Consciousness of Movement

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Dr Andreas Schöter Abstract
This paper discusses mindful movement in the context of the practice of the Chinese internal arts (neijia 内家), particularly some aspects of the theory of movement and martial expression given by the traditional literature on Taiji Quan 太極拳. Those traditional theoretical descriptions are then compared with the notion of proprioception as it is understood in the contemporary Western discipline of cognitive science. The main intent of this discussion is to explore what is meant by the phrase “consciousness of movement from the perspectives of these two different disciplines. !lthough the language of the two descriptions is very different, there are significant functional parallels in the resulting theories, and " believe that the two approaches to movement have a lot to offer each other. The first half of this article contains an extensive presentation of Chinese terminology, including detailed analyses of the meaning of some of the #ey terms. $nderstanding the linguistic context is a great help in reaching a conceptual understanding, which in turn contributes to the development of a sound practical understanding. %or the most part " use the modern Pinyin 拼音 romani&ation of Chinese characters, except where " am 'uoting another author directly or where someone(s name is presented using a particular spelling. The )omani&ation of names is particularly problematical, with authors often using neither the Pinyin nor the older Wade*+iles conventions, instead using their own idiosyncratic forms. " have typically respected the preferences of the authors concerned and provided the Chinese characters for clarification. "n places " have also chosen to provide my own translations of important passages from various wor#s of Taiji literature. ,y approach to translation is guided by the general considerations and detailed wor#ed example given in Wright (-../) and " am further indebted to ,ar# Wright for personal help with the Chinese material0 errors, of course, remain my own responsibility. %or completeness, a glossary of the Chinese terms used is also provided at the end of the article. The material presented here is excerpted from my larger wor# Taiji: Mind and Movement. (1ch2ter, in preparation).

Introduction
1tanding practice, holding a particular posture for extended periods of time, forms a #ey component of most of the Chinese internal arts. This practice is descriptively named 1tanding 3ost (zhan zhuang 站樁). "n this practice, when we stand, the mind must be engaged, filling the body(s structure with intent. 4ven within a fixed posture, the body is never really completely still0 we must become aware of all the small ad5ustments and accommodations that the body automatically employs, we must be sensitive to the release as some aspect of the structure relaxes a little more. Then, when we move, flowing through the transitions of the se'uence of the hand form, the mind must follow the movement, and we must find the inner stillness that provides the bac#ground to the outer movement. %urther, when we wor# with a partner, in what ever context, we must be aware of their movement, of their still centre, of their intent. !ll of this might be summari&ed as developing consciousness of movement and, on this topic, Wu 6ong Cho 吳公藻 says (Wu, 789. p-:); ...be aware that even though people are naturally endowed with consciousness of movement, this s ill is very difficult to achieve fully.
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! shorter version of this article is currently under submission to the =ournal of !sian ,artial !rts.

http://www.yijing.co.uk

pB8) translates yi 意 as “consciousness of potentials and.uk 氣 Figure 3: The Character Qi ' . being aware of the possibilities for movement. even though there is no movement. .. the structure is filled with intent (see %igure -). Typically. ?efore discussing how these different concepts relate to each other. captures something of Figure 2: Santi Shi the essence of the practice. the first is “idea and the second is “intent . a particular type of mental state. Aet(s ta#e basic awareness as an undirected. p:. ta#ing in whatever is presented to the sensory field. !n exploration of the mechanisms of proprioception. 6aptchu# (-.) that this faculty is “responsible for discerning various directions and perspectives . and literal http://www. having intent adds a sense of directedness to the base state. tendons and muscles and the central nervous system. $he Individua& $erms The term yi 意 carries two distinct. but for a techni'ue to wor# effectively. “consciousness of potential . but related meanings. may help the practitioner of the Chinese internal arts to develop their consciousness of movement in constructive ways. 3art of the martial role of yi 意 is to ma#e a techni'ue happen. whilst abiding in stillness. and a direct comparison with the traditional Chinese explanation of mindful movement.. whilst he does not 5ustify this interpretation linguistically. it must be appropriate to the situation encountered. We might call this the neutral state of "in 心. "n this context. and of the resulting directions available for your counter.co. it is the second sense that is of relevance here.oving on to the next term. the two concepts being closely related in Chinese thought0 this is the domain where all mental activity originates. Thus. which means “tone or “sound . which gives a nicely poetic interpretation of the meaning of “intent . 意 Figure 1: The Character Yi "ntent is a certain 'uality of mental awareness. and this is a #ey aspect of the term in the context of the martial arts. The upper part of the character is yin 音. we could gloss the compound character as meaning “the tone in the mind . being aware of the potentials the opponent is bringing. Ce says (ibid. !i 氣 is a multi*layered concept. having an intent is the direct and immediate cause of an action. is certainly a #ey aspect of actuali&ing one(s intent effectively. Thus. The character itself is composed of two parts. When we stand. covering a wealth of meaning in many different domains. particularly in asymmetric postures such as #anti #hi 三体式. yi 意. The lower part is "in 心 which means “mind@heart . $hree %ey $erms The three #ey terms from Chinese internal arts that have a direct bearing on the discussion in this paper are. consciousness of movement is perhaps best captured by the concept of proprioception > this is the complex neuro*muscular feedbac# system that acts between the 5oints. receptive mental state. " shall discuss each of them individually. The original.yijing. !i 氣 and jin 勁. particularly when we consider the development of standing practices.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter "n contemporary Western language. it gives an interesting dimension to its use in this martial@movement context. "n contrast.

This specific manifestation of !i 氣 is not considered completely separate from its universal manifestation. in Chinese medicine. from which all actual particles emerge and ultimately return. 1ee. once we have some more of the conceptual structure in place that.. both in terms of actively supporting and passively sensing. also pronounced !i. The variable. mindful exercise and other techni'ues. and influences on. meaning “steam or “vapour . "t is only in the recent history of Western science.. but merely offer it as an interesting functional analogy. 1uch a definition will then lead me to suggest.is suggested as “the best translation of the Chinese word !i . "n Chinese internal martial arts. the compound concept could be glossed as “the steam rising from coo#ing rice or.yijing. "t is neither energy nor matter.. but that which is common to both.7 ppF*B). and allow the body(s natural. "n this most abstract of meanings it is conceptually close to the 'uantum flux of modern physics. the former is a locali&ed expression of the latter. http://www. says “Ii is the source of all movement and accompanies all movement. and in Taiji Quan 太極拳 the role of !i 氣 is central in supporting movement and techni'ue.co. %ey &oncepts in &hinese Philosophy. “gas or “vapour .. "n physical training. meaning “wor#ing to strengthen the !i . when discussing movement. in this case means literally “wor#ing to strengthen . " do not mean this in a reductive way. $ong 功. including energi&ing and protecting in various ways. that role belongs to yi 意.pGB) 4instein(s famous e'uation relating energy and mass e H mc. to borrow Dhang(s (-. Ce is #een to point out that it is not the cause of movement0 as we will see. as it typically is. where its subtle movements through. Qi 氣 is used in many different contexts in Chinese thought. uses postures and repetitive movements co*ordinated with the breath to relax the body. "f " were trying to summari&e !i 氣 in functional terms " might say that it is what connects the mind to movement. "n Dhang (-. The radical is 气. "n metaphysics it refers to the base. the organs of the body can be interpreted and manipulated through acupuncture. “nutritious vapour . Ce defines !i 氣 as one of the principle ontological concepts in Chinese metaphysics. "n slightly more concrete terms. and “strength .Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter meaning of the word is that of “air .uk ( .. whilst within the radical is the character 米 mi. with the discovery of 'uantum mechanics and relativity. constantly shifting nature of !i 氣 is perhaps what ma#es it most hard for the Western mind. the analysis of the character in Dhang E )ose (-. pG9). encultured. 6aptchu# (-. li 力. describing the various functions of !i 氣. !i 氣 shares certain #ey attributes with neuro*muscular proprioception. the practice of !igong 氣功 provides a rich method for developing and strengthening the body(s !i 氣. that we have conceptual tools of sufficient sophistication to begin to really appreciate what !i 氣 is and does. Within the human body it has a number of distinct roles. !i 氣 and jin 勁 all come into the correct relationship as described in more detail below. meaning “rice . Jnly when a relaxed and natural state has been achieved can yi 意. intrinsic energy to flow unimpeded. with +ree# atomism and Cartesian dualism. Qigong 氣功 then. less literally. Thus. lin#ing the human being into the whole of creation through the single universal “substance . open the meridians. for example. These first two terms..-) title. !i 氣 is the specific energy that flows through our meridians. yi 意 and !i 氣 are. original state from which all other energies and substances derive their nature and from which all forms condense. combining “wor# gong 工.

each corresponding to a particular physical expression of energy. firstly it contains li 力.:*7. to basic strength 力. 1pecifically. your structure must be connected to the ground for your force to have real impact. and can learn to gauge your opponent(s intent before it becomes manifest. which is a picture of a tendon and has the meaning of “strength or “power . but really they are more general than specific techni'ues0 they are the foundational forms of expressing energy that combine to ma#e the specific techni'ues. 7889 p7. $he Contribution of the $raditiona& )orms The syllabus that " teach is called 'u(&heng Taiji Quan 吳!"太極拳 after the family responsible for the development of the initial style 'u 吳. as already mentioned. even a simple offensive techni'ue such as Parry and Punch will have many energetic components. will be important when we come to consider how the western notion of proprioception is used to describe and explain mindful movement. the translation is my own.*-. This is called zhan nian jin 沾黏勁. Cowever.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter and yi 意 as a #ey term in Chinese psychology. http://www. the compound character 勁 adds the idea of flow 巠. Thus. zhuan jin 轉勁 twisting energy. pan jin 盤勁 is rooting energy./) gives BF distinct forms of jin 勁 for Taiji Quan 太極拳. Aet(s consider the structure of the character. its active and passive forms. but its importance in the martial arts becomes clear when we reali&e that Kang (788: pp7.. and the Cong 6ong based teacher Cheng Tin Cung "#$ (78F. Thus.yijing. dong jin 勁. can be developed whereby you use physical touch to sense your opponent(s latent energy. and it is a basic s#ill re'uired for many techni'ues. The dictionary meaning of the character jin 勁 is “vigour or “energy . !s well as active energies. Ce does not mention jin 勁.).co. Jnce you can stic# to your opponent. one jin 勁 may be a component of many techni'ues. This is the ability to connect your centre down into the ground. you must have pan jin 盤勁 for the techni'ue to carry real power0 further. literally touching and stic#ing energy. and e'ually. 勁 Figure 4: The Character Jin The varieties of jin 勁 are sometimes e'uated with actual martial techni'ues. is released through the waist to generate the force. Conversely. when dealing with an opponent(s incoming force it is vital to be well rooted to avoid being overwhelm by their assault. pFF).B) who developed his own uni'ue interpretation of that tradition.uk * . which is finally delivered into the opponent as da jin 打勁 stri#ing energy. and any individual techni'ue will be composed of a number of jin 勁 combined. then other energies such as listening. which is a picture of water flowing beneath the surface. so that you #now the meaning of what you are feeling. This must be complemented by understanding. the term jin 勁 is also used to describe more passive energies. ting jin 聽勁. 3erhaps first among these is the ability to stic# and adhere to an opponent so that your movements are not separate from their movements. in the context of martial arts it has a more specific meaning. This dual nature of jin 勁. %or example. both defensive and offensive.and we can therefore interpret jin 勁 in the martial context as meaning something li#e “internally flowing strength (Carbaugh. Within this syllabus there are a range of forms which all contribute a particular developmental aspect to the training. The extra element in the character is jing 巠. when issuing energy into an opponent. This is made explicit in Cheng (788.

this carries the idea of something developing. and " suggest that. what is held in the heart is shi 50 the modern meaning of this character is “scholar .F) traces the meaning bac# to the image of a small plant ascending from the ground. the passage says that training the sword (jian *) nourishes the !i 氣. it repairs and cultivates the mind. ppB9*::). trains the gong in order to strengthen jin.yijing. -. generally someone(s proprioceptive sense is good enough for day to day life.) cultivates the will. "n traditional Chinese medicine yi 意 and zhi . and by extension. The meaning of this character is conceptually related to yi 意. zhi . literally “the strength of concentrated intent . both have "in 心 as the radical. to better guide the !i 氣. !i 氣 and jin 勁4 discussed above.7 This explains why the hand form is ta#en to be the foundation of Taiji 太極. but Wieger (78-/ p-. so that it is able to function correctly in partnership with the !i 氣 and jin 勁0 that is. lian jian zaiyu yang !i. %irstly. training the hand form (!uan 拳) helps to “repair the mind. practised correctly. The sword is the most complex form in the 'u@&heng 吳!" syllabus.. "n zhi . Aet(s consider this passage in the context of the three #ey concepts of yi 意.. this is a literal translation of "iu ( and. " feel.) %/&'01) %功&'2勁3 Taiji Quan jia lian !uan zaiyu "iu "in. . %irstly. trains the sabre in order to cultivate the will. 1o. an appropriate emphasis in this context. note that the Chinese for “attention is zhu yi li 7意力. the se'uence is 'uite long with very little repetition in the Figure 5: The Secret Sword Hand 7 !s a brief linguistic aside. but is lac#ing in terms of the refined movement re'uired for the practice of Taiji 太極. based on this passage.. lian dao zaiyu pei zhi. lian gong zaiyu chang jin. The passage also says that training the sabre (dao . http://www. can be understood as “something developing in the mind@heart . "n 4nglish.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter The Taiji Quan expert trains the fist in order to repair the mind. we should expect the combined practice of the hand form and the sabre together to provide the vehicle not 5ust for training the mind "in 心. the mind itself must be trained and the 'uality and focus of the attention improved. 太極拳家 %拳&'(心) %*&'+氣) %. which is the aspect of the self which “recogni&es and pursues ultimate goals and thus ma#es possible self*cultivation and self*transformation0 it is the source of the “self*awareness that fosters the human experience of authenticity and personal experience (see 6aptchu#. Thus. lian !iang zaiyu yi zhi.&'-. the sabre develops intent over an extended period of time. the mind is the container and generator of intent. !i 氣. trains the sword in order to nourish the !i. and are concerned with a developed state of mind. but also to contribute to the broader development of an individual(s spirit shen 6. we might gloss “will as involving intent maintained over an extended period of time. intent yi 意 and will zhi .. !lthough usually translated as “cultivate . which is the prere'uisite for developing !i 氣 and thence jin 勁. trains the spear in order to augment wisdom.uk + .oving on to the next #ey term. meaning “spirit . "n order to improve one(s proprioception. are both aspects of a larger capacity called shen 6. The Chinese character translated as “will in this passage is zhi .co.

the additional re'uirement of co*ordinating the movements of the sword. !s well as being stages of the specific practice of nei gong 内功. further. The final stage is called -eaven and Thought in +nity. fine blade. re'uire and help develop great sensitivity.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter patterns. these stages can also be seen to apply to the art as a whole and.yijing. and the dedicated practitioner who reaches this stage has moved beyond formal techni'ue. and helps distinguish yin 8 and yang 9 through the form. 789F p7/:).ody in +nity. %inally. meaning simply that breath and movement are harmoni&ed. but the delicacy of the sword techni'ues. a yin 8 set and a yang 9 set.uk . The empty hand should be lightly held in the shape of “the secret sword opening the !i jin 氣勁 as shown in %igure B. for example. ma#es it necessary to extend one(s !i 氣 into the weapon. The spear form is also a very important vehicle for training jin 勁. training the gong 功 is said to strengthen the jin 勁. Jf course. "n this way. The yin 84 set focusses mainly on strengthening the constitution. through careful and mindful articulation of the body(s structures. This is the stage at which consciousness of movement comes to fruition. 4very movement of the body should appear in the weapon and every movement of the weapon should be driven from the body. the various forms of pushing http://www. but Cheng states directly that it “is the most important part of the art of Tai Chi Chuan (Cheng. with its straight. Cowever. perhaps initially strange to the Western mind. "n connection with this extension of !i. in contrast to the strong forces expressed though the sabre. "t is a feature of this syllabus that generally no deliberate effort is made to co*ordinate the breath and movement. in some respects. below. and therefore trains the mind. gong is a reference to the nei gong 内功 exercises. where the mind directs every action. Jf course. 788: pF:). Cere. firstly. the use of an external physical medium provides valuable feedbac# to the practitioner on the 'uality of their expression. There are two separate sets of exercises in this practice. building strength in the lower body and bac# and. Ai#e the hand form. That delicate sensitivity. in various ways. will find resonance when we turn to consider the cognitive mechanisms of proprioception. in this context. instead this is allowed to arise gradually and naturally as the body becomes more familiar with the movements. the yang 9 set focusses more extensively on training the ability to release energy. literally meaning “internal wor# . finds surprising support in the cognitive description of proprioception. Kang. as we will see below. Aittle is written about this aspect of the practice in the 'u@&heng 吳!" syllabus. the hand for also trains !i 氣 and. This idea. each comprising of twelve exercises and. .co. lays the foundation for jin 勁. each has a particular emphasis. with numerous techni'ues re'uiring the release of energy through the weapon. The nei gong 内功 are specific forms designed to condition the body in various ways. developing foundational jins 勁 such as pan jin 盤勁 (rooting energy) and peng jin :勁 (buoyant structural energy). These are. helps to foster awareness of the movement of !i 氣 in the body. a necessary prere'uisite to developing !i 氣. "n addition to training the mind. %urther. in turn. all elements of the syllabus contribute to the training of all three of these #ey re'uirements. whilst the two sets have a lot in common. fa jin . in particular. The second stage is called Mind and .勁. to !igong 氣功 but are focussed on developing jin 勁 rather than !i 氣. performance of a complex se'uence re'uires mental discipline. this is true for all the weapons. Cheng identifies three distinct stages in the development of nei gong 内功. )nner and *uter in +nity. with the movements of the empty hand mirroring the movements of the sword (see. These exercises are similar. and every movement and action is naturally in accord with the flow of the moment. the role of the hand not holding the sword is vital. "n contrast. This hand shape balances the !i 氣 in the body with the !i 氣 in the weapon.

Thus. listen and then releaseL Cere the mind is described as first moving intent. one uses contact with the opponent in order to “hear the small movement that presages the actual execution of a techni'ue.3 ting er hou fa. which is a flow of information in the reverse direction. before you can listen effectively. the root of my own lineage. MWhen theN body has some feeling. imparts movement to the body. by listening sensitively to your opponent(s energy. The will is the general of the 'i and the 'i is the fullness of the body. which contains a description of this process. . >心?意) /i "in "ing yi. >氣@A) yi !i yun shen.. 聽BC. all of the #ey concepts re'uired for developing consciousness of movement are trained. as the Wu 吳 family literature ma#es clear (Kang. This ma#es it clear that the mind must have a focussed direction. you have to have contact with your opponent0 if the mind is clear. you are able to release your own jin 勁 in an effective techni'ue... but instead re'uires being sensitive to the movements in your own !i caused by the opponent(s intention. -.pF. ma#ing the connection between these elements explicit. by means of !i mobili&e the body. 'hen the will is concentrated then it moves the 'i. "n the chapter on listening energy ting jin 聽勁 the following phrase appears (Kang. ADEF) shen you suo gan.yijing. Consideration of the relationships between these concepts has long been a focus of Chinese thought. This. resulting in a manifest expression.uk . in turn.. which then moves the !i 氣.p-9).. and what traditional vehicles exist for training the corresponding s#ills.co.encius (F/-* -98?C4) cited in Dhang (-. with listening ting jin 聽勁. ?y means of the mind move intent. " shall now consider how they interrelate to create a complete description of mindful movement. -. "n this context employing the jin does not result in manifesting a movement. and finally. This movement from mind (inner) to techni'ue (outer) clearly has a specific direction.. The enduring consistency of this ancient view is brought home when we consider the Wu 吳 family literature. then the relationship between the touch and perception is immediate. %or example.). the following passage is from . 心DEG "in you suo jue Mthen theN mind has some perception http://www. Typically. )eferring to the .pG/).. >意?氣) yi yi "ing !i.. which does not account for the wor#ing of the sensing jins. when the 'i is concentrated then it moves the will. note that it is also suggested that !i can influence the mind. we can see that over the complete syllabus. by means of intent move the !i. to which the !i 氣 then responds. %or example.encius 'uote above again. -e&ating the $hree Concepts Caving explored the individual meanings of the terms.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter hands (tui shou <=) are the primary method for training the sensing jins 勁.

"n his essay “1ecret of the %our Words (Kang. Thus. Dhang E )ose succinctly summarise the relationship between these three components of mindful movement (-. The Wu family originating my style is written 吳 in Chinese. it involves “non*conscious. http://www. "n contrast. that information provides the basis for our proprioceptive awareness of posture and movement. "n the context of this article " am interested in the proprioception of the muscular*s#eletal system0 the body(s ability to monitor and ad5ust posture and movement. +allagher (-. “matching and “swallowing . ?ody schemas are low*level motor programs that monitor and control our movements. The power of 'i is inseparable from the development of the power of mental concentration and the ability to focus the mind 0 and the 'i 0 in a particular movement.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter Wu Ku*Oiang HIJ. you will be able to feel (listen) the opponent(s intention. but typically awareness will only contain the information necessary to achieving the goal of the movement. at a precise location. but the resulting actions of the schemas are unconscious.also wrote on this aspect of Taiji movement. even when low level motor control capabilities are not functioning correctly. broadly spea#ing.B p/F) suggests that proprioception acts at two distinct levels. fu K. MCis emphasisN. %irstly. Their automatic body schemas therefore became inoperative and they had to completely reconstruct their movement capabilities using conscious information and their body image. and this captures the character of how your !i 氣 should extend to interact with your opponent.uk 0 . Aet us now turn to an investigation of the Western concept of proprioception. 1econdly. There is far more information in the system than we are actually aware of > all of the minute aspects of a movement are present in the information. The literal meaning of fu K is to spread out. or apply (Carbaugh. is the process of extending my !i 氣 into my opponent(s body. 7889 p-. Kang(s commentary says that “if you can suffuse the Ii from your own body to your opponent(s body. physiological information that updates the motor system with respect to the body(s posture and movement. 1uffusing..7) > as in the way one would apply a cream to the s#in. transmitting information bac# to you..co. These schema ta#e the proprioceptive information and the goal of the individual. in a given moment.7 pp7F*7B) he discusses “suffusing .. This ma#es the mind an extremely - Pote that this is a different family to the Wu family to which " trace the origin of my style. /roprioception 3roprioception is.yijing. in this context !i 氣 is acting as a conduit. These two levels are not completely separate and developing a description of their interaction is part of +allagher(s pro5ect. which is a prere'uisite for being able to sense his movements. This extreme case shows that consciousness can be used to drive movement directly. -. whilst the WQ family mentioned here is written H. This distinction between proprioceptive information and proprioceptive awareness is closely related to a further distinction that +allagher explores. attitudes and beliefs about one(s body. %or example. that between body schema and body image. the body(s ability to monitor its own state. he gives an extended case study of someone who lost proprioception as a result of a neurological condition.7 p7GF). “covering . a body image is composed of conscious perceptions. The intentions and goal of the individual may be consciously articulated. and then generate and control the necessary movements to reali&e the goal.

"t is important that the practice be reflective > that is. !t the same time a corresponding process operates in the other direction.uk 1 . and particularly Taiji 太極. %or an#le movement. can operate at the interface between conscious image and unconscious schema. This process allows more proprioceptive information into http://www. part of the conscious experience of the practice.yijing. of course. there was no significant difference between any of the groups. %or #nee flexion. the schema is gradually refined. long term Taiji 太極 practitioners. and the Chinese internal arts in general. most of the activity is ta#ing place at the conscious level > intent is re'uired to drive every detail of the appropriate actions and. and the swimmers and runners were. having established that the practice of Taiji 太極 does have a positive influence on proprioceptive awareness. Movement $raining and /roprioceptive )eedback !t the outset of training internal movement. it is important to cite a scientific study which confirms that the practice actually does has a real positive effect on someone(s proprioceptive s#ill. again the Taiji 太極 practitioners were mar#edly better than both of the other groups. Thus. through repetition. -.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter powerful faculty. and thereby facilitate a two*way interaction between these levels. for #nee extension. The study measured each person(s ability to detect passive movement of the an#le 5oint. Cong. where intent is lac#ing. " suggest this is because the developing schema driving the movement is not sufficiently articulated to reali&e all aspects of their intent. able to overcome severe functional deficiencies in the body(s mechanisms. " feel it is reasonable to assume that these benefits are available for experienced practitioners at all ages. runners and sedentary controls. !lthough the study was conducted with elderly practitioners. Through persistence and repetition within a reflective practice. they were interested in the effects of the practice of Taiji 太極 on proprioception in the an#le and #nee 5oints of older people. !spects of movement that are initially imperceptible become.G (Ou. and that the runners and swimmers were not significantly better than the control group. "tudying $aiji and /roprioception ?efore exploring how the specific training strategies of the Chinese internal arts influence proprioception. ?y fully engaging consciousness in the movement. correcting the actions of the schema and thereby refining the connection between intention and movement. ?ut how might body schema and consciousness interact when both are fully functioningR " suggest that the movement practices embodied in Taiji Quan 太極拳. again. et al.co. we shall now turn to a consideration of why and how this might be so. The conclusions of the study clearly state that the practice of Taiji 太極 results in improved proprioception in the an#le and #nee 5oints when compared with swimmers.. they discovered that the Taiji 太極 group had significantly better proprioception than either of the other two groups. and of flexion and extension of the #nee 5oint. when learning a new movement. "n particular.G). and a sedentary control group. The fact that both of the exercise groups were long term practitioners is important as. Their study population was divided into three groups. finer and finer aspects of the movement become available to our awareness. beginners typically find that some detailed aspect of the techni'ue is missing.edicine in -. the benefits of any exercise regime. Cowever. The study " will discuss here was performed by Ou. bringing more aspects of the movement into its scope. long term swimmers and runners. only really accrues over an extended period of time. not significantly better than the control group. proprioceptive awareness must feed bac# into the process.. the movement will be vague and unfocussed. 1o. Ai and Chan and published in the ?ritish =ournal of 1ports .

This increase in effort brings with it an increase in the attention to the movements and the mechanics of the action. those movements gradually become more and more automatic. Jf course. or wal#ing down the street. broadly. ensuring that they are correct. 'hen the mind nows. -. whilst this could conceivably happen outwith a dedicated movement training. Thus. because the door is heavy. consciousness should be directed to attend to ever finer and more subtle aspects of the movement0 consciousness remains engaged with the execution of the schema.. 4ither way. %irstly. the conscious engagement with the explicit process of movement is really the #ey preparation for this shift of awareness. The marvellous tric within must be comprehended from the deep heart. Then. "n this case. %irstly. then a shift of the weight and a turn of the waist opens the door without any need for effort in the arm. (1uler. 'hen the body nows. until " do not really have to attend to them during performance. select and interpret perceptual stimuli by reinvesting those operations with conscious awareness. through the body. the repetition built into the practice automati&es certain aspects of the performance. then the body will now. !t the outset.co. and down into the ground becomes a ma5or part of the action. to program them into effective and efficient body schemas. "f the door opens away then a pushing energy is re'uired. Wu Cheng*Iing HLM (eldest brother of Wu Ku*Oiang HIJ) seems aware of this distinction. is suddenly invested with a new wealth of somatic detail.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter consciousness. it becomes an opportunity to explore jin 勁. They become programmed into schemas. reflective practice is important to ensure that the movements which are automati&ed are correct in all the important aspects. through repetition. " am sure that most experienced movement practitioners have had the experience of an everyday movement unfolding into a previously unimagined rich se'uence of ex'uisite articulations0 opening a door. This cannot be passed down orally. by tal#ing about cognitive understanding and somatic understanding.uk 4 . This is where the paradox arises. for having expended the effort to ma#e the movements automatic. limit.7 pF-). the correct alignment of the pelvis allows the push from the feet to transmit directly up through the spine and it is almost as if one is being drawn http://www. "ome /ersona& 23amp&es ! concrete. Wal#ing up stairs on the balls of the feet is another opportunity to explore one(s awareness of the internal dynamics of the body(s structure. "n psychoanalysis. whilst if it opens towards then a pulling energy is used. heavy fire doors. it is better than only the mind nowing. example of this from my own experience involves opening doors0 specifically. This two*way refinement of movement and consciousness gives rise to a paradoxical situation. if somewhat mundane. Jnce the structural connection is in place. which then becomes available to complete the feedbac# loop re'uired to effectively train movement. 788F pG9) This is a direct psychic parallel to the somatic process engaged in when learning Taiji 太極 movement. We could characterise this. the act of opening it already re'uires more effort than if it were light and could be moved without effort. when he says (Kang. the structural connection from the hand. and its importance. opening a door becomes more than opening a door.yijing. deautomati&ation is a process which “involves an unravelling of the psychological operations that organi&e. The 'uestion then arises as to the role of consciousness in the performance of an automati&ed routine. This is a spontaneous experience of the deautomati&ation of a “normal movement and. " must consciously attend to all the detailed aspects of each movement.

This is a direct example of a #ey Taiji 太極 principle described by Wu Ku*Oiang HIJ. extending your own !i 氣 out to cover the opponent and directly sense their intention and movement. within the constant transformation of the expression of energy. (-. "n free pushing. and " was sufficiently attuned to ta#e advantage of the lapse. MbutN intent MmustN not brea# This says that one(s energy. it is common to tal# of becoming one with your partner(s movement. 23tending /roprioception The scope for developing and extending consciousness of movement becomes even greater when we consider partner wor# in Taiji 太極. one(s intention must continuously fill the movement.B pF-) %or the martial artist involved in weapons training. This is an example of the “suspended head top of Taiji Quan 太極拳. The more relaxed and calm you can be. "n this particular case. 勁O意PO jin duan yi bu duan energy MmayN brea#. that it “incorporates various significant parts of its own environment into its own schema. had ta#en advantage of the gap in his intent. in retrospect. change and transform. much to my surprise. !fter the bout. !gain. " http://www.co. Jnce the attac# completes. this is a familiar idea. tal#ing about dancing. +allagher opens up an even wider possibility than that of extending proprioceptive awareness into another human being. my partner lost his balance. should not brea# (see Kang. This is sometimes referred to as ding jin N勁 (literally meaning “top energy ) where the chin is tuc#ed in slightly allowing the head to extend upward (Wu.: p7-). one(s energy may. the more receptive your consciousness becomes. he said that he should not have changed his mind about what he was about to do. of ma#ing their movement your movement. but the intent. +allagher is explicitly suggesting that one(s body schema can actually include aspects of someone else. " had felt that change of mind and. Cowever. says that his “body has to ta#e into postural*schematic account the moving extension of my partner (-. The sensing drills and pushing hands practices of Taiji Quan 太極拳 excel at developing this aspect of consciousness. the sword does indeed become an extension of the self. -. in an instant and almost without conscious direction.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter up the stairs by the crown of the s#ull. whether it was successful or not. an experienced practitioner will be aware of their partner(s balance. without any prompting from myself. That is. jin 勁. may brea# during an exchange with an opponent. !t that point " released my energy into the gap and. structure and even their intent. This is essentially the same idea that Wu Ku*Oiang HIJ discussed in terms of suffusing fu !i K氣. Jn one occasion " was practising free*style pushing hands with a more senior practitioner. Suring this practice " was simply trying to #eep my mind empty. +allagher. the energy must change again. one moment expressed through yielding. someone who is usually more than capable of tying me in #nots or bouncing me across the room. " described as a “gap in my partner. my partner allowed their intent to falter for a moment.B pF/).. The carpenter(s hammer becomes an operative extension of the carpenter(s hand.uk . namely.. yi 意. That is.yijing.7 p8). This happens when your own proprioceptive awareness becomes sufficiently subtle so as to extend into the body of another human being0 that extended awareness brings information that can then be integrated into and used by your own body schemas. -. a personal example may help clarify the #ind of experience a practitioner may eventual expect. 1omehow. !bove.. "n another brief comment. and the next attac#ing.. indeed must. !t a particular point in the exchange " felt what.

Conc&usions !ll of these ideas. The language is different. this will in turn lead to a physical extension of awareness. thereby enabling a refined sensitivity to the 'uality of the opponent(s state. serve to highlight the #ey role of consciousness in the development of movement practice. engaging consciously with posture and movement creates an effective feedbac# system which results in positive modifications to the practitioner(s consciousness.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter noted that practising the Taiji sword (Taiji 1ian 太極*) trains you to extend !i 氣 into the weapon and. http://www. refinement of energy 6including breathing7. 5ttunement of the physical form undoubtedly can induce conscious and unconscious changes in the state of the breathing. try to sense each other(s energy and intention in order to penetrate the other(s defence and touch their blade on the opponent(s body. and in that case he would !uic ly flee the scene.co. we see that the contemporary explanatory paradigms of cognitive science are in potential agreement with the techni'ues of the traditional Chinese arts when it comes to the refinement and development of the individual through movement. but the underlying experience is the same. "ndeed. Chinese and Western. Ce goes on to describe (pF9) a process very similar that that outlined above in terms of the development of body schema. "n terms of the Chinese theory. The two participants touch the blades of their swords together and then. or with calm suppleness. The results of this attunement all should bring about a psychological attunement. )f it was of the latter.uk ' . as !i 氣 is the medium of sensation. he was sure of his victory. only using language perhaps more familiar to practitioners of the martial arts.yijing. The important potential of this extension of awareness is highlighted in a story told by Aowry (789: p7G9).ing (788G pFB) says that “refinement of consciousness is the essence and true nature of martial arts. though. The Wu@Cheng 吳!" syllabus contains a partner exercise called “stic#y swords that see#s to train the extension of awareness into the weapon. Thus. in a manner similar to pushing hands. he says. it indicated a s illed warrior. . proprioception is extended outward by means of one(s body schema incorporating external elements into their representation. "n the Western theory. &oming close enough to touch the point of his opponent2s weapon 3with the point of his own sword4. The feedbac goes on. Sescribing a famous =apanese swordsman who was particularly successful in duelling. as refinement of consciousness fosters the progress of refinement of mind. and then lead to attunement of the consciousness cultivating the e"ercises. this ability arises as a result of extending !i 氣 into the weapon. )f the grip was of the former ind. and refinement of the body 6or physical form7. he could feel whether it was being held stiffly. as well as changes in the state of energy and inner force. and then the tuning of the physical form is again arranged by a new consciousness adapted to new conditions.

. there is no relationship to the teacher named Cheng . literally “nutritious vapour > the universal substance@energy from which all other substances.yijing.. internally flowing strength > the generic term for the various ways of using the body(s physical energy in the internal arts. structural energy > bringing the muscular*s#eletal system into correct alignment so as to minimi&e the use of local muscular strength when manifesting techni'ue. sabre > the generic term for the Chinese curved single*edged sword.co. N勁 勁 . pan 5in peng 5in 盤勁 :勁 'i 'i gong 'iang 'uan 1anti 1hi 氣 氣功 / 拳 三体式 literally “three body posture > an on*guard stance for sparing.uk ( . wor#ing to strengthen one(s !i > exercises to develop and strengthen the body(s intrinsic energy.B) my teacher(s teacher.勁 K氣 * 勁 内功 内家 stri#ing energy. the Chinese double*edged straight sword. the extension of the intent upwards to #eep the spine correctly aligned.agua 8hang STU. sometimes described as suspended headtop. and to refer to the hand form with the Taiji Quan syllabus. the ability to interpret the opponent(s intention by sensing their energy. used extensively as a standing posture. emitting energy > the various ways in which force can be issued into the opponent in an explosive release. and /i Quan 意拳. energies and forms condense. !lthough they share the same family name. spear. fist > also used as a classifier to name styles of martial art. buoyant. literally “wor#ing to strengthen the internal > a set of exercises in the Wu@Cheng syllabus aimed specifically at developing various 5ins.an Ching " QR. da 5in dao ding 5in dong 5in fa 5in fu 'i 5ian 5in nei gong nei 5ia 打勁 . literally “internal family > a group of Chinese martial arts including Taiji Quan 太極拳.*-. rooting energy > the ability to connect one(s centre down into the ground. 9ingyi Quan V意拳. literally “understanding energy . suffusing !i > the techni'ue of extending one(s !i to cover the opponent and thereby sense the movement of their !i. http://www. Called “1even 1tars in the Wu@Cheng syllabus. literally “top energy .Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter 5&ossary Cheng Tin Cung "#$ (78F.

F*789F) the second son in the third generation of the Wu 吳 family. will > development in the mind. either in the waist or in a limb. 吳!" the name now given to the lineage that is the source of my syllabus. intent and will.. &han &huang &hi &hu yi li &huan 5in 7意力 attention > the literal meaning is “the strength of concentrated intent .*799G) oldest brother of Wu Ku*Oiang HIJ. 太極拳 literally “great polarity boxing > a martial style based directly on the theory of yin and yang. and the name of the master (") who later modified it. 轉勁 http://www.yijing. intent > the tone held in the mind. 心 意 mind@heart. literally “standing post > a range of standing meditations where the practitioner holds a fixed posture for an extended period of time.) founder of the Wu H style of Taiji Quan and a significant contributor to the theoretical literature of the art.Consciousness of Movement shen Tai5i Iuan ting 5in tui shou 6 !r Andreas "ch#ter spirit > the faculty which includes the mind. 沾黏勁 literally “touching and stic#ing energy > the ability to physically connect to an opponent and remain in contact with them so as to ma#e it possible to listen and interpret their energy and intention. Wu 6ong Cho Wu@Cheng 吳公藻 (78. 聽勁 <= listening energy > the ability to detect how one(s opponent(s energy is moving before it becomes physically manifest. twisting energy > the use of rotation. usually credited with the foundation of the family style as a distinct lineage. Wu Cheng*Iing HLM (79. being the name of the family (吳) which initially created the style. !lso a significant exponent of the theoretical aspects of Taiji Quan. Wu Chien Chuan 吳WX (79/.uk * . 站樁 .co. pushing hands > a range of partner wor# exercises in Tai5i Iuan designed to allow the practitioner to develop and train the subtle sensing 5ins. to generate force.*78G-) the second generation of the Wu 吳 family. and the the first to write a boo# on the theory of the style. Wu Ku*Oiang xin yi &han nian 5in HIJ (797-*799.

"n The =antern. 788G Mind over Matter: -igher Martial 5rts. “4ffect of Tai Chi 4xercise on 3roprioception of !n#le and 6nee =oints in Jld 3eople in ?ritish =ournal of 1ports . 3ublished by S.ritain. ! Window on Translation. =ohn ).o en: 5rt of the 1apanese #word. . A.assachusetts. 'u #tyle Tai &hi &huan.. Save.. TTT. 3ublished by K. Jxford.. Sr. -. 3ublished by Tai Chi Ceights. K Cong. Wright. =. Ou. -ow the . 1pring -. Ted =. 789. a division of PTC@Contemporary 3ublishing +roup "nc.ody #hapes the Mind.ission 3ress in 78-/. 3ublished by 1tate $niversity of Pew Kor# 3ress. . 7889. &hinese &haracters: 5 $enealogy and :ictionary. Kang. 3ublished by Jxford $niversity 3ress.o 'eaver: +nderstanding &hinese Medicine. -. 788:.*BG. 78-/. Tai &hi Theory and Martial Power. 1hi with 1iao Wei5ia. the 1ournal of the Tai &hi +nion for $reat .7. . 3ublished by Dhongwen.G. &lassification and #ignification. Chicago.G.G0 F9(7). Porth !tlantic ?oo#s. 1haun..assachusetts. Wu.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter -eferences Cheng. =. Socherty in Cong 6ong.. B. pp7G>7/..!! 3ublication Center. 3ublished by %rog Atd. 1uler.ing. -.. pp78*-B. =wing*.G. 3ublished by the "nternational Wu 1tyle Tai Chi Chuan %ederation. Pew Kor# . Socherty. Taiji: Mind and Movement 0 <"ploring #ymbolic 5spects of the Physical Practise. “1even ?owls of Tea.. )ic#. Wieger. and Sover 3ublications.. S. 1ch2ter. 3ublished by K.co. = Ai and 6 Chan. Jhara 3ublications "nc. -. Pumber 79. The edition referenced here is unaltered and published by 3aragon ?oo# )eprint Corp. !ndreas. TTT. Contemporary 3sychoanalysis and 4astern Thought. "nc. -. The 'eb That -as . 'utan Tai &hi &huan.ing. Tin*Cung and S. +allagher. Tai &hi #ecrets of the 'u #tyle. . Tai &hi #abre #word #pear. Carbaugh.assachusetts.. Uolume G Pumber F.. -.!! 3ublication Center.B. -. &hinese &haracters: Their *rigin. 5 Thorough #tudy from &hinese :ocuments.uk + .. 789F. 788F.-.ar#. -.. Translated by Thomas Cleary.edicine..!! 3ublication Center. 789:. 6ung Cho. 1econd edition published by the Catholic . -istory.yijing. Translated by Soug Woolidge. 78:B. "n 3reparation. TTT./.. Aowry. . . <tymology. 6aptchu#. http://www.com and distributed by Kale $niversity 3ress. 788. 3ublished by K. TTT. 3ublished by ?lac# ?elt ?oo#s.. !lbany. “+reat 3olar %ist and the ?oo# of Change in Tai &hi &huan and )nternal 5rts. 3ublished by Contemporary. Tai &hi #ecrets of the '> ? =i #tyles.

Translated and edited by 4dmund )yden.co. Ku Cuan E 6en )ose. %ey &oncepts in &hinese Philosophy. Pew Caven and Aondon. . -. Sainian.7. 3ublished by Kale $niversity 3ress..yijing.Consciousness of Movement !r Andreas "ch#ter Dhang. Dhang. 3ublished by 3aradigm 3ublications. http://www. 5 . ?roo#line.-. -..rief -istory of Qi. .assachusetts.uk .