Thursday, April 21, 2016

Golden Rooster Part 3, Practicum

The three lessons that Master Liang received from the Taoist Yang consisted of physical, mental, and energetic techniques.

The first lesson involved practicing the steps in the solo form in a particular manner.  The practice is to step with a perfectly empty step, fully relaxing the insubstantial leg, and then trying to maintain as much of that relaxed feeling as you gradually transfer the weight into that leg and make it the substantial leg. Think of a relaxation scale from 0 to 10.  Zero representing collapsed and 10 representing tense.  Depending on the action, relaxation is going to be a one, two, or three on that scale.  That scale looks like this'

 0 = Collapsed  1,2,3 = Relaxed  5 = Dynamic Tension  10 = Tense

As you shift, you try to keep the numbers down, or from jumping dramatically.This is why Master Liang used to always say, "To get a root, you must pay particular attention to the gradual shifting of the weight from one foot to the other." This is the physical technique.

The second lesson is to put the mind on the Bubbling Well Point/K1 of the substantial foot.  This is done during standing meditation,while holding solo form postures, then moving through the postures, and also in the willow exercise of pushing hands. It uses a combination of mind, weight, and gravity to achieve "sink." This is the mental technique.

The third lesson is to use the mind intent, the Yi or will, to direct the ch'i to the Bubbling Well Point.  This is done in sitting and standing meditation as well as the solo form.  Using mind and breath to guide the energy down the leg meridians, the ch'i would bring with it not only the intentions and thoughts, but energy, breath, and tension. This is the energetic technique.

Master Liang not only incorporated these teachings into his personal practice, he use them in his teaching methods.  Not only in his classes, but in his writings you will find references either directly or indirectly to these three methods of how to "relax and sink."  Those are the secrets.  Now, are you disappointed, or inspired?

If you are interested in a movie of the various ways to practice Golden Rooster, and more in depth explanation and demonstration of Three Methods, e-mail me for information.

And the answer to the mysterious number "72." Here it is from Mike Cain;

"The number of daily iterations was chosen based on some simple, but important criteria, and then confirmed by philosophy and practice.

The first and foremost requirement was a number that resulted in at least 10,000 repetitions in a year. This (whole) number is 28.

The second requirement was to practice 10,000 repetitions on each side - left and right. This results in 56.

There was a keen desire to have a number that represented multiples of 9. Historically the number 9 is associated with the attributes of harmony, long lasting, and to have enough.

The number 56 is not divisible by 9 so another, larger number is needed. How about 63? Unfortunately, an even number is required for balance.

How about 72!  It is greater than 56, it is divisible by 9 and it is even.  Furthermore, 72 divided by 9 is 8, another even number. And 8 is associated with prosperity, wealth and luck.

In practice, 72 iterations provides plenty of opportunity to explore, learn, adapt and really feel the changes - all attributes of Tai Chi."

I hope you have enjoyed, learned from, and been inspired from this series of blogs.  I will begin posting a series on pushing hands, stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Doubly inspired, especially given that these three lessons have always been incorporated throughout your own teaching methods. I have been privileged (undeservingly) to have experienced this deep tradition, a tradition whose flame you continue to carry forward. Thank You Sifu, Ralph