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The human race has some amazing athletes: we can sprint 100 meters in nine seconds; we can run 100 miles non-stop; we can ench press 1000 pounds; and we can ecome so !le"i le that we get #o s in the circus$ %ut #ust a out an& 100-pound mountain lion can outper!orm the est human athlete in a m&riad o! ph&sical !eats$ As a species' we are ph&sicall& in!erior to most o! the animal (ingdom$ The purpose o! this oo( lies in the interest o! optimum ph&sicalit& and its application to athletics$ )t is m& elie! that the s&stems o! training which o!!er the greatest ene!its to athletes' the internal athletics' go unrecognized and remain co*ert$ +e elie*e this is due to the !act that the internal athletics ha*e !oundations in so-called ,m&sticism', and are there!ore snu ed & the authorit& o! western science and trainers ali(e$ The in!ormation we o!!er here is not that o! #ust pure oo( research$ +hile ) attempt to con*e& this in!ormation with some humilit&' ) elie*e ) am uni-uel& -uali!ied to discuss these matters$ .& !ather was a champion sprinter/athlete in high school; he egan teaching me a out athletics when ) was *er& &oung$ .& !ather ecame an .$0$ 1anesthesiologist2' and e"plained ph&sicalit& and medicine to me in speci!ic western science terms$ ) was a high school and a collegiate athlete who trained *er& intensel&$ )n di!!erent periods' ) ran long distance' trained 3-4 hours a da& !or triathlons' and !ollowed a od& uilding regimen !or man& &ears$ ) studied (inesiolog& at the uni*ersit& le*el' and ha*e continued m& research and ph&sical training since that time$ ) ha*e een s(i racing and stud&ing the techni-ue since ) was nine &ears old$ ) ha*e wor(ed with man& great s(i racers and coaches' and learned a great deal a out the sport$ ) egan intensi*el& learning and training in Fu 5t&le +udang %o"ing !rom the world-!amous 6randmaster 7ictor 5heng8ong Fu in 9003$ )n this te"t' there are some underpinnings which come !rom classic Chinese te"ts or articles & internal arts masters; ut our (nowledge o! internal training s&stems will e !airl& speci!ic to what we:*e learned !rom 6randmaster 7ictor 5heng8ong Fu$ To &ou' dear reader' ) o!!er m& com ined (nowledge and e"perience in order to pull ac( the grand curtain on something as m&sterious as it is important to modern athletics$ ) hope to enlighten &ou with super new in!ormation-the li(es o! which &ou cannot simpl& !ind on the )nternet or in the li rar&$ )t is m& hope that this in!ormation pi-ues &our interest so that &ou ma& ta(e the
!irst actual' ph&sical step into internal athletic training' whether it is to impro*e &our athleticism or simpl& impro*e &our health$ );TR<0=CT)<; %e!ore ) o!!er an& in!ormation on internal athletics or their application in s(iing' ):m compelled !irst to roach the su #ect o! Chinese culture' speci!icall& Taoism 1pronounced ,dow-ism,2$ 5u!!ice it to sa& that this culture' these people' their language' their li!est&le-most e*er&thing in and around the word ,Chinese, is radicall& di!!erent than the wa& we understand things in the +est$ ;ot onl& are there multitudes o! words and concepts in Chinese that ha*e no literal translation; ut ,Chinese, is comprised o! se*eral di!!erent collo-uial-dialect languages 1.andarin' Cantonese2' and two accepted standards !or translating them to English 1+ade->iles and Pin?in2$ )! &ou do an& research on Chinese culture 1e*en to support what ) will e"plain in this te"t2' &ou will !ind the same name or concept spelled !i*e di!!erent wa&s' and each e"planation can e as di!!erent as red is to lue$ .ost words in Chinese ha*e !our di!!erent meanings' depending on the tone o! the spea(er 1li(e singing notes2$ .ost phrases mean two or three or !our things at the same time ecause the& are morphed !rom old' old Chinese pro*er s$ These points do not ma(e Chinese weird$ The& simpl& illustrate how di!!erent things can e$ Regarding Taoism: )n most simple terms' Taoism is an old-school s&stem o! thought primaril& regarding the harmonious nature o! the uni*erse' and man:s place in it; this s&stem is oth logical and analogical 1m&stical2 as it emphasizes life energy at the asic le*el o! e*er&thing 1this is also re!erred to as intrinsic energ&' internal energ&' chi and @i2$ Through this approach' and with A000 &ears to in*ent ideas and test theories 1westerners du iousl& call this ,pseudoscience,2' the Taoists ha*e created man& amazing su -s&stem !unctions to li*e a etter li!e$ At last in this 91st centur&' the +est has access to these !unctions' and we:re !alling in lo*e with them$ Chinese medicine li(e acupuncture seems izarre and m&sterious to a westerner; ut man& will acclaim its e!!ecti*eness$ Feng 5hui seems li(e complete hocus pocus when &ou !irst hear a out it; ut it does in !act ma(e &our house more com!orta le$ E*er& culture o! the world seems to em race the simple eaut& and metaphorical alance o! the ?in and ?ang s&m ol 1Tai#itu2; e-uall& eauti!ul and pro!ound is the s&m ol o! %a6ua$ The list o! Taoist greatness goes on' ut we:ll now !ocus on what could e the greatest technolog& e*er de*eloped$
The )nternal Athletics are highl&-de*eloped s&stems o! ph&sical training orrowed !rom an esoteric ranch o! Chinese martial arts called +udang' ;ei >ia' or the )nternal .artial Arts 1most pre*alent and recognized are Tai Chi' Bsing-?i and %a6ua2$ =ntil recentl&' there has een no concept o! internal athletics in the +est; and it wasnCt until the turn o! the 90th centur& that internal martial arts 1+udang2 were e*en classi!ied separatel& !rom the e"ternal martial arts 15haolin2 in China$ This is due to the !act that !amilies and small *illages practicing ;ei >ia were a le de!end themsel*es with ,dragon-li(e, ph&sicalit& and martial superiorit&$ )tCs onl& logical that ecause these groups had special powers in a dangerous place li(e warring China' the& did not share them with outsiders$ To illustrate' ) cite this well-documented anecdote: around 1D00 A0' a 9E-&ear old Chinese athlete named Fu Fhen 5ong success!ull& de!ended his tin& *illage !rom a malicious mo o! 100 andits' and he did it all & himsel!$ Prowess and s(ill li(e that can onl& e imagined' and -uite o *iousl&' he didnCt accomplish the !eat in a matter o! minutes 1his le*el o! ph&sical endurance goes without sa&ing2$ Compared to an& o! the highest-le*el athletes in the world' Fu Fhen 5ong would e a superhero among mortals$ And there were man& more li(e Fu who had similar a ilit&' although pro a l& less$
(FOOTNOTE - Inside Kung Fu Magazine; Bagua Journal; Chinese pub's
%ecause internal athletic training s&stems come directl& !rom the martial arts' the& t&picall& get pigeonholed as ,sport speci!ic training$, Bowe*er' in recent &ears' !amous internal martial artists ha*e egun ridging the gap etween internal athletics and other sports$ .aster 6eorge Gu has een telling people !or &ears that the principles o! the internal martial arts li(e Tai Chi and %a6ua appl& to e*er& sport$ ?ears ago' .aster Gu egan wor(ing with ultra-marathoner 0ann& 0re&er to de*elop ,Chi Running$, 0re&er and man& o! his students claim ChiRunning is a re*olutionar& approach to e!!ortless' in#ur&-!ree running$ ) ha*e seen articles sur!ace and disappear regarding the use o! Tai Chi in athletic training !or pro!essional !oot all and as(et all pla&ers' <l&mpic (a&a(ers' collegiate swimmers' e-uestrian' etc$ )t is well-(nown that pro!essional gol!er Tiger +oods has een practicing @i 6ong 1translated' ,chi practice,2 since childhood$ 1F<<T;<TE - +all 5treet >ournal2 ) integrated +udang s(ills H principles *er& e!!ecti*el& into s(i racing$ As ) *enture !orward with this in!ormation' ) would also li(e to clari!& who ) am spea(ing a out in the Fu !amil&$ Fu Fhen 5ong 11II1-1DA32 was widel& considered one o! the greatest martial artist in Chinese histor&; he was mostl& re*ered as a %a6ua grandmaster' ut in hindsight' he was a great inno*ator o!
martial arts$ Fhen 5ong is the creator o! Fu 5t&le +udang %o"ing$ Fu +ing Fa& 11D13-1DD32 was Fhen 5ong:s oldest son$ +ing Fa& grew up surrounded & the est martial artists in China$ Be wor(ed diligentl& to ecome his !ather:s prodigal son and top student$ +ing Fa& recei*ed man& corresponding accolades in his li!etime' and ecame the lineage holder !or Fu 5t&le$ +ing Fa& was also a great inno*ator' and well--uali!ied to rein*ent Fu 5t&le$ Fu 5heng8ong' or 7ictor Fu' is the oldest son o! +ing Fa&$ 8i(e his !ather' 7ictor grew up immersed in the internal martial arts' and wor(ed *er& hard to ecome his !ather:s top student$ 7ictor resides in 7ancou*er' %C' and holds the current lineage title !or Fu 5t&le +udang %o"ing$ )n this te"t' when ) spea( o! ,.aster Fu', ) am re!erring to 7ictor Fu' who is ali*e and well toda&$
To understand the di!!erence etween e"ternal training and internal athletics' one should !irst consider common ph&sical training modalities: weight li!ting' cardio*ascular training' stretching' ,core strengthening$, These modes are unrelated' non-integral e"ercises !ocusing on muscular tension/strength' agilit&' endurance and s(ill de*elopment/applications$ This (ind o! training relies on (nowledge o! io-mechanics 1(inesiolog&2' ph&siolog&' and ,creating mo*ement with the muscles on the outside of the body$, 5&stems o! e"ternal training can change suddenl& dramaticall& as trainers disco*er new modalities 1e"ercise !ads2 and in#ect them into the mi" i$e$ trainers sometimes prescri e &oga or Pilates as part o! an athlete:s regimen$ <n the other hand' internal athletics s&stems are to the od& what introspection is to the mind$ These s&stems encompass !ull& integrated e"ercises !ocusing on posture' plia ilit&' reathing and actual sel!-healing medicine$ This (ind o! training relies on ancient theories 1laws2 o! energ& H nature' pro*en principles o! human ph&sical alignment' and ,creating mo*ement using the mind to direct internallystored energy or 'chi' out to the extremities !rom within$, 5&stems o! internal athletics rarel& go through radical changes ecause the& ha*e een precisel& de*eloped o*er man& thousands o! &ears$ .ost o! these s&stems ha*e ecome e"tinct or ha*e een watered-down so much the& are no longer *er& use!ul$ 5ome s&stems' howe*er' ha*e de*eloped to the highest-le*els e*er$ The most easil& recognized di!!erence etween the internal athletics and ,e*er&thing else, is that proper practice of the internal athletics heals the entire body' while weight li!ting' #ogging and other !orms o! ,e"ternal muscular e"ercise, degenerate the #oints' cause the tendons to shrin(' and ro energ& !rom
the internal organs 1causing sic(ness2$ E"ternal training is simpl& ;<T 5=5TA);A%8E; .<5T people cannot and will not li!t weights or #og into their A0Cs and E0Cs$ Bowe*er' internal athletics practitioners can remain power!ul' !le"i le and per!ormance-oriented in their J0Cs and I0Cs' and li*e well to 100$ 5e*eral e"ternal athletic s&stems stand out !or o!!ering phenomenal s(ills to their athletes$ ;o one can dispute that top s(i racers are amazing; o"ers and !ighters are too$ 6&mnasts o! man& countries displa& incredi le !le"i ilit&' power and grace with their odies$ Bigh-le*el !igure s(aters are oth wic(edl& power!ul' and !eather so!t$ )nternal athletics o!!er an& and all o! the ene!its o! ,e"ternal, trainingK; ut also o!!er od& s(ills' awareness and ,ph&sical reaction, o! which most o! the world is completel& ignorant$ As an e"ample' ,so!tness, can e seen when a !igure s(ater #umps up into the air and a sor s the landing$ This (ind o! so!tness is a &product o! the techni-ue' whereas internal athletics actuall& train the od& !or perpetual so!tness' a sorption and sensiti*it&$ %ut again' !ind those athletes when the&:re in their A0:s and E0:s$ <n ?ahooL Answers' a woman with the handle ,maigenMo ", posted this answer regarding a g&mnastics -uestion: ,) was a g&mnast !or o*er 10 &ears' not ol&mpic cali er$ ):m 3J &ears old and am in pain e*er& single da&' ) ne*er get relie!$ All m& doctors agree that the cause is the a use ) heaped on m& od& during m& g&mnastics training$ 5ometimes ) see a chiropractor 3 times a wee($ ) ta(e muscle rela"ors and prescription antiin!lammatories on a regular asis' ecause sometimes that:s the onl& wa& ) can sleep$ ) trained !or a out 3 hours a da&' A da&s a wee($ That:s not enough training !or a ol&mpic g&mnast$ ?ou seriousl& want to thin( a out this; there are onl& a dozen ol&mpic g&mnast at a time$ That:s a prett& small chance !or a li!etime o! pain$ ;o one tells &ou this when &ou:re 1A and thin( &ou could ne*er get hurt$ ?ou will get hurt as a g&mnast; it:s a #ust a -uestion o! how ad$, +ith the idea that there are signi!icant di!!erences etween internal and e"ternal training' weCll now ta(e a loo( at what ma(es up internal training' and what (ind o! tangi le ene!its it o!!ers$ K there are #ust a !ew e"ceptions' i$e$ the strength one gains !rom power-li!ting cannot had with internal athletic training; this t&pe o! strength is !unctionall& useless to almost e*er& sport and athletics$
);TER;A8 FR<. EGTER;A8
Bow do we start o taining internal s(illsN The answer lies within *er& special'
highl&-de*eloped mo*ements$ These mo*ements are purel& e"ternal when &ou are a eginner$ As &ou practice them' &our od& will egin to mo*e in a di!!erent wa&: !rom the inside to the outside$ ?ou will ha*e aches and pains as &our od& naturall& egins to heal-- this is ecause &ou will turn ac( the cloc( and egin to counter-act all o! &our ad ph&sical ha its$ <! course' there are plent& o! other pieces to the puzzle 1li(e special reathing and special posture2' ut the special mo*ements are the !oundation o! internal de*elopment$ )n m& !irst lesson' .aster Fu told me' ,.ore than D0 percent o! all tai chi is ad$ +hat it meanOP ad'C that when &ou see someone do tai chi' the& donCt !ollow the principles$ ?ou donCt (now the principles &et' ut &ou can loo( !or &oursel! i! the tai chi is good or ad$ +hen &ou loo(' loo( at the waist$ +hen the tai chi is good' 1the&2 alwa&s turn the waist$ +hen the tai chi is ad' the arms mo*e ut the waist doesnCt turn' or the waist onl& turns sometimes$ ThatCs principle$ )n good tai chi' the waist alwa&s turns$, ) cite this anecdote !or se*eral reasons$ First' athletes ha*e the most to gain & practicing tai chi$ There are untold s(ills an athlete can o tain !rom practicing Bsing-?i and %agua; ut tai chi is de!initel& the place to start in internal athletics$ Tai chi o!!ers an e"trapolated cornucopia o! ene!its and s(ills; ut most importantl&' athletes' and people o! all ages need the reparati*e healing o! tai chi to mend the entire od&' ward-o!! in#uries' and strengthen the immune s&stem$ ;e"t' ) would tell &ou that the s(ills de*eloped in the internal athletics are sheerl& in*isi le to those with no e"perience$ E*en a!ter &ears o! training' man& are una le to see the di!!erences etween his or her practice and that o! a master$ Tai chi classes are o!!ered #ust a out e*er&where$ +ith this in!ormation a out waist turning' potential students and current practitioners ha*e a simple ut e!!ecti*e asis to decide who the -uali!ied teachers are$ This is *er& important$ 8ast-- and this is a primar& concept-- waist turning is the (e& to &our new od&$ .ental !ocus on the waist' and acti*ation o! the waist in rotational mo*ements is the -uic(est wa& to egin de*eloping internal control$ <ther tai chi teachers repeat ,Rela"$ Rela"$ Rela";, or the& suggest that practitioners ,sin( the chi$, .ore o!ten than an& other piece o! ad*ice' .aster Fu tells his students to turn the waist$ There are classic te"ts' well o*er 100 &ears old' that re!er to the principles o! tai chi$ These are o!ten called ,The Tai Chi Classics, or ,@uan >ing, 1the tenets o! tai chi2$ 5e*eral great masters ha*e re-written these in di!!erent !orms' ut the principles donCt change$ People can claim to e masters' teach some mo*ements and spout out Chinese pro*er sO ut adherence to the principles is what ma(es
the mo*ements tai chi$ Fu 5t&le emphasizes tai chi !or man& reasons; so we will primaril& !ocus on the principles o! tai chi$ Bowe*er' Fu 5t&le is +udang' which encompasses other internal martial arts$ )n what we ha*e coined the internal athletics' there are principles and s(ills which are deri*ed !rom tai chi' ut also !rom Bsing-?i' %a6ua' 8iang-?i and %a#i Chuan$
PR);C)P8E5 <F );TER;A8 ATB8ET)C5
1$ +aist Turning )n the Fu 5t&le s&stem' turning the waist is the !irst principle$ )! &ou thin( a out mo*ing the od&' &ou can turn &our !ingers or wrist and little else is a!!ected$ )! &ou li!t &our shoulder girdle 1scapula2' &our whole arm must !ollow itO ut none o! the rest o! the od& must mo*e$ +hen &ou turn &our waist' e*er&thing !ollows it to some degree$ .an& martial arts st&les o! Asia either include themsel*es as part o! the internal artsO or the& dispute the e"istence o! internal arts altogether$ This principle o! waist turning should con*e& to &ou the (ind o! di!!erences we are discussing here$ All mo*ement starts at the waist$ All parts o! the od& must !ollow the waist$ )n the west' we call this phenomenon coordination$ Fu +ing Fa& wrote a short document called' ,Bow 0oes <ne Practice Tai Chi Properl&$, )n it' he sa&s' ,The waist is the lord o! the od&$ The commands and intentions originate !rom the waist$ The waist is li(e the a"le o! the chariot' and the hips are li(e !lags$, The intentions originate !rom the waistN Bow can that eN <ur rain is on top o! our shoulders' not down' inside our core$ RightN The waist is the engine that ma(es the whole od& mo*e$ )ntrinsic to the nature o! waist turning is !le"i ilit&$ )! &ou ha*e no training in internal athletics' itCs unli(el& that &ou ha*e much range o! motion to turn &our waist$ E*en most &oga practitioners' with their great a ilit& to stretch' ha*e little range o! motion when it comes to waist turning$ +aist turning is primaril& a washing machine-li(e motion' with the spine remaining erect; this is !airl& speci!ic to tai chi$ %ut ecause Fu 5t&le is +udang' the Fu 5chool o!ten ma(es use o! the term ,waist s(ills$, +aist s(ills encompass waist turning' and a m&riad o! other control s(ills such as rolling' pro#ection' sha(ing' snapping and swinging$
Rolling is a high-le*el s(ill !rom %a6ua Fhang; it is much li(e it sounds' ut the rolling happens at the waist$ Pro#ection is a !ascinating s(ill; .aster Fu calls this gudong$ 5ha(ing is li(e the washing-machine motion' ut much more *igorous$ 5napping is t&picall& mo*ing the waist rapidl& !rom one position and stopping at another$ 8iang-?i Chuan ma(es use o! ,swinging;, this is waist turning with increasing acceleration$ 9$ Posture The su #ect o! posture is somewhat understood & man&' ut completel& misapplied & most$ The nature o! postural stud& and application is to align the ones o! the od& in the most ene!icial wa& & manipulating the #oints$ The underl&ing pro lem with postural application is that *irtuall& no person or s&stem o! widespread *isi ilit& has a complete' natural and com!orta le s&stem o! posture !or the entire od&$ +hile a !ew s&stems o! internal athletics 1li(e Fu 5t&le2 ha*e the ultimate postural s&stem we are suggesting' most tai chi s&stems ha*e *er& di!!erent *iews as to what ma(es up good posture$ )t is common elie! that the inward cur*ature 1lordosis2 o! the lower spine and the outward cur*ature 1(&phosis2 o! the upper spine e"ist to a sor shoc($ The *er& thought o! this ma(es us cringe' as the spinal column also houses the spinal cord-this is gre& matter !ol(s; an actual e"tension o! the rain$ For most people' the spine does a sor shoc(; that doesn:t mean it:s correct' or e*en ene!icial$ +h& do we a sor shoc(N .ost o! the od& can ta(e shoc( *er& well' especiall& the minute ut endless shoc( that comes !rom wal(ing$ The onl& reason to a sor shoc( would e to (eep it !rom rattling the rain 1man& people wal( with the head stretched out in !ront' a sor ing the shoc( o! wal(ing with the nec(2$ Reall&' it onl& ma(es sense to a sor the ul( o! shoc( with something other than the spinal column' or ,the rain$, At the heart o! the matter' we must e aware that posture is a practice' and is generall& not something we can per!orm all the time$ %& practicing posture' we create good ha its which will allow us to hold the carriage o! our odies much closer to the realm o! per!ect posture without the su stantial concentration is ta(es to actuall& practice per!ect posture$ )t must also e noted that postural practice can e either static or d&namic$ There is much to gain !rom mere ,standing practice$, Fu 5t&le +udang prescri es a postural application !or literall& e*er& inch o! the od&$ The three main parts o! Fu 5t&le posture are ,Bollow Chest', ,Pel*ic Tilt, and ,=pright Bead$,
Bollow Chest )! the waist is the engine' hollow chest is the #oiner& mechanism that lin(s up the structure o! the od&' and !acilitates coordination$ 6enerall& spea(ing' e*er&thing must !ollow the waist; howe*er' the upper od& has man& more #oints than the lower od& 1consider the range o! motion o! each indi*idual *erte rae' shoulder #oint' shoulder girdle' etc$2$ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,+hen &our chest is thrown outward' the chi will well up into the area o! the chest' and &ou will ecome hea*& on the top and light elow$ ?our !eet will seem to !loat' and &ou cannot stand !irml&$ )! &ou can let &our chest sin( inward' &ouCll also naturall& push out &our ac($ ;ot onl& will all illnesses e eliminated !rom the od& and li!e e prolonged' ut at the same time' whene*er re-uired' the strength o! the whole od& will issue !orth !rom the ac( that such !orce will carr& o!! all that is e!ore &ou$, The chest must sin( inward and the spine must push ac(ward$ This d&namicall& changes the entire structure o! the od&$ The arms and hands are alwa&s in !ront$ The ac( is raised and the head is held *er& high' almost as i! itCs eing propped up$ )n e"perienced internal practitioners' the ac( loses the natural cur*e that doctors and chiropractors are so !ond o!$ .aster Fu sa&s' ,+hen &ou do it right' the ac( is all !lat$, +hat .aster Fu means is !rom a pro!ile *iew' the spine and ac( are all straight$ +e li(en this to the nature o! tall' hea*& things' li(e trees$ %ig trees' li(e redwoods' are straight and trueOnot cur*ed$ +hen we uild tall uildings' we do not uild them with cur*es$ The nature o! structure is straightness$ +hen the *erte rae stac( *erticall&' and the spine ecomes straight as *iewed !rom oth the !ront and !rom the side' the structure o! the od& ecomes *er& strong in this wa&$ Pel*ic Tilt +hile orthopods' chiropractors' coaches and &our mom will tell &ou that the a o*e postural practice is wrong' pel*ic tilt has seemingl& ecome common practice in the world toda&$ %& rolling the tail one under and to the !ront' we lengthen and straighten the lower ac( which ta(es pressure o!! the lower spine$ This is prescri ed !or pregnant women' auto accident *ictims' runners' etc$ This practice also places the weight o! the upper od& more onto the heals and d&namicall& changes which muscles around the trun( are stretched' rela"ed' or tensed$ Bead 5traight Postural practice in the internal athletics must alwa&s include the ha it o! returning
to a position with the head straight$ .ost athletics do not address this ha it$ Athletes end up mo*ing in a wa& where the head and nec( is clums& and disorganized$ The !amous pro!essor' .r$ Cheng .an Ching' e"plained it this wa&' ,Gu 8ing 0in >in is hanging !rom the top o! &our head$ )t is li(e a man with pigtail 1at the top o! his head2' which is tied to the eam and his od& is hanging a o*e the ground$ 8i(e this' his whole od& can spin$ %ut i! his head !aces down or up' or mo*es le!t or right' then he cannot do this$, E*er&thing else' in rie!: )n accordance with the ma#or three points o! posture' there is speci!ic' recommended posture !or the whole od&$ Fu +ing Fa& spea(s o!' ,Chen >ian means let the area o! the two shoulder #oints e naturall& la" and droop down' and the two arms would seem to hang on strings$ ?ou should ne*er use strength to raise &our shoulders$ )! the shoulders are raised' then the chi would !ollow upward to the shoulders and create a condition o! eing hea*& on the top and light at the ottom$ All o! &our strength would e tried up at the shoulders' and &our ,whole od&, would not ha*e an& strength$ At the same time it would ecome easier to admit illness ecause with the shoulders raised' the internal organs will change their positions and mo*e upward' losing their com!orta le natural positions$ )! this is persisted !or long then internal illness will certainl& result$ Chui Fhou means to let the two el ows point downward with the upper arms ,standing, straight 1perpendicular2$ )! the two el ows are raised either to the le!t or right' then the shoulders cannot droop downward$ )! the shoulders cannot droop downward' then &ou cannot muster &our strength in the area o! the waist and thighs' and cannot throw an&one *er& !ar$, )n an article in T:ai Chi .agazine 1F<<T;<TE2' Fu 5t&le 6randmaster 8iang @ian-?a descri es practice o! ,The Three Empties$, These are hollow chest' empt& palms and empt& &ong -uan 1pronounced ,&ong chwan,2 Empt& palms are li(ened to palming a piece o! !ruit' such as an apple$ The hand is rela"ed' ut the !ingers cur*e' and the middle o! the palm is recessed$ The &ong -uan are two special acupuncture points located on the ottoms o! each !oot' #ust ehind the all o! the !oot$ These points must also recess' and pull upward$ )n the west we call this the arch o! the !oot; ut in the internal athletics' there is a lot more going on$ The &ong -uan are sometimes called' ,the u ling
wells, ecause when one reaches a certain s(ill le*el a!ter &ears o! practice' the &ong -uan !eel as though the& are u ling up with energ&$ Also' when the hips and waist ha*e an& sti!!ness' this , u ling, will cause the entire od& to sha(e somewhat *iolentl&$ The !eet are e"tremel& complicated in anatomical terms$ As o *iousl& esoteric is the &ong -uan' the posture o! the !eet is *er& di!!icult to summate$ The empt& &ong -uan is important$ Te"ts !rom man& great masters tal( o! ,the root, eing in the !eet$ The great masters sa& that when &ou ha*e root' the !eet spread' twist and gra the earth as i! the& had roots growing down into the ground$ Another simile would e i! &our !eet could clutch the earth li(e an eagle does a tree ranch$ +illiam C$C$ Chen 1F<<T;<TE2 :s article on ,The Three ;ails, points to an empt& &ong -uan' and three points o! the !oot ha*ing a -ualit& li(e a dri*en nail: the ig toe' the all and the heel$ .ost internal athletics s&stems include a posture !or the tongue$ %ecause the #aw 1mandi le2 is the onl& part o! the od& that:s detached' posture o! the tongue ecomes *er& important$ The tongue must push up into the hard palate$ )t !its *er& well there$ )! this sounds strange' it:s ecause &ou are not !amiliar with how energ& !lows through the meridians o! the od&$ The tongue is sometimes called ,the little ridge$, +hen it:s pressed up into the hard palate o! the mouth' energ& can !low through !rom the nec($ +orth mentioning in Fu 5t&le posture are the !ollowing: A$ Bips and (nees twisted out laterall& %$ 7arious positions !or the wrists; tai chi wrists are not ro(en !rom the line o! the !orarm C$ 7arious postures o! the hand: Piercing palm' ple"us stri(e' single whip hoo(' %a6ua palm' %agua split 17ulcan sign2' !ist 0$ El ow in' el ow out E$ Chin in and chin out F$ +rapping od& 6$ Beel down' heel up B$ Bollow chest and open chest 3$ 8oosen the waist and open the hips$ 8oosening the waist re-uires rotational' multi-planar stretching' and deep rela"ation o! all the muscles surrounding the lower spine' pel*is' !emur and e*en some muscles which are inserted into the upper ti ia and !i ula$ )n our e"perience' this loosening e"tends all the wa& down into the !eet$
<pening o! the hips re-uires simultaneous hip e"tension' hip a duction and posterior pel*ic tilt$ Bip e"tension means one is not ro(en at the waist' ut e"tends the pel*is !orward as i! per!orming a ac( end$ Bip a duction means separating the legs laterall&' as i! one were per!orming the splits$ Pel*ic tilt means curling the tail one under' and toward the !ront$ At the ottom o! the spinal column' the weight o! the upper od& rests on the sacroiliac #oints' which are in the middle o! the pel*is$ From there' the weight o! the upper od& then drops diagonall& onto the hip #oints$ This diagonal loading is the cause o! man& ph&sical pro lems' ecause muscles in this area must chronicall& !le" in order to sta ilize the upright position o! the od&$ As humans' we tr& to remain upright$ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' , ?ao 1the waist2 is the 8ord o! the od&$ Qua 1the hips2 is the hu center etween the upper hal! and the lower hal! o! the od&$ )! &ou cannot loosen the waist and hips' &ou:re od& will ecome a sti!! as a stic(' and !all with one low$ )! &ou cannot loosen &our hips' the upper and lower hal*es o! the od& cannot turn easil&' and &our chi cannot descend to the soles o! &our !eet 1called ?ong @uanGue2$ )! &ou cannot ,grow roots', the center o! gra*it& o! &our od& will not e sta le$ Cheng .an @ing said' Yong quan (the soles of the feet) must have roots otherwise the Yao (waist) will not have confidence. You may strenuously practice until you die and yet find no remedy. You must loosen the waist until it is so resilient that it could be broken 100 times, and there are no bones. ;o onesN This !lies in the !ace o! e*er& io-mechanical model in the world$ %ut when &ou watch the grace!ul mo*ements o! a +udang master' it seems as though his or her od& is as so!t as water$ Cheng .an Ching:s -uote a out practicing &our whole li!e without e*er creating ,roots, illustrates how #ust how di!!icult the internal athletics are$ Finding a -uali!ied teacher' and practicing properl& are critical to progress$ )t is said that 90 &ears o! improper practice can e worth !ar less than three &ears o! proper practice$ Tai chi is an e"cellent eginning to loosening the hips and waist; ut lea*e it to Fu 5t&le to !ind the distant edges$ The Fu 5t&le s&stem places a hea*& emphasis on a warm up e"ercise .aster Fu calls ,6rinding +aist$, This unconsciona le' rotational' ac( ending' stretching' waist turning e"ercise !rom hell is one that pro!essional athlete' Eri( 5chlop&' added to his regimen the !irst time he tried it$
<l&mpic gold medalist Ted 8iget& sa&s he still practices it$ )t:s one &our chiropractor might tell &ou to sta& awa& !rom$ ;et result: loosening o! the waist and hips$ 4$ 5o!t and Bard As mentioned earlier with the e"ample o! the !igure s(ater #umping into the air and gentl& a sor ing the landing' so!tness is an important s(ill trained in the internal athletics$ 5o!tness comes !rom learning how to rela"; it is also de*eloped & stud&ing and adhering to the Chinese pro*er ' ,Change 1000 pounds with !our ounces$, )nternal teachers sa& that &ou must ne*er ,!ight !orce directl& with !orce$, )nstead' &ield to !orce$ Cheng .an Ching used to sa&' ,)n*est in loss$, These are to sa& that !ighting 1000 pounds o! !orce with 1000 pounds o! !orce is not the natural wa&$ The so!test things' li(e water' o*ercome the hardest things' li(e roc(' ecause the& are !luid and &ielding$ E*en the strongest oa( tree is li(el& to snap o!! in hea*& winds' while a willow tree will end and &ield$ Parallel the concept o! &ielding' one must also learn to rela"$ To sa& that ph&sical rela"ation is misunderstood among man(ind is to understate this in astronomical proportions$ Bow does one rela"N 7acationN AlcoholN A good oo( & a warm !ire at the end o! the da&N +hen we as(ed a !riend o! ours' she said she rela"es & swimming$ 5he puts her ears in the water and !loats$ This is a good idea' ut still not the (ind o! rela"ation we are capa le o!$ The human od& har ors amazing amounts o! tension' especiall& in the waist and hips$ +e mani!est ps&chological an"iet& and tension in our odies$ +e also sit too much$ Bigh-le*el rela"ation re-uires special mo*ement' special training and pro!ound stud& o! this parado": ?ou must simultaneousl& rela" and concentrate$ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,Tai Chi Chuan is a (ind o! pro!ound art where &ou use &our intent 1mind2 and not &our strength$ <ur chi and mind 1or intent2 is the master' and our !lesh and ones are ut ser*ants$, %ecause o! this' when &ou practice' &our whole od& should e completel& rela"ed$ There should not e a single iota o! rute strength remaining within &our ones and sinews-- &our lood adds pulses to ind &our od&$ Then onl& can &ou lithel& a!!ect changes' and spin around as &ou wish$, %ecause tai chi is oth so!t and hard' the so!tness has to come !irst$ Then' and onl& then' is a practitioner capa le o! ,hardness$, Bardness is an emission o! power called ,#ing$, )! we li(en chi or li!e energ& to the gasoline which !uels the engine 1the waist2' ,#ing, is the con*ersion o! chi to power$ The !irst' and most sought-
a!ter *ariet& o! this power is called ,!a #ing', or e"plosi*e power$ A small' seemingl& wea(' JA-&ear old woman 1li(e %ow 5im .ar( o! %oston' .A2 is capa le o! throwing a 9A0-pound man across the room with this (ind o! power$ .aster Fu alwa&s sa&s' ,The mo*ement is *er& !ast ecause o! rela"ation$ The hand turns to ?ang 1hard2 !or a rie! second' then must rela" immediatel& ac( to ?in 1so!t2 again$ Bow &ou can tell i! it:s done correctl& is to loo( !or the recoil$ To issue good power in the internal arts' there should alwa&s e recoil' not rigidness$ The hand should ounce ac( li(e a ru er and$, A$ Taoist %reathing )! there were one route o! training clearl& missing in western athletics-one o #ecti*e that were so needed' so o *ious' and #ust plain non-e"istent that trainers o! the world should ta(e a step ac( and scratch their heads in glo al unison-it would e reathing training$ E*en i! the most rilliant trainer in histor& had an epiphan& and declared' ,our athletes should learn how to reath in the most e!!ecti*e wa& possi le', he or she would ha*e nowhere to start and nowhere to go$ A out the est an&one has come up with is ,0iaphragmic reathing$, This is a surdl& simple' and hardl& worth& o! teaching it to the top-echelon athletes o! the planet$ Bere:s a !unn& test: !eign a *iolent push to &our est !riend:s chest' and see how he reathes$ +e:ll et dimes to donuts that with e&es wide and od& sti!!' he ta(es a -uic( and surprised reath in 1inhalation2$ ;ow' in return !or scaring &our good !riend' o!!er him to push &ou across the room$ +hen he does' watch his reath$ 0imes to donuts sa&s &our !riend will reath out$ <Q' &ou sa&' other than the reathing in' which ma& e &ou (new he would do' &ou sa&' ,that:s (id stu!!$, To ha*e an in(ling o! understanding o! the internal athletics' &ou must open &our mind completel& and accept the realit&' or at least the possi ilit& o! the ,dan tien$, ?ou see' the dan tien is an analogical organ o! the od&$ )t is oth the !ocus o! Taoist reathing' and the underl&ing control unit o! the entire od& 1when one turns the waist' it is simpl& a shortcut to turning and controlling the dan tien2$ The dan tien lies elow the na*al' inside the pel*is$ )t:s li(e a alloon that e"pands and contracts with reathing; it is also *er& dense and sta le li(e a spinning planet with its own gra*itational !ield$ )! &ou put &our hand on the lower a domen o! a tai chi master' his dan tien is palpa le when he reathes$ )! &ou cut open a cada*er'
&ou cannot !ind it$ )t is' howe*er' *er& real$ The dan tien is critical in the storage o! chi and the transmission o! energ& to the e"tremities in order to create mo*ement$ Ba*e &ou e*er watched a a & reatheN +hen the& inhale' a ies: lower a domen contracts$ +hen the& e"hale' a ies: lower a domen e"pands$ +h&N +h& does &our !riend inhale sharpl& when he recoils !rom &our push' !earing that &ou might actuall& send him reelingN The answers to these -uestions lie within tai chi theor& and the natural wa& o! reathing$ The Taoists ha*e een de*eloping reathing techni-ue !or thousands and thousands o! &ears$ These da&s' it:s called Taoist %reathing or Re*erse %reathing$ This t&pe o! reathing is in!initel& more comple" than diaphragmic reathing' and it ta(es scores o! &ears to get it right 1howe*er' li(e all training in the internal athletics' the pa&o!!s come *er& -uic(l& when one e*en starts this (ind o! practice2$ At the root o! Taoist reathing is again chi or li!e energ&$ Bowe*er' chi ta(es di!!erent !orms inside the od&' and the theor& is *er&' *er& comple"$ +e will attempt to simpli!& each o! these segments into terms &ou can digest$ First' when a tai chi master e"hales' the air in the lungs or ,post-natal chi, is reathed out; at the same time' the pre-natal chi dumps into the dan tien' causing it to e"pand 1e"halation causes the lower a domen to e"pand2$ )t:s sort o! li(e two connected u les on either side o! the diaphragm; when the lungs e"pand' the dan tien contracts' and *ice-*ersa$ +hen that same master inhales' the pre-natal chi in the dan tien s-ueezes through a portal near the anus and !lows up along the spine' causing the dan tien 1in the lower a domen2 to contract$ Taoist reathing and chi !low re-uire the tongue to e pressed up into the hard palate$ )n this wa&' dan tien reathing coordinates and dri*es the mo*ements o! the od&$ 6enerall& spea(ing' one e"hales when e"tending the arms and inhales when withdrawing the arms; one inhales when rising and e"hales when sin(ing; to li!t is to inhale' to lower to e"hale; when opening up' one inhales; when closing' one e"hales$ Again in o*er-simpli!ication' there are two sounds which coincide with high-le*el Taosist reathing: Bung and Baah$ The sound ,Bung, is made when one inhales$ The sound ,Baah, is produced when one e"hales$ As oth inhalation and
e"halation are done through the nose' these sounds are also audi le through the nose and nasal passage$ E$ 7oid and Full )n accordance with the pro!undit& o! the Tai#itu or s&m ol o! &in and &ang alance' the parts o! the od& must also alance the &in and &ang or *oid and !ull$ )n essence' tai chi practice normall& puts emphasis on a J0/30 weight distri ution !or the legs' and demands in!inite repetition o! weight trans!er ac( and !orth$ Thus' when one per!orms a mo*ement' one leg is iased o*er the other$ +hen the weight is J0 percent iased on the le!t leg' the le!t leg is !ull' and the right arm is !ull; con*ersel&' the right leg is *oid and the le!t arm is *oid 1empt&2$ )n this instance' the le!t !oot 1!ull2 grips the ground as i! it:s glued there; the right !oot is *oid' and can mo*e swi!tl& and easil&' pi*ot' step or (ic($ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,)n learning Tai Chi Chuan' the primar& re-uisite is to clearl& distinguish etween *oid and !ull$ 7oid is &in and !ull is &ang$ %rie!l& spea(ing' when &ou practice Tai Chi Chuan' &ou must ne*er place &our od& weight on oth legs$ 0istinguishing etween *oid and !ull can e compared with the e"ample o! the peddling o! a ic&cle$ )! the right leg applies pressured downward' then the le!t leg should e la" and !ollow upward in accordance with mo*ement o! the right leg$ +hen the le!t leg presses down' then the right leg must ecome la" and !ollow upward in accordance with the mo*ements o! the le!t leg$ ;aturall&' &ou can then go as !ast or slow as &ou please' and &our mo*ement !orward will not e impeded$ %ut i! &ou press with oth legs at the same time' and the pressure is e-ual on oth sides' &ou:ll stop altogether and cannot mo*e it all$, 7oid and !ull in practice emphasizes di!!erentiating the le!t !rom the right side$ That ma& seem simple' ut le!t and right must e separated again at the waist$ The od& ecomes a *er& much li(e alancing scales$ )! one stands on the right !oot' the right leg is !ull' and the upper le!t hal! o! the od& is !ull$ Accordingl&' the mind must ma(e it so & stac(ing the weight o! the le!t upper hal! o! the od& o*er the right hal! o! the lower od&$ Athletes can not ma(e this *isualization and (inetic alancing without special training$ J$ Coordination .ost +estern athletics trainers will agree that coordination is more important than strength$ T&picall&' coordination is a genetic gi!t$ )n recent &ears' the ad*ent o! what has een termed ,!unctional mo*ement, training does in !act de*elop coordination; howe*er' it is still relati*el& in!antile compared to the whole- od& coordination de*eloped in the thousands-o!-&ears old internal athletics$
)n a treatise on Fu 5t&le 8iang-?i Chuan' Fu +ing Fa& o!!ers' ,The a"le goes down the center !rom shoulder to pel*is$ Bis ,Bow 0oes <ne Practice Tai Chi Properl&, sa&s' ,+hen practicing Tai Chi Chuan' the lim s and the upper od& should not e allowed to mo*e in*oluntaril&$ +hen &ou want to mo*e' then the whole od&-- top and ottom' inside and outside-- all mo*e together li(e one !amil&$ <nce &ou mo*e there must e nothing that does not mo*e$, This is where things get !un$ +hen Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,inside and outside all mo*e together li(e one !amil&', he is spea(ing a out &et another principle o! which most trainers ha*e no consciousness: combined coordinations$ Functional mo*ement training ma& egin to coordinate the trun( with the e"tremities; ut it:s !ocus is much more simple than the concentration re-uired !or the ,interior com inations, and the ,e"terior com inations$, Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,The tenets o! Tai Chi spea( o!' :&ou must ha*e three com inations on the interior' and three com inations on the e"terior$: %& the three interior com inations' we mean that the heart and intention must com ine' the intention and chi must com ine' and chi and strength must com ine$ %& the three e"terior com inations' we mean that the shoulders and hips must correspond' the el ows and (nees must correspond' and the hands and legs must correspond$, The e"terior com inations listed here are somewhat eas& to grasp$ )! one has whole- od& coordination' the shoulders and the hips will relate to each other' using the ,core, as the a"le$ )n accordance with the shoulder/hip coordination' the el ows and (nees will coordinate' and the hands and legs 1or !eet2 will coordinate$ The interior com inations are much tougher to get &our arms around$ ) will e"plain this to the est o! m& a ilit&$ %& the translated words o! Fu +ing Fa&' who is -uoting the tenets o! tai chi' the !irst interior com ination is that o! the heart and the intention$ <ur understanding o! this com ination is that the Chinese see there eing two parts o! the mind: A$ There is the passionate' *isceral' autonomic side o! the mind that is loosel& translated as the heart 1coincidentall&' the rest o! the world considers the heart somewhat the same thing2$ The e"ample we li(e to gi*e is when &ou are wal(ing down the each and &ou step on something sharp; &our s&mpathetic ner*ous
s&stem suddenl& does e*er&thing it can to (eep &ou !rom getting hurt$ ?ou don:t intend to let &our weight drop or #ump o!! the piece o! glass' ut &our heart ma(es that happen$ ;ew western studies are suggesting that the ,enteric ner*ous s&stem, is the other rain' and that it resides in the a domen$ %$ The other side o! the mind is what the Chinese call the "Yi" or the wisdom mind$ This is the thin(ing hal! o! the mind$ The ?i has intention' or the will to carr& out tas(s$ These two sides o! the mind' the heart and the ?i' don:t alwa&s agree$ The side that t&picall& wins is the heart-- which could also e"plain a lot o! the mista(es we ma(e as humans$ +e want to do the right thing 1intention2' ut our heart has a slightl& di!!erent plan$ 5o again' the internal athletics e"ercise three e"terior and three interior com inations$ The !irst internal com ination is the heart and the intention 1?i or wisdom mind2$ The second com ination is the ?i and the Chi$ This means that the wisdom mind directs the energ& stored in the dan tien to mo*e up along the spine and out to the lim s$ .o*ement created in this wa& can e *er& power!ul' or *er& so!t$ The third com ination is the chi and the strength$ The Chinese call the (ind o! strength de*eloped with weight li!ting ,Li$, )nternal athletics do not su scri e to strength training; 8i or strength is considered low-le*el and unsophisticated s(ill$ This last interior com ination suggests that all the inside wor( we do in the internal athletics must then coordinate with the strength 1the 8i2 o! the od&$ )n this wa&' the practitioner ecomes *er& power!ul$ I$ Continuous .o*ement This principle is interesting$ <! course' certain sports and training modes li(e ic&cling' #ogging and swimming demand continuous mo*ement; ut man& team sports li(e !oot all and ase all ha*e down time when athletes are stationar&' resting' or waiting to reacti*ate$ Athletes should re!ocus their energ& so that the& are constantl& in motion' e*en i! the motion is *er& minute$ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,<ne:s mo*ements must e continuous and ne*er ro(en$ )n practicing Tai Chi Chuan' it is most o #ectiona le to use one:s a!ter- irth rute !orce-- intentionall& starting' and then as though &ou ha*e come to the end' stopping-- a!ter deli*ering one low$ )n this wa&' &ou can easil& e ta(en ad*antage o! at the time when &our new !orce has not &et een summoned$ This is wh& in practicing' &ou should use &our intention and not &our strength so that in the stillness there is motion; and although there is motion' there is stillness' !rom the eginning to the end$,
Clearl&' Fu +ing Fa&:s e"ample o! ,deli*ering one low, comes !rom martial arts$ %ut the importance o! continuous motion cannot e o*erstated here$ 1+ing Fa&:s re!erence to ,a!ter- irth rute !orce, means 8i' or the use o! unsophisticated strength2 D$ Power o! the mind' not power o! strength$ For the uninitiated' this principle is going to seem #ust plain craz&$ The power o! the mind in the internal athletics is not clair*o&ance or hocus pocus$ )t relates to and controls the calm' smooth' !lowing energ& o! the natural world$ This energ& is li(e the stored or potential energ& o! a ri*er$ )t starts high on the mountain in small ri*ulets' and gains power and intensit& as it com ines with other ri*ulets to ecome cree(s' streams and e*entuall& ri*ers$ +hen we train the mind to control this energ&' we are a le to summon it to an& degree at an& time$ To continue the metaphor' we can guide small amounts o! ,the ri*er, to merel& wash awa& dirt; or we can calml& open the !loodgates to unleash de*astating power$ Fu +ing Fa& sa&s' ,5tri*e !or calmness whilst in action$ )n practicing Tai Chi Chuan' it is a solutel& !or idden to leap a out in one reath so one is streaming with sweat' and panting li(e a u!!alo$ <ne should use calmness to control one:s action' using one:s reath to control one:s mo*ements' and ma(ing one:s mo*ements correspond with one:s reathing$ Although &ou are in action' &ou are calm$ The slower &our mo*ements can e made the etter$ +hen &our mo*ements are slow &ou can then reathe deep and long' and &our chi will sin($, Fu +ing Fa&:s suggestions were in earnest$ Be wanted &ou to rela"' sta& calm' and tap into the natural' !lowing energ& o! the uni*erse$ That energ& is alwa&s there !or &ou' ut it ta(es special training and lots o! practice to utilize it$ +ing Fa& suggested that &ou a*oid the tense' la orious nature o! e"ternal muscular mo*ements so that &ou ma& !ind the awe-inspiring eaut& o! natural' !ree !lowing energ&$ 10$ Principles !rom the 5ister Arts +hat ) ha*e pro*ided so !ar in this section are primar& principles o! internal athletics$ ) ha*e !ocused on Fu 5t&le tai chi' which has ,!la*orings, mi"ed throughout the !orms !rom the sister arts' %a6ua Fhang' Bsing-?i Chuan and 8iang-?i Chuan$ Bere at the end' ) would li(e to touch on a hand!ul o! important principles !rom the sister arts$ Across the oard' each o! these indi*idual arts ha*e *er& speci!ic and di!!icult
stepping techni-ues$ >ust to name a !ew o! the Fu 5t&le steps: tai chi step' swing step' T-step' crossing steps' stomp step' !ollow step' ripple step 1or mud wal(ing step2$ %a6ua demands the importance o! circle wal(ing$ To e"periment with this principle' simpl& create a circle roughl& si" or se*en !eet in diameter and start wal(ing$ Twist &our trun( toward the center' end &our (nees deepl&' and allow each step to !ollow the outline o! the circle$ As .aster Fu sa&s' ,)t will change &our whole li!e$, Also' Fu 5t&le %a6ua ma(es principle , alancing on one !oot$, Tr& it while wal(ing the circle$ +ith each step' !irml& !ind &our alance on each !oot e!ore ta(ing the ne"t step$ Bsing-?i translates roughl& as ,Form-.ind$, This means the ?i or the wisdom mind creates and dictates the !orm the od& will ta(e$ This is e"cellent training !or the mind and od&' as higher-le*el Bsing-?i is ased on the mo*ements o! animals$ 5wallows swoop down; mon(e&s leap; ears maul-- roosters ha*e amazing s(ills !or mo*ement$ Bsing-?i stresses the importance o! ,hard and so!t, more than the other arts$ A ig part o! this comes !rom sudden' launching linear mo*ements that re-uire recoil$
,)n !unction, means a practitioner in practice or utilizing the practiced s(ills in some !orm o! mo*ement li(e sports' e"ercise or e*en putting awa& dishes$ The mind controls the od&' !irst with the e&es$ ) once went to a !arm' and the !armer told me he leads the pon& around with his e&es$ +here the !armer loo(s' the pon& !ollows$ )n the )nternal Athletics' the gaze goes !irst$ The mind turns the waist to !ollow the intention the e&es pro-generate$ The mind must concentrate on man& !unctions at once: speci!ic' whole- od& posture; a speci!ic reathing techni-ue; whole- od& rela"ation; highl&-detailed mo*ements supercharged with !le"i le martial application;
%E;EF)T5 <F );TER;A8 ATB8ET)C5
)n this section' we will e"pound on the ene!its o! internal training 1most speci!icall& tai chi practice2$ +hat we are attempting to pro*ide here is a
correlation etween the num ered delineations in the PR);C)P8E5 section and those which !ollow$ +hile this can help &ou' dear reader' somewhat understand how ,A R % S C', we need to emphasize that the internal athletics are a s&stem; this means each part is related to and dependent upon e*er& other part$ As we discuss internal athletics ene!its' it should e preconcei*ed that each ene!it cited does in !act come as a result o! diligent practice and adherence to all o! the principles$ )n essence' no speci!ic ene!it comes !rom an& single principle practice$ )t is also important to note that our discussion o! ene!its surrounds sports and athletics$ )n recent &ears' some astounding western science studies ha*e egun leading !ol(s to elie*e that tai chi practice is in !act the panacea 1miracle cure-all2 that the great masters ha*e een claiming it to e; howe*er great a health oon tai chi is to the world' the elderl&' the sic(' etc$' this te"t was !ounded on the concept o! impro*ing athletics$ 1$ +aist turning is an o *ious and d&namic part o! most athletic mo*ements$ 5wing a gol! clu $ 5wing a ase all at$ Throw a all$ E*en wal(ing and running re-uire turning o! the waist to !acilitate gait$ At the highest le*els o! per!ormance' athletes ph&sicall& e"press what is termed the 5erape E!!ect; this is the coordination o! the trun( with the e"tremities to create e"tremel& !ast and power!ul mo*ements$ This is how a ase all pitcher throws a D0 mph !ast all$ The arm cannot create that (ind o! power and speed & itsel!$ )nternal athletics re-uires the mind to control the waist' and the waist to control the od&$ +e as(ed .aster Fu a out this (ind o! mo*ement in popular sports$ Be said' ,?es' the& 1the athletes2 use their waist to ma(e power' ut the&Cre not thin(ing a out their waist$ That means the& can do etter$, .aster Fu has said man& times that the slow waist turning in tai chi practice gi*es the internal organs a massage$ ;umerous ene!its could result !rom this massage' ut one can imagine that the internal organs would !unction etter i! it were stimulated e*er& da&$ +hen coaches and trainers thin( a out alance' seldom do the& consider that the !eet can actuall& grip the earth$ )n tai chi' this is called root$ Coaches don:t (now a out this addition to alance ecause it re-uires &ears o! gentle waist turning to train the !eet to oth rela" and to clench$ 9$ 0e*elopment o! proper posture creates man& ene!its$ As alance is the (e&stone o! athletics' we:ll start there$ %alance 1or e-uili rioception2 is the range o! sta ilization and e-uili rium o! a od&:s center o! gra*it&$ %alance is primaril&
sensed through the detection o! acceleration in the *esti ular s&stem; this is a comple" s&stem o! canals and !luids in the inner ear$ )! someone pushes &ou une"pectedl& !rom ehind' the !luids in the ,la &rinth, slosh ac(ward' and let &ou (now that &ou are suddenl& accelerating !orward$ This allows &ou to rapidl& recali rate and attempt to regain whate*er alance &ou are a le 1 ased on &our od&2$ The !irst point made in oth ?ang Cheng Fu:s' ,10 Essential Points o! Tai Chi, and in Fu +ing Fa&:s ,Bow 0oes <ne Practice Tai Chi Properl&, is that o! straightening the head$ 8oo( at the people around &ou$ 8oo( at photos$ 8oo( in the mirror$ Bow straight is &our headN Bow straight are people:s heads in generalN +hen the head de!aults to an upright' straight' and plum posture' such that it is,propped-up, com!orta l& on the nec(' the *esti ular s&stem will ha*e the greatest ,control, aseline to egin its cali rations !or acceleration$ Also' rela"ed posture o! the nec( and shoulders will allow more lood 1and chi2 to !low to the inner ear' allowing greater sensiti*it& to linear or rotar& acceleration$ )nternal athletic posture also creates a superior athletic stance$ The weight o! the od& stac(s much more e!!ecti*el& on the ones' tendons and ligaments' and allows the s&mpathetic ner*ous s&stem to egin rel&ing on this structure$ )n doing so' the so-called ,sta ilizing, muscles o! the od& egin to rela"' allowing the agonist muscles to per!orm much more e!!icientl&$ 5tatic postural practice de*elops a more !inel&-tuned sense o! e-uili rium and the earth:s gra*it&; d&namic postural practice mo ilizes the #oints to per!orm specialized mo*ements which enhance posture and od& s(ill$ As mentioned earlier' shoc( a sorption ma& not e the est use o! the spine$ +ith proper posture 1also sensiti*it&' so!tness/a sorption' and a connectedness to the ground2' one can a sor the same shoc( with the !eet' an(les' (nees and hips; then the shoc( is mostl& dissipated e!ore it reaches the spine$ +ith internal training' the power o! the waist is immense$ +hen one can use the power o! the waist and couple it with posture' this power is transmitted through the integrit& o! the od&Cs structure' and can e guided or pro#ected an& direction$ )n essence' the od& can e dri*en li(e a *ehicle$ This is a oon to an& and e*er& sport$ +hen one considers that all o! the cells o! the immune s&stem are deri*ed !rom the one marrow' it:s eas& to imagine that weight earing e"ercise strengthens the ones and in turn' the immune s&stem$ Tai chi and the internal athletics stac( the
od&:s weight optimall& on the ones; it also adds the element o! gentle twisting$ The great masters sa& that when one un loc(s the !low o! ,the one chaotic chi, through the od&' it strengthens the ones to the point that the& ecome un rea(a le$ E*er& athlete needs the strongest ones and immune s&stem he or she can o tain$ 3$ Practice o! tai chi and the internal athletics loosens the waist and hips$ Consider to what degree &ou stand upright$ Thin( a out &our parents' or grandparents' or someone *er& elderl&$ As we get older' the tension we har or in the waist and hips e*entuall& causes us to chronicall& end o*er and ta(e smaller steps; thus' we ecome sti!!er and sti!!er' until we no longer ha*e *er& much alance$ %& loosening the waist and hips' one increases his range and control o! motion such that his od& etter !acilitates the autonomic responses o! the alancing mechanisms; thus' etter alance$ As the waist and hips ecome more supple' the hea*iest' most dense part o! the od& ecomes more controlla le$ +esterners call this ,the core$, +hen one has posture' which creates s(eletal structure' A;0 can control the core 1or center o! gra*it&' or dan tien2' one can mo*e a out *er& s(ill!ull&$ This is wh& we call control' e!!icienc&' agilit&' power' speed' and !le"i ilit& , od& s(ills$, 1F<<T;<TE2 A somewhat recent western stud& was done to show that western alance training techni-ues are as good as tai chi !or impro*ing alance$ That one reall& stri(es a !unn& one$ 5omehow' tai chi ecame a standard !or high-le*el alance training' and someone 1;A.E2 decided his alance training regimen was #ust as good$ 4$ .ost athletes need so!t training more than hard training$ First' athletes need to ecome supple' a sor ent' and rela"ed$ For most athletes' speed will e the most sought a!ter gain !rom rela"ation training$ +hat athletes would not e"pect is ,ting #ing', or the a ilit& to ,listen$, The slow' precise mo*ements o! tai chi re-uire so!tness' rela"ation and concentration$ This creates a d&namic en*ironment !or enhancing tactile sensiti*it& and awareness$ %& awareness' we mean mental acuit&' and proprioception or consciousness o! one:s own od&' mood' and that conte"tual world around him$ Contained within the ene!it o! awareness lies a real #ewel$ 5omehow' with de*eloped awareness comes a sense that time has slowed down$ This could e hard to elie*e' ut man& internal athletics students ha*e reported this same e"perience$ Acti*ities that happen *er& !ast' li(e s(i racing or !ighting' seem to happen more
slowl&$ An athlete seemingl& gets more time to react' and react properl&$ +ith more od& s(ill and od& awareness' accurac& is increased and mista(es are reduced$ +ith so!tness and rela"ation' an athlete has more speed to per!orm a mo*ement or techni-ue correctl& and with the correct timing$ Bardness is #ust as important as so!tness; howe*er' so!tness needs to e o tained e!ore hardness can e understood or applied$ Bardness can come in man& !orms' ut the most common is that o! !a #ing power$ Fa #ing is the e"plosi*e mo*ement that coordinates mood' intention' reath and the od& with what is called the one chaotic chi$ )n most !a #ing applications' the od& must e so!t and rela"ed; then the hard !a #ing comes *er& -uic(l&' !ollowed & an instantaneous re*erse ac( to so!t$ Bardness can also e considered !ullness 1&ang2$ Energ& can e transmitted more li(e that o! a ulldozer-- slow and stead&' ut ,!ull, and unstoppa le$ Bardness can also e concentrated in the dan tien$ )! &ou ha*e the chance' 6oogle ,+ang 5hu#in$, .aster +ang was an internal martial arts grandmaster who seemingl& loo(ed o*erweight$ The gu& could mo*e li(e a !leeting sparrow' and he could ta(e repeated lows to the a domen !rom #ust a out an&one without an& sign o! pain or !atigue$ At the same time' .aster +ang was incredi l& so!t$ A$ Taoist %reathing and posture are loc(stepping principles$ Proper reathing is a ma#or component to de*eloping posture' and posture !acilitates proper reathing$ 5o the ene!its o! toaist reathing are the same as those o! posture' which in turn create superior e!!icienc& o! mo*ement$ This is such that an athlete will deplete his energ& stores much slower than i! he were tense and reathing erraticall&$ Additionall&' proper reathing de*elops serious cardio*ascular endurance as termed & western athletics$ As cited with the stor& o! Fu Fhen 5ong de!eating 100 andits & himsel!' high-le*el internal athletes can mo*e a out *igorousl& !or long periods o! time' without e*en needing to reathe through their mouths$ The long' slow' controlled reaths o! a master theoreticall& compress and store in the dan tien' allowing him to call upon these reser*es whene*er he needs them$ ) li(en deep Taoist reathing to saturating the lungs with o"&gen$ E$ Practice o! the 7oid and Full Principle is important to proprioception' or the de*elopment o! sensing the location o! the od&:s parts$ +hen one can *isualize the relationships and di!!erences etween le!t and right' the awareness o! where the lim s lie' and the io!eed ac( !rom those e"tremities is greatl& heightened$ %ecause o! this' the (inesthetic sense 1o! mo*ement2 and the io!eed ac( o! such more acutel& signals to the athlete how much or how little motion he has' either in
certain od& locations or as a whole$ 7oid and !ull is a ig !acilitator o! waist rotation$ +hen an athlete is (eenl& aware o! le!t and right' rotation o! the waist comes much more easil&$ Eas& turning o! the waist !acilitates control' speed and power in nearl& e*er& athletic mo*ement$ J$ Coordination %& coordination' we mean the sum o! the parts o! the whole od& mo*e together as one unit; no parts antagonize the mo*ements o! an& other parts$ This is the opposite o! muscle isolation i$e$ strength training$ .ost trainers and athletes agree that coordination is more important than strength$ For this reason' the est athlete is not alwa&s the iggest' strongest athlete$ A coordinated athlete uses his od& more e!!icientl&$ 5o when he mo*es or applies !orce' the mo*ement is more grace!ul' more alanced; and the !orce he commands is ampli!ied ecause his muscles !ire more e*enl& and se-uentiall& than someone less coordinated$ The coordinated athlete can per!orm mo*ements with !ewer mista(es in regards to ,!orm$, This allows him to run !aster' #ump higher' throw !arther' and per!orm more consistentl&$ Coordination in the internal athletics is *er& speci!ic' and re-uires concentrated training$ The hips and the shoulders are the !our corners o! the trun(; when the hips correspond with the shoulders' there is !ar less twisting 1in general' eginner-le*el coordination training should eliminate twisting o! the trun(; %a6ua de*elops twisting power' ut it is much higher le*el than tai chi2$ +ith less twisting' the od& will ha*e more !unctional coordination$ The same is true o! the (nees corresponding with the el ows' and the hands corresponding to the !eet$ This t&pe o! training egins as *isualization; ut later' when these ,e"terior com inations, are mani!ested in the od&' an athlete will command ,whole od& power$, %ecause the mind is the most power!ul element o! the od&' there must e no con!lict etween one:s mood and one:s intention$ +hen the heart 1emotional mind2 and the ?i 1wisdom mind2 com ine' &ou are o! one mind and &ou will ha*e no internal con!lict$ +ith no internal con!lict' &ou will not hesitate and &our mo*ements will ha*e poise' power' grace and !ollow through$ Chi is li!e energ&; it:s li(e gasoline !or the od&$ The mind is li(e the spar( plug to ignite the chi$ +hen the& meet' the resulting !ire is called #ing' or (inetic energ&$ +hen the mind and the chi com ine' &ou will direct &our od& to carr& out
mo*ements e"actl& the wa& &ou intend$ 5o intention is *er&' *er& important$ The !inal coordination in*ol*es strength-- the so-called unsophisticated power tauted & so man& in the west$ +hen the shoulders and hips com ine' the el ows and (nees com ine' the hands and !eet com ine' the heart and wisdom mind com ine and the mind and chi com ine' a ph&sical coordination can e"ist such that there is no corresponding concept in the west$ +hen all o! these things com ine' and then coordinate with an athlete:s strength' this is called whole od& coordination$ This (ind o! coordination is unsurpassed$ )t is un!ortunate that we mention the ,?i, so late in this section$ +e must howe*er ensure that &ou' dear reader' understand its importance$ The ,?i, or the wisdom mind is the (eeper o! intention$ A!ter the Beart 1mood/emotion2 and the ?i hash it out' the ?i owns is the mechanism to decide to ,do or don:t do$, )ntention can e spontaneous' or premeditated$ Premeditation o! mo*ement could e *er& time consuming-the constant ponder o! how &ou will mo*e when the pressure o! per!ormance is upon &ou can eat up da& a!ter da& a!ter da&$ %ut with concentrated' rela"ed practice o! oth the internal athletics and sport speci!ic training' premeditation o! mo*ement comes naturall&$ Then spontaneous intention o! mo*ement ecomes !ormulated and consistent' especiall& in the !ace o! per!ormance pressure$ ?our intention will ma(e &our od& per!orm$ I$ Continuous .o*ement Practice o! continuous mo*ement (eeps an athlete !rom ha*ing dead spots in his mo*ement$ Be is at all times' read& !or action and/ or reaction$ )magine a tennis match etween two greats$ +hile one pla&er prepares to ser*e the all' and then su se-uentl& ser*es the all' consider what the other pla&er is doing$ 0oes he stand there' per!ectl& still' waiting to gauge and then witness the tra#ector& o! the allN <r does he mo*e' and mo*e' and mo*e' ouncing on the alls o! his !eet' shi!ting ac( and !orth' regripping his rac-uetN Continuous mo*ement prepares the athlete !or the ne"t melee$ An o #ect at rest tends to sta& at rest; so when an athlete rests inside a dead spot' his reaction will e much slower$ Research shows 1F<<T;<TE2 that repetiti*e e"ercise is ene!icial to sleeping$ .ost !orms o! repetiti*e e"ercise are continuous mo*ements; there would e no logical wa& to separate the two$ 5o practice o! continuous mo*ements can also help &ou sleep$ D$ Power o! the mind' not power o! strength
The internal athletics emphasize calmness' and adamantl& re#ect the use o! rute strength 1we:re contrasting rute strength to the coordinated use o! strength as a !inal com ination2$ )ntrinsicall&' rute strength pits !orce against !orce 1or some o #ect o! resistance2; the power o! the mind intrinsicall& implies s(ill$ 8i(e coordination' high-le*el s(ill alwa&s eats out rute strength when it comes to per!ormance$ +hen we use the power o! the mind and the s(ill we de*elop' time seems to slow down$ +e are sure the high-le*el o! awareness de*eloped in the internal athletics comes !rom posture' rela"ation' etc$; ut certainl&' when we com ine awareness with s(ill' the mind has more time to calculate' react' re-sta ilize' and (eep per!orming$ +hen one can rela"' sta& calm' hold proper posture com!orta l&' and turn the waist' the chi will sin( down$ First' it will sin( to the dan tien' and collect there$ 8ater' the chi will sin( down to the soles o! the !eet$ %& using the power o! the mind to de*elop od& s(ill' one will ecome highl& attuned to the gra*it& o! the earth; he or she will de*elop an amazing relationship with gra*it&' and use it to mo*e$ This relationship and use o! gra*it& lends serious sta ilit& and alance$ 10$ %a6ua and Bsing-?i principles Each o! the +udang sister arts has se*eral di!!erent (inds o! stepping$ Each o! these (inds o! steps de*elops speed and accurac& o! weight trans!er' and also awareness o! ,*oid and !ull, 1le!t and right2 .ost o! these steps are demanding o! opening the hips$ The stomp step will teach the practitioner how to pull power !rom the earth; the !ollow step trains accurac& in weight trans!er' and controlling the dan tien; the ripple step or ,mud wal(ing step, is the most di!!icult step in the world$$$ %ecause Fu 5t&le +udang is a complete s&stem' the s(ills and posture !rom one o! these martial arts lends smoothl& with all the others$ 5o while tai chi de*elops whole- od& coordination' %agua does too' ut it has much more ending' twisting and rotational range o! motion$ )t also demands rising and sin(ing$ Circle wal(ing is primar& in %agua$ Circle wal(ing does man& things at once$ )t will stretch and loosen the waist and hips; it will de*elop a lower' more sta le stance; it will de*elop coordination in twisting and ending; it will strengthen the e-uili rioception 1Fu 5t&le %agua emplo&s a lot o! spinning2$ <ne principle in %a6ua in*ol*es alancing on one !oot$ .an& western trainers also
emplo& this techni-ue in di!!ering con!igurations$ %alancing on one !oot while turning 1with the (nee alwa&s ent2 de*elops alance and strengthens the connecti*e tissues$ Fu 5t&le %a6ua also re-uires a ,popping, or straightening o! the (nees at the right time during each step$ This alligns the legs properl&' and de!ines the optimal se-uential !iring o! leg muscles$ Bsing-?i de*elops incredi l& power!ul and coordinated mo*ements with it:s special stepping$ )n particular' the !eet' an(les and cal*es ecome highl&-trained in order to !ire se-uentiall& in the proper order' and to re-center and alance the od&$ Bsing-?i also de*elops *isualization' as each o! the !i*e elemental !ists and each o! the 19 animal sets re-uire intention to mimic its special properties$
To conclude this te"t' ) once again put on m& coach:s hat and o!!er one more piece o! in!ormation with sincerit&$ )n the world o! mar(eting' it is said that people don:t ;EE0 drill its; the& ;EE0 holes$ )n the world o! sports' athletes don:t ;EE0 high-le*el training; the& ;EE0 to per!orm$ Per!ormance is the onl& thing that matters$ Per!ormance is a noun in the past tense-- it can onl& e guaged when the competition is !inished$ @uantum per!ormance is what determines which !orm/techni-ue is superior' such as 0ic( Fos ur&:s ,Flop$, There are elegant athletes who do not sa& an&thing; and there are trash-tal(ing athletes who reall& en#o& riling up their competitors$ )! &ou will e"cuse the !rench' per!ormance is the razor sharp (ni!e that cuts through all the ullshit$
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Chinese Mar%ial 'r%s/. Journal of the Chenstyle Taijiquan Research Association of Hawaii 3 (> . 10. ^ Kenned& and Duo (><+< . Jingwu. Blue $naAe BooAs. p. >. I$BN ,9;-+-E;6,-->->-<. 11. ^ $hahar# Meir (><<; . The $haolin !onastery. FniIersi%& oB "a@aii 4ress. I$BN ,9;<;>-;66-,9. 12. ^ url ? h%%p7))@@@.3i-2ournal.0o()Tai2i.aspJ-%oAen.$ear0hI5?Nei2iaF'K 13. ^ $hahar# Meir (5e0e(ber ><<+ . /Ming-4eriod EIiden0e oB $haolin Mar%ial 4ra0%i0e/. Har%ar" Journal of Asiatic $tu"ies 61 (> 7 6E,8-+6. doi7+<.>6<9)6EE;E9>. I$$N <<96<E-;. 1'. ^ $hahar ><<+ 1(. ! a b c d 1in# Chao Lhen (><+< . Fu &hen $ong's (ragon Bagua &hang. Blue $naAe BooAs. I$BN ,9;-+-E;6,-->6;-6. 1). ! a b c Miller# 5an (+,,> . /The 4a Kua Chang oB Fu Chen-$ung/. )a Kua Chang Journal 2 (= . 1*. ^ 1iang $hou-Gu# Gang J@ing-Ming# *u *en-Ching (+,,- . Bagua*hang. GM''. p. -<. I$BN <-,-<;9+-6<-<. 1+. ! a b Kir0hhoBB# To((& (5e0e(ber ><<- . /EIasiIe Fu $%&le Bagua Lhang/. +nsi"e Kung, Fu7 9-89;. 1,. ^ Fu Gonghui and 1ai Longhong (+,,; . Fu $tyle (ragon For- .ight Trigra-s )al-s. $(iling Tiger Mar%ial 'r%s. I$BN +-,>,<-9-+E-<. 20. ^ K@an# 5r. 4aul *.1. ('pril +,9; . /The Ne@ *u $hu/. Black Belt. 21. ^ 1uAi%sh# Jean (O0%ober +,,> . /' *ushu 5rea( Co(es True/. +nsi"e Kung,Fu 2 (6 7 6-86,# 9=. 22. ^ $(alheiser# MarIin ('pril +,,= . /Fu $%&le T'ai Chi and Bagua/. T'ai Chi. 23. ^ $(alheiser# MarIin (June +,,= . /The 4o@er oB Mind and Energ&/. T'ai Chi. 2'. ^ $(alheiser# MarIin (5e0e(ber ><<< . /The 4o@er oB Gin)Gang Changes/. T'ai Chi. 2(. ! a b 'llen# FranA; Tina Chunna Lhang (><<9 . The #hirling Circles of Ba /ua &hang0 The Art an" 1egen"s of the .ight Trigra- )al- . Blue $naAe BooAs. pp. -;8 E+.I$BN ,9;+E;6,-+;,;. 2). ^ Cobb# Na%han (+6 Mar0h ><<+ . /Drande 5a(e oB *u 5ang/. Boston /lo2e. :e%rieIed >> Januar& ><+<. 2*. ! a b Kian# Ti(ing (Februar& ><<E . /The Essen0e oB True *udang $@ord/. T'ai Chi 29 (+ 7 +-8>-. 2+. ^ Lhou# 1ishang (Februar& ><<= . /The :eIiIal oB *udang Tai&i *uCing BoCing/. T'ai Chi 30 (+ 7 >-86<. 2,. ^ h%%p7))@@@.@udanggongBu.0o(
/The *u 5ang $@ord/ Bla0A Bel% Magazine (Mar0h +,,< / )a Kwa Chang Journal (Iolu(e +# M6; Iolu(e ># M=; Iolu(e E# M>; and Iolu(e =# M= Fu $tyle (ragon For- .ight Trigra-s )al-s b& Fu *ing Fa& and 1ai Longhong (%ransla%ed b& Joseph Crandall ; Cop&righ%# +,,;# $(iling Tiger Mar%ial 'r%s
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