How to achieve a long life has been a question that has been asked for thousands of years. Today are we any closer to the answer?
Why do some people live longer than others? There are of course a large number of factors involved in deciding the answer to such a question. For instance it is obvious that smoking can seriously affect how long you live as can being run over by a bus. However, this kind of information only goes so far in describing why some people live longer than others. It tells us that people who don't deliberately damage their health tend to live longer than those who do, and people who are careful can prohably avoid many accidents, but what other factors ate involved in the subject of longevity? There are several theories as to why we age. Some scientists believe that we have a built in redundancy - a kind of genetic time bomb that one day says "time's up", others posit a theory known as antagonistic pleiotropy (this is where certain functions that help us survive in early life are destructive later on -reproductive hormone synthesising cells could well be among this category by causing breast cancer), but currently the most popular explanation in the West is that of wear and tear from 'free radicals'. This theory suggests that the nutrients that we eat and the air that we breathe in order to live over a long period of time has a 'corrosive' effect and gradually damages our cell and D.N A. structure so that it ceases to function efficiently. In particular this theory suggests that super oxides (one of the forms oxygen can take in the blood) do much of the damage. Much of the evidence for this theory is of course only correlative i.e. animals with a high metabolic rate live longer than those with a low metabolic rate, but this is also borne out in the evidence that people suffering from stress and therefore a higher than normal metabolic rate, die at comparatively younger ages than those who do not suffer from stress.
From a western perspective it would seem that if you want to live longer then you should try to reduce free radicals and the primary way of doing this at present is to reduce your metabolic rate. Contemporary wisdom suggests several ways of doing this. Firstly, of course, you should try to avoid situations that are stressful. Then you should by to learn to relax and finally you should improve your physical fitness. It is well known that muscles with good tone' function far more efficiently than those without. Thus a fit body will need less energy to perform the same task as an unfit body and in the normal relaxed state will use less oxygen, food, etc.
In the West we try to make ourselves fit by hard exercise, such as running, aerobics and weight training. However all these functions, by forcing a rise in the metabolic rate (when you exercise you get out of breath - "no pain, no gain", or so the saying goes). By doing this kind of exercise you are in effect shortening your life! This isn't quite Due because the benefits from regular exercise can sufficiently reduce your metabolic rate for there to be a net gain. But what if there was another way to improve your fitness; one that didn't involve raising your metabolic rate to lower it? Wouldn't this be a better system to use?
Qigong is just such a system. It maintains muscle tone and keeps joints supple without any stress or strain. The combination of moving forms and static meditation is very effective for producing substantial
"We try to make ourselves fit ly hard «
exercise -H owever "By doing ikis IdnJ
of exercise you are in effect skortening your life! "
decreases in the metabolic rate.
The Chinese have quite a different theory of ageing to that of the West. As a child grows, it grows stronger. It continues to grow stronger until maturity and then it gradually declines in strength until in extreme old age virtual feebleness returns. In other words ageing follows the familiar cycle of yin and yang. The problem of slowing ageing is one of strengthening the body and organs, but in a way that does not become too yang and burnt out.
We can see this process in most Qigong. Many styles work direcdy on strengthening the five yin organs -most obviously spontaneous Qigong falls into this category. This can also help explain the longevity of certain professions like orchestra conductors -spontaneous exercises such as raising arms, reaching forward and bending over can all be beneficial to the overall health so long as they are not strained, at To a degree though, this is ignoring the bigger picture.
In Chinese medicine, "the five element theory* is important to diagnosis and therapy but it is always secondary to yin yang diagnosis. If we look at ageing in these terms we see that, as a person gets older, their bodies often 'ripen', and then begin to decline. The primary diagnosis has to be whether a person is yin or yang. Everything else follows on from this.
If a body has not yet 'ripened' then the best way to prevent premature ageing (i.e. dying before you reach 120 years) is to prevent this ripening, to prevent the body from becoming too full, too fat, too yang. The regular light exercise of Qigong, particularly from the Taoist tradition, is very good at this. If a person is already past this stage, then the object is to stop the body becoming too yin. This is achieved by making sure that the yin channels are kept un-blocked. As we get older we tend to contract the yin channels - the shoulders come forward, the back curves, and the arms are rarely raised from the body. To remedy this, Qigong exercises deliberately open the yin channels by raising and opening the arms, letting energy flow and preventing stagnation. At all ages the needs of the body are slightly different. It is important to get to know the needs of your body (you and only you are the world's greatest expert on your own body) and to recognise the 'big picture' so that you don't do too little or too much. For good health and a long life you primarily need to bring your body into balance, and thereafter work at increasing (and maintaining) the level of energy at which your body finds its balance B
by Glen Gossling
Harley St. ^ St. John's St. London Manchester
Qigong is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As s it has been used very successfully in China for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of conditions. ^m Michael Tse offers private consultations at his. clinics in both London (Harley Street) and Manchester (St. John Street), with Jllinkael ÇJ&&
" If a body k as nol yet ripened iken ike kesl way lo prevent premature ageing (i.e. dying kefore you reack 120 years) is lo prevent ikis ripening
Just what is it?
People in the west are now becoming more aware of the Chinese way of life, and some are-now familiar with the term Taiji". Ask any group of westerners to describe Taiji, and they will probably be able to tell that it is a slow moving exercise practised in the parks by OLD people. Sadly, this is the concept of many in the west, that Taiji Ls a gentle exercise form for geriatrics. Presumably on reaching retirement age, the Chinese workers pass their days by practising Taiji in the parks!
For those of us who wish to look a little more closely at Taiji, there are? many classes available. Most popular in the north of England are the Yang style and Cheng Man Ching style. Both these styles consist of slow gentle movements which the western eye can
Health exercise or martial art?
recognise as those they have seen in the Chinese paries. Many of these classes promote the concept that Taiji is for health, and hence that the elderly Chinese practise in order to stay healthy during their twilight yeais. Some classes will develop Taiji a stage further: "Taiji is a health exercise with some self defence techniques" (don't go mugging old ladies whilst holidaying in China - they may fight back!).
So then is this what Taiji really
is? Is it an exercise for the elderly, or is it a health exercise with some self defence skill? Perhaps we should look back to the origins of Taiji before we answer this question. Taiji, also known as shadow boxing, dates back to the seventeenth century, and its origin is credited to Chen Wang Ting of Wen county, Henan province. Historical data shows Chen Wang Ting was the chief of civil troops defending Wen county three years before the downfall of the Ming Dynasty (1644) who led his troops in beating back the assaulting 'bandits'. The genealogy of the Chen family of Chen Jia Gou village quotes the following explanation under the name of their ninth ancestor Chen Wang Ting:
"Wang Ting, alias Zhou Ting was a knight at the end of the Ming Dynasty and a scholar at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. Known as a master of martial arts, once defeating more than a thousand bandits, he was the originator of the bare hand fighting and the
A typical picture: Old people practising Taiji, but how many years have they been practising?
armed boxing of the Chen school"
Chen Wang Ting's boxing routines and 'push hands' techniques were passed from generation to generation. Chen Chan Xing (1771-1853) taught the skill to Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872) who then developed the Yang style, from which the Wu school evolved.
Those of us fortunate enough to study the Chen style of Taiji can clearly see that Taiji is certainly not an exercise for the elderiy! The movements alternate between gentle and dynamic, with explosive kicks and punches. Taiji for us is very much a martial art The proper name 'Taiji Chuan" means "Supreme Ultimate Boxing", and Chen style Taiji certainly lives up to that name. Taiji places its emphasis on inner force rather than external force. The spiralling energy directs the flow of Qi upwards to the tips of the fingers by twisting the aims and wrists, and downwards to the toes by twisting the knees and ankles. Twisting the waist and the spine also promotes the flow of Qi through the Ren channel, Du channel, Dai channel and the Chong channel. Daily practice keeps the body fit and supple, and strengthens the limbs. Taiji also includes weapons training with sword, knife, pole and spear.
So now we may be able to understand what Taiji really is.
An exprr.kpfnr oldpenplp>
It is wise to consider that the old person practising today may have been practising there for the past thirty years or more.
A health exercise?
It certainly helps to promote the circulation of the Qi and keeps the body fit.
A martial art?
Those who practise correctly will be able to confirm that every movement in the form has some (if not several) applications which can be used in self defence.
Whilst we are all free to form our own conclusions, for myself there is only one answer to the original question.
Taiji is a martial art (first and foremost) with a health benefit B
By Sue Johnson
WILD oUU>t UKaUNu
Wild Goose Qigong by Yang Meijun £5.00
Yang Meijun is the 27th generation inheritor of Dayan Qigong (Wild Goose Qigong). She began practising when she was just thirteen. Today she is 100 years old and is one of the most famous Qigong masters in China.
She attributes her good health and long life to her daily practice of the Wild Goose Qigong. Now for the first time she has written a book in English covering the entire 128 movements of the Wild Goose.
Treasure of the Chinese Nation
The Best of Chinese Wushu
SHAOUN KUNG FU £14.00
For hundreds of years Kung Fu has been practised in China. Throughout much of this time the Shaolin Temple has represented the very pinnacle of these arts.
This book gives you glimpses at the life of the monks at the temple today and gives you a taste of their philosophy and spirit. (Full Colour)
All prices include p&p (UJC. only). Contact: Tse Qigong Centre PO Box 116 Manchester M20 9YN - . Tel 061 434 5289
33 Step Forwards and Look at the Palm.
J Move the right hand round from the Sky-eye to the right Taiyang point.
ii Step forwards with the left foot, but keep your weight on your right leg.
iii Move the left hand up and forwards, from the Huan Tiao point, past the hip, up to the Sky-eye. As the hand moves up you should turn the hand over so that the palm finally faces the Sky-eye.
The left Laogong point facing the Sky-eye, and the right Laogong point facing the right Taiyang point has the same effect as movement 31. The Qi passing through the head, clears the blockages which helps headaches and short-sightedness.
34 Looking up at the Moon.
i Extend your right hand back up and back (45 degrees to the back).
ii As in 31, scoop the hand down and forwards, whilst bending the body forwards, keeping your weight on the right leg and the left leg straight. When the hand passes in front of the left leg pause.
iii Then quickly flick the right hand up from the leg to the sky-eye (the palm should face the Sky-eve.)
iv At the same time as iii, turn the head to the left and look up. This movement is the same as 31. 'Scoop the Moon', but the last part is quicker. This flicks the Qi to the Sky-eye to stimulate the head and open the Sky-eye.
35 Press Qi i Relax the two hands and slightly turn them in towards yourself.
ii Slightly separate the hands and press them down either side of the left leg to the Kunlun point, with the palms facing the ankle.
iii At the same time as ii, shift your weight onto your left leg and squat down .
iv Keeping your weight on your left leg raise your body up until your left leg is just slightly bent and the hands are at the knee.
v When the hands come up to the knee, press down to the ankle and squat onto the left leg. Repeat three times.
When you squat down with the palms facing the ankle, the Laogong point will transmit Qi to the Kunlun point to strengthen the ankle and open the three Yin and three Yang channels of the f«x)t.
This movement is gtxxl for arthritis.
36 Turn the Body and Press Qi
i Raise up keeping the weight on the left leg.
ii Turn 90 degrees to the right and transfer all your weight onto your right leg.
iii Squat and press down three times, as before.
Same as 35, but on the right leg. Make sure that you turn 90 degrees. This covers another direction of Qi and relates to the principles of the Five Elements.
Tse Qigong aC
Tse Qigong aC
A Seminar with Ip Chun
The Grandfather in the title alludes to the terms "Sigong" used widely in Chinese Martial Arts to mean one's teacher teacher. Ip Chun was making his annual sojourn to these shores to promote the art of Wing Chun and had been invited to conduct a seminar as a guest of his student, Michael Tse. Michael who is more renowned for his ability as a Qigong Master is also a very highly skilful exponent of the art of Wing Chun and has built up quite a following in this country (UK), many of whom where there to meet their Sigong.
Whilst waiting for the seminar to start and contemplating this familiar theme I looked around ar the gathering "grand children", some of whom were practising Chi Sau and it occurred to me during the course of these observations that there was a characteristic trait common to this part of the Wing Chun family. This trait could best be
Qi Magazine 1"
described as the 'Smile of Acquired Wisdom'. This smile or grin, like all things in creation, has its yin and yang aspects.
The yin smile is a sort of wry grin that crosses the face of a student when he or she realises that a weakness has been exposed and communicated with a light tap to the face or body. The yang smile is a gleeful look of devilment when a weakness has been sensed and the advantage pressed home exposing a fault in the opponents defence. It has to be said at this stage that Sigung Ip Chun had a very yang afternoon in the smiling stakes.
Having attended many courses and seminars over the years, I was familiar with the air of anticipation that precedes a visit by a top exponent of the an. This occasion was no different in this respect as many old faces and some new came together for what was to be a special experience.
Michael Tse started the proceedings with a formal introduction and opened up a question and answer session on various aspects of Wing Chun study and practice. This open agenda allowed for some interesting points of discussion which would warrant an article in their own right. However, having heard so much about Ip Chun and now having met him, I am keen to convey my impression of this small man with immense talent.
The discussion over, Ip Chun stood up, took centre stage and invited anyone to join him for some sticking hands practice. In view of his limited
English and the audience's non existent Cantonese, it was the most direct and effective way for him to communicate his skill.
I sat back and prepared to watch a masterful demonstration of the art of Wing Chun. I wasn't disappointed. Ip Chun took up position at 2.20 pm approximately, and
"playful taps on the chest could have been something far less jolly"
did not sit down until 4.00 pm. This is something I would have admired in anybody, but given the fart that he reached his 70th year this year, I found the feat quite astounding. He sat down at the end of the session still looking very relaxed and without a bead of sweat on his brow. A fine example of the conservation and correct application of energy!
At first, many of the students stepping up were tentative, caudous, and, dare I say it, holding back. This view must, have been shared by Ip Chun because he was encouraging people to 'have a go*. Indeed Michael, who was translating, re-enforced the point by saying that if they held back, it would make it difficult to give a fair assessment of their technique and level of expertise. However, more isn't always better, and those students 'having a go' by putting too much energy into their attacks gave Ip Chun many opportunities to practise his yang smile.
It was all there; technique, timing, footwork (referred to rather irrever -ently in Western Boxing as the 'Holy Trinity') and all applied in a relaxed seemingly effortless manner. There were one or two bursts of real speed and control which I have to confess caught me by surprise, not to mention the recipient. Whilst admiring this my turn arrived! Well, there was this old man about 5ft 2", 8 1/2 stone of weight; and then there was yours truly, 5ft 11", 13 1/2 stone. No contest you might think; you'd be right, I didn't stand a chance!
One of the skills I have admired in really great martial artists is their capacity to adapt to the level of their opponent whilst keeping their style and controlling the situation safely. A cat or a tiger uses the same technique in play as it does to prepare its next meal. This facility, to play with techniques that are potentially quite devastating in application, is one of the great benefits of practising Wing Chun. I had the feeling that some of the playful taps on the chest could quite easily have been something far less jolly. Ip Chun's skill presented itself in the ability to expose weaknesses and lead one to the feeling that the assessment had been correctly made long before one felt the consequences.
As one who is approaching his 39th year, the attraction of actually improving and developing in a physical skill as I get older and older is an compelling proposition. The thought of being able to mix it with some 30 people for 1 1/2 hours at the age of 70 is still a dream of mine, no matter how distant. Well, I now know it is possible, I was there. All you have to do, Ip Chun reliably informed us, is to practise ... a lot!
Ip Chun finished the seminar with some practical demonstrations and one or two insights into the skills he had been so masterfully using on all of us just a few minutes earlier. He makes it look easy. Reflecting on this fact and in view of the obvious vitality and enthusiasm that he exudes, I
resolved to pay more attention to my
A video of the seminar is available and costs £17 incl. p&p. If you are interested then please contact
Tse Qigong Centre,
PO Box 116,
Tel 061 434 5289.
Standing Postures To Cure
T a Xing Quan (Great Success Fist) was created by the famous master Wong Xian Chai. During his later life he combined martial arts, Chinese Medicine, Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist methods to develop a method of internal training that concentrated on the use of 'Standing Postures'.
The author is a student of master Wang Shan Ji, the last student Grand-master Wong Xian Chai. After many years of practising Ta Xing Quan and experience using these standing postures with patients, he found that they produced good results. I would like to introduce these exercises to you, the readers.
The problem of neck pain comes from the suppression of the nerves. Between the vertebrae lies soft tissue. When this tissue suffers injury, stress or ageing it becomes firm, so placing pressure on the nerves, therefore causing pain. This problem is very difficult to heal.
Western medicine cannot offer much help as it relies on chemical reactions (from the use of medicines), which sometimes make the condition worse. Massage is also of little help, all because the problem comes from the inside and so is difficult to cure. The Ta Xing Quan Standing Posture Qigong are very effective exercises to ease neck pain.
Stand with your legs as wide as your shoulders. Slightly bend your knees, as If you are sitting on something, and slightly lean back. Raise your hands in front of your chest about one foot apart, so they are just below m >
shoulder height, keeping the arms bent at the elbow. The palms should face inwards and the thumbs should point upwards. As if you are holding a paper ball. Lift the head as if you are leaning on a thick pillow, you should be relaxed but not heavy. Imagine there is a cord attached to your Baihui point and your whole body is like a balloon hanging in the air, and make sure your neck is relaxed. Keep your eyes relaxed and slightly open, but do not stare at anything. Listen to any sounds but don't concentrate on them. Your breathing should be natural, it is best to forget it altogether, but never hold your breath or take long breaths. Let your mind work naturally and never try too hard. The above is like a magic spell to help you 'to cross the river", to help you relax. After you have crossed forget it. We say, "Borrowing the mind from distractions," or "It comes, don't refuse it; it goes, don't keep it." Finally, imagine you are like a stove, all distractions are like dry wood, they will be burnt by you.
II Sitting Position The Sit on a chair,
Author: resting the feet performing naturaiiy on the floor. Lift your Xin0 hands in front of Quan your chest and hold them there as if they are holding a ball floating in water. Relax the whole body, the energy will come gently. Imagine warm water running down your body, down your neck, to your upper limbs, the upper body as in the Standing Position. You feel very relaxed and comfortable.
Ill Lying Position Lie on a bed with your head on a pillow. Bend and raise your knees so the soles of the feet are flat on the bed. Raise up your two hands, bending the arms at the elbows. Open the fingers and thumbs as if you are stretching a rubber band that is wrapped around your fingers. Relax the wrists, don't use any energy. Imagine you are lying in a bath of warm water and you feel warm and relaxed. You can do this exercise before you go to bed.
Stand naturally and let your hands hang at the waist. Relax the body as in the Standing Position. Relax the body for a little while, then step forwards with the left leg. The right leg then follows but moves in a curve around the left leg and stops in front and to the right. The left leg then moves as the right did to come to the front and to the left. Repeat once more for the right and then the left leg. Use the same elements to walk backwards.
With this exercise the main thing is that the head should lead the whole body, to make sure the upper and lower body co-ordinate together and the whole body is relaxed.
Turning the neck is a warm up exercise to relax the inner body, but those suffering from dizziness, nausea and tinitus (buzzing in the ears) should not perform it.
First stand and relax with the two hands holding the lower back. Relax the rest of the body as in the Standing Position. Slightly turn the neck and then connect the movement with the upper body, do not drop the head too much. Follow your own feelings and condition and move slowly and gently. Imagine you are standing in warm water and you can feel the pressure of the air. Gentlemen should start to the left and ladies to the right. Circle the head (on the right or left) five times then repeat for the opposite side. In all you should repeat the exercise three times on each side and perform the entire exercise two or three times a day, but not too often. You can also do the exercise sitting, in which case you should let your arms just hang down and perform the rest of the exercise as above, by Shei Yuan Tung
III Lying Position
V Turning the Neck
Understanding and coming to terms with an ancient and hidden tradition.
M family trek*" the Chj family tree refelS, chronological* lisC^" of^ people, stemming from common beginnings. It differs because the family members are not necessarily tied by blood, but instead by the passing on of skills. So for example a person's teacher becomes their father (or mother), and a person's student becomes their son (or daughter). More important than the tree itself, is the mentality and tradition that it symbolises. To understand this and its impact upon class life, we need to take a look at its origins.
Many of today's Chinese martial art and Qigong skills have a strong basis in the cultural heritage of China. Cultural cornerstones like the book of changes, the Yellow emperors classic of internal medicine, or the cannons of boxing, form part of most systems, many of which have evolved from within China's large family clans. At tin the past many of them ive'tfnfluenced each other, but most ts rernaift'quite distinctive and have stayed within the families that founded them. New skills would usually be welcomed by a family, but it was not common for skills to leave easily. The military secrets of their day, these skills might have been used to the disadvantage of their original owners. Some also felt that teaching others would be disrespectful to their ancestors, who had paid dearly to acquire these arts.
When masters were prepared to teach, this way of thinking continued. To the Chinese mind, everyone wanting to do well in a school must be thought of as close friends or family, because of the high value of the school's knowledge. Like anything that is valuable, people who have it are reluctant to part with it easily. With u skill or information the problem is worse, because it's easy for someone to teach something wrong or incompletely. The student would probably never know, and even if the student was told, he (or she) would be difficult to convince and could do little about it except to hope for better, complain or leave. The only real way around this problem was for the teacher to like and trust the students as he (or she) would his (her) own family. A father teaches his family all his skills, but he might hold something back from his ordinary students to give his family an advantage. This is why the family ethic was so important, and why the Chinese find the most believable inheritors of a style are related by blood. Money, favours or friendship wouldn't always have been enough. As a result, when a teacher w~as given money, it was usually treated as a way of showing respect and concern, rather than a wage.
The past decade has seen changes in such old established values, with a shift towards more openness. China now sees commercial
"More importantly than the tree itself is the mentality and tradition it symbolises"
potential in skills it once tried to extinguish and has sited training centres at some of its more famous landmarks, such as the Shaolin temple and the Chen village. These centres are increasingly trying to entice foreign students, and China is investing great effort into getting or maintaining a lead in these fields. A higher number of highly skilled Asian teachers than ever before are currently teaching in the west, and more things than ever before are being offered. The needs of the world are changing and these ancient skills have a different place in peoples lives. A father no longer needs to horde his skills for his family's survival, and many Asian youths are rejecting old traditions in favour of a more western way of life. An eventual increase in access to these skills, coupled with a greener more harmonistic outlook in society, must finally result in a higher level of public awareness. In turn this awareness must eventually make it harder for frauds or teachers who would hold back their skill to continue to flourish.
Despite a relaxing of Chinese attitudes, the family tree ethic is a factor in most teachers thinking. How much of a factor depends upon the teacher and the subject, but these ethics are not confined to Chinese teachers. These are human issues, centering around factors like greed, self interest and friendship. Anyone looking for a teacher should be mindful of this.
Perhaps the greatest use for the family tree has been as a quality guide for people searching for a skill. Reputable masters maintain it is impossible to learn a skill .from books or videos alone, and that the only way to learn correctly is to persevere with a good teacher. Therefore, schools that claim to teach authentic Chinese arts must have been taught at some point from an acknowledged source, they must be on someone's family tree. Otherwise it is almost inevitable that something is wrong.
Of course, there can still be problems in a class that does have a heritage, but many of these can be answered by examining the history more closely.
Consider, for example, the teacher's ancestry. Are any ancestors well known and respected? Will they vouch for the class? Have they written student. A photograph of a teacher sat down with a student is a traditional method of acknowledgement.
If the teacher has taught for more than several years, then there should be some good senior students. Perhaps not as good as the teacher, but good enough to teach, and sure of their facts. Looking at senior students is
any books or articles? Are any of them Chinese? Do any other teachers vouch for them?
Then, how about the teacher's relationship with his (or her) teacher. How did the teacher leam this skill, was it on a one week course like looking at the future, like looking at what you might become. If there aren't many senior students, then why not? Perhaps the teacher isn't willing or able to teach, or perhaps the seniors have left because the teacher has tried to exploit them in some way? Perhaps
" The needs of the world are changing, and ancient skills have different meanings in peoples lives "
somewhere, or was it over a period of time? Does the teacher's teacher acknowledge him (or her) as a good student, and is there a letter of endorsement, a certificate or a picture of them sat down together? The most important issue is acknowledgement. When a teacher openly acknowledges a student, he is guaranteeing the student with his (or her) own reputation. If the student is disgraced, then this reflects on the whole family. So no teacher would want to acknowledge a bad or incapable the teacher likes to beat students up, or perhaps it's a combination of many things. Ask people and find out why.
All the time one should not concentrate too heavily upon one's own skill judgements, and rely mainly upon the cross referenced evidence of other people's situations and attitudes. Reasoning in this way can tell more about a teacher and his class than one's own comparisons of skill, because it is impossible to judge a skill which one does not have, particularly a high level or internal skill. These by definition, can be illusive, even to indoor students.
Objectivity can also be a big problem for people with previous experience, because all good students take a pride in what they've learnt and, also, in their teachers. It's difficult to admit to oneself that something or someone else could be better. Even when one makes the effort to look around in a so-called open-minded fashion, it often happens that all we really hope to do is to grin smugly to
Throughout the Chinese systems, be they Qigong or Kung Fu, traditionally the relationship between teacher and students was very close.
This tradition was very deeply ingrained in days gone by and is still true in some cases today. However, in many cases the term 'Sifu' has lost a great deal of it's original significance. The tree is presented here with names and relationships.
ourselves in a self-contented and superior manner, watching other people struggle for nothing. In other words, to vindicate all the hard work that we've done and our faith in our teachers.
Whether we stay put in a class or continually hunt around for better, is a matter for ourselves to decide. Much must depend upon what we hope to get out of a class and what we are prepared to put in to it. But, wherever one looks, the best of any class is found in its heart, and to get to the heart takes time, patience and persistence B
by Martin Lavelle
Skill Great Grandfather SI JO TEACHER'S ^«TEACHER'S TEACHER
Skill Grandfather SI GONG TEACHER'S TEACHER
Elder Uncle SIB A
Younger uncle SI SUK
Big Brother SIHENG
Little Brother SI DIE
Son TO DAI STUDENT
Elder Auntie SIB A
Younger Auntie SISUK
Little Sister SI MUY
Grand Son TO SHUN STUDENT'S STUDENT
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