Monday, February 21, 2011

Still Confused About Feeling: Journal Notes #27

Notes from my May-June 2005 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang. (My current reflections are added in italics.)

* Question to me: What do you want to get out of class?
  1. Guidance.
  2. Encouragement.
  3. Learn some unexpected thing.
  4. Social time / camaraderie.
(I think this is another way of asking; What's your purpose for being here in class? Interestingly, I'd say the same thing if asked again today although, I'd be speaking from an entirely different space and the meaning behind the words has changed.
For example:
1. Guidance; Changed from "Teach me." to "Will how I am practicing result in the "mistake of inches" or am I on the right track?"
2. Encouragement; the form has changed. I'm finding more "self" encouragement in the feedback to my understanding and practice.
3. Learn something unexpected; changed from "You show or tell me something I haven't seen or heard before." to "I discover some new "a-ha" moment, though not so much on my own as is revealed in a response to a question."
4 . Camaraderie; This has pretty much stayed the same. We've got a good group and I enjoy training and hanging-out with them.)
* Experiment with practicing stance on a wobble board and then on wobble shoes.
(The School of Cultivation and Practice "dojo" is a very interesting place. There are a wide variety of physical therapy type items. I must have been playing around with the wobble board and asked about practicing stance on one of these. That said, I never did get a wobble board nor practice on one.)
* Side to side, the inguinal crease should be a feeling of folding in on itself.

* To get the feeling, don't just emotionlessly "go through the motions". One method is to activate anger, move with anger to get the whole body moving properly.
(I tend to squelch and not notice my emotion-feelings, that is, except for anger, so I think the idea here is that any feeling-emotion, even anger, is better than a feeling-less, Spock-like, mechanistic approach to training. Put some life into it! Advice I need to heed even now...)
* Again, in class, I'm receiving adjustments to my stance posture. I'm resisting following his prompts. And as he gets to a point as I'm standing on one leg, almost there and then the leg gives out and he says, "You had it just before you picked up and moved to the other leg." I think, "Had what?" Confused. Is the feeling of giving out or collapsing the feeling I'm striving for? I'm so clueless!

* Three ways to practice / develop / train:
  1. Tortoise - slow and steady, yield long healthy life but probably not mastery in one life time.
  2. Credit card - take short cuts, get what you want now but pay for it later.
  3. Hard work - like any sport, instrument, practicing four hours a day will get mastery in one lifetime.
(I think this must have been in response to "Isn't there a quicker way to get this?" In 2005, I'd been doing this Tai-chi thing for twenty years and was getting frustrated feeling like I wasn't getting any closer to "getting it". Am I wasting my time here too? etc.... )

* So many techniques are parlor tricks to "Wow!" the unknowing audience.

* When you write down your practice questions, often you wind up answering them yourself.

* Question: How to train the dan-tian area to start to develop the fa-jing of pole-shaking?
Answer: Continue standing. If you try to practice pole shaking without being firmly in your dan-tian, then you'll do it wrong.
(I've brought this question up in different forms over the years, and the answer is always the same; Continue standing. You are where you are. If you try to work at a higher level than where you are, you'll do it wrong and create bad habits. While this is not the answer I want to hear, I wish everyone were as lucky as me to have a teacher like this... who does not cater to my ego. I recall hearing Yang Jwing Ming once saying to always go back and practice the basics. Now I understand how doing so can deepen understanding and improve ability.)
* Question: Why can't I (and others here at school) hold ourselves up when through your adjustments, we achieve correct stance?
Answer: Not enough jing. Jing is not strong enough to support a correct structure.
(Note: Wujifa does not use the terms: chi, jing, shen, dan-tian. I'm guessing that my words were used in these answers because that is how I framed the question. I'm guessing that because of my Tai chi past, I must have used the term or brought up the "chi, jing, shen" thing and so for my note, I recorded the answer as seen here.)
Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Mechanistic or Organic: Journal Notes #26
Next article in this series: Yan Gaofei Tai-chi Spear Seminar: Journal Notes #28

Make sure to visit Wujifa.com and the Wujifa blog.
And stop by The School of Cultivation and Practice.

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