Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Insights on Old Zhan Zhuang Video

Occasionally I like to re-watch old movies and videos. I'm often surprised with new insights. I recently re-watched Erle Montaigue's Advanced Qiqong Volume 2 (MTG 175) and discovered that I now understand what he was saying about zhan zhuang entirely differently than I did when I first watched it about ten years ago.

Advanced Qiqong Volume 2 discusses Three Circle Qi Gong or what looks like Zhan Zhuang. Here is a short clip:

This time around, I noticed that:

Relaxing Feels Like

He speaks of the feeling of relaxing/dropping as "feeling like" a chain dropping in a tube.

Ten years ago, I tried imagining this image happening in my body to force the "like" feeling but I couldn't make it happen.

Today, I relax into my legs and I understand that, yes, relaxing with Wujifa zhan zhuang structure could be described as feeling like a chain dropping in a tube.

Lesson learned: Trying to force someone else' "feels like" feeling will not result in the feeling they say it "feels like". Practicing relaxing results in a feeling that may be described as...

Zhan Zhuang Isn't Boring

He mentions that if you're bored with Zhan Zhuang, then you're not doing it correctly.

Ten years ago, I didn't understand zhan zhuang and found it boring! I only wanted to practice push-hands and light sparring to maintain my skill level.

Today, with a calmer mind and more body focus and presence, and a kind of re-direction of purpose, I've discovered that zhan zhuang is definitely not boring! Difficult and challenging, yes, but not boring.

Lesson learned: Getting clear on my purpose and finding the appropriate training method makes a huge difference.

Super Qi Powers

He mentions that people give up because they're looking for all the wrong things.

Ten years ago, I was looking to develop super Qi powers through stance.

Today, I'm finding more by not looking for anything in particular but by simply noticing what's there.

Lesson learned: I gain more when I practice the ordinary until it becomes extra-ordinary than practicing some special, advanced Qi-gong that my body is not yet ready to enjoy the benefits of.

Activate Acupuncture Points

He talks about feeling the acupuncture points activating.

Ten years ago, I wondered how he felt individual acupuncture points "activate" (What does an inactive acupuncture point feel like in comparison?) and I imagined activating my acupuncture points.

Today, I still can't feel specific acupuncture points and I really don't care. I feel what I feel and I notice what I notice. I am where I am and that's where I start.

Lesson learned: Words are too ambiguous. Show me the feeling in my body that you are talking about. Give me a simple exercise designed for my level to help me change and grow.

Relax and Widen Pelvis

He talks about feeling the pelvis relaxing and the lower back widening.

Ten years ago, I could feel this and thought I knew exactly what he meant.

Today, I feel sooooo much more and I wonder how much further this can go.

Lesson learned: There is no end to feeling, understanding and being aware. The only goal is the point I achieve when I quit training.

Tension Held in Chest

He talks about tension and holding up.

Ten years ago, I was so full of tension and holding and I didn't have an experience of drop and let go to compare to tension and holding up. I had only a conceptual understanding and no body-experience understanding.

Today, having experienced the feeling of dropping into my legs and what it took to get there. I understand much more about tension and holding up.

Lesson learned: It takes a lot of correct practice to get to the point of body-understanding. Reading or hearing "x" and literally thinking "I understand" is the wrong path. Practice, demonstrate, validate.

Forcefully "Allowing"

He talks about letting happen what will naturally happen and don't try to imitate or force the shaking.

Ten years ago, I very well may have forcefully "allowed" the shaking because that is what's "suppose" to happen.

Today, I have experienced how the shaking arises and diminishes naturally and I notice spots where I tend to block it and when I relax more then...

Lesson learned: This is coming around to teach me again. In my recent Wujifa class I tried forcing the feeling of fascial connection. Of course, I was justly reprimanded. Too much muscle! Relax more. There! That's it!

Stand and Breathe

He talks about just stand and breath. Let the body do what it does.

Ten years ago, this was a confusing "huh?" concept. But... But... But...

Today, I am discovering what this means.

Lesson learned: The highest level practices when stated simply confounds the mind. Stand and relax. Can you do it?

Further reading:
See my earlier blog post titled: Notice Differently where I re-read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Milman and noticed passages that related to experiences I've had since reading it the first time.

What new insights have you had on old teachings, books, videos? How has your understanding changed as your practice has evolved?

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