moving about. learning Chinese, practicing Tai Ji Quan, doing Qi Gong, or simply going out running. resisting the monkey impulses.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Looking for Internal Strength

Peng and An are the main directions that Mike's internal strength workshop, reported last week, have opened up for me.

I've been spending the week trying to digest the idea of generating Ground Strength primarily through alignment and (reverse-abdominal) breathing. I've been practising, not only when "practising" but also when moving round the kitchen, opening doors, picking up pieces of paper.

Tried it out with Peter, and we saw that the Peng had improved, and to some extent An and mild Fa Jin.

(Peng is the force - or Jin - of outward pressure, like an inflated structure, used in Ward Off. An is a downward Jin, acting as a weight on the opponent. But I simplify grossly.)

We had an excellent push hands in the week (and in the corridor, alarming the students), finding the strength without muscles.

I've also got my head in one of the late 70's /early 80's wave of English language Tai Chi books, which talks about the internal aspects fairly thoroughly. The spindly form diagrams are useless for me, though. I'm too inexperienced to interpret them.

Matt doing single whip Tai Chi book inspecting Form diagrams

I liken this (Internal Strength) power-up to music practice. Tunes and scales are not music, and neither are the forms Tai Chi. The forms are some material to practice on. It's like when the music lessons first turn from notes and fingering onto phrasing, and the beginning of artful expression.



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