UPDATE: A clarification is added at bottom to this post from yesterday
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Good letter in the box this morning, useful to answer so listen up:
I'm a customer of your Peng video. I've done Yang style Taiji for 10 years and thought I'd take your thing out to test drive. I had to modify our pose some to match what you show but I did my best. Then OMG I !felt! it for real... your soft wave thing is REAL. Powering up from feet legs body hands just as you taught it. I can't believe nobody showed me this before as Taiji. Anyway thanks for unsealing my eye, but I have a question, It's not consistent! I have felt it sometimes but since I started, some days I can't get it at all, other days I can get it once and then can't do it again and so on. How can I make it consistent? Any help appreciated.
First off congrats, at least somebody got the point (actually I've a bunch of similar letters lately). Next I'll give a general answer which is that Rome wasn't built in a day. The Wright brothers first few flights bumped and banged around a few feet off the ground but 60 years later there's the X-15.
Don't sweat the inconsistency of it at all please. That's completely natural at this stage, just keep working on it. As our yoga meta-guru Jois always said: Practice and all is coming. Now you know what to do, what happens when you do that, you're good to go.
So that's the deep and spiritually correct answer, above. However... this is a good opportunity for me to do some technical teaching as I see some people like this guy are starting to grok what PENG book and vid are trying to say.
So in that spirit, here's what I want you to do. First, for this training thing I'm going to introduce now, work it with SINGLE WHIP at first. Of course as I always say, ultimately this pose or that pose, none of it matters at all. Only energy! But in this training phase you will find that Single Whip is your best testbed to understand this point I'm about to make, later you can generalize to the other poses in PENG and of course far beyond.
So get into Single Whip. Now here's where I need to boringly emphasize again that you'll have to be doing your Single Whip more or less along the lines of the Zheng/Lo criteria. Some internet/amazon assholes love to rag on me for supposedly totally ignoring structure, but in fact when it comes to using the Zheng/Lo system I'm quite a stickler for technical accuracy, if you have done my form correction seminar you know it. It is essential in the beginning and that's why all method in the PENG book is based on Zheng style structures.
So you will need to follow the basic points that Ben Lo teaches even for this simple thing I'm going to teach you later in the post.
- Body upright
- Waist turned to align squarely with nose and front foot, front-facing direction
- Beautiful Lady Hand
- Separate Weight
Before I get to the key "new" thing here, let's drill into that last one, Separate Weight, just a bit more. The conventional teaching on weight distribution for 70/30 pose (Single Whip) is just as the name suggests: 70% front foot, 30% rear. In the PENG book I acknowledge that but I suggest that just as a mental trick (whatever the actual distribution) it's useful to sometimes think of it as closer to 80/20. Meaning the front leg has to do more work, you have to be more "single weighted". So that you feel (even though it's not physcally or dynamically true) that you always "only have one leg".
The whole PENG book method is kind of built around the above idea. And you (question person) are doing everything as in the PENG book but still not quite consistent soft wave.
So here's what you do:
Consciously target and relax the rear Achilles tendon. Noticeably soften it.
That's not hard to do. Don't change anything else in the posture. The key thing is that as you do the above softening, you must keep your Beautiful Lady (and beak on the right) hand shapes. Don't drop your mind, don't do any degree of physical 'slump' for this particular exercise. Keep your perfect, conscious, mind-filled hands even as you consciously target and relax the rear Achilles tendon. Targeted relaxation of your rear lower leg has the effect of casting just a 1% greater burden on the front leg, it achieves just a thin sliver of further yin/yang differentiation and then...
BOOM! You'll feel the huge soft wave throbbing up from feet to hands.
Just like that WHAM, there it will be. But key thing, as soon as you've targeted the rear Achilles tendon for relaxation as above, you must immediately return your mind to your fully shaped, yet soft hands. They must be full of mind, to give the wave a destination, a purpose if you will.
Once you've played with this and got it right, you can use this method to consistently generate the soft wave experience whenever you're in 70/30 position. Later you can just control the energy directly with your mind without regard to posture or structure. Be water my friend!
This is actually a compact, mental-only micro-mini version of the whole reactivation thing, the full method I give in PENG. But now you've understand the reality of the soft wave, so you can compact your control of it in this way.
* * * UPDATE Clarification
Somebody wrote to ask:
Q: Does this mean the energy pulse is originating from the rear foot?
A: No. As explained exhaustively in both Juice and Peng books, the pulse originates from the strong or 'yang' foot, which for Single Whip is the front foot. See pic below from Peng book for how it feels at the start of the surge. Like a mini 'square-foot earthquake'. It's just that momentarily targeting the rear Achilles tendon for relaxation instantaneously slightly 'engages' the front/strong foot just 1% further, which coupled with providing a mental target space (hands) results in BLAMO instant full body surge.