Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rooting as healing

Many years ago, a friend of mine asked me "What did some tai-chi master like to demonstrate his energy ability of able to withstand the combined push (i.e. one behind another) of a number of people?  Isn't it like Sumo wrestling?" The difference, I supposed, would be in the training method.  In tai-chi it is called rooting, and a practitioner has to relax himself, do abdominal breathing to direct the outside pushing force through this chi-connected muscles-cum-bone structure, to his feet.  And tai-chi, it is more of a mind-body conditioning tool.

It is usually believed to be an advanced technique to be learned after learning basic zhan zhuang and with a certain proficiency in connecting one's muscles into one unit (or body-like-molten-metal).  The objective is to enhance such proficiency.  It has great mind-body conditioning benefits.  A practitioner has to be relaxed and has to focus his mind to continuously generate the right amount of chi energy to balance the outside force.  For good results, the outside force (from a training partner or teacher) will have to be applied smoothly and to vary its strength in response to the changing reaction force of the practitioner.  A good chi-listening skill is therefore required for both the practitioner and his training partner.  Not a contest of strength but a balancing of strength.  For those who have trained in rooting exercise (having taken both position), they would have experienced the tremendous reaction power that can be generated by a force-receiver when his chi-energy is totally connected through breathing, sometimes without the receiver himself noticing it!  And this last point leads us to a possibility of using rooting as healing.

One applicable situation is for older folks who find it difficult to self-generate sufficient chi, and in particular for those who have structural imbalance and need some balancing to facilitate his moving back to a body structure more conducive to generate chi through normal zhan zhuang, such good structure is also conducive to good health. 

The selection of contact point will depend on individual cases and has to be tested by the healer himself, through his own judgment of the energy response of his client, as well as his verbal response when asked.  The contact point can be a finger, a hand, a shoulder etc.  The client needs not do a zhan zhuang stand (and probably can't, if he is too weak).  Without the benefit of a client trained in chi-kung, the healer has to test his strength to a suitable level that can slowly ignite the chi potential inside his client's body.  As I explained in other posts, chi will be generated if one's breathing energy (or mechanism responsible for breathing) can be connected towards one's extremity.  In a rooting-for-healing situation, a healer firstly has to select a good extremity, and secondly listen carefully and adjust or synchronize his force accordingly, so that his contact point can be connected with his client's breathing energy.  Once he feels it can connected, he will direct such connected energy to the root (the feet [standing] or the buttocks [seated]).  The client is asked to breath deeply.  The objective of the healer is to build as massive an energy as possible in the case facing him. Such chi-energy will flow naturally inside the client's body, nourishing his internal organs and body structure in the process.  The quintessential healing effect.

As my alert readers might have noticed, the beauty of tai-chi is that its techniques can be transferred into healing, whereas many forms of martial arts are not as easily transferable.  That's why tai-chi is getting more and more popular nowadays.

Tai Chi Rooting

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