Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly

[Path to Mastery 3/31/10 – Wk29 D3 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

Of course we covered ‘Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly’ when we were covering the Alignment principles for the lower body.

The idea is that if you put your weight, more on one leg then the other, you create mobility.  Also, if you only engage one leg at a time, you create a clear unified direction for the body, which creates power.  Mobility and power are important aspects in martial arts, or life in general.  Mobility creates adaptability and power creates the ability to change things.
‘Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly’ also is a movement principle.  It is also used to describe the shifting between Yin and Yang.  For instance, when one arm goes down, then the other goes up to act as a balance.  When the muscles engage, it is Yang, when it is not it is Yin.  When something is Yang, it must become Yin or it has no power.  When something is Yin it must become Yang or it has no power. 

When you do the form, as you move, if you pay attention of the filling of your limbs with movement and then emptying of movement, you will appreciate the flow of movement and the rhythm of movement.  As you keep practicing you notice that the energy fills the arms when the limb is filled with movement and flows out of it when the movement flows out of it.  Eventually you learn to surrender to the flow and feel of the energy, and the filling and empting of the energy becomes like the tides coming in and out from your limbs. 

To be able to distinguish the insubstantial and substantial clearly in a form bring grace.  And grace is power. 

History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong); 2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Mediation; 4. 7 Basics; 5. Basic Form; 6. 30 Form; 7. 108 Form
8. 4 Type Pushing Hands

Interactive training after we went public with the blog. 
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11); 2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19); 4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)

Non-Structured System:
1.Introduction (Covered 2/25); 2. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26); 3.Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1); 4.Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2); 5.Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)

Detailed Instructions:
1.Principles (Covered 3/4)
2.Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3.Principles of Upper Body #1~5 (Covered 3/8 – 3/15)
4.Principles Governing Lower Body #1~5 (Covered 3/16 – 3/22)
5. Principle Governing the Whole Body:
    1)Body Body Center Upright (Covered 3/23)

6. Principles Governing Movement
    1.Seek movement in stillness (Covered 3/24)
    2.Seek stillness in movement (Covered 3/25)
    3.Mutual connect without interruption (Covered 3/29)
    4.Top bottom ‘each other’ follow (Covered 3/30)
    5.Insubstantial Substantial Distinguish Clearly (Covered 3/31)


  1. It is fascinating how small adjustments can make a huge difference in the flow. Playing with small movements is a great way to learn about your body.

  2. This makes so many moves, Part the Horses main, Step up and Raise Hands, etc make so much more sense. Anytime you moving one limb than the other now has grounding in something.