January 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm #41869
From the TAIJI MANUAL OF XU YU SHENG 1921
translation by Paul Brennan
EXPLAINING TAIJI PRINCIPLES (TAIJI FA SHUO)
Zhang Sanfeng, given name Tong, called Junshi, was from Liaoyang. He was a Confucian scholar from the end of the Yuan Dynasty. It is sometimes claimed that internal stylists are of a Confucian mentality, and are therefore distinct from transcendentalists. Xu Yusheng was want to get beyond a purely spiritualist interpretation of what it means to move energy in his training manual.
The civil quality is the substance. The martial quality is the application. The civil training within the martial application is a matter of the essence, energy, and spirit –it is (firstly) a physical cultivation. The civil and martial qualities in the training process are a matter of when to coil and when to release. This is the basis of physical cultivation. The civil and martial qualities in a fighting situation are a matter of when best to store and when best to issue. This is the foundation of martial reality.
It is said that a dose of civil in the martial makes it a softened physical exercise, the sinewy power of essence, energy, and spirit, while adding more martial to the martial would make it a hardened fighting drill, a solid effort of mind and body. The civil quality without the martial quality at the ready would be just application without substance. The martial quality without the civil quality in tandem would be substance without application. Since one piece of wood will not support a whole building, and since you cannot clap your hands with just one hand, this is not just a matter of health and fighting, but is a principle which applies to everything.
The civil quality is the inner principle. The martial quality is the outward skill. Those who have the outward skill but lack the civil principle will be consumed by reckless glory. Discarding the original purpose of the art, they will try to overpower opponents and inevitably lose. Those on the other hand who have the civil principle but lack the outward skill will be distracted by meditative expectation. They will have no idea what to do in a fight, and they will be destroyed the moment it turns chaotic. To apply this art upon an opponent, you must understand both the civil and martial qualities.
TAIJIS LESSER ACCOMPLISHMENT ITS MARTIAL QUALITY
Taijis martial quality is to be outwardly soft while inwardly hard, always seeking softness. By being outwardly soft over a longer and longer period, you will naturally obtain inner hardness, so long as your mind is focused on the softness rather than the hardness. The difficulty lies in containing hardness within and not letting it expose itself, outwardly only engaging the opponent with softness. By using softness to respond to hardness, an adversarys hardness is made to dissipate until it is spent. Change in position or the progress of the body in a certain direction is called movement. Solidly staying in or preserving its location or orientation is called stillness. By manifestation is meant the sign of their occurring. It is similar to the use of that word in the Classic of the Talisman of the Abstract in which it says, The sign of the sky expressing its destructiveness [is the shifting of the constellations]
The sky and the ground are fixed, and the two polarities are separated. When there is passive and active, there is movement and stillness, and thus one who talks of Taiji must pay attention to the postures. Taiji Boxings separating and joining, movement and stillness, accord with passive and active. If there is movement in a posture, you must seek to open up. When wielding power, you must understand emptiness and fullness. When he is hard, neutralize him. This is called dividing [i.e. creating components of force]. Once he is soft, defend against him. This is called merging [i.e. making use of the net force]. The ground is in a state of stillness seeking movement. It has an end but no beginning, and we must submit to it. The sky is in a state of movement seeking stillness. It has a beginning but no end, and the only thing to do is return to emptiness. It is the principle of all things that emptiness receives and stillness completes. The universe stands within emptiness and revolves within stillness.
JIN’S MANIFOLD NATURE
Jin is neither physical nor the external strength that develops in a relatively short time by lifting weights or doing special exercises –which is often stiff and inflexible, and not connected to the rest of the body. Jin usually develops over many years of accumulating and circulating qi energy. This accumulated energy is forged and tempered into jin by focusing upon continued and correct practice in standing and/or form movements or silk reeling exercises.
When it is used for self-defense or for hard labor, it may be combined with external strength of li. Jin is flexible and responsive flowing through the body like water through a hose. Like water under pressure, it can be used gently or explosively. One of the goals of taijiquan practice is to cultivate qi and jin and to be able to redistribute them throughout your body at will.
Often, when one achieves some measure of it, he or she may not know how it developed because of the many related activities they have been involved in. For instance, many practitioners who do the form, also do standing or zhan zhuang, postures. These, too, if done correctly and long enough, will generate internal strength. And it would be hard to say which was the most effective. Casual practice produces only casual results. Ones lifestyle that regularly dissipates ones energies will make it more difficult to develop.
The degrees of jins strength and flexibility are often described in terms of Yin or Yang a balance of cotton on the outside and steel inside. Once you have some measure of jin, you can feel which practices amplify it and which ones dissipate it. Some people are able to mentally channel their jin and bring it up and/or down through their legs, hips, back, and out their arms and up through their neck. It becomes part of the circulation of the qi through the meridians. Some people refer to jin and qi interchangeably because there is such a close relationship.
Difficulties in developing jin are: physical pain, especially in holding standing postures (jia), as well as the frustration from a sense that there is no progress or thinking you have it when you dont. One master said, First there is heat in the limbs and then there is cold in the limbs and then there is the test of patience.”
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