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16 AUG 2012: Q's about Sitting


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I am hoping that Sifu and some of the more advanced students in AZ may chime in on this entry. It is something that I have wondered about for years. I have been getting mixed responses from people on this subject which is the importance of seated meditation.

I am going to state what I think here, so that my stance is clear: I think for my own personal development, a seated practice is required. The reason I say this is because when I was diagnosed with a movement disorder, nothing seemed to work-- none of the medication, prayer, or anything else. When I accepted that I would just have to deal with having tremors and began seated meditation which I learned from various books on Shaolin kungfu and Chan/Zen Buddhism, I became comfortable in my own skin... And,my tremors have never really been serious sense. So in that regard, seated meditation probably saved my life, in a sense. So it is important to me.

With that said, I get mixed opinions. A friend who first introduced me to internal martial arts, qigong and Taoism studies Taoist neigong with Share K. Lew. He is very adamant about a seated practice. Also, in an article that I read last month by an IMA teacher overseas who also practices Taoist neigong, he says the same thing, that people can stand and open things up, but at some point they must sit. 

Here is where the problem lies...I touched hands with someone who was really good...he said sitting is a waste of time. When asked about standing, he says it's the slow way of going about things. I have decided that he either knows some secret that he's not yet decided to reveal, he's lying, or in his experience those things have not produced any results. I am not at that level to say what...but it is a little troubling to hear all these things that for my 4 years now of playing Taiji, none of them really work. It just makes me wonder why there are so many secrets when, in this day and time, no one cares if you have real Taiji power. 

Anyway, to those reading this who have not met Sifu in person, you are really in for a treat when you do meet Sifu, and I hope you do. I am still trying to process everything that he's told me back in May,and I'm planning to go see Sigung's next month. I am sure that my brain will really be buzzing for the remainder of the year! Sifu teaches with no secrets, and I like that about him and about ILC. I can ask Sifu or Uncle Ashe about something and even if I get a slightly different answer, it's the same and definitely not b.s. to mislead me. That is definitely one thing that I hate about the martial arts scene in America. The way I see it, if you study this stuff, you are a geek, so you may as well be a geek who is really good!

Well, this turned slightly into a rant, but I was just wondering how people feel about seated practice? I feel like in an art that is focused around awareness, this is an important training tool to develop the skill that we want, so this more pertains to the Taoist material that Sifu also teaches-- if you all are allowed to discuss that at all. If not, I will just have to wait until I can visit my family out in AZ! :-)


sifu kelley's picture

prince, can you clarify for me what is meant by 'really good' and 'slow way of going about things'? what outcome? tell me more so i can help. :)

princenasir's picture

Whenever I say someone is really good, I just mean they are a lot better than me. I tried to run over this person, to really give them something to work with and they seemed to have no problem handling me even though I am physically stronger and in better physical shape than them. 

As far as the slow way of going about things-- it was referring to developing song in order to release power. I was really confused because the statement was that wuji standing is a slow way of developing relaxation, but his advice was then to do wuji standing and practice my forms with as much relaxation as possible. That's why I felt like there was something I wasn't being told. It's like me telling people at the YMCA, "I don't like working out with machines because you can get better results doing something that gives you better range of motion, now see this machine? I want you to do 2 sets of 10 twice a week for the next 3 months, okay?" 

Maybe I'm just overanalyzing things! 

Just like there are different schools of Taoist practice, I know there are multiple methods of training internal kungfu. I have just always wanted to ask people their feelings when it comes to sitting. I failed to mention in my entry, but I've even learned that some Yiquan schools in China have taught a sitting practice. Wang Xiang Zhai supposedly came up with many of the standing postures after observing a number of Buddhist statues on his travels around China,so this actually does not surprise me at all that there may have been a seated Zen component to their methods. 

sifu kelley's picture

I will be blunt. Relaxation is condition of balanced yin and yang in the body. Song is the process of relaxation. How can you generate anything from conditions and processes? Power comes from action. Conditions support actions.

The sort of action supported by song to which you refer is sinking. Sinking is one dimensional action and can only produce one dimensional power. Tai Chi action is three dimensional. One dimension means no Tai Chi. We produce three dimensional action.  Sinking requires root and we do not root. Remember our long Nashville discussion on the foot merely touching, the greater flow and the legs. I showed you clearly the limitations of root.

Never forget the following: There is no fast way, only effective or less effective traing. True and deep understanding will not be fast.

Just because a person can toss you around doesn't mean they have any real understanding or can help you to understand. One dimensional anything cannot follow Tai Chi and cannot take you to deeper practice. Our practice goes deep because we look into and follow Tai Chi principles.