Monday, January 9, 2012

Victor Chao Internal Martial Arts Training: Journal Notes #73

Notes from my December 2009 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.)

* Practice the ordinary to become extra-ordinary. It is the normal "a-ha" moments that change everything which then becomes your new ordinary.

* Question: If I'm training zhan zhuang on my own and I'm following "the feeling", how can I know if I'm going in the right direction, that is, if I'm on the right path?
Answer: You can teach yourself when you find your calibration points. But a teacher must show you first.

(For example, if you miss the target feeling and make a course correction to return to the target feeling of "fascial connection" but don't know the feeling of fascial connection and you correct too late or too soon, then you never get to the target feeling.

This is another reason why it is so important to get verification of your training progress.)
finding your self-calibration points

* On a separate note, the below are my notes from
the December 20th Wujifa class at which a guest instructor, Victor Chao, taught. These questions are a sample of those the group of us asked him.
I've found it instructive to hear how other teachers teach. Sometimes hearing the same concept phrased differently from a different teacher will trigger an "A-ha" moment. However, the trap I've fallen into is assuming the guest or seminar teacher taught me something that my regular teacher wasn't teaching. When I go back, I often find the teaching was there; I just didn't "get it" or had become deaf to hearing it.

* Question: What's your suggestion on doing horse stance?
Answer: Stand with knees out with intention of pushing knees back. Carry the weight in the inside of the legs, not the outside. The butt and lower back should be soft. This can be achieved with 6-12 months of serious work. Don't slouch. It's gonna hurt. Qi sinking will hurt. Muscle hurt. Not joint hurt. Kua has to open. Feels like a sucking in feeling. Must loosen hamstrings.

(Victor then gave each of us a hamstring stretch. The result was we each saw God that day.)

* Question: What's the dan-tian?
Answer: The "dan-tian is the engine, the driver. This area has to get unstuck first before you can do anything. If this area is stuck, then you can't feel what you need to for your movements to come from the dan-tian.

* Question: How long should we practice every day?
Answer: The quantity of time spent practicing is not as important as the quality and intensity of the time spent practicing. For example, when you start horse stance, you may only be able to stand 1-3 minutes. That's OK. Find your ground point (suffering) and go there. If you don't go to suffering, you'll never get it.

* It takes years and years of beating the bushes trying to find the door and there's no guarantee you'll ever find it but once you get the feeling, you can't get rid of it. After that, the only difference is how much you're willing to train to develop that strength.

For a lot more goodies, listen to an impromptu audio recording as Victor Chao talks about internal martial arts training. Thank you to Rick for making this recording and for making this available!

And here's the Vimeo link: Victor Chao talks about internal martial arts training

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: The Middle Path: Journal Notes #72
Next article in this series: - Where Is Your Focus: Journal Notes #74

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