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.


Monday, November 15, 2004

unicode oddness

I've no idea what this means (it's a part of the Great Wall, obviously - and Blogger will undoubtedly have scermabld the characters) but it's a recent China photo from Flickr.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Mike Sigman workshop

Just got back in from a workshop with Mike Sigman, arranged by James Langcake (and I think Aarvo Tucker - anyway, he was there), on Internal Strength for Taiji, Ba gua etc.

Roy and Anthony James Orbital Listening

I'm knackered now (yes, because of it), so a better report will be here later.

However, I do think this will definitely power-up my Taiji.

Interview with Mike Sigman thanks to Internal Strength magazine.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Sparring - settle rising Chi

In blobbed, vanillasky reports an entertaining kick-boxing workout, which, as she put it "possibly sounds a bit barbaric to a non-kickboxer". Probably any martial artist would recognise the appeal of more "live" forms of training, even a wet scholarly layabout like me.

Peter and I played with some pushing hands last week, after our meeting had freed up a nice big room which, coincidentally, had had the usual bored-room tables pushed to the edge of. We pushed each other gently around circles for a bit, trying to listen properly, before we moved to a game of trying to unbalance the other. We used peng, an, and lou with a few others thrown in. After a few goes, the senses seemed to click in, but at the same time an excitement rose - drowning out the listening skill. We calmed and settled, and found the tactics worked better. Stillness within intense movement, and all that.

Much better than a previous stab at this game I partook of a while ago, which degenerated all too rapidly into thrashing about, the Chi having risen without control.