Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Breathe

[Path to Mastery 2/3/10 - Wk21 D3 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.16.09)]

Sang's World:

A day from my training…

While driving to work today I was working on my breathing, my holding breath, and then sending Chi to those parts of my body to open it up.

Up until quite recently, I kept working on just using breathing, and my intentions to open my body up, but it wasn’t bringing the desired results of keeping me nice and toasty in the cold so back to using the big guns.

Just using intent and breathing works, but it takes a lot of focus. I kept looking for simpler and simpler methods to do this, since if I can’t just enhance my energy level by doing nothing, then I am not doing it right. The last few years of experience has told me that there are simpler methods, but in the end, I have to put in the time, and the shortest short cut is hard work. I am not at a point in my life where I am willing to spend that kind of focus and time to enhance myself.

While I was sending the energy I felt my hands filling up and my finger tips filling up. Then I started using my intention to send the energy to the rest of my body. Still need work on my toes. I had an easy time with my crown, third eye, throat, especially the heart, but boy, did I have a tougher time with the solar plexus (stomach) center. If I used my hands it would open up, but it wouldn’t stay open. I could feel it was from rushing and the residual stress was accumulated in my stomach.

As I started aligning all my energy centers, my body started getting straight by itself and my shoulders started relaxing. I felt my muscles letting go. As my muscles let go, it made me realize that some of my muscles were being held there because of my Jing (power generation) training. Because I had put in such a focus on distinguishing the main muscles responsible for the pathways, they had become more toned and now they were overworked. I understood that in the end, I have to be relaxed and any such tight muscles would be counter productive. However, I wanted to do this to make things clearer in my mind and body, and clear distinction always seem to help with fast learning. I relaxed my physical extensions just leaving the hollow sensation in my armpit and it relaxed all the muscles around it, and extending the chi up and through my shoulder well ( the bulging part of the shoulder that adjoins to your neck) and felt my shoulders relax.

It never ceases to amaze me that the sensation of energy helps me connect with the sense of the mysterious and makes me feel closer to God. I also felt the infinite potential through the creativity and the infinite potential that the energy makes you feel by realizing how much more that can be done. The limit is the focus and creativity of your mind.

Today's Lesson:

8 Type Pushing Hands
1. Ting Tui-shou (covered on 2/2)
2. Da-Lu

Da-Lu was jokingly called Tai-Chi Tango by my teacher Gabriel.

Da-Lu means Great Leading. Even sounds like a dance move.
In Da-Lu one learns how to do Ting Tui-shou while stepping.
Person A steps in with a right had punch. B responds by snatching the wrist with his right hand and placing his left inside of the forearm on A’s elbow and then stepping back with a lead (also called pull back). A steps in with opposite foot following the force and steps up to face B while repositioning his arms to hold B’s wrist and have his forearm be placed at B’s elbow. Now A steps back with a lead and B follows in the same manner as A did before.

Da-Lu is more realistic in its application. In Ting Tui-shou, you stay in one place to neutralize the attacks and attack. Using a smaller space is always more difficult. Having to move the body, instead of stepping however develops good habits. Once you can neutralize attacks while not stepping, then by the time you start stepping, not only is it easier, but you respond more precisely.

This has multiple advantages. Sometimes, you will be attacked while you were not aware. In this case, your body will respond, and when more space is need, the body will step naturally. This will trick the opponent feeling like they have you and eventually make them over commit.

At other times, you will step first, but it will not be enough and the body will naturally respond to evade the attack, again, making the opponent over commit, and giving you more safety net when defending.

On the whole, however, your margin for error gets greater, and allows for a more full proof defense. It is this greater defense ability that gives the Tai-Chi practitioner a sense of confidence from injury that allows them to relax and respond with greater ability. When there is a greater margin from mistakes and errors, your options go up. Tai-Chi looks precise. Interestingly, it is the ability to execute greater sloppiness that allows also for greater precision later on.


Starting Monday, our Blog will go officially on the net for everyone to view. I will hide or erase all the entry until this week so that we can have a relatively fresh start.

I agree with you that your goal should be to master the 30 form. I think for Phase 3, your goal should be:

1. Master 30 form
2. Master the tracking chart

This time however, I would like to discuss the details of what is required in order for you to pass, so that it will be self evident when you do pass. This will be good for me since it will force me to think of better ways for people to learn. I just had a thought of putting you in the correct postures and then take pictures so you can recognize when you get it.

I would like you to make the adjustments on the tracking chart that we discussed about yesterday for your next submission.

As we discussed today, for Phase 3, you will aim at mastering the details of the San-Shou and learning the 2nd Section of the 108.

I would like you to write down the details you learned today in word. I would like to use the information on the details for future students. Let me know what you think.


  1. Sang,

    I left feedback for you on the Feb 1 blog.

    Today I learned about moving in a sliding motion where there is very little up and down movement. That is where the grace of Tai Chi expresses itself. It is also practical in that if you are working against an opponent, it makes it more difficult for them to track your movements. In order to move in that sliding fashion, it helps to visualize a pole going down through your shoulders and into your hips keeping the shoulders level and moving in sync with the hips. I noticed that as I did this, my shoulders relaxed and I felt a greater connection to my center. It felt much more powerful than when I move with my shoulders going up and down a lot. Minimizing the shoulder move ment helped me coordinate and align the rest of my body.

  2. Alright I'm pumped for Monday! One step closer to world domination.

    Greater sloppiness leads to greater precision, I picked the right martial art! I see the point here is to be economical, make do with as little as possible, in this case space.

    I am nervous as I approach my adjusted tracking sheet. I have never gotten it right before so I do not think an immaculate one will suddenly appear. I'm thinking meeting with you Sang and hammering one out personally.