Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung

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The previous discussion can be summarized as follows:

L Tai'Chi was originally created as a martial arts style, and was used in combat. Chi Kung training was necessary for reaching the highest levels of fighting ability.

2. Tai Chi Chi Kung is only one style of martial Chi Kung, and martial Chi Kung is only one category of Chinese^Chi Kung. Many of the Tai Chi Chi Kung movements were adapted 'rom Tai Chi Chuan forms.

3. Tai Chi Chi Kung is different from many other martial Chi Kung systems in that it emphasizes the soft and builds up Chi internally through Nei Dan practice, although it also practices Wai Dan through the soft body movements. This is different from many other martial Chi Kung styles which are relatively harder physically and emphasize Wai Dan practice.

4. In the last fifty years, Tai Chi Chi Kung has been practiced mainly for health purposes, rather than martial ones.

Next, in order to understand Tai Chi Chi Kung, we should analyze the reasons for training.

1. To help Tai Chi beginners feel their Chi. Beginners usually do not have even the slightest concept of Chi. Tai Chi Chi Kung gradually gives them an understanding of Chi through feeling and experiencing it. This kind of knowledge is necessary for any kind of advancement in Tai Chi. For this reason, Tai Chi beginners are usually taught some of the many simple Wai Dan forms.

2. To teach Tai Chi beginners how to regulate the body, breathing, and Yi.sOnce you have grasped the idea of Chi, you then start to learn how to regulate your body. This includes how to relax the body from the skin to as deep as the internal organs and bone marrow. Through this relaxation you are able to feel and sense your center, balance, and root. You must also learn how to regulate your breathing - normal abdominal breathing for relaxation and reverse abdominal breathing for Chi expansion and condensation. Most important of all, you must learn how to regulate your mind until it can be calm and concentrated without disturbance. All of these criteria are the critical keys to the correct practice of Tai Chi Chuan. If you start learning the Tai Chi sequence without having already done this basic training, you will be preoccupied with the complicated movements, and will only be able to perform them in a superficial way.

3. 'To teach Tai Chi beginners how to use their Yi to lead the Chi efficiently/ Once you have regulated your body, breathing, and mind, you will then be able to use your concentrated mind to lead the Chi to circulate smoothly and effectively.

4. To teach Tai Chi practitioners how to circulate Chi in the 12 primary Chi channels and fill up the two main Chi vessels? If you are able to use your mind to lead the Chi efficiently, you have completed the basic Tai Chi training. This is then the time for Tai Chi forms or sequence training. In addition, you should continue your Tai Chi Chi Kung training and learn how to build up your concentration to a higher level, and consequently build your Chi to a higher level. In addition, you should also learn how to increase the Chi in the two main vessels - the Yin Conception Vessel and the Yang Governing Vessel. Still meditation is normally used for this.

5. lb teach Tai Chi practitioners how to expand their Chi to the surface of the skin and to condense the Chi to the bone marrow. When the body's Chi has been built to a higher level you then start learning how to lead the Chi to the skin to increase the skin's sensitivity and into the bones to nourish the marrow.

6. To teach Tai Chi practitioners how to use the Chi to energize the muscles for maximum Jing manifestation. When you are able to lead the Chi to the skin and condense it to the marrow efficiently, you can then use this Chi to energize the muscles to a high level. This is the secret to internal Jing (Nei Jing). Internal Jing is the foundation and root of external Jing (Wai Jing).

7. To lead the advanced Tai Chi practitioner into the domain of spiritual cultivation. The ultimate goal of Tai Chi Chi Kung practice is to lead you into the domain of emptiness where your whole being is in the Wu Chi (no extremity) state. When you have reached this goal, the Chi in your body and the Chi in nature will unite and become one, and all human desires will gradually disappear.

Although many Tai Chi masters have created Chi Kung forms, most of the training forms used today have been adopted from the Tai Chi sequence. For example, push, crane spreads its wings, wave hands in clouds, etc. are commonly used for Chi Kung training.

In order to understand why Tai Chi Chuan has become more popular than any other style of Chi Kung, you must first understand the differences between Tai Chi Chi Kung and most other Chi Kung systems:

L Because Tai Chi Chuan was originally created for martial purposes, every movement has its defensive or offensive purpose. This means that the intention of the Yi must be strong in every movement. This enables the practitioner to lead the Chi more strongly and efficiently to the limbs, internal organs, and marrow. Because of this heavy emphasis on Yi, the Chi flow can be more fluid, and the Chi can be increased more than with the usual Chi Kung practices that do not emphasize the Yi as strongly.

2. In order to manifest Tai Chi Jing power effectively and efficiently, the Jing must first be stored. Storing Jing (in the Yi, Chi, and posture) is Tin, while manifesting Jing is Yang. Tai Chi emphasizes the Yin side and the Yang side equally, and can consequently balance Yin and Yang in the body and avoid unhealthy extremes. This is different from many other Chi Kung practices which emphasize the Yang side more than the Yin side. Practitioners who emphasize the Yang training will not get sick easily, but, because their bodies become Yang, they will age i^.ore quickly than normal.

3. Tai Chi Chi Kung includes both Nei Dan and Wai Dan training, and is more complete than those Chi Kung systems which emphasize only one or the other.

4. Tai Chi Chi Kung builds not only the Chi circulation in the primary Chi channels, but also the Guardian Chi in the skin and the marrow Chi in the bones. In addition, Tai Chi Chi Kung also teaches the practitioner how to increase the level of Chi storage and circulation in the two major vessels - the Conception and Governing Vessels.

5. Tai Chi is soft, and does not use the muscular tension which most other martial Chi Kung styles use to some degree. Tai Chi Chi Kung emphasizes using the Yi to lead Chi in a relaxed body, and does not use tension to energize the muscles. This makes it easier for the practitioner to reach a calm, peaceful, meditative state. The practitioner is able to release mental stress and physical tension, and reach a higher level of relaxation. This is the key to maintaining and improving mental and physical health.

1-9. How to Use This Book

When you practice any Chi Kung, you must first ask: What, Why, and How. "What" means: "What am I looking for?" "What do I expect?" and "What should I do?" Then you must ask: "Why do I need it?" "Why does it work?" "Why must I do it this way instead of that way?." Finally, you must determine: "How does it work?" "How much have I advanced toward my goal?" And "How will I be able to advance further?"

It is very important to understand what you are practicing, and not just automatically repeat all that you have learned. Understanding is the root of any work. With understanding you will be able to know your goal. Once you know your goal, your mind can be firm and steady. With this understanding, you will be able to see why something has happened, and what the principles and theories behind it are. Without all of this, your work will be done blindly, and it will be a long and painful process. Only when you are sure what your target is and why you need to reach it should you raise the question of how you are going to do it. The answers to all of these questions form the root of your practice, and will help you to avoid the wondering and confusion that uncertainty brings. If you keep this root, you will be able to apply the theory and make it grow - you will know how to create. Without this root, what you learn will be only branches and flowers, and in^ime they will wither.

In China there is a story about an old man who was able to change a piece of rock into gold. One day, a boy came to see him and asked for his help. The old man said: "Boy! What do you want? Gold? I can give you all of the gold you want." The boy replied: "No, Master, what I want is not your gold, what I want is the trick of how to change the rock into gold!" When you just have gold, you can spend it all and become poor again. If you have the trick of how to make gold, you will never be poor. For the same reason, when you learn Chi Kung you should learn the theory and principle behind it, not just the practice. Understanding theory and principle will not only shorten your time of pondering and practice, but also enable you to practice most efficiently.

One of the hardest parts of the training process is learning how to actually do the forms correctly. Every Chi Kung movement has its special meaning and purpose. In order to make sure your movements or forms are correct, it is best to work with the tape and book together. There are some important things which you may not be able to pick up from reading, but once you see them, they will be clear. An example is the transition movements between the forms. Naturally, there are other important ideas which are impossible to take the time to explain in the videotape, such as the theory and principles; these can only be explained in a book. It cannot be denied that under the tutelage of a master you can learn more quickly and perfectly than is possible using only tapes and books. What you are missing is the master's experience and feeling. However, if you ponder carefully and practice patiently and perseveringly, you will be able to make up for this lack through your own experience and practice. This book and tape are designed for self-instruction. You will find that they will serve you as a key to enter into the field of Chi Kung.

To conclude, you must practice with perseverance and patience. You need a strong will and a great deal of self-discipline. As mentioned earlier, you may find many different versions of Tai Chi Chi Kung taught by different masters. Do not be confused by all of these versions. You should understand that it does not matter which version you practice, the basic theory and principles remain the same. The most important thing is to build up the depth of your theoretical understanding so that your mind will be clear and you will understand where you are going.

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