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The Learning and Training Process of Yiquan

Written by: Timo Heikkil Here you can read a summary of the process of learning and mastering Yiquan. When Yiquan is refered to below, what is described is the econd !ourse of Yiquan" the #irst !ourse will occasionally be refered to for comparison. $ur daily actions and training shape our beha%iour and subconscious actions. The term &dynamic pattern& refers to an action or a beha%iour that becomes automated, i.e. happens subconsciously without thinking. 'hysical beha%iour, ways of thinking, specific mo%ement patterns, etc. can all form dynamic patterns. (epeating a certain fi)ed mo%ement o%er and o%er again, for thousands or tens of thousands of times will make it automated, i.e. form a dynamic pattern. This is, howe%er, not desirable in martial art, because combat is not fi)ed and predetermined, it is about responding to the e%erchanging circumstances, and that is what the training must also reflect to form such dynamic patterns. Wang *iang+hai emphasi+ed: &body without form, mind without thoughts, that is awakening to the truth&, he also said: &a fighter cannot think&, as well as, &when the skills reach the le%el of subconscious, one starts to see the wonders&. There is no time to think in combat, after information has been gathered throught one,s eyes, or other sensory organs, and then thought in one,s mind, it is already gone, it is too late to react in many cases. He clearly e)pressed the goal, yet his method of teaching was totally contrary" it was that of fi)ed form and thoughts" he recogni+ed this contradiction, yet was not able to sol%e it. He e%en named himself the &$ld -an of !ontradiction& for this. That made the #irst !ourse of Yiquan impossible to grasp for most people. .%en if one could e%entually break out of the fi)ed form and thoughts, the earlier training that the later training consequently built on, had left its mark in the subconsciousness that was difficult to change. The internal martial arts of !hina, *ingyiquan, Tai/iquan, 0agua+hang, etc., represent to some some people so called internal strength, and to most people slow, laughable, powerless, noodle1like mo%ements. This is because much of their essence has been lost o%er the last centuries and mostly only the scum remains, and only a few e)perts of these martial arts ha%e retained parts of the essence. 0eing on the recei%ing end of this seemingly effortless power that shakes the whole body and feels like a strong electric shock going through the body, due to the total potential power of the whole body being e)pressed in a shockingly short period of time, is an e)perience one will not want to repeat e%er again. 2lthough often clouded with mystery and superstitious nonsense of qi1energies and energy1meridians, this strength is a result of mastery of integrated and highly coordinated total rela)ation and ma)imal tension throughout the whole body, and their flashing fast interchange into each other, happening faster than a person can react. Yiquan reali+es, that all of human mo%ement is a result of these two states, rela)ation and tension, as well as the state of changing from one to the other. Without the rela)ation and tension 3contraction4 of the muscles, there is no power, and there is no mo%ement either. Yiquan sets this mastery of mo%ement as its starting point. This process means changing the way one subconsciously uses ones strength, or mo%es, into that of integrated whole1bodily mo%ement, with the ability to e)press the so called internal strength at any time, not being limited by any form 3position5mo%ement pattern4. ubconscious response was discussed in the pre%ious paragraph, but without first ha%ing mastered the whole process of mo%ement, a response with force will be based on one,s partial 3not integrating the whole body at the same e)act moment for the time of a mere split second4 and slow strength. .%en the strenght of a sprinter or /umper is slow in comparison, e)pressed o%er much longer period of time and not at the e)act same moment throughout the whole body, though naturally the effects are also %ery different. The strength de%eloped throught the practice of Yiquan is compressed in so short period of time that it does not make one run fast or /ump in the air, but it does allow one to issue a de%astating shocking force into the opponent through one,s strikes, etc. The 6earning and Training 'rocess of Yiquan 7

With the abo%e introduction, one can understand the basis the fi%e1stage training process of the econd !ourse of Yiquan is built on. That is, changing one,s dynamic patterns of physical beha%iour and thought. !hanging one,s way of thought means learning to see the whole picture, instead of looking at it from a narrow perspecti%e and seeing only a part of it. This e)pands beyond martial arts, into one,s whole world1%iew. This is part of the means of changing the dynamic patterns of physical actions, understanding the process of training martial art into one,s body. !hanging the dynamic patterns of physical beha%iour is also a gradual process. 'racticing a following thing before the earlier one has been mastered to the le%el of automation 3ie. become a dynamic pattern4 will lead to an erroneous dynamic pattern being formed, and limit one,s future achie%ements. The fi%e stages of training are: 7. rela)ation, 8. tension, 9. rela)ation :1; tension 3interchange of rela)ation and tension4, <. &mind tense, body rela)ed&, =. %erification in reality. 0elow they will be introduced one by one. 1. Relaxation (song) (ela)ation forms the basis of martial art, health preser%ation, and any physical acti%ity. >t refers to minimal amount of muscular tension needed to optimally maintain one,s position or perform one,s acti%ities. >t also refers to a state of no thoughts distracting the mind. 2ny thinking will slow down one,s ability to react due to using up the resources of the central ner%ous system. !onscious acti%ity also has its side1effects on one,s body, it is not uncommon to see martial artists showing up their attacks before the actual attack has been launched, by slightly pulling back their arm before striking, or by tensing up a moment before performing their action, or their breathing becoming distracted /ust before the launch of their attack, etc. These are all results of intention and thought of the action. #or this reason Wang *iang+hai said, that in Yiquan &one sets off ?to attack@ after, but arri%es first&. $ne must form the dynamic pattern of subconsciously reacting to the physical signs of the opponents intentions and conscious acti%ity as soon as it presens itself in his body, this howe%er, belongs to the fourth stage of training. .%enthough e%ery fighter,s actions, after years of combat e)perience become subconscious, the dynamic pattern already formed will remain, the signs of their former intentions and thoughts might not be as ob%ious as they were before, maybe e%en unnoticable to most, but they still remain there. 2nd the moment one,s central ner%ous system is occupied with them, one cannot react. This points out the importance of not thinking while training, because what we constantly do in training is e)actly what will be car%ed deep into our subconscious mind to form dynamic patterns. $ld dynamic patterns are much harder to change and impossible to fully eliminate, while forming new dynamic patterns is not difficult at all. That,s why it is e)tremely important to train properly from the beginning. >t is common that people with pre%ious martial arts training, including in the #irst !ourse of Yiquan, need more time change all the bad habits formed by their earlier training. The modern life creates plenty of bad habits that need to be changed to mo%e on in Yiquan training. 2t the same time, e%erything %aluable from earlier training, such as the sense of distance and time, and other physical and mental attributes will naturally carry o%er. 6ike the whole process of training, mastering rela)ation is a step by step process. 2n e)ample of only the %ery first steps is gi%en here, they do not yet represent the final state of complete whole1body rela)ation. What does it mean to percei%e the skill in one,s own bodyA What do &natural instincts& refer toA How are they brought into playA These are the questions that need to be answered to understand the methods of the econd !ourse of Yiquan, and to understand its necessity. >f a teacher shows you a mo%ement, or a posture, or gi%es you an e)planation of it, you then analy+e what you /ust saw and heard, draw a conclusion of it based your e)isting knowledge, and then try to replicate the same in your body. That is a man1made doctrine and this is the only way of passing it on 3no matter whether the instruction happens in person, or through other media4. That is also the way Wang *iang+hai used to pass on Yiquan, and that,s e)actly where the limitation in his method lies at" what can be represented that way is only the phenomenon, that is, the e)ternal e)pression of the essence, not the essence itself. o what is this natural instinct, or the essenceA Bnderstanding the answer requires 8 http:55www.tapma).com5yq5yiquan.html

personal e)perience, but the first steps towards grasping the elementary le%els of rela)ation will be introduced to gi%e you a better idea: tand upright, both arms totally rela)ed. The result of totally rela)ing both arms and shoulders is that they will hang straight down on your sides. Cow ha%e a friend grab your wrist and lift up your arm high to the shoulder le%el 3so that both, lower and upper arms, are lifted4, ha%e him shake it a little, and suddenly without warning drop it down. Here the properness of the rela)ation can be %erified ob/ecti%ely from the e)ternal e)pression. You don,t need to do anything, the form is a result of the state of rela)ation your arms and shoulders are in when performing this. The same can ne%er apply the other way, no form 3posture5mo%ement4 can bring rela)ation to the body. The signs of not being rela)ed, that anyone with understanding of rela)ation can read, include the arm feeling stiff and light 3a rela)ed arm feels hea%y because it is not held up with tension4" if the arm, when let go off, falls with a delay, falls slowly, or decelerates before slapping into your thigh, you know you were tensing up" if your friend notices you handing o%er the arm to him, this is a sign of ha%ing an intention, or thinking of the arm being lifted, that you without noticing it do subconsciously 1 this is also a sign of not being able to rela) and let go. 2fter you can remain rela)ed e%ery time your friend lifts, shakes, and drops your arm, you ha%e got the feeling of rela)ation 1 only on your arms and shoulders at this point though. Your arm should feel like a hea%y loose rope to your friend. Ce)t this e)perience must be e)panded into the ne)t tool of training. 2gain, stand parallel, bend o%er <= degrees from the waist, let your arms hang rela)ed, in the same state you percei%ed in the earlier e)ercise. Then mo%e your weight from the left leg to the right one, and then back to the left one, and so on. The arms, shoulders, and upper back must remain in the same rela)ed state as earlier. This can be /udged from the e)ternal e)pression of the mo%ement. >f the arms swing with the mo%ement like loose ropes, and if they act as such when occasionally suddenly pushed or pulled by your friend, then you can know that you ha%e entered the proper state. Dudging for a beginner can be difficult at first, thus the guidance of a qualified teacher is important. Trying to repeat the form 3mo%ement pattern of the arms4 is plain foolish and of no %alue at all, the form is simply an outcome of the proper state. Ce)t, stand upright, still maintaining the same state, start twisting around your central a)is, rela)ing your arms, shoulders, chest and back. Cow the outcome should be your arms slapping onto your stomach or chest, and lower or middle back, depending on the speed and frequency of your twisting, still looking like loose ropes. 2fter you can enter this state whene%er you do these e)ercises, you ha%e to continue for some more practice to imprint this state of rela)ation into your subconsciousness, that is, form a new dynamic pattern. While performing the second e)ercise, one can try scratching one,s head with one hand, and if it has not been mastered, the other arm will most likely tense up as one,s attention mo%es elsewhere. >f one has grasped the state, rela)ation can be maintained without thinking or concentrating on it. 2t that point continuing doing this e)ercise is useless, and one must mo%e on. Then, through other e)ercises master the same state in the rest of the body, the whole body, in e%erything one does, including daily life. Then, through other e)ercises, one masters, and transfers the rela)ation into, wholeness of mo%ement 3the whole body mo%ing together4, suddenness of mo%ement 3mo%ements becoming like &breaking an ice1stick&, that is, when you break it with your hands, without any warning it suddenly breaks, not bending at all to warn you in ad%ance of its breaking" your actions will ha%e no intention and preparation4. >n these e)ercises, the form is only a result of the body,s state, like it was in the one,s for rela)ation. These all belong to the stage of rela)ation, because rela)ation is the keyword in all of them. Yiquan is known for its e)ercise of +han+huang. >n fact many people incorrectly identify Yiquan as +han+huang. Ehan+huang refers to perfecting the different states of mo%ement 3rela)ation, tension, rela)ation:1;tension4, at a point of mo%ement. >t is practicing and perfecting the mo%ement potential of all kinds of points of mo%ements 3postures4 to all directions. This is why it is called practice of mo%ement in stillness. The mo%ement here refers to the state of mo%ement inside the body, and stillness to the e)ternal mo%ement, or lack of it. This practice of mo%ement in stillness, howe%er, belongs to the second stage. 2fter one has good grasp of rela)ation through the e)ercises of percei%ing The 6earning and Training 'rocess of Yiquan 9

the state of rela)ation in one,s body, some of which were introduced abo%e, one enters this state at one point of mo%ement, to deepen it there. This e)ercise is called Yangsheng+huang, or health preser%ation standing e)ercise. This meditati%e e)ercise calms one,s mind and central ner%ous system, one,s breathing and pulse slow down, circulation increases and metabolism gets faster, leading to a feeling of warmth, comfort, and deep rela)ation throughout the body, making it an e)cellent means of health preser%ation when performed properly. 2. Tension (jin) Tension might first sound the opposite of what wants to achie%e, but a closer look into the issue will pro%e that assumption wrong. #or there to be any mo%ement, or power, there must be muscular contraction. 0y contracting, the muscles pull the points of the bones that they are attached to towards each other 3through the tendons4, mo%ing around the /oint3s4 that connect the bones. This is the only way a humanbeing can generate power and mo%ement. #rom this e%eryone should already reali+e that the talk of striking people with qi1energies and empty forces, that some swindlers ad%ocate, is pure nonsense used to decei%e people for personal profit, fame and financial gain. The so called internal strength, as the traditional internal martial arts call it, is a result of mastery of integrated whole1body tension and rela)ation. .%eryone can tense up their muscles, that does not require training. >n Yiquan tension has a somewhat different meaning, though naturally it is still about the muscles contracting. 'roper coordination between all of them is the key. The first step in learning tension, is through e)ercises similar in nature to the one,s initially used at the stage of rela)ation, to understand unity of the body. This can again, be percei%ed from one,s own body, like rela)ation was percei%ed earlier in the pre%ious stage. That is uniting the whole body into one piece without weak links that gi%e up. Ce)t comes learning what is called opposing forces. Traditionally this is e)pressed as the hands dri%ing to the opposite direction from the torso, the neck dri%ing to the opposite direction from the hips, etc. This makes the unity of the body dynamic and the work of each and e%ery /oint and muscle adds up, all working for the common goal. The opposing forces are not, howe%er, /ust between certain points, but in e%ery /oint of the body, e%en e%ery %ertebra of the spine is working for the common goal. To a%oid misunderstandings, it must be stated that the /oints naturally cannot mo%e by themsel%es, it is the muscles that do the work and create the mo%ement. 2fter the student has, through the use of se%eral tools 3e)ercises4, percei%ed this state in his body, it has to be practiced and perfected in the +han+huang e)ercises introduced earlier. Ehan+huang means standing e)ercise 3literally &pile standing&, where the piles represent the different points of mo%ement4. >n +han+huang one takes an ob/ect, a building, a mountain, a tree, or whate%er, in distance that one starts to &mo%e& to all directions, one at a time, of course. The mo%ement potential of this point of mo%ement is practised in an e)ternally static position, starting with ob/ects as light as paper, where %ery little muscular work is required, working up to mountains of iron where one,s muscles will naturally learn to contract to their ma)imum potential. There can only be doing, no thinking at all. The reasons were discussed at the beginning of this te)t. 2nything based on thinking cannot be applied when there is no time to think. >t is essential for the tension training in +han+huang to reacti%e, because this tension must appear subconsciously and suddenly e%ery time there is resistance or impact with an e)ternal ob/ect. This kind of training in Yiquan is called &/ia/ie&, meaning using something unreal to produce real results. The &unreal& gi%es an opportunity to achie%e a state that real resistance and real mo%ement could not, as they would limit the contraction speed of the muscles, force the muscles to contract une%enly throughtout the body and make parts of the body stiff and &internally& static, and make it impossible to change directions of force se%eral times in a second. Howe%er, the /ia/ie cannot walk far from reality, when the gap widens, there will be no way to mo%e the achie%ements back to reality. There must be a constant process of going back and forth between the reality and the &unreal&, not to let them become two distinct states.



>n the #irst !ourse, the means of teaching this state was showing the student a set of fi)ed postures, and describing the state through specific set of &thoughts& for each posture. This included feeling of strings pulling different parts of the body, etc. This way the postures and thoughts had to be fi)ed, because if one,s posture would change, the strings would pull to a wrong direction. This was Wang *iang+hai,s attempt to describe the feelings he e)perienced from %arious different perspecti%es. Howe%er, no e)perience or feeling can be fully accurately described in words, so these can only ser%e as a general impression of the state, that the student must first draw a conclusion of in his mind, and then try to duplicate in his body. What many students took, howe%er, was the thoughts and mental images. Their practice became nothing more than imagined skill. What many others did, was keep the thoughts and postures, and trying to achie%e this state within them, but ne%er letting go of the form and thoughts. This can only lead to a situation where the state can only be achie%ed with a conscious effort, and as soon as one mo%es out of the posture this mental image was used for, the state disappears. What the postures and mental images, or thoughts were originally meant for, was to gi%e a general idea of the state and then drop the fi)ed posture and all thoughts, only keeping the the feeling, the state e)perienced, and then strengthen this state, imprinting it into one,s body. -ost howe%er, ne%er understood this, and there was still the problem of e)pressing a natural physical state with words and mental images that were ine%itable not fully adequate and accurate to e)press such state. 2fter the mo%ing state of tension has been mastered in all kinds of different positions, it must be e)tended to, and %erified in mo%ement. This method is called shili, or trial of strength. $ne must first try this state of tension in all kinds of mo%ements. Foing backward and forward, left and right, up and down, straight and in circles, etc. >f there are points in the mo%ement where the proper state cannot be fully maintained, one must stop there to practice +han+huang to perfect the mo%ement potential of this point. Ge%eloping fi)ed patterns of mo%ement is, howe%er, not desirable. Thus this kind of practice should not be stuck to for too long, but one should soon mo%e on free mo%ement, responding to the ob/ects 3buildings, trees, mountains, etc4 around oneself, through %arious e)ercises that bridge the gap between limited and free mo%ement. .%en under ma)imal tension, one,s mo%ement must look smooth like that of an elite ballet dancer. >n the first stage, rela)ation, one has already learned to mo%e and step naturally with one,s whole body mo%ing as a whole, so there is no need to separate footwork from the total mo%ement. >n the #irst !ourse, the practice of shili was taught with fi)ed mo%ements and thoughts, di%ided into mocabu, or friction steps, that practiced the state emphasi+ing the legs, and %arious kind of fi)ed shili e)ercises with fi)ed thoughts like in +han+huang of the #irst !ourse, that emphasi+ed the upper body, standing in fi)ed position. $f course, using the whole body as one unit was the goal in all of them, but it was %ery easy to become partial. The same problems as in +han+huang are present in this approach. Bltimately one was to mo%e into free mo%ement, but %ery few could grasp it to the le%el that they could maintain the state in free mo%ement. hili is also practiced between two people, this e)ercise is called tuishou, or pushing hands, where the training partners connect their forearms to test the state with real resistance, and to learn to feel the incoming pressure 3traditionally called &listening& to strength4 and react to it, as well as to disco%er %arious mechanical principles. 2ll that was described abo%e is done to form certain dynamic patterns, that is, subconscious ways of how the body reacts to ob/ects and force from outside 3i.e. opponent3s44. 2lthough essential to the process, in the end these kind of reactions are not proper in reality. There is a gap between the reality and the &/ia/ie&, and in the later stages the training must change to form new dynamic patterns that make the subconscious reactions 3based on the states of rela)ation, tension, and their interchange4 practical in the reality of combat. This will be e)plained in the fourth stage.

The 6earning and Training 'rocess of Yiquan

3. Relaxation < ! Tension (song< !jin) The interchange of rela)ation and tension, that has already been e)perienced in +han+huang and shili, must now be put in action in e)plosi%e mo%ement, through the e)ercise of fali, or issuing strength, also called e)plosi%e power. $ne must learn to bring the power practiced in the pre%ious stage out of one,s body into an e)ternal ob/ect 3the opponent4. #irst it has to be practiced in all kinds of directins, forward, backward, left, right, downward, upward, opening, etc. to build the ability to e)plode with power in any situation to any direction from any part of the body. The gap between, and the totalness of rela)ation and tension, and the shortness of the time it takes to change from one into the other, determine the effect of fali on the target, along with the mechanics learned in the earlier stages. 2fter some time of practice, one will be able to issue out the whole potential force at the highest le%el of what was described at the beginning of this article. 2t this point performing fali at full power will make one sweat hea%ily in a matter of seconds, the feeling is like a bomb e)ploding e%enly e%erywhere inside the body, there is a strong shake in one,s whole body, and the heat generated by the e)treme musclular work in a fraction of a second feels like fire going through the body. 2t this le%el, full power fali may not be practiced too frequently, as it is %ery ta)ing on the body and the central ner%ous system. $ne,s dynamic patterns of thought must also ha%e changed to reach here, one will look at martial art quite differently, seeing beyond all the styles and their dogmatic teachings. 2fter all, a style by definition is a partial e)pression of martial art. 2t this point, one can obser%e any martial art style and see what is of %alue for one,s goals, and what is scum. $ne has the ability to put this e)plosi%e power into any mo%ement. $ne can take what works, and through %arious drills and sparring with partners, as well as using mitts, hea%y and light bags, wrestling dummies, etc. work it into practical li%ely skills. The role of techniques here is only to test and feel different mechanics of force in one,s body, abandon the techniques, yet still understand and keep the mechanics. The natural li%ely strength inside is put into practical e)ternal form, the kind of form that ser%es one,s purposes best. Tuishou becomes practice of finding an opportunity to e)plode, fali, at any point. ". #ind tense$ %od& relaxed (&ijin$ xingsong) What &mind tense& means, is an e)treme le%el of concentration, something that one can obser%e in nature when a wild animal sneaks towards its prey. This is practice of being on the %erge of fali, becoming e)tremely sensiti%e to the slightest manifestation of the opponents intention or mental acti%ity e)pressed through his body, training the body to subconsciously react when the opponents central ner%ous system is occupied and his reaction will be delayed. When one starts to achie%e this, there is no more Tuishou, one will react already to the opponents intention of making contact, e)ploding as the arms come in contact. 2fter reaching this point there is no more tuishou, pushing around there would simply enforce an improper dynamic pattern. The e)ternally static state of +han+huang, being like a fro+en fish, cannot be further enforced either. -a)imal tension and ma)imal speed of changing from rela)ation into tension and back in +han+huang needs to be practiced to impro%e it, but such training goes on at such high le%el of intensity, that doing it in small amounts is enough. 0ut now one must become like a li%e fish when someone tries to grab it. 2nything else will be counter producti%e, as such dynamic patterns do not comply with reality. >n combat, one will react subconsciously to e%ery intention the opponent shows through his body, and to e%ery opportunity, so suddenly that the opponent is not gi%en any time to react. 2s one,s attack, successful or not, generates new reactions and thoughts in the opponent, for a moment o%erloading his central ner%ous system from other information recei%ed from outside, one already reacts before the opponents attack is launched. 2chie%ing this requires lots of practice and e)perience of actual fighting. This, like with all what was described abo%e, cannot really be understood unless looked at from the le%el where one has already e)perienced the dynamic patterns de%eloped in the earlier stages in one,s own body. .%en talking of tension here is only to gi%e you a general theoretical idea, because without the pre%ious e)perience of mastering the basics, and lots of practice of itself, there is no way to truly grasp it. .%en merely talking of rela)ation is useless. Bnderstanding comes only from e)perience and practice, there is no other way. H http:55www.tapma).com5yq5yiquan.html

'. (erification in realit& (shi)heng) Cow that the proper dynamic patterns ha%e been formed into one,s subconscious mind, they must be put under the test of reality. $b%iously one cannot go to fight people on the streets. afety is also an issue. o what one must do, is find other like1minded martial artists, use protecti%e equipment, and enter into combat with only minimal rules, yet high morals. .ntering combat sports competitions is another means. .%ery sport has their own set of rules and skills. Caturally one must first learn and master these rules and skills, and put the natural instincts, that was brought into full play in the earlier stages of training, into practice through those skills, under those rules. $ne must gradually face more and more skilled opponents to progress to the highest le%el. >f one is like the thug e%eryone has seen during their school1times, who seeks for the weakest and smallest kids to bully to make himself look stronger, one will ne%er progress to the highest le%els. Iictory and defeat are /ust learning e)periences on the process of climbing to the highest peak of skill and mean nothing in the end. Foing through the whole process of the fi%e stages, generally takes between one year to two years. Typically another year of frequent fighting and competition is needed to increase one,s e)perience and practical skills, achie%ing a %ery high le%el of skill. (eaching the elite le%el, howe%er, is a process of se%eral years. What is meant by elite, is the -o+arts and 0eethowens of music, 'icassos and Galis of art, $lympiads of sport, the classics of Een and Tao, the works of Jant and Hegel of philosophy, etc. Cot e%eryone can reach there, it requires years of tireless work and great talent, but anyone can benefit greatly from Yiquan. Yiquan is much more than fighting. Wang *iang+hai often said, that there are three reasons to practice Yiquan, in the following order of importance: 7. achie%ing and maintaining a good health, 8. understanding the underlying laws and principles 3this e)tends way beyond martial arts4, and 9. self1 defence 3i.e. combat4. 2lthough practice of combat is the means, it must ser%e to impro%e and maintain one,s health. >f good health is lots, one will not be able to fight or defend oneself well. The underlying laws of martial art e)tend to all aspects of life, and the disco%ery can bring /oy and +est to one,s life. >t is these laws and principles that also form the basis of gaining mastery of the highest le%els of martial skill. Thus in the end, all the three aspects are closely related. $ther contents of this stage includes Kuanwu, meaning meartial art dance, also called Dianwu, health dance. The people of the world all ha%e racial and ethnic %alues of ethics, aesthetics, etc, but there is also something in these %alues that transcends the whole human race. The natural instinct brought into play by Yiquan training being among them. Kuanwu is an e)pression of all one,s learning of Yiquan, looking somewhat similar to shili, and sometimes to fali, one,s mo%ement can be slow or e)plosi%e, rela)ed or tense, big or small, etc., it all comes from inside and is an e)pression of one,s state of mind. The standard of properness of Kuanwu is what e%ery human being shares in common deep inside. 6ike the nature, and its trees, plants, and animals, all look natural and e)press certain beauty and naturalness to e%ery human being, the mo%ement of Kuanwu must carry these same %alues in its look and feel. >t is not continuous and smooth repetition of fi)ed mo%ements one after another or playing around with the arms in circles, or mindlessly /umping around. The feeling of Kuanwu is like being a bird in the sky, free to fly without any limitations and boundaries, breaking free from the stresses of life. The /oy of freedom is displayed in the e)ternal e)pression of one,s mo%ement. >n the end, through the means of a martial art and learning how to fight, a lot more was achie%ed. The process of mastering Yiquan can truly be a life changing e)perience, in many ways. 0ehind there lies the essence of philosophy and art, and a path to self reali+ation.

The 6earning and Training 'rocess of Yiquan