Sunday, December 4, 2011

The attraction of Tai-chi: Winding silk energy

Once a tai-chi practitioner has passed his initial stage (which means with zhan-zhuang foundation plus learning the Form sequence), he is onto many interesting practice concepts. Winding silk energy (纏絲勁) being one. However, like other internal Taoist practice (including Taoist meditation) it suffers from one source of possible, probably inherent, confusion. It is the dichotomy between Non-action (無為) and Action (有為).

A seasoned tai-chi practitioner understands that the ultimate tai-chi concept is relaxation, total relaxation. A seasoned Taoist meditator understands the ultimate meditation concept is Void or Emptiness (emptying one's body and soul/mind). Having said that the way leading to Non-action is always Action! A totally relaxed/collapsed body can't fight,and a totally unstimulated body/mind can do nothing good spiritually, and may even lead to hallucination and psychotic onset!

Therefore in the practice of tai-chi, my advice is first do foundation Zhan Zhuang (understanding chi) and learn the Form sequence. Then one can proceed into applying what one has learned into other interesting concepts (like silk winding energy 纏絲勁).

It is always best to learn silk winding energy method from a seasoned coach. But everybody can at least appreciate what it is and, assuming one does understand, can also appreciate the difficulty in perfecting this method in every movement (that incidentally also lies its attraction).

This is how you can have an experience:

Hold your extended arms parallel and horizontally front, with hands in Zhang Zhuang stretched form (please check on my "Zhan Zhunag 101" post for details).

Now with your stretched middle-finger-and-thumb as pivot, keep your arms fully extended, turn your left arm clockwise and your right arm anticlockwise. In short turn them inwards.

Do it slowly! And with a totally focused mind: on the arms separately - their muscles and bones as connected twist-able wholes!

And, assuming successful, you will feel energy (or CHI 氣, or a THING 物) spirals up (as you turn) from your fingers up to your shoulder's ball and socket joint in a twisting manner.

Last by not not least, again assuming a successful execution, you can feel a strong sluggish twisting movement, turning at each shoulder's ball and socket joint.

And you got it!

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