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Keep the energy moving

Sifu continually tells us that the energy must move. The cycle has to be continuous. I have listened to this and thought, "Ok, the energy must keep moving." But, I have realized that I don't comprehend this yet. When someone applies force to my arms, I meet the force and my abdomen becomes very full and hard. Sifu said that the fullness needs to be there but it needs to move to the mingmen. I need help understanding this. The abdominal fullness remains; even though I move to open the mingmen. Any body, every body, HELP! ;)

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It's a rainey Sunday here in the desert today, & I have lots of time, so I'll give this question a go.

 

The quality of fullness in your belly becomes stagnant chi if you do not move it. It’s quite easy to become enamored of that quality, as in itself, it has a way of sort of capturing your mind. You can use a full belly to enhance your root, to pivot others out, to absorb punches, & such. So, you’ve succeeded martially in getting a certain amount of energy from the ground thru your feet & legs into your Dan Tien. That’s commendable, but you don’t want to be ‘captured’ by that quality.  I agree with Sifu (of course), that you can’t stop there with your chi in your belly.  I’ve spent decades enjoying that belly energy, thinking it was ‘the way’, but no longer. ILC has woken me up to the truth that the energy must move. So what to do? The  old adage of “using your mind to direct the chi” helps me.

 

I take the physical sensation of fullness in the belly & direct it with my mind to my entire back. There appears to be a sort of ‘crossing,’ where the energy in the front travels on a rising slant to the Ming Men. It then appears to come up the back,  and, for me, across the tops of the arms & can issue out the hands, although otherwise it sweeps down the soft yin side of the hands & front of the body back to the belly. Keep in mind that the correct path has the chi going up over the head down the front, where it switches to yin in the face & palms & returns to your belly. Personally in my own work now, the chi gets stuck in my neck, so I don’t have the proper flow. Only occasionally does the force move properly as regards my crown. This appears to have something to do with how the crown acts as a sort of counter balance beam, which then interacts with the ground & gravity.  

 

I experience that chi has an aspect of gravity to it that originates out of the ground & sort of push/pulls simultaneously through your body in a spiraling fashion. The funny thing about trying to observe your chi is that it moves unbelievably fast! One might think the opposite. I did!  It is in sitting meditations  & Chi Kung work that I get my best ‘observations’, but it is in applications that I get the best ‘results’. There’s a quality of constant expense & renewal with the chi. In other words, you’re constantly using (it), yet also constantly renewing it. Perhaps that’s why the nature of chi is to not store it. Another conundrum seems to be that if you use your mind or attention to watch the chi, the best results come from maintaining a deep Sung in both you mind and body. So you might try, say, bringing the sense you have in your belly to your back, then to your palms, whiling maintaining an immersive relaxation. If you get that, then bring it into your skull, down your face, past your throat, & out to your palms. From there if you can drop it back down the front into your belly that would be the path. From there I believe the chi condenses down thru the legs where the flow begins in the center of the feet again, traveling the whole cycle… Sifu is quite clear on the actual correct path. What I’m saying is only my best understanding…

I find that the Macrocosmic Orbit exercise helps me with chi flow quite a lot.  I also like Chi Kung practice a lot because it seems to amplify the flow. Also, consider taking your time. We can only live at the speed of our own lives. You’ve got it to your belly , it will eventually go to your back. The chi knows where to go, directing it with your mind is often more about only observing it. The actual physical sensation I mostly get is akin to placing your hands on the surface of something which has flowing water under it, like feeling water flow thru a faucet into a tub. But to be exactly clear, the flow is more of a ‘cascade’, like water flows over a waterfall.The Yang feels like hardening cement. The Yin feels like puddling water on top of that cement. In between lies the bones. The water like Yin constantly flows down into the center of our feet, somehow 'renewing' the cycle. Freaky maybe, but those are the best words I can throw at it all at this juncture.

Another point: You never want to think you can 'rush' the chi.  Patience in this endeavor really is a virtue. The truth seems to  be that the chi is always present, & always moving, and at a speed generally beyond normal perception. I'm not talking here about meridian chi, which if blocked at some points produces symptoms or illness. I'm referring to the bone chi &  the chi of "conducting vessels", which are basically just pathways. The Governing & Conducting Vessel chi found in the Microcosmic (smaller cycle) Orbit, & which I believe operate in our Macrocosmic Orbit work, nourish the deepest bone chi. When you need powerfull chi, my experience is that it arises out of the bones. Your chi,  by being stagnant by remaining in your belly, is tantamount to how stagnant meridian chi works. That is, if you have some symptom, & a practicioner applys needles to various points, they are endeavouring to remove a blockage of chi. You set some needles above the affected point, below it, sometimes but seldom on it, & Wallah! The chi gets pushed thru. You feel better. Stagnant chi on chi pathway routes (the vessel routes) work similarly, except that  these pathways are much larger, (like much more 'pipe'),  & so the resulting symptoms can be rather severe. You don’t want stagnant chi. Trust me on that! For me, it inverted my breathe, so that in my Tai Chi Chuan practice of the past with both form & applications, my breathe moved directly opposite of what the proper methods are. I think this came about by trying to root too earnestly, learning to absorb punches & pushes, & hitting. Inverted breathe can amplify all these things, but it's not good for you, -unbalances your mind & your internal organs. And that feels very unhealthy.

The oppurtunity our wonderful Art provides us is that it allows us to properly cycle our inherent life force chi. It's  just one jewel in a large box though. What a wonderful, wonderful system! Thank you Sigong! Thank you Sifu! And good luck to you!