Monday, June 18, 2012

Perturbation and Internal Martial Arts: Journal Notes #96

Notes from my November 2011 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: What's the difference between the Wujifa Side-to-side and the karate/Shaolin hip rotation?
Answer: In karate/Shaolin, you pop out the back kua. Internal martial arts is different. You open the kua without popping it out. Side-to-side trains you to shift weight without popping out your kua.

* Question: What is peng?
Answer: Peng is the feeling your fascial connection from hand to ground.

* Question: What are different ways that students ask questions?
Answer: One way is ask for and about data. Asking data questions does not expose where you really are in your practice. Another way is to ask from a perspective of, "I'm confused about my practice." This way can result in more functional training tips.

* In class I tested my peng connection against my instructor and asked, "How's this"?
Answer: You still use too much muscular tension. You are fooling yourself by engaging muscle tension even when it is barely visible.

Me: Where should I focus my training now?

Instructor: You need to continue working on the lower back. If you get the shoulder relaxed first, you won't have connection through the hips to ground.

* Question: What's an exercise to help develop my ability to feel into my shoulder?
Answer: Stand with one side of your body facing a wall. Place your elbow on the wall, level with your shoulder so the upper arm is at a 90 degree angle to body. Rotate on the elbow only as far as possible without moving the shoulder. Develop feeling into the flexibility of the movement.

(The point here is to feel muscle movement when isolating movement to the glenohumeral joint in one plane. Do not move the shoulder. Notice the feeling when you reach the end of your range of motion. Where is the tension? What can you relax?)

* I was watching my school brother practice fascial connection while punching. According to my instructor, his focus was too much on punching forward which broke his fascial connection to ground. When he changed focus to sit back and down and focus on the kua, keeping weight in the back leg which helped hold torso in place, then there was much better fascial connection.

* In class we were arguing about what is the most fundamental principle in Taijiquan. We all finally settled on "Ward Off", which is another way to say, "Don't get hit". The "don't get hit" principle is applied through all the movements. This seems like a pretty fundamental principle to me. :>)

* We had one entire class devoted to using wobble discs for internal strength training. How? By making the purpose and focus of these exercises to maintain a dynamic balance with relax and to focus on moving through opening and closing the kua. Here are my notes on these exercises:

samples of wobble board exercises
* Question: How can physical therapy perturbation training techniques be used to develop whole body fascial connection?
Answer: Perturbation is just a word. One way to consider perturbation is anything that challenges your purpose. How far do you take the definition?

Wobble discs can perturbate. How can you maintain dynamic balance when acted upon by an outside force?

Silk reeling is perturbation. How can you maintain connection while moving?

While practicing zhan zhuang, the thought to get a drink is perturbation.

The purpose of perturbation in Wujifa is to notice where your are holding, blocking and inhibiting dynamic balance, not just on wobble discs and zhan zhuang but also in daily life.

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Discovering How to Fail in Zhan Zhuang: Journal Notes #95
Next article in this series: - Whole Body Relax: Journal Notes #97

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