Odd Things About Energy in Tai Chi Chuan and Karate
I don’t talk about energy
in the martial arts
(in Tai Chi Chuan, Karate, etc.)
as much as I should.
Some people think energy (chi) is bogus.
they can bail this newsletter and pick up the next one.
But here’s some stuff about chi in the martial arts.
I was talking to a student the other day,
and we got into postures
when you are just talking to people.
We had just finished some form
and she was standing,
and she clasped her hands in front of her.
I pointed out that when you do a TCC form
energy is moving.
When you clasp your hands
or otherwise touch your body
you turn the energy into the body
and the creation of chi stops.
it goes into circuit,
instead of flowing outward,
which the form trains the energy to do.
So after a form,
you should simply stand,
let the chi exude from your fingertips,
and swell from your body.
This concept relates to postures
when in simple communication with somebody.
She understood that when you fold your arms
you are indicating,
on a ‘subliminal’ level,
you are closed to communication
When you open your arms you are open to communication
And there are variations and versions of this
‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of the body
that people do in simple communication.
But this opening and closing relates to the circles of the arms
and the flow of energy
when doing the martial arts
and specifically Tai Chi
In Aikido we used to do a ‘two step’ movement across the mat,
pretending chi was flowing out of our out flung arms.
Then we tried to keep that flow moving as we entered into techniques.
In karate we ‘pump’ the energy in the body.
we build it in the fists.
Which is an oddity,
because closing the fists actually stops the flow of chi.
But you need closed fists,
but you should,
every so often,
do your forms with open hands,
and explore the different sensations and energies you get.
In Tai Chi you move chi through the body, yes,
but it should eventually exit the body in most most postures.
Here is how chi works in a few of the stances.
two ‘horizontal’ circles of the arms
the chi contracts and expands as if you are holding a ball of chi in your arms
this is very close to the tan tien.
with roll back it is as if you are pulling a rope
then pushing with a palm
a circle in front of you with the blocking hand
a circle (pulsing oval) of the pushing arm next to you
(feels like a locomotive chuffing)
the front hand makes a circle
the rear hand (oval) comes through the circle made.
Something interesting here,
fair lady was originally called
‘fair lady weaves at the shuttles.’
it was a series of plucking motions,
resembling a lady weaving at the shuttles.
Martial techniques changed the original motion
into a more shaolin or pa kua version.
‘tiger comes out of the cave.’
You sink and then corkscrew upward,
one arm creating the mouth of a cave,
the second hand coming out of the cave.
I mention this last because martial arts names
resemble certain images,
and you have to explore the images
and the changes of images,
to get to the truth of how energy works.
So there are three postures.
first you look at what kind of circles are involved
in the hand motions.
Then you explore whether the energy
expands and contracts,
whether it fits an imagery
(fair lady can be done like a locomotive chuffing,
and you do a bunch of other things.
when you strike you should…
push with legs, turn waist, circle (pump) the arms.
you should practice relaxing
and focusing on the smoothness of your motion.
It helps to imagine perfect circles
(ovals, spirals, etc.)
Probably the most important thing of all
when it comes to creating energy.
Breath in when the body contracts,
out when it expands.
Breath to the tan tien,
then sink the energy down the legs.
Breath as if into the body part striking
or getting struck.
there is a lot more.
Usually small things
that create a big wholism.
What the hands do the energy in the tan tien will mimic.
Shoulders MUST be over hips.
turn the body as one,
all pieces of the body must support one intention,
and so on.
if I made a simple list,
it would be a thousand items.
doing the form year in and year out
IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE TECHNIQUES
and you will figure them out in 20 or 30 years
or maybe 40.
Now you see why I obsess on matrixing so much.
People should, and can, learn faster.
If you do a form for 30 or so years,
if you understand the techniques,
you figure it all out.
With matrixing you can cut the time by tens.
Instead of 30 years,
But there is money in stretching the time of learning out.
Car contracts are a big thing,
most schools can’t survive without them.
when you think about people who want self defense,
and are sold,
a bill of goods.
But when martial arts started up,
over the ages,
people needed to be put in combat.
So they needed to be taught quick,
the teacher couldn’t mess up,
or make mistakes,
lives depended on him.
He didn’t worry about getting a student on contract for several years,
he simply taught fast,
knocked heads and you’d better learn,
Armies of pheasants were created in months, even weeks.
The US army is based on learn quick and fast.
We turn out the best soldieres in the world in a matter of months.
Can you imagine the US army with such a viewpoint
as is presented in the martial arts today?
‘It will take you three years to complete basic training.’
We wouldn’t be the best military in the world
with that kind of thought.
Yet that is EXACTLY the kind of thought
that goes along with the martial arts.
I can teach a guy to fight in a month.
survive in a real fight,
But fighting isn’t the martial arts.
If you read this newsletter again you’ll see
that I’m not talking about fighting…
I’m talking about the body as an energy system.
I’m not talking about muscles,
I’m talking about energy as a viable and useful tool.
I’ve talked long enough.
You’ve either got it,
or you aren’t going to get it.
There is more to life than push ups and fights.
There are philosophies,
methods of thought,
ways of living
far beyond what you ever thought…Horatio.
So here’s the obligatory ad.
Or try the whole package…
and have a great work out!
Or try the whole package…