Anybody who can show me a printout of an Amazon USA or UK receipt for my book of black metaphysical humor ASTRAL ADVICE ANIMAL INSIDER'S REINCARNATION PLAYBOOK or bring a hard copy to show me, will receive a 2-hour private lesson in Tai Chi and/or Xing Yi covering any topic in my other books, as long as you're in one of my cities (Seattle, San Francisco, or Tokyo) at the same time I am and we can work out a mutual time/place for it, assuming I'm physically able to meet you. Offer good until canceled, but expires no later than July 31 2015.
When I'm in Tokyo (half the year) I often train with SASAKI SHUHEI, the boxing trainer of UCHIYAMA TAKASHI, undefeated WBA World Featherweight Champion. Sasaki is the number one boxing trainer in Japan.
STRUCTURE and MECHANICS have their place, and I'm presenting a minimum set of postures and moves. But not for their own sake as often done these days. Structure must be treated as George Washington said about fire "a useful servant and a terrible master". It's adopted merely as a temporary scaffolding to a higher state, merely a nuisance, a restriction, and a "necessary evil".
Be water my friend - Bruce Lee said it best.
I unapolegetically aim high. Even if we modern day mice never fully attain the heights commanded by the great eagles of past times, what interest can there be in "martial arts" other than what has been described perfectly by the great Xingyi master Che Yizhai, below (though I could translate this myself, I'm going to use the Brennan translation of the passage (i) to avoid charge of slanting it to my own ideas and (ii) I'm finishing a frickin book for Christ's sake, I don't have time for these pointless debates! :)
Therefore when learning how to practice the boxing, it starts from emptiness and returns to emptiness. When you reach this point, the notions of Xingyi, Bagua, or Taiji all disappear into nothing but waves and ripples, a ... oneness in which there can no longer be a “Taiji” or a “Xingyi” or a “Bagua”. Therefore the practice of the boxing arts does not lie in the postures, only in the spirit and energy being fully rounded and without gaps.
I'm going to produce exactly 2 more new Xingyi things.
1. BOOKBare Metal Magic: Radical Xingyi Energetics (August 2014)
The book will cover everything in the existing DVD Xing Yi Quan, and also everything on the existing Youtube video clips (there are about 8 of those now on Xingyi drills and energy practices that build on the pre-existing DVD), with some greater explanatory depth that a book format offers. DVD vs. book is a complementary dynamic, each has its strengths and weaknesses.
2. DVDXing Yi Quan: Power Animals, Power Drills (September 2014)
The new and final DVD will show everything important that was not covered in the previous DVD. So it will demo and teach:
the remaining 9 animals (from Hebei Five Element / 12 Animal style)
all the material from the existing Youtube clips in a single-source, unfiied treatment
present some new material, such as the 2nd Level set of Staff work for energy.
I guess there will be a few redundancies and/or gaps among the 3 formats (original DVD and the new DVD and book above) but content-wise it all hangs together. I'm not really saying anybody "needs" all this much. The whole point of Xingyi is minimalism after all! A little bit goes a very long way in this art. In fact you could charge yourself infinitely by just continuing to work only Quiet Standing and nothing else.
So don't get me wrong. It's not like anything here is necessary. You already have access to the full universal energy. But all I can say is, most of you don't feel that yet for real, in yourselves. Or you feel it to a very limited degree. My job with all this junk is merely to present sufficient (hopefully not excessive) stuff from sufficient different angles, that at some point you yourself will understand what I've asserted above - that you don't need any anybody's laundary list of drills or techniques or teachers or tapes or seminars. Just quiet standing (not even fancy 'zhan zhuang') can do it all. My job is to present these techniques that will pack you with enough energy that you take off that way on your own.
I've gotten enough dozens of shocked and awed mails from even long time, hardened and veteran practitioners of XYQ and related arts saying they had no idea of what can be experienced in their own art(s) til they started working even a fraction of my stuff that I feel its fair to say I'm performing some service with these. Anyway after these I should be able to shut the fuck up - at least on the subject of Xing Yi.
I got a question about recent post on that small yet mighty augmentation to XINGYIQUAN Drill Number 4.
Question was: What is the breathing for that?
Answer is: You have just done the downstrike, which is a natural exhale. When you curl into soft fist as described in post above, you don't 'hold' your breath, but just use the natural pause at the bottom of the exhale for that curl-into-empty-fist thing. The energy will flood up from your feet through your body and both arms. Then just resume the exercise with next inhale and reset to other side elbow strike. Sorry I didn't show this final move on the video - but you're lucky to get it at all. My teacher only showed it to me much later when he was sure I was at least feeling something from all the work.
I got mail: You've shown a lot but is there any more of HsingyiChuan that you could show? Thanks.
Yes of course there's a lot more. Not only is there a lot of stuff I haven't shown at all (such as the remaining 9 animals - DOH - but for everything I've already shown, there are further multiple layers of subtle extensions of practice that hugely amplify the effects. There's a TON of further stuff of both types (not yet shown and extensions/refinements). Everything I've shown has these additional layers that I've not included in the 1st presentations (DVD, Youtube clips, blog posts).
But why throw good pearls after bad to the swine? Actually I've received some very nice notes and reviews from a few truly decent people, much appreciated. Just for that handful of nice ones (no, they are not my Mom) I'm partially (about 20% of what I was taught and what's in the training manual) writing up the basic energy-centric Xingyiquan into my new book Bare Metal Magic: Radical Xingyi Energetics. English edition due out August 2014; Japan edition December 2014.
That book will cover the basics that I've presented so far in a comprehensive and organized way.
For now, just to illustrate my point about layers of refinment that I haven't yet presented, in today's post, to answer the guy's question I will provide one such example of an amplifying refinement to just one the practices I've already shown. Just to show you how deep (and yet childishly simple to execute in practical terms) this system is.
This post also serves as litmus test: if you haven't actually worked on the drills I've already presented to the point that you've incorporated most of them into your daily training routine, then all the rest of this post will be totally meaningless to you, and such people have no right to ask for more. If you haven't begun to actually work the drills daily you can't begin to understand the extensions and refinments.
Today's random example relates to the TONGBEI drill Number 4. You should have already watched it by now but it will be linked below.
However, before we get to the awesomely effective extension to Number 4, I need to say an additional word about TONGBEI drill number 3:
I have slightly downplayed number 3 so far, mainly for one reason: if you do it as hard as I was taught and as I show on the video, you may hurt your hands. Generally it's safe but I really don't want anybody complaining to me about that. So I've downplayed it. But it's an extremely awesome energy drill if approached correctly. So I'll tell you what: do not hit as hard as I show in the video - Tone it down by 70%, just make it a light smack that barefly stings you. Keep it really light and you'll still get the incredible energy harvest of the drill. But still try for a satisfying (though less resonant) *smack* on impact every time. Even though it won't be as loud as I do it in the video, you'll be able to feel when you hit it square on. The key thing in the execution of drill 3 is to be absolutely sure to check your shoulders just before every single up or down smack. CHECK YOUR SHOULDERS AND ARMS FOR RELAXATION. They need to be totaly relaxed and verified as such before every smack.
If you can stay relaxed before and through each strike, you'll feel amazing energy in the top and bottom "suo jing" move of forming and releasing the soft fist.
So - that is the precursor stuff of Drill 3 that you must understand to make drill 4 and today's small but powerful extension of Drill 4 work for you.
Below is the basic form of Drill 4:
NOTE: the following teachings will only make sense to those who've not only watched both clips above, but who have been trying them regularly since they were put out. Everybody else will be totally bored to tears and should leave right now. The rest of you still here however, yeah both of you :) should now be on the edge of your seat.
1. Key thing first of all is that when doing the simulated heavy strikes of this drill 4, you need to simulate the feel of the "real thing" as in number 3. That's a given.
2. Next: when you do the downstrike (2nd strike, the one after the elbow strike) you want to really throw your arm all the way down. It's somewhat the downward equivalent not of the heavy pure drop of drill 1, but more like the upward throw of drills 1 and 2, but now done in a downward direction. In other words, if you do the downstrike correctly you'll feel that same internal energy RIPPLE (bo zhuang) in the down strike of Drill 4 that you felt (or will soon feel) in drills 1 and 2. As I've tried to hint, these drills are more closely related than you may realize. Extend your fingers trying to touch the floor at the end, just as you extend your fingers trying to touch the sky in the upward throw for the RIPPLE drills 1 and 2. This is essential to get the effect of the extension presented just below.
3. Now here finally is the next level of the drill which I did not present on the video, very simple but awesomely effective for the energy: at the bottom, just after the completion of the downstrike, leaving your arm in that downward throw position, keeping your shoulders relaxed, just curl your open fingers into the soft fist. Don't do anything else at that moment, no other change to your posture or position. Hold that soft fist quietly for just a beat and you'll feel your hand has somehow "gathered up" a huge barrel of internal energy originating at your feet and consolidated it through your body and into your fist. Truly an amazing experience once you begin to understand it. But just hold that for one beat or two, not long - this is not zhan zhuang. Then release your fist to do your next Number 4 Drill rep, on the other side.
The above is one trivial example of how much richer all this stuff is even that what I've so far shown.