Lessons with Master Chen Shixing, class 1

Extrait de mon blog dédié à mes séjours d’entrainement en Chine (séjour 2015) Reportage 6

At the school there are 3 classes proposed with master Chen Shixing (supported by his assistant Ms Hu). The first one is about the « dan tian », the general energy – flow in the body, how to create that and to circulate it in the body. Furthermore Taiji – basic steps and the so called Form 13 do belong to this session. The 2nd class is about basic sword technics. Class 3 is more about an explosive form being called Wu Xing Quan. These classes do not depend to each other, however do start at the same time at every 1rst of the month and finish on a 15th of the month. For the first I decided to go for class 1 and will do class 3 in October.

Immediately the first day during a kind of conference with the master it became clear that many people throughout Chine come to his classes. That’s why the initiation and the class has been hold in…. Chinese…. A simple questioning at the master after classes how it would like to loose the one or other sentence in English, he agreed, however, no surprise, you can imagine it, that agreement was not followed. Therefore I asked during and after classes again and again about the subject he was talking about during training. The master even understands quite well English and knows basically how to speak that. But you really have to push for that. Sometimes Maik (as described already in another article) has been present to help out with translation.

Accordingly to the first day an opening ceremony took place in the school owned little temple.

During that several specific papers and a bunch of ensence sticks were burned and put in front of the tin gods inside the temple. After that every participant got the opportunity for an individual photo shooting with the master and so from the afternoon on the normal program could be started.

So far so well. The usual training has been as follows:

Same times for training like all the other have as well. As well the notorious same stretching like the others.

Than the Difference: During the first days we learned how to correctly move in the Taiji and why these movements are as they are. To admit, the master managed well to show non chinese speakers based on his movements how to move. And than these movements were repeated during hours and hours. As example the « cloud hands », an upright position with diagonal from left to right turning arm movements. Not a rarity that we repeated that during the first 3 – 4 days three times a day up to 40 minutes. Based under others on this movements the energy flow coming from the Dan Tian (for others it is the shakra) has been explained and shown. In addition to that specific Qi Gong excercises were practiced that were brought in accordance to balance excercises. And as far as I took the master aside to know as example how he breathes, I even could feel how this energy flows.

After the general warm up training or the one or other clarifying announcement and Qi Gong the 3 classes were separated from each other.

Furthermore the mentioned form 13 has been trained. They say that this is the original version. However there are some doubts on that. Firstly in the net you can find 2 versions, one of them I got trained last year with another master in the same village and secondly in the here located Wudang museum a video can be seen to this form 13 which is much more similar to the one I learned first…But any way. Imprtant to me at this point is more that somebody shows to me how to move correctly each part of the body so that the energy, the famous « Qi » can flow. Accordingly to that there were several explications, especially given by Maik, how which point in the daoist philosophy is created and dependend to each other.

The main point at the end is that relaxation starts in the head and therefore it is a good beginning to not think. In any way not in relation to i.e. « now I have to breath in the belly, than the arm lifts up, in a circle, no exhale, arm back down ». Or like the master expressed it: « It is like eating. Until swallowing the nutrition we can control everything and than rather not any more. So, do not think about it ». Furthermore the movements in Qi Gong do serve more to the visualization of the energy flow. Because the outer Dan Tian we can see, however not the inner one.

It is important to know as well, that the basic movements of the Taiji and Qi Gong should be followed. This is because these movements contain almost medically explicable meridians making it necessary that in a specific postion one hand has to be in front to the Dan Tian (which, just by the way, is located slighly underneath the belly button) in a form of an arc. Or the arms have to be in a specific constellation in order to stimulate energy. The cultivation of the Taiji however is an individual internal matter and falls to each individuals business. So I noted as well that there is not « the one » technic of breathing but depending on the situation differents. Basically it could be said that all static positions (meditative, without any movement) it is a pure belly respiration. This provocs a certain deeper relaxation. And relaxation is important in order to let Qi flow. Than there is the respiration passing mainly via the lung. The curiosity is hereby that it starts and ends slightly with the lower dan tian. This breathing technic is used for tonic movements. Then there is the combined. Inhale by the nose, exhale to the mouth, inhale through the mouth, exhale through the nose and that released by the dan tian to the lungs and back. This technic has been used especially for circulating movements when the upper body is pushed into the back (Qi Gong). The main announcement is once again: All to be done as natural as possible and to try to feel a maximum of these happenings. This counts for the respiration and the movements and for sure the position of the body under above described conditions.

The imagination of the Qi flow (the inner energy) is, that it comes from the center of the upper head via the nose to the mouth, where the tounge has to be attached directly behind the upper teath to the palate to the line of the heart (heart – solar plexus direction to the belly button) into the dan tian. The head is the mind (the thought, the wisdom); the heart the love and the comprehension the lower dan tian the physical strength, the movement.The upper and the lower are connected via the heart. The flow line from the upper to the lower and back is always on the same line: At the front downwards, via the spin back to the top. This can be demonstrated in form of a water drop. Accordingly the positions in Taiji – Qi Gong: Not really round but in form of a water drop.

The body shall be kept soft and the inner organs are tob e trained and reinforced. This is the principle from the inner to the outer and from the outer to the inner. From the upper to the lower and the lower to the upper. The hard and the soft, the soft and the hart. The circulation of breathing. This is Ying and Yang.

The body has to be kep soft and flexible to allow Qi to flow. This would not be possible if the articulations would be tensed and plugged, Qi could even become dangerous.

The same counts for the meditation. It is imaginary. The same connection from the upper (the sky, male) to the lower (the earth, female) is imagined. The breath is in the dan tian, which is the source of energy. The circulation mounts up the spin into the upper part of the head, to the nose and the mouth, down the heart line into the lower dan tian. There is now forced respiration, no forced position. Stay natural and correct yourself. To observe yourself, note your own environment without judgement, build up a line between sky and earth.

The difference between “energy” and “Qi” (Chi) is:

Energy is pure physics, the “bio – mechanics” of the human beings. Mount up, sink, separate, bring together. Or more technically spoken, these are the pure nature laws. If two object clash into each other, this is energy. However Qi is that “energy” that circulates invisibly in us, that gives us stability and therefore connects us between sky and earth. Balance and stability are given now.

The last day of training has ended with usual easy repetitions, Question – Answer – Sessions and the typical photo – shooting.