Monday, August 10, 2009


Anyone who starts to practice awaits something. This is because in their daily lives, in listening to her body and his emotions, something is wrong. It is difficult to determine what "something", it is not defined, it is not clear but it is still there.

We can believe that everything is going well and that we are moving towards a practice to "refine" the perfection of our perfect ... but actually not, if all went well, if we were in tune with life, the phenomena and changes, we should not be looking for a practice.

We try to forget and cover this "empty" feeling by a feverish activity, many with sex, shopping, drink and food, but there is only pathological love relationships and dependency or television. This external "filling" cannot overcome our internal emptiness.

The discovery of an opportunity of another choice, to meet with a teaching that should "help", has created a new disease: waiting.

Now that we have found the solution in a spiritual practice or energetic (it's the same thing!), We want results! Like in the market, we invest 10 euros in carrots and we want a lot of vegetables ... unfortunately it is a little different with regard to the practice.

The latter must pass through three distinct stages that we tend to mix and and which lead to a real confusion (we should not be confused!).

These three stages are:

* training;

* Intentional practice or studious,

* The natural practice.

In the training phase we will work the exercises and practices which are not the Essence itself. For example, in the years of meditation exercises we learn to feel the "meditative state", but there are no exercises which are meditation (see "we should not be confused"). We must understand that in the training phase, we do not practice, we learn to practice. We seek to integrate intellectual exercises so that they become "habits" and are used with the minimum of intent and imagination. Take the subway, when you go for the first time in your life to a destination which will become a daily trip, like a new job or a new apartment, you are very careful on the trip. At each station you watch where you are relative to the destination, the route that you have and every step is a discovery. You stay on an alert and mentally: "I'm in the right place?" "will it be long?" ...

After two trips, two hundred or two million, you're sitting, relaxed, knowing every part of the progression of the train, and you can even have an activity, such as reading or work, without missing your stop. This is comparable to the end of the learning phase, which is more or less long according to the people.

We leave the training phase when we can do this exercise without thinking, without going to memory (or very little) and an soft and almost silent intention. "But I am never out of the learning phase!" I hear you say ... well yes! Hence the immobility of the practice that you undertake!

Thereby hampering the transition of training of the practice of awareness of these two stages. When we learn, we do not really, so do not wait. In the absence of waiting, you'll slip into the practice. Voilà!

When you start to practice, after a more or less laborious learning phase, phenomena may occur. These perceived changes are another possible blockage to the accomplishment of your training. In the phenomena, which do not matter, we have the unfortunate habit of attaching to a host of unnecessary thoughts. This attachments to the moments of perception of our practice reminds us that we "expect" something, the results ... "I am currently feeling this or that?", "Am I on track?", "Is this a sign of accomplishment? "... so many questions about phenomena that do not matter who we bring to this expectation, this need to know that it will get better, that we are good students.

In practice, and incorporated into daily life, we must seek our own. It is actually quite simple in theory, practice for anything than practice for any purpose, but the reverse is in fact the reality.

Our practices take us back to a loss of our mental structures, our structure separated from the world, our ego. This loss of structure is fatal to our mind, she blends into the rest of the universe and makes us lose our individuality. In our daily practices, our ego will survive on the basis of new limits in our teaching: hence comes our commitment to our certainties about our practice and our teacher, waiting to feel better and become better and all these recent defences of survival of our discriminative mental activity.

We can practice by strengthening our minds and our imagination, going to the opposite of what we release and amplifying the sensation of unease linked to our "me determined and unique", which will multiply our expectations because it is worse and worse, under the guise of mystical-spiritual-energetical confusing and destructive. As an example we can cite the bogus "non-violent" in some ways that are ready to kill "meat eaters", or beat up those who insulted their guru ...

To go in the direction of a peaceful practice, practice is the goal of practice. It is good to pass!

When practice begins, nothing changes. We're not going to transform into anything. It is unnecessary to grow our hair and to eat incense, we will stay as we are. All the changes that we are trying is a way to hide this expectation that we lack: the bright colours of our garments will alleviate the stiffness of the body and the sadness of our thoughts, forced sessions of "silent" meditation (in appearance) will parody an internal silence which we lack, the soft-spoken voice and the non-violence will conceal as much of our fear as of others and the world.

All attempts to visibly change to others is a way to demonstrate our performance, our mind tries to show that we are right, that we are better than others, different ... still waiting to be better!

But the practice does not change, the performance does nothing, we will remain what we were before our birth and which will continue after our death. In everyday life, we "work" just relax in silence and make us what we are, without the acquired blockages and without mundane conditioning.

There is nothing to seek, nothing to add. We will gently practice without expectation, to what we are. We will not add anything or learn, we will seek to return to a spontaneous phase with the changes of life. Without a morbid, compulsive use, for which the mind is used in everyday life. Without getting lost in the maze of our imagination, which is based on the past and projecting hopes in the future, we live free in the present. Leaving the time frame, we will enter the world of perceptions without the filter of the world of thoughts. Without this bad link to the time of past and future, we leave waiting: we abandon the fantasy of the imagination that comes from the past and we don't plan hope in the future, there is no more waiting, we practice, we live.

While the secret of the practice, is the practice. This simple practice that demands only that we follow what we are advised by our teacher, our feelings. By implementing these simple and practical teachings, we are moving towards a life with this clear sensation and devoid of compulsive thoughts. The relaxation allows us to live in peace and silence, without attachment to the images of an imposed separation from the world.

Oh, by the way, she lost the feeling of unhappiness ...


Forms of Training

In all traditional martial arts there is the idea of pre-choreographed movements that often symbolise a struggle in emptiness or boxing with his shadow. Apart from the style of sword and a few more rare styles, forms are a solo practice which aim to refine his technique and to better understand the movements that characterise his art.

The forms are done with bare hands or with a weapon and are supposed to help master his technique, his movement, breathing and changing his way of moving. The concept is very interesting; to practice exactly the movement that we will use in life can be very useful to enhance the neuromuscular patterns. But in fact the forms are of little value. They are important for competition and for demonstrations, not for combat or for energy work.

I will not dwell on the details of the competition or demonstrations because this is not what interests us here. Also as the work requires a high concentration of energy, it is recommended to use simpler movements than those that can be found in the forms. From the standpoint of the struggle, the idea of working combinations of strikes is interesting to loosen joints and muscles to work. However, it is a harmful practice where we seek to apply the same combinations in real fighting.

The idea of combat is close to the idea of chaos, nothing is planned and nothing is determined.

If one undertakes predefined movements quickly versus his instincts, the value remains certain in combat. There are several obvious ways to practice daily. First, it is important to relax using complex forms that will also coordinate the work of the body.

Repeating a form regularly helps to better position your body in space. Then, if the forms are long and dynamic it enables practitioners to develop a better physical condition. But we find the interests that I just listed in gymnastics. If this gives us the same opportunities that the arts of fighting, why we bother to practice the arts of combat?

You should know that 95% of forms that we know of date back 200 years or so, which corresponds to a time when martial arts are coming out of being secret to becoming a business. There are ways that show the essence of an art form, but adapted for demonstration. Moreover they represent a way to fight and combat concepts that are hopelessly out of date.

To mention just three: some jump kicks that were used against cavalry with complex movements to strip the neck of an opponent wearing armour or techniques of disarmament against a warrior equipped with a lance.

The forms that have a profound interest are forms with very simple movements and that are repetitive. Why not do a form not directly repeating these movements you say? Looking at the progress made by the athletes (to take this example) leading the 100 m race, the top Olympic athlete of the century and an athlete from last year did not have at all the same performance. The reason is that we have a much better understanding of physical training and methods than before. The best way to train the body to be in any order is to train the way we start with the body, we try to coordinate breathing with movement, it is only then that we will use meditative techniques that are intended to calm the emotions and multiply the intention. Therein lies the beginning of energy work.

See already how to train the body.

The latter consists of several segments and the logic dictates that you train each segment separately from the others and then unifies the entire body in each movement. To follow the logic of the Taoist arts but also to avoid turning her gymnastic into a practice of memory, the physical movements used in both meditation, chi kung, and the arts of combat.

To begin we take the muscles attached to the more static and more tense joints in the body (those seem to be the shoulders and hips). We will review each and every muscle group to achieve articulation on finer parts such as fingers or toes. Each series of exercises will be repeated each day over a period of two to three months (but could extend this period in case of underperformance).

These will be followed by other exercises tailored to the most important segments remaining in a specified time. The practice will be enriched by performing various exercises aided by objects, rubber bands or weights. Emphasis is on quality of training rather than quantity. For this, the exercises should be performed slowly to be felt fully and analyzed.

Limbs must seek to be in torsion / rotation to achieve the "sponge". They must be checked at every moment that the neuromuscular patterns are precisely in the sensory memory of the body and of course, to acquire, the exercises should be repeated every day for a given period. The slow exercises that are found in all Chinese internal arts and some yoga are a utility to bring the practitioner to a total control of the movement. Perform the exercises too quickly and we can not reveal the imperfections that we would if we do the gesture slowly.

We just look for movements that are perfectly aligned with the joints and respect the lines of force of the body. It is only when this movement will be fully integrated into the slow then with speed, then we can have gesture which is more aware than a conscious concentration. At this stage we can consider moving on to more important things like moving the energy, regulate breathing, or work on the emotions. Moreover, in the difficult conditions of a physical confrontation (I speak here of the arts of combat) or a period of serious illness (which joins the chi kung), the mind is disturbed.

When the mind can not focus perfectly, without interference, it must be able to rely on the body that can not be disturbed. This is the principle of habit: it takes months to successfully make a trip or something without thinking. However, it is very difficult to vary this movement or change its trajectory once the habit is ingrained in the body. It is the difference between an intellectual or mental repetition and habit infused into the cells of the body.

Torsion / rotation of muscle is found in all yoga exercises and stretching: the idea is to drain blood from an area by precise muscular movements "wringing" and torsion (the principle of a sponge that is emptied of its water), then let the blood fill the muscle again when you release the pressure. The repetition of these movements will increase the vascularisation of the target area. In traditional Chinese texts say that where there is blood there is energy and where there is energy there is the blood. Thus increasing blood flow means increased circulation of energy.

In contrast to the forms we have spoken above, we can already see that this is not gymnastics, but it is good chi Kung. The combination of all these sensations, these breaths, the movement of energy and the regulation of emotions can have a style of chi kung in all respects similar (externally) to the movement of the arts of combat. These are simple and precise movements that seek little memory as each movement of the body and all gestures of training are fluid and logical. It is clear that the movement for fighting will be anchored in the body as will the movements of chi kung.

Thus a movement of very advanced chi kung may resemble a simple external one, and a small martial movement will develop a high power at impact. The more we advance in the Taoist arts and more we realize that all external movements take the same directions in three dimensions.

Each gesture is moving in space in one of six directions.

Whether "separate the tail of the bird" or "white crane spreads its wings" in tai chi, "the shape of the horse" in hsing yi, "the sixth change of palm" pa kua, this remains in any case an uppercut at 45 degrees and nothing more. If instead of wasting his time to carrying out all these forms without really knowing why, we worked directly with the direction that we want (diagonal up) we would move more easily to the point. If we developed training methods for this movement in these dimensions is more precise and involves the whole body, we gain time.

This time saved could then be used for things more important than the physical movements. It could be used for working mental, and emotional energy. This would reduce the number of movements performed by increasing the quality and understanding of them. With the habit of working on the concepts, the three dimensions and six directions, there will be no limit to the number of techniques that can explain or use without losing time to practice forms without interest that are not applied in the arts of combat or in the arts of health.

This training can work the whole body and each part of the progress is using the same gestures with inner work. Each body part will be stronger and all of it will be in better health. Each motion will be an effective technique for the arts of combat and arts for health. Never will we ask: "If I made the white crane that eats the leaves, then I do the driving tamarind or should I opt for the deadly turnstile ".

Muscle "Contractibility"

Muscle, like our mind cannot do two things at once. Either it is at relaxation, ready for use, or it is in function and therefore unusable. It is sometimes possible to find a median, which is pathological or transitional (aches or injuries). For a rapid response, without interference facing a stimulus ,it should be that our muscle are always in a state of alertness but relaxed ... hmmm, the paradoxes begin.

In such a situation, we are often mired in unimportant verbal jousts and we reach more to find words. Afterwards, we did not want to say this or that. During the altercation, our mind was tense due to a projection into the future or the memories of the past, too occupied to access the present, we were totally paralysed.

That is what state our body is in much too often!

What we are looking for through the practice, a body that consumes as little energy as possible, not stupidly using it but one which responds instantly when it is appropriate. We are helped in life by natural 'drugs' manufactured by the body, they allow us to overcome. But our mind is so tormented by our compulsive thoughts and we are so ignorant of the mechanisms of defence that it cripples rather than helps us. Discharge of adrenaline that goes through our body in an emergency will often be interpreted as a feeling of weakness. In reality it is a feeling of lightness that is there to be followed by action, "contractibility" perfect our muscles to be ready for anything.

Our body should be relaxed to respond appropriately to these signals, otherwise it requires terrible effort to struggle between a desire to remain paralysed, and this "involuntary" (the principle of life of each cell) natural call to be ready to act. For this relaxation, it is necessary to have a daily practice that will keep our structure in its natural state of relaxation. The "relaxation" has nothing to do with softness advocated by the hysterical followers of the illusion of non-violence. It is a transient state between two actions of life, the simple or complex. The body is toned but not hard, the mind relaxed but not asleep.

Our mind is an essential factor for the relaxation of the body. In a spontaneous action, there is no unnecessary energy expenditure. In an action gavée thoughts contradictory and confused, the body is tense and frustrated in a packaging of "wrong doing". The work of the relaxation of the body through relaxation of our "box thinking". For an exercise to be useful, it must not be intellectualized early in the learning phase: This is it useful to just follow the advice of his teacher without asking too many questions. When the whole body / mind is relaxed in the realization of the gesture, suitable or not, then it is time to discuss. Too often young practitioners seeking to discuss the form and what they will do before they have outlined the slightest gesture. The professor who returned with them in a debate of ideas is a bad teacher: It flatters his ego in an argument through which he will spread his knowledge and spoil any chance of discovery of "young beetles. The professor who wishes to profoundly change his pupil not said anything except "to the job and shut up!".

The intention is to initiate actions, but it will quickly become a problem. With the intent, we all wait and hope in a gesture that would remain in the field of pure action. On a strike, the desire for power fantasies and the outcome will affect the success of it. The intention is a starter, as with a car of 80 years, but rolling out the choke with insurance is a very sad result.

The intent is useful in the learning phase, but still a handicap in the practice phase, while the use in the arts of combat, it is a disaster!

The achievement is a reflection of training and preparation is in the "Yi" (intent) will be useful. In practice it is a weight that clutters.

The exercises that have followed the stages of learning and practice will be ready for use. It will be unnecessary to add an intention, expectation or a prayer, it will be too late!

In Chinese medicine the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of all manifestations of energy in the body (blood, nourishing and defensive energy, body fluids). Tension of the mind or body hurts and then it is reluctant to do its job properly. Even from a cellular stress is tight and the cells that are less efficient for a given action. Too intentions reported number of practicing martial arts angry and sick, sad and a little crazy ... too much tension!

For their natural spontaneous gestures of a human being relaxed and healthy, we need to relax. The exercises without apparent purpose, the daily work on intimacy with our body and the work of recognition of our mind is what to do!