Friday, January 24, 2014

The concept of chi walking

When the term "chi" has become part of mainstream modern workout lingo, any workout program can be added a qualifier: "chi". One of them is chi walking. It is all legit, if you can understand the concept behind.

Courses with the qualifier of chi have oftentimes claimed to be easy. It is not like lifting a hundred pounds in gym, you just relax and you have done your workout! It is a nice way to attract new students, but a hindrance to study the real thing.

I just browsed the web and noticed the following easy steps on chi walking:

  1. feet-aligned, hip width
  2. balanced pressure in feet
  3. straight posture
  4. shoulders over hips over feet
  5. focus on core
  6. evenly transfer weight
For all intents and purposes, the above is walking with good posture and alignment. It is like saying "when you walk in good posture and alignment, chi will be generated". But is that the whole story?

Let's start with a definition. I define chi walking as walking that can maximally generate chi or walking that can be qualified to be a chi kung exercise

Like everything else in chi kung, concepts are easy but execution takes patience and continual practice to perform - in direct contrast to popular "chi walking" teachers/courses that fail to explain the training concept but simply tell you that execution is easy.

In proper chi kung, in the first stage, a student/practitioner should be able to use his breathing muscles to generate chi to open his hip joints (which opening create a positive feedback loop in chi generation). The best way to train this is through doing zhan zhuang or standing meditation. The opening (and closing) of your hip joints is the primary source of chi energy.

After you are able to generate chi like this while doing stationery zhan zhuang, the next step is to train yourself so that you can generate chi while moving slowly. This covers the movement parts of any sound chi kung training system. Such movements will include doing tai chi form, 24 styles tai chi nei kung and combat stance with nano movements. 

Once you are proficient with the above controlled movement forms (and be able to generate chi through them), it will be easy to transfer your learning to your daily walking. You simply walk as usual (not standard tai chi walk) and generate the bouncing effect of chi generation every step you walk. Needless to say, you need to mindfully do your chi walking, like you need to mindfully do your tai chi form or 24 styles tai chi nei kung.

How about good posture and alignment? In chi kung, we consider our posture and alignment always need to be perfected (it is not an assumption, but an empirical fact supported by trained internal sensation or perception, which will be sharpen continuously as a student progresses). We do not to have perfect posture and alignment (which in fact is an impossibility for the majority of people) as a chi generation starting point. Through chi kung exercises (chi walking included), we move towards better alignment every moment in our practice. It is the process rather the result that counts.

Easy concept with diligent practice open you a whole new world of chi. Easy execution without a valid concept leads you no where. 

Corollary: Diligent practice with complex, muddled or mythical concepts leads you to an unnecessary long path, assuming that there is a path to begin with in the first place. 

Chi walking

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...