouldn't promote feelings of antagonism or confrontation.
Wu s hu i s also self defence in the sense of defending your body against disease, old age etc. It's healthy exercise. Or you could cultivate a second marketable talent, a profession or skill to fall back on when times are hard. That's a kind of self defence.
For medicine read Qigong knowledge. You don't have to be an acupuncturist, a herbalist, a therapist, a shiatsu practitioner, a Reiki healer, your Qigong practice should have provided or will provide you with a lot of resources in dealing with minor ailments and injuries. You don't know how much you know. That 's both a reason to remain humble and a reason to be proud of your progress so far. Whenever I see someone with a bad back or frozen shoulder, a chest cough, I can't understand why they're either ignoring it or are just taking pills to mask the symptoms. I forget they actually don't know how to deal with the root of the problem.
For poetry read composition or communication, the art of writing or speaking to others in a clear, honest and non-provocative way. That's an art in itself, as is the ability to simply listen to others without interrupting. For painting read presentation, the art of presenting yourself to the world. It's important to realise that you form a part of someone else's environment!
It's no joy pushing hands or training with someone of even exceptional skill or insight if they have dandruff or bad breath. Are you aware of the tone of your voice when you
speak to a certain person or that your body language makes it look as if you're either constantly turning away from this person or confronting that one? That's your canvas, the world, and your words and body language colour that canvas in shades of gold or sludge!
For meditation read that sense of connection with or turning towards something other than the daily grind, the something vast or noble that we talked about before. It's more important than I ever chose to believe in my youth. One thing I love about my Taiji and Qigong, as well as my Buddhist practice, is how it connects me with nature, the clouds, the moon and stars, the trees, the weather especially! Remember, as one of my most senior students constantly reminds me, that we're not merely part of nature, we are nature. We're not a separate, special creation. Better than that, we are literally a part of everything. Our bodies and, surprisingly, even the less tangible components of us such as thoughts and words too, are all an integral part of the whole magic swirl we call existence.
So getting to the point, if you have what Tse Sifu calls a good heart, you add positive elements to the mix, you help uplift everyone, however infinit-esimally. If you don't, if you approach class, training, your teacher, your fellow practitioners, your parents, spouse, work mates etc. with resentment, competition, envy, distaste or other negative emotions, you drag us all down.
None of us are perfect, far from it, and we all need to work on this stuff. One of my students said to me recently; "Actually Taiji isn't very relaxing. Every time I come here I face new challenges." He must have found that the Taiji practice helped him in the outside world though and it's a testament to his character that he has been attending class regularly for five years now. But he's right. Though we have to relax to practise Taiji it does constantly stretch my abilities. Just when you think you're beginning to understand the whole thing another layer reveals itself. As I'm getting older I fancy that the Shaolin forms in the syllabus are going to challenge me too, I'm not walking away though. If I can have a go, so can my students. We'll have good hearts even if everything else is falling to bits!
Despite the general "soapbox" tone of this article, I'm not a child of the new age, nor am I a natural joiner of movements, clubs etc. I'm also far from being a naturally obedient person, though I do love harmony. In fact the Buddhist word for ethics is "sila" which means that which preserves harmony. _
by Julian Wilde
When we study any skill, we endeavour to get it right. Even when you can see your teacher it is very difficult. However if you know what to look for then you will improve much quicker than just repeating the exercise over and over.
Iot everyone is fortunate enough to have regular access to a teacher or class. Maybe they only see their teacher once a year. Maybe others only have the opportunity to have studied from a book or video and so have no one to guide or correct their movements. So how is it that one can not only maintain what they have learned but also develop their understanding and proficiency of internal arts skills?
There are a few ways in which we can work on it. One way is to remember the principles behind the movements. Every skill will have its own special rules, what I would refer to as guidelines and principles. For instance, Shaolin uses many up and down movements and also we can see that we are not following the Bow Stance principle.
Other martial arts too have their own guidelines. Chen Taijiquan uses a lower stance than Yang style Taijiquan in order to develop power. The majority of the stances have a 60/ 40 distribution of weight (though not all). If the weight distribution is not correct, then it does not follow the principle of the stance. A 60/40 balance has been time proven to be the best for Taijiquan fighting skill with various techniques. Wing Chun, too, has a special stance called
Principle various channels or guiding the Qi. However, instead of guiding the Qi, tension blocks Qi. All the practitioner does is end up with a tense body, through the shoulders and chest and even back. If the practice continues in this way, it will eventually cause too much tension in the mind, resulting in headaches or even hypertension and the person will find it hard to relax outside of practice.
"Remember the principles behind the movements"
weapons, however, we see that most of the time that the person training has a straight posture with the shoulders relaxed and emphasis on the legs for support. If we look at particular postures, we see that Bow Stance is a popular stance in Shaolin. Bow Stance is performed with the hips square to the front and shoulders back, the back leg will be straight with almost all of the weight borne on the front leg. Knowing this, we can look at our own posture and see if we are following this. If the back is bent forward or the hips turned too much,
Juen Ma which helps the stance to be strong as well as fluid. Juen Ma lets the Wing Chun practitioner to be able to easily change position when fighting. Qigong movements, too, will often relate to
We know that in Qigong and even in Taijiquan we should be relaxed and calm the mind. But what about other martial arts? I would say no matter what the skill, power should be used only when you need it. Have you ever tried to stand on one leg for more than ten seconds while keeping the knee of yourgrounded leg tensed and knee locked and one arm punching forward with tension? What happens and why? The Qi all rises up and outwards. The body becomes like a top-heavy tree, with roots not strong enough to support it.
We ca n apply this same thought to
Qigong. In Qigong, we are trying to achieve health rather than power and we do this by releasing negative Qi and gathering positive
are walking meditations in which we are movi ng and m aybe even chanting, these can help quiet the
Qi. We do this also through both the movements of the forms and also through meditation. However, if we are tense when we do the forms or meditation, then what will be the result. The Qi will be blocked. In addition, if we are doing meditation with the purpose of calming our minds and gathering energy, then we should be still and also quiet. Although there mind, but they will not necessarily gather energy. When we talk, we use energy. When we walk or otherwise move, the Qi will also move. Therefore, without stillness, our Qi will not settle.
We must look not just at the external details and movements of the skills which we seek to practise. We also need to look at the principles and try to understand why we move or practise in a certain way. Otherwise, that is all they
"Meditations in which we are moving and chanting may not gather energy."
are walking meditations in which we are movi ng and m aybe even chanting, these can help quiet the will ever be, just movements rather than skill that can be used to achieve a particular purpose by Sihn Kei email [email protected],qimagazine. com
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