Some idiot had the bright idea to write me saying that there is no such thing as the Reverse Beng Quan (退步崩拳) technique in Xingyi so I must have made that up.
Right, OK, let's run with that. My teacher taught me RBQ as both an isolated 'line drill' as I've presented it (where it's insanely powerful for the bone lightup thing I wrote about earlier, probably I should not have...), and also of course taught me the Five Elemetns Xingyi Linking Fist (五行連環拳), where RBQ occurs numerous times.
I hadn't been aware there's a historical proof of this but fortunately somebody on my Facebook group a couple weeks ago by chance posted an old clip of Xingyi Master Wang Shujin performing (a fragment of) the Linking Form. I have snipped out a couple of the Reverse Bengquan moments for your viewing convenience in the segment above.
Nice try guy, hit me again when you have your shit more together.
Posted at 01:01 PM | Permalink
Somebody wrote in as below, with a question that references this blog post from earlier this week:
Q: Thanks for writing up the bone lightup effect filling from below. It's extremely interesting tho I cannot feel what you say yet. But I am wondering since you brought out repulse monkey as a tai chi move that can develop bone awareness or that neon energy thing, but is there any special move for that in the xingyi context as opposed to tai chi only?
A: Yes, there certainly is. And one fuck of a powerful practice it is, I must say. This is something I taught all along, from a while back but nobody paid a whole lot of attention. However I hesitate to cite it now in this context, just because, if you haven't done all the basic foundational work, you'll certainly get great energetic effects from this training move (I will cite specifics below) but unless you are very advanced in your energy work and relaxation, etc, all the basics of (my type of) Xingyi and/or Tai Chi SLO/Singularity work it's frankly unlikely that you'll get the pelvic fill-from-below bone lightup effect right off the bat. So you will feel disappointed and give up as 99.99% of people do, and I understand that. You can't pay your cable bill with bone lightups! However it's extremely interesting and over time can be integrated as a martial arts attribute the way all the great historical masters have said. I'm working on a writeup about Sagawa on this later, it's in progress. The trouble with all this blogging is that I'm giving everything away in fragments, and then when I come to write it all up as another book, people will ignore it saying Oh that's just a cobbling up of his old blog posts. So you get penalized for trying to give away stuff free.
Anyway cut to the chase for now, yes there is a nearly exact Xingyi functional equivalent for the Tai Chi Repulse Monkey that specifically sets up and triggers the pelvic fill-from-below bone lightup. It is my video from the top of this post. Remember as you watch that when I introduced it I did not make specific reference to this bone lightup thing because it was totally beyond the audience. And probably still is. But you asked. Combine the physical teaching of this move (in the video above) with the explanations in my last 3 or so blog posts here to get the full picture of how this XYQ move works for the effect under discussion.
The basic mechanics for this move are also described in the book version Radical Xingyi Energetics.
If you have specific questions about it you can ask them on the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LuckyFew/.
Posted at 10:13 AM | Permalink
Predictably somebody wrote me asking for more training specifics, how to facilitate or approach the pelvis 'bone lightup' thing I have covered today.
I cannot emphasize enough the basic importance of everything that I call 'Single Leg Operations' or SLO for short. These include all the principles of Zheng/Lo Tai Chi as worked through selected moves which may be as broad as saying 'every pose and transition in the ZMQ37 form' or as precise and curated as the list of extracted training drills that I have provided, most especially (for this purpose) the following: Crack/Cat step (they are really two halves of the same transition method); Separate Foot; Heel Kick; Crescent Kick; Golden Chicken; shiko; etc. All this is fairly well covered in my film Tai Chi Power SINGULARITY on Vimeo. That is the essential foundation. The careful observer will realize that these extracted elements very much conform to Sagawa's training emphasis, as best we can reconstruct it through his few scattered specific comments in the published literature.
But I understand, you want something even more particular to the effect that I described. For the most part it will emerge naturally. But since you have asked, and if you have well begun on the basic training stuff above, then yes there is one definite thing you can do that may expedite your experience of what I've written about.
That is the Zheng/Lo Tai Chi mini-sequence called 'Step Back Repulse Monkey'. I covered the basic target pose (the static element) of this in my book PENG, and I added comments on performing the full sequence in my book SURGE. So you should have those mechanics pretty well down by now.
Now - to sauce it up with at least the possibility of greasing the wheels for the bone lightup thing, you need to add in the Cat Step. That is taught in detail on the teaser/trailer free clip for a ZMQ37 movie that I have never finished but the trailer is at the top of this post. You want to watch from 08:05 to 09:30 (the subsequent 'Stationary Cat Step' is not as relevant to this post) . That instructs you further on the mechanics and also on how to incorporate the backward Cat Step which is essential.
But in that segment I did not include the material on the bone lightup thing as it is too advanced. However I'll say something on it now, understanding though that all the above foundation is the pre-requisite.
In the Repulse Monkey, after you've done the rear Cat Step thing and felt the Cat Step surge, it's time to actual execute the move. As with any Tai Chi move it of course involves the entire relaxed body - legs, trunks, and arms. But you can use this particular move to begin to encourage the pelvic bone lightup. What you have to do is mental. Put your mind into the pelvic bone just before and during the waist turn that powers this move. It's not a huge frantic physical waist turn, it's fairly subtle. But you do power the arm switch and extension by turning what we normally translate as 'waist' (腰). But now, just for purpose of this sequence, I want you to think ONLY about turning your pelvis. Don't worry about the definition of 'waist' for now. Put your mind into the pelvic BONE alone. No more and no less. 'No more' means for now don't worry about the dantian or what you might normally think of as 'waist' or anything else. 'No less' means that you conceive mentally of the entire pelvic bone, the whole assembly as in the picture at the top of the earlier pose.
Of course you need to do all the other body mechancis, arms, Fair Lady Hand, etc. perfect as usual. But that should be 2nd nature by now. For this work, feel that your actual pelvic bone, alone, is starting the move and powering it through. As through somebody has grabbed your pelvic bone, alone, and turned you through the move. This will be much more likely of success if you've done a good Cat Step just prior and the proof of a 'good' Cat Step is very simple and clear: a powerful Cat Step Surge.
This pelvic turn thing on the Repulse Monkey is just a mental conception. From the outside everything will look the same. But over time you should begin to feel ... something amazing. Or not. Your basics and relaxation etc. may not be far enough along yet. But no harm in working it.
Eventually you will understand why this sequence was the only segment of the form that Prof. Zheng ever actually witnessed Yang Chengfu privately practicing.
Posted at 08:54 PM | Permalink
[ * * * UPDATED AT THE END * * * ]
I have mentioned the phenomenon 'filling from below' a few times in my books and blog here. But I know that regardless of how far some people have gotten with my stuff, nobody has experienced this yet. It's very obvious from how people write to me (yes I get some NICE stuff sometimes!). They are doing well but haven't even cracked the door open on this extremely fundamental point.
The ARC model is Accumulate, Rebound, Catch. Every martial art book talks about 'sink qi to dantian' so that's obvious. That is Accumulate - filling from above. Then the first stage of Rebound is feet to waist. But you won't experience that exactly as 'waist'. When it really happens for real, the pelvic bone, yes the assembly bone as a whole, lights up like a neon sign. Most incredible experience! It's a kind of watershed moment because after the first few times, it will retain the charge permanently. That's a true level change.
But I understand that this point is simply impossible for people to understand. And not understanding they aren't motivated to train hard enough to reach it so it's a self-defeating cycle in a way. But what an amazing thing.
Key point here is: bone. Yes, bone. The entire pelvic bone acts like an auto battery or charge plate or maybe antenna. You might think: Eh? Getting physical all of a sudden are we? But no, the pelvic bone is an energetic unit pure and simple. It's really the energetic shadow counterpart of the physical bone, co-located with it.
But I know there's huge confusion as soon as a bring up that word pelvis. Not only the simple structural point just above, but more than that. As soon as you mention pelvis, people immediately start thinking wrong, either in terms of athletics ('put your hip into it!') or dance (salsa, belly dance, etc. supposedly freeing up your energy) or various arcane muscle attachments or even pseudo-internal concepts such as 'move from your dantian' or 'dantian rotation'. That's because everybody is so ferociously committed to the physical. But in fact the real phenomenon is none of the above.
It has little to do with physical motion of any kind and can be experienced just as well with no motion at all, or in the Tai Chi form, or Xingyi, but later it's a permanent charge there 24/7. Every cell in the bone is vibrating with some kind of neon/radioactive power. NOT anything athletic you've ever experienced, nor does it have anything in common with ordinary dantian (point) activation as experienced in ordinary Taoist neidan microcosmic meditation (which is closer to the Accumulate phase).
No no no, this is the real thing now. But though my XYQ teacher wrote about precisely this, I never understood it. When it finally happened I was like "HOLY SHIT this isn't at all what I thought it was". Oh well. This is why Sagawa always denied that his "aiki" is "ki". Totally different experience from the early stages of ki/breath or cosmic circulation training. Remember Sagawa always emphasizing that his "aiki" was NOT "ki", yet NOT any form of ordinary physical power either? And he continually stressed it is something deriving from his "legs and hips"? Yeah, well, this is it. Just needs infinite further development and tempering. Just so totally staggering and amazing.
The training route is just all the stuff I've been emphasizing particularly all the SLO stuff, which includes:
[ * * * UPDATE * * * ]
I got a very relevant question on the above post, as below:
Q: Are you saying this Pelvic Bone light-up is a perceptive variation of an or hua or something qualitatively different?
To try to get at this, let's examine the following lines from Guo Yunshen, quoted by Sun Lutang.
凝神於此久之 The power accumulates in the energy body over a long period,
元氣日充 Every day of training further charges your original qi.
元神日旺 Every of training is strengthening your original spirit power.
神旺則氣暢 Strong spirit power triggers smooth flow of energy
氣暢則血融 Smooth flow of energy triggers suffusion of blood
血融則骨強 Suffusion of blood creates strong bones
骨強則髓滿 Strong bones absorb energy deep into the marrow
腹盈則下實 Filling the abdomen leads to strong root
下實則行步輕 Strong root triggers light footwork
There are a few things to consider when analyzing the above:
Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink
Q: That LARC thing recently posted is truly amazing so small a thing but so potent. BUt its for standing static Tai chi poses only? I did not get how we're meant to work that while moving or transitioning, actually doing the form?
A: Good question as I did not cover this point. Yes there's a way to do it, it's extremely simple and very powerful. However you must have a full understanding of, and practice experience with, both the Crack Step and the Cat Step as described in one or two of my Tai Chi books and on my film Tai Chi Power SINGULARITY. If you don't have that the LARC just doesn't apply.
Integrating the LARC add-on/plug-in extension is extremely simple. In every transition, perform the Crack Step and then the Cat Step Protocol exactly and precisely as previously instructed, no change. As you go through the various stages of these (which are really just the earlier and later stages of the same action - a change of position, angle, or weighting (PAW) of one foot, you do everything totally normally as previously directed, prior to introduction of L/ARC plugin. Don't skip or slob up any step until you really understand it enough to 'write grass style'. Don't try to specially do the toe elevation thing (LARC) in those stages.
Only difference is that when you come to the REST stage, integrated with a totally relaxation of the stepping leg, with the leg's own weight (alone) supported by the floor so you can totally relax it while having your body weight supported by the other leg (you have not transferred any body weight to the new 'cat' leg yet). Just a half-beat after that full rest, when you would normally feel the Cat Step Surge washing up your leg like a large backwash of water, if you just at that moment do the toe elevation thing, the heart of the L/ARC process, gently, mildly and carefully, you'll then feel a tremendous augmentation of your internal current.
Got that? Basically do Crack Step and Cat Step totally as normal, but briefly yet deliberately elevate at least the big toe. If your current Cat Step backwash intensity is designated 'x' (without loss of generality), then when you adopt the above dynamic LARC the intensity of the Cat Step Surge, just prior to LOAD phase, will be 10x or 100x or 1000x.
Posted at 12:18 AM | Permalink
[IMPORTANT TRAINING POST - PAY ATTENTION]
If you've read my book JUICE Radical Taiji Energetics, you should know that the whole internal energy thing is based on what I call the ARC model. That is: Accumulate Rebound Catch. The details are in the book, too much to review here, but basically you concentrate the energy below the navel, let it drop to your feet, from there it bounces up your legs, trunk, head, then down and out to your hands and fingers. To accomplish this, you need to relax. That's the ARC in a nutshell. Please (re?) read JUICE for details.
Just as there are many 'accelerants' that can improve your overall internal energy experience, there is something, really more than just another 'accelerant', a fundamental component of the ARC process/protocol that I did not cover in Juice, or any of my other Tai Chi books. It is an extremely important and effective add-on or plug-in to your Tai Chi training.
So then the usual two questions arise: why isn't it in Juice or the other books; why is it here now?
Why it is Not There:
It isn't in Juice or any of the other books for several reasons. First, I'm kind of a secretive, paranoid type of person. smile But seriously, it's because I've felt there's just no point. Though I have about a dozen or so really nice and intelligent readers, I get all kinds of shit from people who, instead of just quietly sticking to their own methods and teachers, go out of their way to dump on my radically energetic approach. And from both sides! Combative types who ridicule the lack of cagefight emphasis/mastery and then quietistic types sniggering that after all it's not the expected super-exotic nei dan so it can't be worth shit.
So I get sick of hearing that kind of thing. The other reason, perhaps on a loftier plane :) is that this is something so simple to do, so subtle in its initial effect, that I doubt very many people will appreciate it's immense, transformative power. They'll do it once for a minute, get nothing, shrug and never look back. So why toss a pearl to a swine? This something extremely 'advanced' not in the sense of being physically or mentally difficult move in and of itself, but requiring an advanced, committed practice, deep understanding of relaxation, good awareness of energy rooted in real experience, and some mastery of the mechanical foundation as the essential practice framework. Up until recently there just haven't been many qualified to appreciate this.
Why it is Here:
So then why am I writing this post now? One thing is that lately there actually do seem to be a few readers who write me accounts that unmistakably clue me there are starting to get experienced. But maybe I still wouldn't have written about this, because it's still too subtle and advanced even for most of them. However, another thing today has pushed me over the line to the point of dishing this out. That is, Prince died today. Yeah, and he's 57 years old that is my exact age! We have almost the exact same birthday: I am May 7th 1958, he is June 7th 1958. So when I read that I thought: Fuck it! Wouldn't it be a shame if I drop dead next month leaving this unsaid? Somebody out there can make use of it. So here goes.
But wait - one more thing: though this add-on is incredibly deep and profoundly powerful, it will not result in instant street combat effectiveness nor a UFC belt. I know there's a big contingent that judges everything by that. If you fit the description, could you do me a favor and kindly fuck off? Reading this post is just going to leave you incredibly bored, baffled and belligerent and I've had enough of that. Thank you.
The other point I need to make, for the good people still reading now, just a reminder that cool stuff starts small. Who among the people seeing crumbly dirty raw uranium ore in the field for the first time 100 years ago would have had the vision to imagine a softball-sized concentrate of uranium distillate (plutonium) could, in 21st century deployments, level a large city into a green glass parking lot? It's not that obvious is it? Now even at it's best, this internal power thing isn't quite that strong but it's the same principle - something seems really weak and marginal and dinky initially can if nurtured and concentrated properly, become something more. It will rock you.
This add-on extension to the ARC training is a way of 'catching' the energy at your feet, so that it bounces up your body like a superball, massively intensifying the final power in your arms. So it's a foot thing. Now I'm sure anybody reading this is well aware of foot ideas in martial arts. The most common thing you hear, especially in Xingyi, is to 'grip' the ground with your toes, curling or retracting them tensely. Another common thing is the well-known Tai Chi 3 Nails or 9 Nails, whatever the Nail count, where the teacher expounds which parts of the foot need to press strong into the ground for stability, torque and power. Then from yet another direction, there is the more specifically 'internal' thing about somehow concentrating on the mid/centerline sole point called yong quan in acu-theory.
So there's all that pre-existing stuff. What I'm telling you in this post isn't any of those things. Those things (above list) are OK as far as they go. But their overall effect will just be to tense you up even more than you already are, either mentally or physically or most likely both. I'm going to take you literally in an entirely different direction, consistent with the ARC model and everything I've already written about.
This add-on or plug-in should be worked within my Tai Chi framework for now. It actually comes from my Xingyi teacher. But it's harder to really appreciate this in the Xingyi context, because Xingyi is fast and frankly because in its Xingyi implementation there are a few other complementary things you need to work with it for full effect. So what I'm presenting here is the stripped-down straight-forward version that applies directly and instantly to the Tai Chi ARC practice. What that means at first is just that you can take any of the sample static standing Zheng/Lo Tai Chi standing poses (the are fully described and illustrated in PENG book) and just work this right away from any of them.
So you do need to know at least one of the Tai Chi poses, at least the Tai Chi Quiet Standing but preferably one of the 70/30 poses, just to get the basic idea going. Later you can generalize to the other poses, and then into the moving form, all the same.
Let's say you work it in Tai Chi Quiet Standing, to begin with. Blah blah you should already know all the considerations for correct Tai Chi Quiet Standing, or you shouldn't have read this far in this post. So now, having got into your QS frame, all you are going to do is:
SLIGHTLY ELEVATE YOUR TOES
Yeah. I know. Too simple right? Boring, Dumb. Pointless! So you can stop reading now and forget I ever said anything. ...crickets...
To those still here, yeah both of you, I will offer a few more instructions:
I call this the L/ARC Protocol. The 'ARC' part of that is same as regular ARC upon which all this is based. The 'L' stands for "lift" and also the shape of the capital L shows the little toe raise, so that works.
You can play with this using any of the Zheng/Lo static training poses below. Just stand in the pose, do the soft to lift thing. Do feel even a minor baby surge upward from your feet? If so keep working it gently. Over time you'll learn how to instantly trigger that, and how to maintain it as a 'stream' coming continuously from your feet and flowing into your arms and finally catching it in your hands. After a good session of standing this way your arms will be incredibly full of the internal energy and it will start to accumulate there.
All these poses are fine to work with the L/ARC, but to begin I'd suggest the Ward-Off Left pose, upper left corner of second panel below.
OK now I've spilled the beans on the L/ARC, so I can go out and get run over or shot down like a dog in the street with no regrets.
Posted at 04:04 PM | Permalink