Chapter Four Six Directional Movements

Qi Dao respects the philosophical principles of Yin and Yang common in Oriental schools of thought, which oppose as well as complement and balance each other. Like a magnet where the positive and negative poles cannot exist without each other, Yin and Yang movements need to work together to balance and synchronize the body and its energy field. In each spatial plane of movement, such as the mid-sagittal (Centerline), frontal (vertical) and transverse (horizontal) planes, there are directions having Yin or Yang qualities.

Yin movements represent the feminine aspect of universal energy flowing forward, downward and inward, each viewed in relation to one's center. Yang movements represent the masculine aspect of universal energy flowing backward, upward and outward, again viewed in relation to one's center. It is interesting to note that Western medical terminology uses the identical categories of direction: anterior - forward, inferior - downward, interior - inward, posterior - backward, exterior - outward and superior - upward.

The basic directional movements of Qi Dao are paired up in each of the spatial dimensions. When one arm performs a primary movement, the opposite arm makes a secondary movement to provide counter-balance. By definition, primary movement is a movement that coincides with the direction of the motion of the body's center of mass. The power of the primary movement does not come from the tension of the arm muscles, but from the momentum of the whole body. Secondary movement is usually a movement of the opposite arm in reverse. Most secondary movements have no inherent power because they move in the direction opposite to the momentum of the body.

Forward Push, Closing and Downward Press in this context require transverse motion of the legs - stepping towards the target with the opposite foot from the arm making the primary movement and bringing the weight on the front foot. Backward Pull, Opening and Upper Cut, on the other hand, usually require homolateral motion of the legs - stepping towards the target with the foot on the same side of the body as the arm making the primary movement.

In your travels, you may find yourself in some tough situations when someone may be aggressive toward you or your company. Rest assured that Qi Dao is not only an enlightening energy art, but also a superb martial art. In this chapter, you will find some basic examples of self-defense application of the six directional movements that can help you free yourself from someone's grip. When someone grabs you by the hand or wrist, that person may either grab you with the hand on the same side of the body (Parallel Grip) or with the opposite hand across the Centerline (Cross Grip). You may find that any grip has strong and weak points.

The strongest point in any grip is in the center of the palm - Lao Gong acupuncture point. Imagine a vector of force emanating from the center of the palm perpendicular to its surface. This means that pushing against the palm of the grabbing hand would be going against the flow of the grip s energy. Going with the flow of that energy would require moving in the direction in which the other person s Lao Gong point is pointing. With practice, you will learn not only to detect the direction of that flow with your eyes closed but even to sense that direction before the opponent s hand reaches you.

Alternating roles with your adventure partner practice elbow strikes on small and light targets like foam-padded sticks regularly sold in martial arts supply stores (you will need those for your future practice, too, if you continue exploring more advanced applications of Qi Dao). The ideal dimensions of the stick are one-half of your height in length and about one inch in diameter. It should be padded for beginning training using foam or rubber tube that also slightly covers both ends of the stick. Holding one stick in each hand your practice partner can provide you with two targets to hone your precision and coordination. Hitting the stick with an elbow may not be very pleasant, so go slowly and do not try to hit too hard. One of the most ubiquitous habits developed by martial artists is trying to hit their targets harder and harder forgetting about awareness, timing and alignments. Imagine practicing these movements as if you are practicing Tai Chi - slowly and effortlessly. It will make your practice more meditative and pleasant. Qi Dao teaches that only harmonious steps can lead you to harmonious goals.

Continue reading here: Forward Push

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