The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung


The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung – Yang Jwing-ming


Chi Kung, the study of the energy in the universe, is one of the greatest cultural achievements whichChinahas contributed to the human race. It was through the study of Chi that the balance between the Yin and Yang forces in the universe was understood. This understanding led to the formulation of the "Tao" (the natural way, pronounced "Dow"), which became one of the guiding principles of Chinese philosophy. Naturally, this "Tao" has been used to explain not only nature, but also mankind. The Chinese have hoped that the study of the Tao could show the way to improve one's health or even to extend one's life. This led to the development of Chinese medicine. The circulation of Chi in the body was studied, which became the field of human Chi Kung.

According to Chinese medical theory, the Chi or energy body is considered Yin, while the physical body is considered Yang. Chi cannot be seen, but it can be felt. The Yin aspect of your body is related to your thinking, soul, and spirit, while the Yang aspect executes the decisions of the Yin. Neither part can survive by itself. They must balance and coordinate with each other so that life can exist. Chi is the source of life, and the actions of the physical body are the manifestation of life. When the Yin is strong, the manifestation of Yang can also be strong. When Yin is weak or too strong, the Yin and Yang may lose balance and sickness can result. For this reason, Chinese medicine and Chi Kung are primarily concerned with how to maintain the correct balance of Yin and Yang.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Dr. Yang was born inTaiwan, Republic of China, in 1946. He started his Kung Fu/Wushu training at the age of fifteen under the Shaolin White Crane (Pai Huo) master Cheng Gin-Gsao. At sixteen Dr. Yang began the study of Tai Chi Chuan (Yang Style) under Master Kao Tao.

Dr. Yang practiced Tai Chi with Master Kao for nearly three years. During this period, he learned the Yang style barehand form, Tai Chi breathing, and Chi circulation exercises. This was the beginning of Dr. Yang's involvement with Chi Kung. Through his Tai Chi practice, Dr. Yang gained an understanding of the fundamentals of Chi Kung train¬ing, especially the sitting practice for small circulation (Sheau Jou Tian).

When Dr. Yang was eighteen, he enteredTamkangCollegein Taipei Hsien to study Physics. While there, he began the study of Shaolin Long Fist (Chang Chuan) with Master Li Mao-Ching. At the same time, he advanced his Tai Chi training with Master Li. Later, he also practiced and studied together with his classmate Mr. Wilson Chen, who was learning Tai Chi Chuan with one of the most famous Tai Chi masters inTaipei, Master Chang Shyang-Shan. From these efforts, and through the continued studying of Tai Chi and Chi Kung books, Dr. Yang and Mr. Chen were able to greatly increase their understanding of the internal arts.

In 1971 Dr. Yang completed his M.S. degree in Physics at theNationalTaiwanUniversity, and then served in the Chinese Air Force. After his honorable discharge, he returned toTamkangCollegeto teach Physics and resume study under Master Li Mao-Ching.

In 1974, Dr. Yang came to theUnited Statesto study Mechanical Engineering atPurdueUniversity. Dr. Yang founded the Purdue University Chinese Kung Fu Research Club and also taught college credited courses in Tai Chi Chuan. In 1978 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.

In 1980, Dr. Yang went toHoustonand worked for Texas Instruments. While inHoustonhe founded Yang's Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, which was taken over by his student, Mr. Jeffery Bolt, after he moved toBostonin 1982. While Dr. Yang was continuing his engineering career, he also founded Yang's Martial Arts Academy (YMAA) on October 1,1982 inBoston.

 

In January of 1984 he gave up his engineering career to devote more time to research, writing, and teaching inBoston. Dr. Yang has also travelled toFrance,Italy,England,Poland,West Germany, andSwitzerlandto share his knowledge through lectures and seminars. Dr. Yang has written fourteen books and published six videotapes. The organization has continued to expand, and, as of July 1st 1989, YMAA has become just one division of Yang's Oriental Arts Association, Inc. (YOAA, Inc).

 

FOREWORD

 

Since Chinese acupuncture was introduced to the Western world, the idea of Chi and its circulation in the human body has gradually become recognized and accepted by Western doctors and the general public. More and more, people in this country are turning to acupuncture treatments or trying Chi Kung, and as they tell their friends of their good experiences, the reputation of these Oriental arts increases.

Practicing Chi Kung (which is the science of working with Chi, the energy within the body) can not only maintain your health and mental balance, but can also cure a number of illnesses without the use of any drugs. Chi Kung uses either still or moving meditation to increase and regulate the Chi circulation.

When you practice regularly, your mind will gradually become calm and peaceful, and your whole being will start to feel more balanced. However, the most important result that will come from the regular practice of Chi Kung is your discovery of the inner world of your body's energy. Through sensing and feeling, and examining your inner experiences, you will start to understand yourself not only physically but also mentally. This science of internal sensing, which the Chinese have been studying for several thousand years, has usually been totally ignored by the Western world. However, in today's busy and confusing society, this training is especially important. With the mental peace and calmness that Chi Kung can provide, you will be better able to relax and enjoy your daily work, and perhaps even find real happiness.

I believe that it is very important for the Western world to learn, study, research, and develop this scientific internal art immediately and on a wide scale. I believe that it can be very effective in helping people, especially young people, to cope with the confusing and frightening challenges of life. The general practice of Chi Kung would reduce the mental pressure in our society, help those who are unbalanced, and perhaps even lower the crime rate. Chi Kung balances the internal energy and can heal many illnesses. Older people especially will find that it will maintain their health and even slow the aging process. In addition, Chi Kung will help older people to conquer depression, and to find peace, calmness, and real happiness.

 

I am confident that people in the Western world will realize, as have millions of Chinese, that Chi Kung practice will give them a new outlook on life, and that it will turn out to be a key to solving many of todays problems.

For these reasons, I have been actively studying, researching, and publishing what I have learned. However, after a few years of effort, I feel that what I have accomplished is too slow and shallow. The reason for this is simply that YMAA is young and lacks the financial foundation to handle such a large and important job. I and the few people like me who are struggling to spread the word about Chi Kung cannot do it well enough by ourselves. We need to get more people involved, but we especially need to have universities and established medical organizations get involved in the research.

Since I came toUnited Statesin 1974,1 have dreamed of introducing the traditional Chinese Chi Kung treasures to Western society. It is only in the last few years that this dream has gradually begun to be realized. In 1982 YMAA was organized, and in 1989 YOAA, Inc. was established. YMAA is publishing two series of Chi Kung books. The first series is for the Chi Kung beginner, and the second series is in-depth books for more experienced Chi Kung practitioners. The first book and videotape of the introductory series was "The Eight Pieces of Brocade.'' This book, "The Essence of Tai Chi Chi Kung," is the second of the introductory series. It will include an introduction to Chi Kung theory, which cannot be provided effectively in the videotape that is published in conjunction with this book.

PREFACE

 

In the last twenty years, the Chinese concept of "Chi" has gradually come to be understood by the Western public and accepted by modern medical society. It is now believed that Chi is the "bioelec-tricity" circulating in the human body. It is only in the last twenty years that the field of bioelectricity has gradually opened up in modern science. Because of the interest in this new field of study, and also because of the more open communication with Chinese culture, this field will probably bloom in the next twenty years. The most obvious indications of this are the widespread acceptance of acupuncture treatment for illness and the popularity of Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan.

Surprisingly, the main reason for the popularity of Tai Chi Chuan is not its martial potential, but rather its ability to improve health. Although it is a martial art, Tai Chi Chuan brings the practitioner to a high level of body relaxation, calmness, and peace of mind. Most important of all, it improves the internal Chi circulation, which is the key to maintaining health and curing many illnesses.

Unlike other internal martial styles such as Hsing Yi, Ba Kua, and Liu Ho Ba Fa, the beginning training of Tai Chi Chuan is completely relaxed and the use of the muscles is reduced to a minimum. Because of this, it can be practiced by people of all ages. According to my personal teaching experience, a large percentage of people beginning Tai Chi are ill or elderly. Especially inChina, Tai Chi is well known for its ability to improve or even cure many illnesses, notably problems of the stomach, lungs, heart, kidneys, high blood pressure, arthritis, mental disorders, and many others. Once you understand the principles of Chi Kung and Tai Chi training theory, * you will be able to understand how this can be.

Although Tai Chi Chuan can give you a relaxed body and a calm mind, the most important benefit you can gain is a higher level of understanding of life and nature. Tai Chi leads you to the path by which you can use energy to communicate with nature. This is the path to both physical health and mental or spiritual health. Once you have achieved this, how can you wonder about or be unsure of the meaning of life?

 

The Chi Kung sets used in Tai Chi Chuan are simple exercises which give you a feeling for your Chi, and start you on the road to understanding how to work with your Chi. It does not just improve your Chi circulation, it is the key to the successful practice of Tai Chi Chuan for either health or martial purposes. In fact, there is not much difference between Tai Chi Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan itself. Ail of the requirements for correct practice are exactly the same for both of them. The only difference is that the Chi Kung forms are much simpler than the Tai Chi Chuan movements. This allows the practitioner to concentrate all of his effort on improving his ability to feel inside his body. Some of the forms in the Chi Kung sets are actually simplified movements adapted from the Tai Chi Chuan sequence.

There are a number of different styles of Tai Chi Chuan, each with their own Chi Kung sets. In this book I will introduce the ones which have been passed down to me from my masters. The first chapter will review the historical background of Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chuan, and introduce the general theoretical and training concepts of Chi Kung. The second chapter will discuss the root or essence of the Tai Chi training theory: Yin and Yang. Finally, the third chapter will introduce the Tai Chi Chi Kung exercises.

 

CONTENTS

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR FOREWORD PREFACE

Chapter 1. General Introduction...................................................

1-1. Introduction........................................................................... ....... 1

1-2. The Definition of Chi and Chi Kung........................................ ........ 2

1-3. A Brief History of Chi Kung.................................................... ........ 4

1-4. Categories of Chi Kung........................................................... ....... 9

1-5. A Brief History of Tai Chi Chuan............................................ ..... 17

1-6. Chi Kung Theory.................................................................... ..... 20

1-7. General Concepts of Chi Kung Training.................................. ..... 24

1-8. Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung.................................................. ..... 36

1-9. How to Use This Book.............................................................       39

 

Chapter 2. The Root of Tai Chi Chuan - Yin and Yang................. 41

2-1. The Concept of Yin and Yang,Kanand Lii..............................   41

2-2. Yin and Yang in Tai Chi Chuan.............................................    45

 

Chapter 3. Tai Chi Chi Kung.......................................................... 54

3-1. General Training Concepts...................................................... 54

3-2. Fundamental Training Principles............................................ 55

3-3. Warm-Up Chi Kung............................................................... 57

3-4. Still Tai Chi Chi Kung...........................................................   69

Nei Dan Sitting Meditation.....................................................   70

Wai Dan Standing Meditation.................................................. 80

3-5. Moving Tai Chi Chi Kung                                                        85

Stationary Tai Chi Chi Kung................................................... 87

  1. Primary Set................................................................ 87
  2. Coiling Set.................................................................. 101
  3. Rocking Set................................................................ 114

Walking Tai Chi Chi Kung                                                       124

Chapter 4. Conclusion.................................................................... 135

Appendix A- Glossary of Chinese Terms....................................... 136

Appendix B. Translation of Chinese Terms.................................. 145