Saturday, October 22, 2011

day 324: corrections re last week, and tai bird applications

  • basics
  • alignment
  • placement
  • breathing
  • hsing-yi
ok, so i made some errors in the last post that i should correct. we went through the breathing exercises again, and i realized that i'd made some mistakes.

i was grading midterms last week, and so was a little pressed for time and had to miss both the kyudo class and the Sunday kung fu class.


so here is what i should note as corrections:
  • stages--there are different stages/levels to the breathing exercises, with the sequence going exercises for training capacity (from top to middle to bottom), calmness, and then sound  
  • capacity--training for capacity involves a series of exercises that go in progression from top to middle to bottom. top covers the the head, neck, and shoulders, and breathing here should be inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose with the head/neck/shoulders raised. middle covers the chest & arms, and breathing here should be inhale through the nose & exhale through the mouth while opening (on the inhale, bringing the elbows as far behind you as possible to open the chest) & closing the elbows (on the exhale, bringing the elbows as far together in front of you as possible to close the chest). bottom is the diaphragm, with the inhale through the nose & exhale through the mouth while having the hands on the dantian (hands close and push in slightly on the exhale, open and expand slightly on the inhale)
  • calmness--this is where you remain still and breath using the 1:4:2 ratio, where in inhale for 1 part, hold for 4, and exhale for 2
  • sound--this works to vibrate/massage the internal organs, improve strength in terms of power generation, and speed up recovery. there are different sounds, but we worked on hun (which involves the ren-mei) & ha (which ties into the du-mei)

we began hsing-yi today on the basics. Eric and i decided to just go back to the very beginning, working on standing qi-gong and then doing hsing-yi stances (fu hu, xian long, san ti?) with the 8 checkpoints (i.e., ding, ko, yuen, bao, chwei, chu, ting, du).  once we did those, we then proceeded to work on the applications for tai bird.

Sifu showed us the principle in Shanxi tai bird. tai bird uses a piqua-like movement for the upper body (similar to sparrow) while stepping. Sifu pointed out that this is meant to remind the practitioner to step forward, so that the body is moving even as the hands are opening out, and the center is driving forward when the hands come back into the punch. Sifu made a number of notes:
  • when sweeping out, the arms/hands are not blocking. Sifu said they're supposed to be receiving, and so are supposed to be trying to follow the opponent's energy vector and then directing them off into the space you vacated as you stepped forward (i.e., ting & hwa jing)
  • alignment is important. you need to step forward in a direction off the opponent's vector, but which still follows it close enough that you close the distance into striking range
  • the hand/arm sweep doesn't have to be big. in fact, you have to vary it depending on what you're doing. the principle is that you're opening the opponent's gate so that your hands are inside the opponent's defenses and able to strike--but you still have to make sure your gate doesn't open to a degree that the opponent can counter-attack
  • the hands in the form come together to a mid-level punch. this, however, varies on the target and how you opened the opponent's gate. the principle is to use the energy you redirected from the opponent to lead into whatever target is available. the form looks like it is targeting the kidney or ribs, but the actual target can be anything you find once you're inside the opponent's defenses.
  • tai bird works either stepping into dragon or tiger gate. however, going through the tiger gate means you have to shorten/close the arm sweep to minimize your own gates, and it means working both of the opponent's arms so that you penetrate between them.
  • Sifu took time to show both the Shanxi tai bird and Hebei tai bird, and identified how both may look different but both actually involve the same principles. he observed that this should tell us how we can adjust the movements to apply the principles in different ways.
we spent the rest of class practicing the tai bird applications, and then spent the final part reviewing the 2-person hsing-yi form.

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