notes on the Chi Kung lesson
I had previously instructed my 10-year-old son Joe [then in 1999] to 'clap'
two pieces of wood together at certain times of the day to
indicate the end of each individual session. His instructions
were to simply enter the hall at exact times and make this
loud and 'alerting' sound. I then informed the students (and
instructors) that whenever they heard this sound they should
all immediately stop whatever it was that they were doing
and adopt the posture of
This is how some people would have us stand. This is OK for
a time and in the right situation. That situation is when
you are most tense and attempting to predict the unpredictable
and the length of time doing so would surely be better if
kept to a minimum.
As Chi Kung instructor I should have the easiest job in the
world! In an ideal world a Chi Kung instructor 'teaches' less
as students progress to whatever stage they decide themselves
to be 'enough' or the appropriate time to stop.
This is how some people would have us stand. This is OK
for a time and in the right situation. That situation is when
you are most tense and attempting to predict the unpredictable.
The length of time doing so would surely be better if kept
to a minimum. So, we yield. We adopt the posture:
Attention - Preparation
- Compare these two
Most of what is 'good'
about Attention has already been said.
Now might be a good
time to become aware of what is not so good about it.
from the top:
|Neck. This is stiff -
either squashed or stretched. Either way - Tense. Most
headaches are begun by tension in the neck.
|Shoulders. Pulled back
so that the muscles at the front are stretched and those
at the back compressed around the backbone restricting
its movement in every direction. As a result the centre
of gravity is raised and taken backwards.
|Chest. Filled, not with
air or breath but with all of the internal organs; which
are first squashed by this action and then flattened by
|Abdomen. There would be
less internal damage if the space vacated by the internal
organs [the abdomen] was at least partially filled with
air or breath. But it is not. It is sucked in as far as
possible and the breath at best short and sharp and at
|Arms. Pushed against the
side of the body. The elbows, which are designed to point
outwards, are made to point backward - because this looks
neater. The appearance is straight; the actuality is twisted.
|The scenario continues as we
travel downwards. Wrists and fingers stiff. Hips and legs
locked. Feet and ankles twisted. All the way down to -
in the very worse cases - toes curled!
|to compare the
The posture Preparation
can all be summed up as 'Yielding'.
Yielding to gravity, yielding to natural breathing.
Yielding to the body that you inhabit.
To assist in the practice
of the posture Attention I have suggest one visualisation.
"We 'imagine ourselves in a box".
I do not need to tell anyone how to "visualise"
'tense' do I?
In the practice of the
posture Preparation we visualise a different shape all together.
We visualise Circles. Circles that Protect - Not Imprison
here was to introduce 'wordless discipline' to all involved
that day and to experiment with the theory that "orders
are orders" and they must be obeyed. My other and main
flag had already been hoisted. "We are most fortunate
to be born as human beings". The fact that it was a
10-year-old that gave (by sound only) the order every
45 minutes made this all the more interesting! Secondary
fun was to simply involve my son in the day. He is a
very good timekeeper and considering the fact that he
was not taking part in the training (therefore not distracted
or concentrating on other things) he was, despite his
age and because of circumstances - the best person for
the job! The only session that he was present throughout
was the sitting and standing session that I took.
We are fortunate to be born as human
Not only are we able to do all of this we are also aware of
If attention is 'preparing to fight' Preparation is 'preparing
to not fight'. There are various reasons that a human being
should elect to not fight. One of these is that there is nothing
to fight. There is nothing to resist and nothing or no one
to defeat. There is no battle and there is no gain or loss.
Fortunate we may be but we should
also be aware of our limitations. This is one other thing
that I do not have too much trouble proving. Students prove
it to themselves soon enough.
All that I [the person that they see as a teacher] have to
do is ask them to stay in one position for a few minuets and
the wobbly knees prove the point conclusively. We all have
limitations. It is fortunate that we are able to find out
what they are.
My plan for this session was to simply continue repeating
this practice with the body [martial] long enough for those
that call themselves students to study it, understand it more
and perhaps approach the point where and when Martial Practice
may become Martial Art. This will inevitably involve creativity,
dexterity and imagination. Please, please do not set limits
to your endeavours before you have even begun. Your imagination,
like Chi Kung is limitless
We are fortunate to have been born
as Human Beings; being put together this way round
- able to stand walk do everything stood on just two legs.
Our bodies are equipped to undertake any reasonable task that
we may ask of it. The level of skilfulness that it accomplishes
this with depends almost entirely upon our minds.
We are fortunate to be born as human
beings and even more fortunate to have evolved so far
and in such a manner. All other creatures (except for in part
our nearest relatives - the apes) exist quite literally in
another dimension - horizontally as opposed to vertically!
For those 'unfortunates' all of their internal organs are
suspended within a body with what we call "a back" pointing
upwards. Most are somewhat limited in their abilities. Some
are unable even to stand up again if they fall down! For all
of them apart from the "domesticated" the name of the game
is simply survival. We are scientifically far more skilful
than any other species on the planet. Why is it then I wonder
that it is only this species, our species that seems to exist
in near permanent turmoil and conflict? No other species does
- apart from the turmoil and conflict that we give them. This
of course providing that we (human beings) have at some point
deemed them worthy or useful enough to continue their existence
at all. How fortunate we are. After ten minuets or so stood
variously in Attention and Preparation the group have reached
their limitations. So.
Having 'got' a group of fellow student's attention I had
to do my best to 'keep' it. I used time honoured "teacher
tricks" Informal chit- chat, little stories, useful tips etc.
These were also to a degree 'planed' but nevertheless 'informal'
in nature and therefore best [or most skilfully] imparted
in informally. These items need not then expanded upon any
further here other than to be listed as Novelty Items:
Bowing. Stood. Step back one pace
at start to avoid head clash! Keep eyes to the front - Warrior
Eye to rear
|man bows -elbows out
||woman bows - elbows
Maybe the only way to sit wearing two
swords. Why two swords? One for the enemy and one for the
Sitting Animal Postures. Sit like a tiger .like a monkey
. like a dog. Saddle Stance. Horse Stance. Tiger Claw.
I try to use simple words to convey a simple teaching yet
I know that it may be many years before some in the class
would hear it. I am here to encourage you and I urge you to
keep looking for something to look for. As you do I beg you
to understand that what you are looking for may take some
time to find. The 'limitless' often is. Yet the infinite may
also it could be realised in an instant because one end perhaps
one beginning of 'limitless' is right here now.
Gary Dai Chi Robinson
29/12/99 23:52:47 namuamidabutsu