TJ April 14, 2012

Sat. Apr. 14:  Went to a workshop lead by a taiji practitioner from the William CC Chen school.  IT was pretty much basic stuff... structure, release, central equilibreum, root, etc.   So some things happened in the body during some of the individual structural corrections that got me a little confused on a few things especially in regards to what it is we're doing in ILC and how that differs from what the taiji guys (and girls) are doing. 

Now, when the leader made specific changes to my structure I noticed that i felt much more vertical even though he was stressing much of the same points that Sifu has stressed, especially folding at the kua to get the shoulders over the hips as most people sort of lean back.  In fact, pretty much all of what he went over was almost the same as our stuff:  the greater flow circuit (he's actually the first one who's described the same path we use), not 'doing', release, etc.  The only big differences I noticed were that he didn't really make distinctions between yin and yang in the body, the yin and yang he described was mroe relative to movement, he talked of the movement coming from dantian only, and his idea of root was through the feet into the ground although it was different that what I have heard from other taijiers, his he said had nothing to do with the weight going down into the ground and that 'root' was a state or matter of yi or energetics.  That even an unweighted foot should have a great root, etc.

So, in the structure, I felt that the yin was suctioning and condensing and the yang was wrapping, expanding and projecting... but it was mostly on the surface.  Inside, I felt very much up and down with the fullness going in all directions 360 degrees.  Now, the ribs did tuck but it was seemingly only the floating ribs and the chest was dropping and suctioning, but it still felt full... is this ok?  He talked about dropping the chest down into the yao, it seemed to open the back a lot and I was wondering if this is what we're doing as well?  Overall it seemed that the body was lined up with the centers directly atop each other... so that the frontal mid-line of the body ran straight through the midline of the shoulder joints, the center of the hips and the center of the ankles, so that it was very verticle.  But it still seemed to rest in the yang of the back.  This alignment felt very full all the way through the body as if everything was passing straight down through the body, and body seemed very full and spacious on the inside and when I released enough it was as if the body disappeared, as if i didn't feel it anymore and the arms would just float up on their own.  This felt very nice and there was a ton of ease, and as long as i didn't 'do' anything the movements would happen.  But, something made me think this was mroe taiji and not so much ILC.  I don't know why I thought that.  And I also thought maybe I've just been doing the alignments that Sifu has been teaching us incorrectly and that this was what he has been saying the whole time.  I'm just not sure.

Sigong talked about a pole that runs from hui yin to the crown.  I felt this very strongly and it was as if the body expanded around this pole and the movements rotated around it.  But there was a lot of sinking going on and I wondered about the rising energy on the back side of the body, it didn't feel like a rising as much as a stretching so I got confused about whether that was correct.  So is the rising up the yin on the legs and the yang on the torso coming up the surface only?  That's what this felt like and I began to wonder if it was supposed to happen deep as well.  Also, the entire torso felt inflated in all directions except for the surfaces on the front, they seemed to suction, and the legs felt the same fullness especially when the kuas were nice and full and open and folded... but something about this said "sitting in the legs".  So I wondered, are the legs to be as full as the torso (or, is the entire body to be full and expanding like this inside) and how do I keep the energy on the center of the hips without making it go there (assuming this structure is what we're after)?

Another question I had to myself was... with this there is a ton of ease and 'not doing' and the body seems to disappear, is this what we're after as well?  But are we to feel the 13 points at all times? And if we do feel them, is that necessarily tension?

I guess my questions come from a number of things I noticed:  because this definitely gave me a great sense of 'stacking energy' that Sifu talks about all the time. I very much felt like a stack of plates sitting one atop another.  And I definitely felt the 'pole' running through the middle of the body.  There was a ton of ease and effortlessness, and the surfaces seemed to follow the expansion and condensing respectively.  I remember Sifu saying that even though there is suction and condense on the dantian... its not collapsed inward, its still full on the inside, so this is what makes me think this was correct.  And the upper body definitely seemed to sit and ride on the lower.

But at the same time, it seemed to be a lot going down, and the sense of rising as I've said was mostly on the surface.  It also felt (albeit it could be the case that it didn't look this way as I couldn't see myself) very very vertical, adn for some reason that seemed like it may not be what we want.  The feet felt like they became part of the ground, and I knew this couldn't be right as they weren't merely touching, as it felt as though everything in the body was running down and letting go, especially the joints letting go and opening, down through them. 

But... it was very open feeling, there seemed to be a ton of openness, and Sifu has said many times that we want to be very open.

So I guess I'm wondering is some of this correct as far as our method?  Is some of it simply not what we do? Is all of it to be scrapped?  Is all of it what we are going for and I've simply just been missing the sweet spots just barely here and there?  I'm hoping Sifu can talk a little about some of this as he has extensive background in both arts and can point out the whats and nots.

Comments

sifu kelley's picture

What you describe and in my experience, your up is not enough. A vertical torso will make you 'sit on your feet' rather than have the ILC quality of 'readiness on the feet'. Light and ready. Body transparent, full and light.

Feet merely touching the floor must be maintained. The feelings you feel are the result of alignment and sinking (song), but in ILC you must be able to balance the up with the down. it's very simple, if the feet are heavy, you are not balancing the down with the up. heavy feet are not ILC feet. Forget about the similar terminology or all the other feelings, the body feels open, full and relaxed when some of the qualities are present. All of the ILC qualities must include feet merely touching the floor.

Simple, yes? Keep looking deeper into your body and see what it takes to maintain the feelings of relaxation, fullness, etc and feet merely touching the floor. 

Letting go, releasing, ease, joints opening, etc. can be accessed through many disciplines and techniques, in ILC, the feet are merely touching the floor, indicating readiness in order to change with the change.

So... it's just the feet (i know there's more to it than that, but..) the other things were qualitites we wanted, the song, the joints...  I just need to get the up energy going by losing the  'sitting'.  I know i can get that in some practice.  I'm glad you could clear this up.  Thank you Sifu.