Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Taking the Principles of Practicing Taichi to the qin playing
Playing qin is pretty much related to practicing Taichi (or Taijiquan). Here I attempted to translate the 10 principles of practicing Taichi to English. The Chinese part was taken from Zhengzi Taichiquan.
Many concept are not easy to translate due to my limited English skill. If anyone has better idea, please let me know. I'll be very appreciate it.
1, Xū líng dǐng jìn : "Xu" means empty, humble, void or abstract, the opposite of solid, or concrete. "Ling" means spirit. "Ding Jin" means that the head is upright, so the spirit goes to the top. However, don't use force. Using force, the neck will become stiff and the blood circulation won't be smooth. Keep the idea of emptiness and nature. If there is no emptiness, then the spirit and energy cannot be raised.
2, Hánxiōng bá bèi : Han Xiong means that the chest is a little bit sunk in, in order to let the energy go down to the Dantian. Make sure that the chest is not elongated and standing out. If the chest is elongated and out, the qi energy will all stay in the chest area, and that will cause a heavier top and lighter bottom, and the heels will become unstable. While the back should be a little bit pulled, in order to enable the force energy to come out from the back to protect the whole body to be invincible.
3, Sōng yāo, loosen waist: Our waist dominates the whole body. If one can loosen the waist, then the two legs become stronger, and the lower part of the body becomes stable. All the changes of abstract and concrete are ruled by the action of the waist. Therefore, the source of energy is at the waist. If there is no effective energy, one must be pursued from the waist and legs.
4, Fēn xūshí, distinguish the "abstract (emptiness)" and "concrete (solidness)": The most important principle of Taichiquan is the distinguishing of abstract and concrete. If the weight is on the right leg, then the right leg is the concrete one and the left leg is the abstract one, and vice versa. After distinguishing the abstract and concrete, then the movement will become more easy without using any force. If one cannot distinguish the abstract and concrete, the steps will become heavy and stagnant, and standing will become unstable and easy to be pushed by others.
5, Chén Jiān Zhuì Zhǒu, drop shoulders and elbows: Shoulders should be relaxed and sagging, otherwise the shoulders will be shrugging, and the qi energy will follow the shoulder up, which will cause the whole body not to have efficient energy. While the elbows are also dropped, so shoulders won't shrug. This way the energy won't be easily broken by outside force.
6, Yòngyì bùyòng lì, using mind but not using force: All the theory that Taijiquan talks about is on the idea of using the mind but not using the force. Practicing Taijiquan, the whole body has to be loose, in order not to let any clumsy energy stay in between blood and vessels, muscles and bones to constrain oneself. Then one can move easily and freely. When there is no energy blockage, then the mind can guide the qi energy to wherever the intention is. After much practicing, blood and qi energy flows through the whole body without blockage, and one can gain the real inner force. As Taijiquan theory often says that after the extreme soft, is the extreme power. When you see a master of Taijiquan, his or her arms are like iron covered with cotton, full of inner force.
7, shàngxià xiāng suí, up and down coordinate with each other: The root is at the feet, developed to the legs, ruled by the waist, formed to the fingers, all that has to achieve as a whole. Hand moves, waist moves, feet moves, and the eyes also follow the movement, then it is said the up and down are coordinated with each other. If there is one part not following the movement, that is scattered.
8, Nèiwài xianghé, inside and outside matched: Taiji practicing is focused on the spirit (or mind), so it is called that the spirit is the master, and the body is driven by the master. The forms are basically no more than "opening" and "combining", "abstract" and "concrete". "Open" means not only the hands and legs are open, but the mind is open as well. "Combine" means not only the hands and legs are coordinated, the mind is also merged. Inside and outside are as a whole, without any space in between.
9, Xiānglián bùduàn, continuous connection without any break: If the force has any break, the old force cannot connect to the new force, that is the weakest time to let outside force to take advantage. Taijiquan does not use force but mind, from the beginning to the end, continuous, round and round, endless cycle. Just like the endless flow in the Long River. It is also like pulling a silk thread, which all mean the continuous energy.
10, Dòng zhōng qiú jìng dòngjìng hé yī, While moving, seeking the stillness; the moving and the stillness are as one: Too much jumping up and down will use too much energy. Taijiquan is using the stillness to control the moving energy. The slower the better for practicing all movements. When it is slow, the breath will be long. The qi energy will sink to the Dantian, therefore there will be no problem caused by sudden excitement. The learner should carefully experience it, then one can understand the essential meaning.