Honesty first in Tai Chi

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by ciaranhk, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. ciaranhk

    ciaranhk New Member

    I would like to invite people to speak openly and honestly about their doubts.

    If there is truth in what our betters tell us, them a commitment to honesty will not threaten the truth.

    To "start the ball rolling", I would like to bring up the subject of Standing Chi Gong.
    I do my best to do as my instructor bids, but after more than two years I still "don't get it". Most of the time when I try to do it at home, I feel like a berk. In the class it takes up at least 15 minutes, and I can't say I feel better off for doing it. And yes ... I always "need correction".

    - Any friendly wise advice out there ?

    somehow i doubt my invitation will be accepted in the spirit first made ... hence deletion of the original words (Edit- Original post restored. Sorry, ciaranhk, you don't get to delete posts- especially when starting a thread just because you don't like the answers.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2015
  2. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    If one approaches any endeavor with a closed mind, they are less likely to get it or reap the benefits of it. If all you can focus on is feeling "like a berk" I would doubt you would get past that.

    That said, if Standing meditation isn't your thing, and you want to do TCC, go find a school that doesn't have such a focus on it.

    We sometimes do 5 minutes, just enough for the instructor to cover the basics and get a feel for it. Then we are encouraged to do it at home. Standing there for 15 minutes in class quietly really is a waste of instruction time.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  3. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    i think it all depends on why you are studying the art and how the class is being marketed? if its for health then standing chi gung corrections for 15mins makes sense as thats seen as part of the health side of it, so why are you studying the art and how is it being sold to you?
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    The way that Standing Pole is approached by a lot of schools is not particularly effective.
    Simply holding a position for a period of time doesn't really do much, so it's not surprising that you feel daft doing it.

    When standing, you need to integrate mind practices into your training.
    We use a system called 'softening the core', in which, with each breath, we identify and release tension in sections of the body, starting from the top and working down.

    1st breath - identify and release tension in the face and neck
    2nd breath - identify and release tension in the shoulders
    3rd breath - identify and release tension in the chest
    4th breath - identify and release tension in the abdomen
    5th breath - identify and release tension in the hips
    6th breath - identify and release tension in the knees
    7th breath - identify and release tension in the ankles and feet

    As you breath out and release tension, there is a feeling of 'sinking' into the posture.

    Instead of simply holding a posture, we work through this sequence a number of times, so we are not trying to hold a posture for a certain length of time, but are instead working through this softening sequence.
    The pace of your breathing will dictate how long each run-through will take - obviously the slower and deeper your breathing, the longer you will be standing for; however the idea is not to force the breath, just breath at a gentle, natural pace and allow it to deepen as you progress.

    Coming away from the core, you can begin to use the same methodology to soften other parts of the body, such as the arms, the back, the leg muscles etc. Essentially, you want to get to a point where you are 'scanning' your whole body and releasing tension.
  5. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    When doing standing meditation it is important to be hyper-aware of what's going on within your body. Only stay in the same position for as long as you can maintain this feeling of awareness.
  6. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    What did that video have to do with standing practice :confused:??

    Beyond that queestion, I couldn't really judge anything from that clip, because the viewer can only see half of what is happening.
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Not sure I understand- standing training is the "health side"?-is that you're meaning?
  8. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I was taught, and from my own experience believe, that the health benefits come from practicing tai chi as a martial art; not by seperating it into 'martial' and 'health' camps - really, there is only "tai chi" and whatever reasons drive an individual to learn.
  9. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    That is standing practice. If you are just standing still you are doing it wrong.
  10. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    The martial practice includes all the health benefits.
  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Exactly!!!!! This is how I have been taught too! :hat:

    As I have said before, to get the full health benefits, you must be aligned properly, have full extension, etc. That comes from understanding the martial application of the move - even if you don't care about learning TCC for the purpose of fighting.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  12. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I agree with the bolded part of your statement, but not the unbolded part.
    As I stated in my earlier post, there is a lot of internal work (neigong) that should be happening when you 'stand'.
    However, holding a static posture is not 'wrong' in itself.
    I incorporate the same 'standing neigong' into my taijiquan form practice, tuishou, sparring etc.

    I'm pretty sure that's what I said.
  13. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Are you claiming there is no value in standing still styles of Chi Gung meditation?:confused:
  14. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

    No, but if one just stands still with the same intention as most tai chi health practitioners nothing will happen. If one is mentally and physically engaged with what's going on and there is movement in one's stillness then this is the real zhan zhuang, which leads to the real gong fu. The body must be relaxed, yes, but it also must be alive. When standing one does not embrace the tree one embraces all that one sees, from each blade of grass to the mountains in the distance. One has the whole world in one's hands. Leave the tree hugging to the arborists.

    In the video I posted is our zhan zhuang. Glen is doing a demo so he goes through the movements quicker than he would in practice but not much quicker. We only stand as long as we can maintain the feeling, which is only for a few minutes at most.

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