Saturday, November 10, 2012

3 Main Blogs: Successful as Aids?

There have been a number of emails and comments indicating that for a lot of people the blogs are a of minimum help other than background information.  That's to be expected, to a large extent, because the information in the blogs was aimed primarily at helping the students of a really qualified understand what the discussion was about.  I.e., the blogs aren't meant as beginning course for the simple reason that a person must have some hands-on training in order to understand the general material.

My interest for a number of years has been in uncovering the principles and material behind classical "internal strength" and I've made it a point to always visit many different Asian teachers in order to see/feel their material, and listen to what they're saying.  In the last few years, one of the teachers that I've visited is Chen Bing, who teaches Chen-style Taijiquan.  Chen Bing apparently sat down and figured a very logical set of steps that he thought people should follow and he adheres to that logic in his teaching, rather than hopping around from subject to subject.  It's his material that primarily motivated me to write on this blog site the material that would accompany his logic... and it bit beyond it so that the larger picture is outlined.  If you get a chance, I'd recommend a visit to one of his workshops at some time.

Unless someone has a feel for what jin is, what suit can do, how the dantian feels as it physically moves, etc., a lot of the stuff on the blog is just words.  However, over time I think that more and more people will encounter opportunities where they can use this baseline material, so I plan on leaving it up for a while.

Another comment I'd make is that I've encountered a number of westerners' theories about internal martial-arts that have mechanical explanations of how punches work, mobilizer and stablizer muscles, "mutually opposing spirals" (a misunderstanding rooted in the ni-shun dichotomy), leverage, momentum, hard-gong training, and so on. 

The main point I'd make is that a correctly-trained body acts differently than those mechanistic explanations are capable of explaining.  In other words, I think people should spend more time on basic training (jibengongs) before they get into "forms" and "applications", good-sounding explanations that use physics terms, and so on.  Most of the western people who claim to do "internal" things don't even have basic dantian or jin skills, so the mechanics are going to be wrong just based on that alone.  Any other partial skills like breath-packing phenomena, "fa jin", etc., are also going to be very limited because the whole body hasn't been trained. 

So, regardless of how many forms someone else can do, a wise person should spend a lot of time on basic exercises and acquire some skills and basic principles before worrying about forms, applications, and so on.  It's easier to get the skills first and then apply them to forms, applications, and so on, then it is to pattern a lot of wrong movements into your body and then try to go back and change those badly-patterned movements.

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