As explained in some of my previous articles here, our joints are powerful energy source. And one of the way to tap into this source is joint-opening. In all exercises of internal martial art, chi kung and meditation, our mind is to relax so that our breathing muscles and/or bodily movements can gently open and close our joints to liberate the stored energy. Nano-movements are minute movements localized at the joints to liberate energy.
A meditative mode of mind is a pre-requisite. A highly focused meditative mind (and possibly with autosuggestion of being possessed), broad brush movements (rather than the more difficult nano-version) are good enough to induce massive liberation of chi energy in our joints (primarily our pelvic and shoulder joints). In Qing Dynasty this method was particularly common in China's Shandong province, which led to the Boxer rebellion and the invasion of the European Imperial powers in late Qing. Nowadays, a lighter version of this Boxer stuff is still practised as spiritual combat (神打) and self induced chi kung (自發功). I am not referring to these practices.
Recently I came across a video by a HK Chen-style tai chi master demonstrating his version of tai chi nei gong. During the past decades, masters from different internal disciplines are opening their practices to the public, and put up video for free in the internet, with detail explanations. An overflow of information rather than a lack of information. The problem is to digest rather than begging for food! Good for the humble and painstaking practitioners, bad for folks seeking secret formula to solve all their practice problem. In the internal arts, it is not "No pain, no gain". It is "Practice, patience, practice and patience". Any way this master, whom I found have many interesting points to share (and for viewers to digest), started shaking his body to generate chi! A more controlled movement, but from my perspective it resembles more self-induced than nano.
The most important teacher using the nano-method is master Wang Xiangzai, a famous internal martial artist whose understood and took from many internal arts and was able to digest and reinvent old techniques. The traditional tai chi method is a rocking movement from arrow stance to seated stance in a continuous process. It is interesting to note that different students of Wang used different methods of nano-movements. Clearly master Wang had experimented with different methods and tried them on his students at different periods of time. Master Wang's teachings in nano-movement and other techniques changed during his teaching life, not necessarily the later the better, all changes enriched his teachings. He even changed the name of his style during his life time: he originally learned XingYi(形意）. Then he incorporated techniques from other martial arts and created his own style: YiQuan (意拳）. Later he changed YiQuan's name to DaChengQuan (大成拳literally translated as Major Achievement Style).
In master Wang's practice, nano-movements are executed in combat stance. I would like to show two variations below:
- Testing jing in six directions (六面爭力摸勁) - with a focused mind, a student is to do nano movements in six directions (up/down, front/back, in/out - some add left/right to make eight directions), finding points of maximum resistance at minute points at his joints with a focused mind. The result is like a floating joint in the socket.
- Front back rocking - it is similar to tai chi's rocking movement but the movements here will be more minute, and therefore it is more difficult to practice but if practised correctly the result will be better.
Ref: First article - Second article
|Classic combat stance by a DaChengQuan master - Wang Xuanjie|