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"When you analyse and digest the barehanded forms of Taiji, a natural ability with weapons develops."

a study of the barehanded postures of Taiji and their applications reveal movements which not only resemble those found in weapons forms but some are in fact the same, e.g.:

Step Up To Make Seven Stars Step Back To Ride The Tiger Fan Through The Back Strike With Both Fists Kick With The Heel to name but a few. but which came first?

Whilst barehanded training traditionally comes before weapons it is my belief that barehanded evolved out of weapons forms/drill.

You can see an example of this in Aikido where barehanded movements generally simulate the offensive and defensive actions of the sword and therefore in this case clearly weapons came before barehand.

My theory is that in pugilistic times when weapons proficiency was essential for survival, masters of the martial arts devised barehanded training methods for their up and coming warriors that laid the foundations for future weapons skills.

It would be counter productive for them to teach unarmed skills that differ from those necessary when using weapons to repulse attackers. The group or clan depended on the weapons skills of their warriors to defend life and property, and the sooner the trainee acquired these skills the more secure they became.

Therefore these initial barehanded forms would include fundamental stances, postures and techniques that when practised over a period of time subtly transmitted the ingredients necessary for their transition from unarmed to armed proficiency. An example of their interrelationship is seen in the application of 'Pushing Hands' where the skills of Listening, Leading. Sticking and Neutralising develop. Just as you would use these techniques to overcome an attacker with a fist, so do you apply the same

The following tips are designed to help those who have reached the stage of weapons training:

1 Continue practising the barehanded forms.

2 Analyse every intricate wrist and finger movement.

3 Learn and refine "Chan Si Jin" (Silk Reeling Energy, also known as the "Twining Force" of Chen Taiji).

4 Let the head be the steering wheel.

5 Seek the spheres.

6 Practising too slowly collapses the spheres.

7 Imagine the weapon is an extension of your arm. Master the footwork of the barehanded forms as the weapon's power starts in your feet.

when faccd with an assailant armed with a spear, staff, sword or knife.

The ancient training methods discussed above survive today through the original Taiji forms and by diligently practising these forms you will experience this natural and subtle way of developing weapons skill.

What becomes apparent after a short period of time is that the two compliment each other e.g.: the more you practise with weapons the better the barehanded techniques become.

Alternatively continued practice of barehanded forms leads to more compact movements which strengthens the foundation, also, by applying the techniques of visualisation (imagining you are holding a weapon) your skill with the actual weapon increases.

The unique training programmes devised by the old pugilistic masters stand today as a testament to their ingenuity and makes you appreciate what enlightened people they must have been. ^

Peter Newton

The hand that wields the sword, but which came first came first? The author: Peter Newton peiforms a Yang style Knife Form


Massotherapy for acute lumbar sprain

An acute lumbar sprain which causes serious pains is a common condition. It happens when people do a sudden movement, especially whilst bearing a heavy burden, that over-contracts or over-stretches the muscles. Even sneezing can sometimes cause it to occure.

The reason, according to the theory of Chinese traditional medicine, is the blockage of xuemai (vessels in which blood and vital energy circulate). I have, over the years, successfully cured patients of their acute lumbar spine by massaging acupoints along certain channels of the body. Many of my patients who had been helped by the arms when they first came to my clinic could walk on their own after my first treatment. The following are the methods I apply:

I. Manipulation for general cases 1) Let the patient stand and hold his

(her) injured part with one hand, pluck (like plucking the beads of an abacus) and rub acupoints yaotuidian on the back of the hand of the patient's uninjured side with thumb and index finger (Fig I). During the process, ask the patient to turn his (her) waist gently to see which movement is most painful. Then he (she) continues to do that painful movement for 1-2 minutes until the pain disappears or relieves (Fig 2). 2) Ask the patient to lie on stomach, pluck and press on acupoints kunlun. chengshan. yinmen and chengfu. each for half a minute, and then forcefully on acupoints jianjing and down the Gallbladder Channel of Foot Shaoyang (4.5 cm off and on both sides of the spinal column) for 3-5 times. Rub and pluck the spinal column with mainly the second knuckles (Fig 3).

II. For muscle sprains on the lower back

1) Rub and pluck he most painful point with the thumbs. Ask the patient to cough 3-5 times while manipulating in order to clear up the channels.

2) Press the most painful point on the

Energy Gates Qigong Images





waist with one hand and pull first the shoulder of the unaffected side (Fig 4) and then the leg of the injured side upward with the other hand, each for 2-4 times.

3) With the patient lying on their back, hold his (her) lower leg with one hand, bend it at knee and push it downward, each leg for 5-7 times. Then rotate it inward and outward 5-7 times for each leg. Hold both legs together and repeat the process for 10 times.

III. For supraspinal and interspinal ligament sprains

In addition to methods mentioned above, apply alternately rubbing, plucking and rolling on the area along the spinal column with the second knuckles. Besides, pressing and plucking with elbow on the vertebral body, or pulling shoulder of the unaffected side up until a crack is heard are recommended according to the patient's condition (Fig

IV. For lumbosacral joint problems

Rolling, rubbing and pulling the shoulder of the uninjured side up (Fig 4) should be added, apart from the general methods. As for injuries of tendons and dislocations of lumbosacral joints, apply methods of pulling the shoulder of the unaffected side up (Fig 4) and sideways (Fig 5) as well as tugging both legs backward (Fig 6). In cases of sacro-iliac

Points To Remember







joint injuries or sprains sustained when stretching backwards, press and rub when streching backwards, press and rub the area with the base of both palms (one on top of the other) or pull the legs up alternately.

The purpose of these manipulations is to promote and activate the flow of blood and energy, remove blood stasis, reduce swelling and relieve pain. At the start of massaging, operate gently to relax the muscles on the whole back before applying more pressure on the painful area to repair the injured tendons and reposit the joint.

Points to remember

1. Detailed inquiries of the process of injury and careful physical check should be conducted and the possibilities of fracture, osteoma, tumor and bone tuberculoses must be excluded before manipulation.

2. The diagnosis must be precise, otherwise serious consequences would occur or the problem would become chronic due to improper manipulation.

3. The force applied should be according to the physical condition and the age of the patient. Generally speaking, operate gently on the aged and the weak and forcefully on the strong and the young. But in any case, pressure should be increased gradually and sudden and vigorous force must be avoided during manipulation.

4. Those who get injured within 1-3 days will normally recover after 2-3 treatments but it takes more time for old problems. Tell the patient to rest for 1-2 minutes after each treatment before getting up slowly with the unaffected side up. A couple of days rest after recovery and the wearing of a wide belt for 3-5 days are recommended. Hot compress must be avoided right after injury^

by Zhang Guolu

This article first appeared in the magazine "China Sport.".


The author is a masseur at the Clinic of Physical Culture and Sports Commission of Beijing.


Jade or Yu as it is known in Chinese, refers to several kinds of hard stone and at least two kinds of minerals. In China a good quality piece of jade is worth more than an equal weight of diamonds or gold. It's value is judged by the quality of it's variegation, it's colour (it varies from white to green) and it's hardness.

The Chinese began using jade before records began. The first archeological discoveries date from the sixth millenium B.C.E but it was first singled out for particular attention by the Liangzhu communities near Lake Taihu between 5300 and 4000 B.C.E. By the time of the Zhou dynasty (1066-221 B.C.E) it was well established in court protocol and documents state that "green discs worship heaven, yellow discs honour earth."

The reputation of jade was further enhanced by Confucius who equated jade with virtue and insisted that its qualities of purity and hardness expressed the virtues of a man of noble character. Infact this theme is so impressed on Chinese culture that most of the pictograms from the "jade" radical (word stem) have meaning connected with nobility, beauty and preciousness. It is in this sense that we should understand those areas of the body that are associated

with jade: the spine (jade pillar), the occipital bone at the rear of the skull (jade occipital), the genitals (jade gate and jade stem).

Jade is often associated with immortality. Jade is said to enmerge as a liquid from the side of a mountain and then harden over a period of ten thousand years. If it is mixed with certain herbs then it liquifies to form an elixir of life. It is perhaps for this reason that white jade is associated with Hsi Wang Mu, of the Kunlun moutains. One of the favourite subjects of Chinese artists has been the feast of the immortals by the jade pond (Yao Chi) in the palace gardens of Hsi Wang Mu.

Jade is also associated with immorality through its use in funeral rites. Most people will be familiar with the fabulous archeological discovery of Ma Wang Tui in Hunan in 1972, where a tomb from 202 B.C.E. was discovered containing bodies completely encased in jade as well as an enormous wealth of painting and mythology. The total encasement of bodies is an extreme case but it was common practise to place jade in the orifices of a body and a disc, pi, over the heart. This practise was connected with the taoists belief that a person's spirit was made of two parts - p'o (which kept the body alive) and the hun (the conscious mind). They leave the body via the Baihui after death and part company, unless for some reason such as revenge they possess another body. Usually though the hun goes off in search of the abodes of the blessed; a journey so long and dangerous that it is almost certain to fail unless it is from high rank or has lead an exemplary life. Sometime it is persuaded to remain with the body to die a second death rather than risk the hazardous journey. The p'o meanwhile remains with the body for three years or longer if there is enough jade, before either becoming a malevolent spirit (which is likely if relatives have been stingy with funeral arrangements), or travelling to the Yellow Springs (a kind of purgatory).

Glen Gossling

To the west of China, often shrouded in mystery, is Tibet. It has a long history and many sacred arts.

Recently, while on a visit to London. I went to the Royal Academy of arts in Piccadilly to view an exhibition of the The Sacred Arts of Tibet. In a magnificent setting, there were displayed statues and figurines of some of the Arhats (saints), Bodhisattvas (those who are dedicated to the uplifting and healing of others until all arc enlightened), mystics, and mythical kings.

At the far end of the gallery, monks from the Namgyal Monastic University in Dharamsala, India, were working on a sand mandala. This was the second, the first having been ritualistically dismantled and poured into the river Thames.

Mandalas are circular pictures, which may be painted, created in flowers, (a little like traditional well-dressing in England), or they may be made of coloured rice, stones or sand. It is also possible to create them in the mind, in very deep states of meditation.

In the sand mandalas, the coloured sand is ground to a fine powder, and each grain is charged with a blessing through the ritual process, and so each mandala collects an enormous amount of spirituality, which is passed on to all those who see it. very much as the insight of a great artist is passed on thought his paintings.

First of all. the monks mark out and draw the architectural outlines, using a compass, ruler and pen with white ink on a dark background. The coloured sand is then fed through a small metal funnel, which is tapped by another funnel to discharge a fine stream of sand. They begin at the centre and work outwards, using the correct amounts of sand in the correct order and colour.

For centuries the monks have made mandalas from the theories, techniques and patterns handed down from teacher to pupil (direct transmission), and then in the 11th century, it was brought from India to Tibet, and in the 18th century, the 7th Dalai Lama introduced it to the Namgyal Monastery where it has continued to this day.

The mandala represents the sacred habitation or palace of a particular deity, a little after the manner in which the saints are represented in church windows. The deity represents the highest attainment of particular aspects of being. For instance,

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Healing Properties Of Tai Chi

Healing Properties Of Tai Chi

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