Monday, December 3, 2012

The degrees of simplicity

When progressing in one's practice, it is often difficult to see what is happening.

The teacher is there, but it is helpful to understand a few things.

"A practice without concept evolves blindly, but concepts without practice are sterile"

(A. Einstein)

You should see several things:

- The phenomena
- The levels of consciousness
- The stages of evolution
- The qualities that are developed

During training, it is possible to experience phenomenas, more or less intense, who have no importance, but that are real.

You feeling this or that, in the context of practice is always true, well if you feel it more than you imagine it ... but  it does not matter.

In the context of the evolution on the Way, the student will pass stages, change of level of consciousness, evolve towards a greater sensitivity to the reality but also feel for some time, another reality.

What you can perceive is analyzed in terms of your understanding, of your progress within the principles of evolution; indeed, it is only possible to understand with our mental tools of the moment.

The qualities that are developed will integrate within these perceptions with the present level of awareness.

These are different levels, different abilities, and a different work to evolve within each concept.


In acquiring more energy, we can be subject to "flashes" of reality that shock or awaken. The body being involved in this part of the training can send us new or old sensations at the level of perception.

All of this is real, since you can feel it, but do not get too attached to it.

Commenting them, dissecting them or speculating from these phenomena, is a waste of time, but also the mental's way of appropriating your experience.

It is very useful to share it with your teacher to keep him informed without expecting any return from it.

At all levels of practice, it is possible to delude oneself.

Levels of consciousness:

From the first day of practice to the last, you can have a taste of the Dao.

It is possible, without practice, to perceive the infinite as it is possible to practice constantly while remaining in the fog of his mind.

In everyday life, we identify three basic levels of consciousness: waking, dream and deep sleep.

In the context of practice, we discuss nine states in all, three by baseline levels.

Indeed, in the waking state, it is an understatement to say that we are not always present, we often wander in states of more or less sticky unconsciousness.

We are talking, in the waking state, of the presence, of the normal unconsciousness and deep unconsciousness.

In the dream state, we have lucid dreaming, directed dreams and unconscious dreams.

But these incursions into the land of conscience are not stable, they are moments that come and go without knowing why.

These small moments of clarity can help us see what we are striving for, what we are seeking.

This is useful for research, but it is not the research itself.

The practice enables us to install this state of consciousness and turn it into a normality.

In addition, this perception of reality will only be able to be understand and  interpreted according to one's personal development.

Stages of evolution:

This is not a way to judge but to a way to understand: it's like the child who progresses to the language, it is not that it is "good", it's just an evolution.

Unlike levels of consciousness that may come and go, be unstable and changing, stages of evolution are permanent: the child who has access to language can not go back.

It is only possible to go forward and when a stage is reached, it becomes unforgettable, acquired.

We always practice in a quest for self-understanding. In this work, we will go toward the knowledge of the other. With looking at oneself and the other, we will perceive differently the changes of the world.

The three stages of development go from oneself, one to another, the idea to better understand the changes in the world.

We go from the one (us) to the two (the other) and then to the world (everything else).

道 生 一, 一生 二, 二 生 三, 三生 万物

"The Dao produces one, one gives two, two gives the three and from the three the 10,000 things."

Laozi, chap. 42

In practice we speak of nine stages, three by baseline levels.

The stages of developments allow a different interpretation of the same elements.

The "Taoist principles" have both: levels of consciousness and stages of development.

The developed qualities:

Whatever the addressed discipline, and because people do not have the same education, the same facilities and the same experience, each one of us will practice with its strengths and weaknesses.

The idea here is simple: for the Way to be right, it must be balanced.

We must go into the aspects of the Way that we like and into those that emphasize our weaknesses.

The three basic qualities are the body, energy and spirit. We must go to qigong, neidan (internal alchemy) and Shen Gong (meditation) to cover all aspects of our being.

For the body, we work on the physical structure (force), the relation to oneself in space (rooting) and the exchange between the body and the world (relaxation).

For interior alchemy we practice the three stages described in the instruction.

The Shengong has also three levels.

The question is not to work harder, but to divide our time between the three levels of practice: body, energy and spirit.

There you are for a more detailed understanding of our development in the Way, a dissection of little use to practice, but so satisfying to our minds.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The form of the substance

To understand the purpose of this discussion, it is worth remembering a few simple concepts of Taoist metaphysics.

Yang, volatile and intangible, can only remain stable in a manifestation (like a human) if the yin and structural materials is proportionally present: basically, I can only put in a bucket (yin) the volume of liquid (yang) that fills this space. A low or limited yin only permits a little stable yang: the body (yin) should be worked in order to hold the energy (yang).

The structural (yin) must be leak free for the yang (function) to be at its maximum potential. The physical (yin) holds the spirit (yang); the essence (yin) is the root of the mind (yang).

It is said in a text of the fourth century that the internal force is not trained, it only depends on the work of the external form: energy is abundant when the form is just.

We give a completely fair importance between the three facets of our human incarnation: the physical, the breath and the spirit (jing, qi and shen): it is a real specificity of the Taoist arts and Chinese thought.

To develop strength of mind, it is necessary to have eliminated the limitations and bottlenecks of the physical form, otherwise these will be the reasons for the stagnation in our practice. The ability to develop and maintain the energy (the breath) generated during the exercises depends directly on the state of strength, rootedness and relaxation of our body ... The yin is the root of the yang.

To ensure this, we are advised to work the form to such a level that the substance is there: the qualities of the physical form will allow the qualities of the energetic function.

What this means in simple terms?

My body shape should be conducted towards perfection and this search guarantees me abundant energy. My physical movements must be trained in a continuous search for strength, rootedness and relaxation to accommodate the inner strength, the strength of qi. My movements and forms must be beautiful and must give an impression of strength in my actions!

That is why it is good to work complex and detailed forms: it is easier to fix and see its flaws. When I work a form too stripped or even static positions, it is very difficult to see what is wrong: these forms are ideal when the level of practice is already high. And in general, those who have more work to do on their body form are those who choose a simplified form: they can thus ignore their flaws.

The work of the forms of Taijiquan or Baguazhang are ideal for seeing and correcting our imperfections: it suffices to look to see them. The work of the old forms (daxuan) or of the static positions do not allow this: it is easier not to make any progress and stay in a comfortable mediocrity.

However, after a mastery of the physical qualities, the work of complex forms is an obstacle to energy work. To continually evolve and be able to correct oneself easily and see our flaws every day, it is important to keep a work of the complex forms: the constant improvement of one's body shape allows a continuous and stable evolution.

The sublimated Yin will enable to "keep" the yang: the daily exercises will be a great source of vitality that will be kept in the trained body.

In order to progress, to correct one's yin, it is important to see one's faults and the complex forms (Taijiquan, Baguazhang, water boxing...) allow this.

It is also possible to hide behind advanced forms and thus go nowhere.

In the perfection of the dominated external lies the root of true internal practice.

That's it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

We must try to be happy, if only to lead by example

Prévert was right.

The spiritual path has only one purpose: to find true happiness in the discovery of our nature and in harmony with our world. Happiness can only come from within these voids filled by a continuous and complete introspection.

We need to explore every aspect of our nature, to look closely at how we function, to firmly affirm our values ​​and commit in our world to prevail in our evolution.

The work of our body, in order to sustain us during our lives, seeks to strengthen our roots in the world and to provide a simple and fluid life.

The breathing work enables us to acquire more vitality in order to live well and  to be available to our lives and the people who fill it.

The energy work gives us the opportunity to interact with our universe, to make an exchange with every breath with the forces of our world.

The emotional work gives us an emotional stability that makes us available to our lives and to others, a stability which allows us to calm the tensions of everyday life.

The work of the mind is a royal road to spirituality, an education that teaches us the workings of our ego and of our mental, a possible door towards "the one we really are."

The whole of this work, this Way; is only there to make us  the "most ideal human that we can be.". Bringing us closer to this ideal, the work of development and evolution brings us true happiness, the deep joy that is inherent in our True Nature.

We live in extraordinary times where for the first time since the beginning of humanity, all the  traditions and all the spiritual teachings are available to us: we need to honor that chance by our own research and our efforts to become accomplished human beings.

Everyone can see that today we can no longer ignore our spiritual needs, even if it is a philosophy of life or a civil moral. Religion is a choice, we can choose how to celebrate and give thanks to life, but we must realize that we can not ignore the spiritual aspect that is within us.

Happiness is within our reach and nothing prevents us to reach it , but for that we need to make efforts.

This research allows us to have an appropriate behavior with people around us, our family and give us the opportunity to make real choices in our lives: this research can also be a way of philosophy or morality, but we need to take this path. Voltaire also told us "it is polite to be happy" ... and this is a reality for the world around us: our joy creates a peaceful and pleasant world , while complaints and whining rotten our universe.

Let's go together towards a world where personal and individual development, is the mold for a comprehensive and profound change: we are responsible for this world and what is happening, we must all participate.

The Way is a clear plan of what to do, in the action and reality, after choosing one's level of participation. Go towards a Way, a philosophical tradition or a spirituality, seek and find it, do not let your life slip. For those who are already in this process, it is time to do more, to learn to make choices and deal with what is happening around you.

We must try to be happy, if only to help the world, to give the example that changes everything.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taoist Nutrition - Eating Consciously

To facilitate the functioning of our body, the assimilation of food is important. It is a significant source of fatigue and our daily energy depends on a well functioning digestion.

In Chinese Medicine, the Three Furnaces - 三 膲 - (San Jiao) describe the functioning of the human body in its most important aspects: Breathing, Assimilation, Excretion.

Since the Huangdi Neijing - 黄帝内经 - (the Work of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor), which is more than 2000 years old, the three furnaces are the source of acquired Qi: Breath and Food and waste disposal.

The training in our Way allows a daily breath work and  a good general circulation, it is still possible to refine further the production of Qi with a good understanding of nutrition.

Each food has a Nature, a Flavor and a way to be prepared to have the desired effect. This study enables us to mix with intelligence the products that we cook. The combination of the five elements can correct our imbalances and strengthen certain aspects of our being.

In addition, the food preparation can give even more choice effects and taste to the products in their meals. We can study the cutting technique, the tools and cooking methods to perfect our search for a better assimilation of our food. Each part of this study gives us the ability to transform or amplify the aliments in their nature or flavor.

After  the science of food association and how to prepare it, we still have to look exactly our way of cooking, the rhythms of our meals, our schedules and our bad habits.

In this understanding, we can learn to lighten the workload of our body and spare ourselves, saving a valuable energy that it is possible to invest in a more intense practice.

This study needs too many details to be presented here, but it will soon be possible to study it together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Confusion sources

Because in May it is possible "to do as we please" (from the french: "En mai fais ce qu'il te plait"), it is not a reason to mess around.
You sometimes have to put some pieces back in the correct order so that you can go in the right direction.

Here are several areas of questioning that can help us on the Way.

Competition and the fight

For those who view the Way as a school of self-defense, which it is,  we must understand that we are talking about combat.

Survival combat, seen as a real situation of confrontation and not an ego competition, demands other qualities than those of combat sports.

The fantasies that we can have about violence, fed by Japanese movies and easy reading, orients us toward bad choices.

Combat sports of course develop qualities related to fighting for survival, but certain reflexes make the difference between reality and sport.

The qualities for survival in a physical confrontation are:

  •     Decision: to go or not to go (negotiation skills, dialogues)
  •     The impact force of our strikes: no techniques, just brute percussion force
  •     Realizing the distances of combat: far or close, but never in a sparring distance

Combat sports develop a sparring distance, a, exchange distance, that allows competition, not survival. Those who confuse the two are in front of a rude awakening.

The fault of the Way

It must be understood that the Way of spiritual development, of self-realization, is a tool.

It is a great and magnificent tool, but it's still a tool.

The teacher is the one that shows the use of tools, thanks to his experience and sometimes with his qualities as a teacher.

But like all tools, it can be used badly, If we listen to our prejudices and our ego more than what is said ... The result being that the tool does not do what it is supposed to do.

Does that undermine the tool? No, of course.

To evolve in the Way, to enjoy it fully , we sometimes may need to lose a lot of time to get rid of of sick behaviors, of our inability to listen, of our false superiority.

If we accept the work to be done in a clearer vision of our faults and our behaviors, changes take place.

And the tool is still  the tool. It  has not changed much since the beginning and it  will not change much after.

So if you feel that the Way "is hard", "it's not what we thought" or "it's not fair" ... if you feel any disappointment or injustice, if you see inconsistencies, shadows, if you feel lost, abandoned or in confusion ... if you see lights, hear voices and contemplate your superiority ... if you do not understand why not you, why it does not happen to you or why  you do not understand anything...

This is not the Way, it's you.

Work learning and practice

The teacher and the teaching are sources of wisdom who ask to be put into practice: we have to learn and then work on the subjects learned.

There are places to unwind, for sports or for tea with friends... These areas should not be confused with learning the Way.

In a traditional way, learning is done on bases learned during the lesson. This research is a solitary research first  and and then put into actions with other members of the school.

The teaching is shared with other members of the school, not anywhere, not in a mess. Respect of the teaching gives it its value and the importance of the changes it brings.

The place to learn the Way with the teacher is not a daycare or a branch of a gym, it is not the place of practice, it is the place to learn.

The confusion of it all gives the disappointment and confusion leading to criticism of the Way.
Practice should be a personal experience, if the changes are to be profound, metamorphosing.

The required commitment

The Way will give back what you put into it.

If you agree to engage yourself  from 8:21 p.m. to 8:34 p.m., watching FOX News, with a beer and a cigarette, you can imagine what will emerge.

The concern is also the opposite: if you engage in the Way for it to reveal your greatness and your uniqueness, if you ritualise your practice time in an exaggerated manner, if you practice all the while knowing that you are above all that ... Realization will be longer... Much longer.

Practice should be a daily time  where the teaching is put into action with a particular intention.

In addition, the concepts of the Way should accompany you throughout the day.

An indifferent glance, criticism or contempt towards the Way leads you to a guaranteed disappointment.

Practice should elevate you to a healthy body, an united body/mind and an awareness of your own spirituality.

If you do not feel in agreement with all this, it is necessary to clarify the practice, talk with the teacher and redefine your position in the engagement on your way.

Again, the Way will allow you to reap what you have sown into it.

Time for change

We are fortunate to live a great moment of change and global awareness, a time evolution of the human consciousness.

This period is a big wave on which we can surf with our personal practice, a personal achievement to help by example (not hollow concepts or crappy advice).

This is an ideal time to forge a body / mind that will inspire those around us.

Changes of our society, of the group, of the known world, require a dynamic individual to achieve a personal realization.

We are in a search, a practice that allows this understanding, this work of evolution.

We must forget that we practice taoism, buddhism or aikido and change in order to evolve towards the realization of our human condition.

This time of global change where awareness gets out of her garden and takes into account life on our planet is a great opportunity for introspection.

The microcosm and the macrocosm evolve in a similar way and in our daily practice we can help this movement.

The time is no longer for styles quarrels (knowing that we have the best), but it is for a personal work will lead to a universal sharing.

That's enough for fueling your questions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Standing and Responsible: Upright between Heaven and Earth

There is areal need to be aware of our responsibilities in our lives, to not blame others and to project our weaknesses away from our fragile ego.

We live in a comfort that can sometimes make us forget the realities of the world.

Most people do some sport, for their health if not for something else, and some have a personal research, a questioning view on their lives.

Personal practice is not required to be a martial one, it is a personal choice.

Life is, for us in general, peaceful with no real dangers.

But today, in our world in turmoil, it is important to talk about violence: it is there, at the corner of our street and not wanting to talk about it does not make it disappear.

If we accept the need to protect ourselves, if we feel a certain insecurity, we have to educate ourselves on the subject, we must understand this banal violence of everyday life.

It is not to the liking of everyone to learn martial arts, but it is the duty of one who feels insecure to know about defending oneself, for ourselves and our loved ones.

It is not responsible to be aware of this discomfort, of this consuming anxiety without doing anything about it. 

The idea is not to become a MMA warrior or a paranoiac urbanite as there are too many of those already, but to learn the simple rules of urban violence.

We have, for the most part (unless suffering from severe handicaps) tools and means to defend ourselves, what we lack is the information that allows us to not be paralyzed in a situation of confrontation.

The technique of the ostrich, which consists in looking only at what does not bother us, does not work against violence and trouble in general.

It is essential to confront what can be resolved and accept what can not be.

Personal research in a comple practice provides the necessary information  to survive in urban violence.

If we do not have a personal practice, it is possible to easily find information and lessons that answer to this question.

The first approach is psychological:

What do I know about urban predators, violence and the resolution of conflicts?

Knowing the approach strategy of potential attackers, it is possible for me to avoid most conflicts and confrontations.

Verbal de-escalation methods and preparing my answers to possible aggressions help to avoid much of the worries.

A better observation of my environment, a better attention to my world, enables us to remain attentive to what happens: 100% violence victims admit they felt something wasn't right before the incident.

To react efficiently, you must have thought about what might happen, consider the possible strategy in several scenarios of aggression or even discuss it with victims.

No reaction is faster than a prepared one and it is not at the heart of the conflict situation that it is possible to think.

The second issue is physical:

How much can I count on my body in a stressful situation?

The understanding of the sensation of adrenaline, the overall preparation of my body for proper functioning are enough to live well and to defend myself just in case.

Regular training of my body (in the context of a health practice) may occasionally take a more combative aspect, just for the sake ofexperience (a little rowdy with partners, practicing push - pull in a  bit more competitive fashion... ).

The third issue is emotional:

Do I know my anxiety level and am I working on my fear in general?

We too often live in a state of anxiety accepted as normal, everyday, for no real reason.

Our mind works on a projection model of failure: we do ask our boss a raise for fear of a negative response (otherwise we would), we do not talking to the person who seduces us for fear of rejection (although it could work) and we avoid what is risky for fear of failure (rare ly thinking of being successful).

Thus, our vision of violence is a projection of possible failure for us, a succession of morbid speculation that leaves us no room for right choices.

Look how you do not give yourself permission to defend yourself while you defend your mother, father, lover or child, without thinking. You only see defeat and the danger for yourself.

It is time to accept to defend yourself, to refuse fear: you have the possibility to never feel like a victim again.

This requires education and taking responsibility of what can happen to you.

Strengthening your mind, in a body that you "handle" better, your emotions are more stable: whether you are confronted with violence or not, you better live your life, and your relations to others.

Again, this endeavor is ours: no one will do the job for us.

Having the chance to identify a problem before it is too late, why not try to solve this question, why not make sure to live without fear?

Nevertheless, it is possible to become aware of the work that has to be done, to know that we live in an anxiety of everyday violence, but to do nothing out of laziness, weakness or resignation.

In this case, no judgment is necessary, however it is not good taste to whine when things go wrong ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Imperfect but Conscious

How many times in my life will I say "I did not mean it?"

It is perfectly forgivable for a  7 years old, a little less for a  20 years old and after 25, it requires questioning.

Why do I  do things I did not want to do?

Well the answer is simple: because we do not pay enough attention to our actions and to the world in general.

We are too often absorbed by the complexity of our internal brooding, bathed in a sticky unconsciousness and often acting against the most common sense.

It is possible to find excuses for our lack of attention, for our mistakes, our ego mind is very adept at this.

Stopping to do whatever strikes our fancy could avoid exposing our clumsiness, but could also avoid hurting others and acting like a Neanderthal.

The solution is quite simple: you only need to be attentive to your world and your actions. Easy, isn't it?

But the first quality that we lack to be attentive at all times, is endurance: indeed, our attention span is determined by our will, but also nurtured by our inner strength, our vitality. Even if we want to remain conscious of our environment, of our actions, we must have enough energy available to do so: look at how hard it is to be present when we did not get enough sleep.

The second quality that we need is the will, the strength of our intention.

Often in our daily lives, we tend not to go to the end of what we want to do: we put it back to later, we change our minds, we flee before what needs to be done. We'll have to "beef up" our attention and educate our willpower.

Strengthening attention is easy, but putting it into practice requires courage and perseverance. 

The exercises are simple, everybody can do them ... but nobody does.

Exercises focusing attention are numerous, they range from simple concentration exercise to projection of consciousness exercises.

The will to act, the decision power, is primarily a capacity to act out what is planned: it is a way to realize(physically) what is only thought. 

It is amazing to see all that what we want to do compared to what we actually do: it is easy to see that an effort is possible, surely desirable even...

Before working on this, by entering into a serious practice that can meet your needs, it is possible to realize the efforts we'll have to provide: watch every two hours your lacks of attention and your difficulties to act or say

During the next two hours, try to pay attention ... then see the damage two hours later. 

Realistically seeing the weakness of your attention, you will see the extent of the required work. Be careful to the noises you do while moving, eating, opening a door and closing it, the things you do not say and those that you say, but also what you have not done in the day and that you could have done ...

Aware of the world and others, of your actions and posture, you go toward a conscious daily life that simplifies itself and does not create unnecessary suffering.

In addition, present in the moment, it is easier to be stable physically and emotionally.

Try consciousness, you will not want to do without it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Being the "Act" without losing the "Have"

All right, hang on ...

The functioning of our physiology facet has a yin facet and a yang facet: the structure and the function.

The same goes for our functioning in life, for our actions and our mind.

There is a big difference between what is of the order of the manifested and the unmanifested, but it is sometimes difficult to understand it.

We exist and in this manifestation we act, but there is a big difference between the two.

We have on one side that which we are, our being, our sense of being, "I am" and the other side we have our actions, what we do with our being.

If it is possible to whine or to reinforce what we are or not, on the other hand nothing forces us to do what we do or not: we are responsible for it.

Our actions will be directly linked to what we have and to what we want (because we do not have it).

What we have is the result of our actions, not of our being: it is useless to complain, "we" are not responsible for our lives, only our actions are.

Our actions do not really depend on our being, but on the illusion that we have of ourselves ... Through our actions and prejudices.

We get what we do, even though we do not always realize what we are doing, stuck that we are in our mundane unconsciousness.

What we are, deep inside, is often not in accordance with what we do: this is simply because we do not know ourselves.

Our actions will be right only when we will have discovered our reality, an ability to acquire what we really want, what we really need.

This confusion between what we are and what we do is of primary importance: it determines our happiness and ability to realize ourselves.

In this confusion, we spend our time acting with a self-image determined by our desires to have, desires that can not be right because they are based on our actions: it is an endless circle.

Without determining who we are, it is impossible to know what we want or what we actually need and thus it is impossible to act right.

In "doing", we must constantly look at our actions to act in accordance with our core values, which are the result of self-knowledge.

The Self, our nature, is perfect and still: we cannot do anything about it, "we are", that is all.

This self-awareness, this consciousness, should determine the right action.

The real problem is that if "do" for too long without awareness of our nature, it buries itself deeper and deeper in a maze of illusion.

In addition, it is possible to "do" copying a person sometimes right, sometimes corrupt, but that leads us: it is a way of following, and it deresponsibilises us and requires less effort.

The interest of following the actions of another is also that we can blame someone other than ourselves: we have only been following, it is not our fault ... In fact it is. We are responsible for our actions, even in the most profound stupidity.

We're going to have to be careful of "doing" and of the object of our desires, because they really could determine what I know of myself, what I think I am. Otherwise, I could really lose myself and divert myself from my Way.

To know oneself is not only revealed by introspection, but also by observing one's actions.

This observation should be the source of daily correction, a real attempt to change, a correction of one's actions.

If we let go, in resigned whining, we worry without gaining wisdom and without changing our lives.

Every day, it is good to think about how to conducts one's day with a morning practice and in the evening, after the evening practice, it is good to look at one's actions and see what could be corrected.

But no error should be forgotten, no behavior must remain without correction: we're here in external work that anyone can do.

This search for the right attitude in our lives will make us happy ... if we agree to not give up.

What I will build in my life, with a clearer vision of my nature, will be the the basis of actions that are "right": it is the essential foundation for a life in all consciousness.

If the search for self-knowledge through meditation and internal work is important, it can be destroyed by a corrupted actuation.

This effort is not insurmountable and we should benefit our family with it, thus building a better world.

You can breathe, it's over.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Training forms

In all traditional martial arts we have the idea of predefined choreographed movements that often symbolize some kind of shadow boxing. Except for a few sword styles and some rarer styles, forms are a solo practice which aims at refining one's technique and getting a better understanding of the moves that characterize one's art.

Forms are practiced with bare hands or with a weapon and are meant to help mastering technique, movement, breath and to change the way of moving. The concept is very interesting: to practice exactly the moves that we will use in life can be very useful to enhance neuromuscular patterns. But in reality forms have little utility. They are important for competition and for demonstrations, not really for combat or for energy work.

I will not dwell on the details of the competition or demonstrations since it is not the point here. Also, as energy work requires great concentration, it is recommended to use simpler movements than those that can be found in the forms. From the perspective of fighting, the idea of working on striking combinations is interesting to loosen joints and train the muscles. However, it is a counter-productive practice if one tries to apply the same combinations in real fights.

The idea of fighting is close to the idea of chaos, nothing is planned and nothing is determined.
If we force ourself to make predefined moves we quickly go against our instinct, which remains the best value in combat. Yet there are several obvious interests to practicing forms daily. First, it is important to relax using complex forms that will also work on body coordination.

Repeating a form regularly helps to improve body positioning in space. Furthermore, if the forms are long and dynamic they enable the practitioner to develop global fitness. But these good points can be found in gymnastics. If the latter offers the same possibilities as the fighting arts, why do we bother to practice them?

You should know that 95% of the forms that we know today are 200 year-old or so, which corresponds to a period where martial arts came out of secrecy to become a business. They no longer show the essence of an art but are rather suitable for demonstration. In addition they represent a way of fighting and fighting concepts that are completely out of date.

To name just three: some jump kicks used against riders, complex moves to expose the neck of an opponent wearing an armor or disarming techniques against a warrior with a spear.

Forms of deep interest are made of very simple and repetitive movements. Why do a form and not directly repeat these moves, would you say? If you look at the progress made by the athletes have done on 100 meters sprint, we see that an Olympian of the beginning of the 20th century and one from last year do not have the same performances. The reason is that today we have a much better understanding of physical training and methods than before. The best way to train the body will be to respect an order in the way we train: we start with the body, then we try to coordinate breathing with movement, it is only then that we will go to the meditative techniques that are intended to calm negative emotions and increase the intent. Here is the beginning of energy work.

Let's see first how to structure the body.

The latter consists of several segments and logic dictates that we train each of them separately from the others and then we unifies the whole body in every move. To follow the logic of the taoist arts but also to avoid turning our practice into memory gymnastics , these physical moves will also be used for meditation, Qi Gong, and martial arts.

First we take the muscle groups attached to the most static and tense joints of the body (shoulders and hips seem to be part of them). Then we will go through each muscle group and each joint to end on the finer parts such as fingers or toes. Each series of exercises will be repeated each day over a period of two to three months (we may however extend this period in case of unsatisfying results).

We will then have further exercises, tailored to the most important segments, always practiced for a specified period. The practice will then be enriched by different complementary exercises with tools like objects, rubber bands or weights. The emphasis is on quality training rather than quantity. For this, exercises should be performed slowly to be perceived and analyzed completely.

Members must be sought in torsion / rotation to get the "sponge" effect. They must be controlled at all times for neuromuscular patterns to be built precisely into the sensory memory of the body and of course, to be acquired, the exercises must be repeated every day for a given period. The slow exercises found in all Chinese internal arts and yoga is useful for the practitioner to bring total movement control. Performing the exercises too quickly prevents us from revealing imperfections that would appear if the move was performed slowly.

We want the correct moves perfectly aligned with the joints and respecting the body lines of force. It is only when this moves will be fully integrated in slowness and then speed, that we can have a move that is not fuelled by conscious concentration. At this stage we can consider switching to more important things like moving energy, regulating the breath, or working on emotions. Moreover, in the difficult conditions of a physical confrontation (I'm talking about martial arts) or a period of serious illness (to which chi kung is related), the mind is troubled.

When the mind can't focus perfectly, without interference, then we should rely on the body that can not be disturbed. It's the principle of habit: it takes months to successfully make a move or a route without thinking about it. However, it is very difficult to change this move or this path once the habit is ingrained in the body. This is the difference between an intellectual or mental rehearsal and a habit engraved in the body cells.

Muscle torsion/rotation is found in all yoga exercises and stretching: the idea is to empty the blood from a specific area by "drilling" and twisting movements (this is the principle of the sponge emptied of its water) and then let the blood fill the muscle again when the pressure is released. The repetition of these moves will help to increase the blood supply to the targeted area. In traditional Chinese texts it is said that where there is blood there is energy and wherever there is energy there is blood. Thus increasing blood circulation is synonymous with an increased energy circulation.

Unlike the forms we have spoken about above, we can already see that this is not gymnastics anymore, but rather Qi Gong. The combination of all these sensations, these breaths, of moving the energy and regulating the emotions allows a style of Qi Gong similar in all respects (externally) to the fighting arts moves. The latters are simple and precise moves which seek little of our memory since every body motions and moves are fluid and logical. It is obvious that the moves for fighting will be engraved in the body as will the Qi Gong moves.

Thus a very advanced Qi Gong move may seem simple on the outside, and a little move can develop great martial power at impact. Furthermore, the more we go further in the taoist arts, the more we realize that all external moves take the same directions in three dimensions.

Every gesture is evolving in space in one of the six directions.

Whether we practice "white crane spreads its wings" in Tai Chi,  "horse shape" in Xing Yi, "sixth palm change" in Pa Kua, this remains in all cases an 45° uppercut and nothing more. If instead of wasting our time doing all these forms without really knowing why, we worked directly the related direction (upward diagonal), it would be easier to get to the point. If we developed training methods in order to make this motion in these different dimensions more precise and involving the whole body, it would save time.

This time saved could then use it for things more important than physical movement. It could be used for the mental, emotional and energetic. This would reduce the number of moves performed while increasing their quality and our understanding of them. With the habit of working with the concepts, the three dimensions and six directions, there will be no limit to the number of techniques that we can explain or use without wasting time practicing forms without interest that we can't apply in the fighting or health arts.

These trainings allow to work on the whole body and to improve each time using the same actions whatever inner work we do. Each body part will be stronger and the whole body itself will be healthier. Each natural move will be an effective technique for the fighting and health arts. Nevermore will we wonder: "if he does the white crane eating the leaves crane, should I do the flying tamarind or rather choose the deadly turnstile?".

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Master is unecessary!

The Tradition spreads with strength essential information for our personal evolution: this information is distilled with wisdom by the Professor and perceived by our mind, exchanged within the School.

If information is inestimable, if exchange is essential for a just evolution, it is the clarity of our mind and its availability which are going to make everything.

But the subject of the clarity of the mint is a subject which we often treat …

The subject here, it is the uselessness of the Professor … under certain angles.

The realization, the experiences and in general the life of the Professor have no importance for one's personal practice.

Careful, it is obvious, and I often say it, that the Professor must be a follower and a man of letters of his tradition, that his life must be coherent with its teachings and that he has to be a source of inspiration by his joy and his actions.

On the other hand, the choices of his practice, the actions which he undertakes or his choices of expression of the Way are not useful for the development of the students.

The fact of taking too much of an interest of the professor, of trying to copy him or of trying to understand his life, all this is only entertainment and guarantees a failure in one's personal evolution:  in fact, everyone evolves in one's way, every human being has his road and his qualities, it is not good to copy the evolution of somebody else.

The qualities of the teacher are the product of his work and of the evolution within his teaching, not the causes: if we try to copy the effects, we imitate and it is not an evolution, it is pretend!

We have to find our own means to work the causes who will produce the effects: and all this is within the Practice which is taught by the Professor.

As vector of the Way, the Professor has no importance, no interest.

He only has to give the good exercises to the good students, at the right time.

His personal stories are only anecdotes and his path an example among others.

The transmission is long, often too long for the common of the practitioners who prefer to spin without settling, to accumulate without deep foundations, to speak more than practice.

The relationship to the teacher is essential to acquire all the subtleties of the Way and this over years (traditionally three cycles of jing: one to be a practitioner, one to be an expert and the last one to become a Master).

  • Respect your professor, but do not copy him!
  • Follow all the teachings which you can, but do not speculate!
  • Do not pay attention to the private actions of the Professor, but do not accept incoherence!
  • Develop your independence, but remain faithful to ONE tradition and teacher!

The Way is a road traveled alone, formed of personal direct experiences, on the other hand this road is indicated by the Professor (not by one's mental creativity or one's falsified observations!)

The Practice requires a good dose of creativity and freedom, but the assimilation of the concepts of the Way requires to make a commitment fully after thinking about it.

The freedom of one's Practice comes from a precise assimilation of one's Tradition, not by imagination or band-aid of ends of practices.

The personal benefit of one's evolution, the deep knowledge of one's nature and the stopping of the unfounded questioning are considerations which are inestimable … but which ask for efforts in return!

The knowledge transfer requires the professor, but there ends his use!

The Tradition goes through the teacher but his role stops there!

Only the Way asks for an exposure to the world, not its vector.

And for the one who is a student of the Way, it is good to content oneself with self cultivation
and let oneself be traversed by the teaching …

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lost in the Fields

It is important, in a personal journey, not to get lost in the teaching's technicality and to know how to keep our real goals in sight.

Whatever the Way, it offers progression techniques for a successful evolution: it is possible to end up perfecting the techniques of the school, forgetting our own progress.

There's no need to be a good representative of one's school to be a good practitioner, there's no need to be a good practitioner to be happy and being happy only requires knowledge of oneself and of one's world ... Which is explained in one's Way.

What are the facets of self-discovery?

There is the body which has to be firmly rooted in physical reality, to be relaxed and flexible, while remaining strong and long-lasting. A body which has to be connected to the breath and the spirit as much as possible. This is the practice of the body.

There is the breath which is linked with emotions, and has to move freely for everything to go well. The awareness of this general circulation enables its fluidity. This is the practice of the breath.

There is the spirit which is less known than we think: the very fact of knowing its internal mechanisms through personal experience allows us to live better with our mind. This appeasement coming from alertness is the practice of the mind.

So we have to move a bit (at least with consciousness), to breathe carefully and watch ourself thinking... and that's all!

All the advanced techniques are only means to reach these qualities in one way or another ... Techniques have to be overcome to be useful. Any practice which is based on a technique is not in its final stage, the result always has be in the natural, the lively, the simple.

But it is a natural which is educated, worked, polished.

Be careful with the search of the secret or advanced technique or with focus on the tool rather than the goal: the Way is long, it is not useful to extend it or to add sideroads.

Return to the simple, understand the trap of the secret technique and free yourself from the expectations of the hidden ... it doesn't exist: what is hidden in your practice is something that is already right in front of you and that you haven't understood yet.

This is where the master is useful.

Indeed, if everything is so simple, why not make a one hour seminar and say everything clearly, then everyone says "oh yes, so that's it" and we just have to practice by ourself? .

The problem for the practitioner is that what happens in his practice will distract him from his path, a little bit like a fool walking on a path full of butterflies: he spends his time watching, hunting and comparing the butterflies instead of going where he is supposed to go. This is why many practitioners, isolated by choice or by the will not to commit, will become experts in butterflies, lost in the fields, but firmly convinced of their evolution. The great strength of the fool is the weakness of his lucidity supported by a fair amount of various illusions.

The master will put him back on the path, show him again where to go, patiently listen to his ravings, show him again where he has to go and reassure him about his performances, while showing him, again, where to go.

Let's go back to the important work, the simple work of self-accomplishment and let's not lose our Way, our path.

The teacher is here to guide us, but we walk on the path by ourself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Let's see the details that will allow to develop maximum impact.

We're talking here about "obvious" power, the raw force of a rear fist hitting linearly, from the back to the front.

It is important not to confuse the force of impact with physical force.

Often enough, a heavy puncher is pretty strongly built, but it is not necessary.
In my tradition, it is recommended to work the body structure, flexibility and coordination before attempting to work pure strength.

The whole work on the structure goes in the direction of the force of impact.

Before anything else, we have to understand the mechanics of the move before thinking about hitting something.

See details from the bottom to the top:

- The feet are rooted to the ground, the weight being on their center, the rest of the body depends on this foundation.
- The rear foot will push the weight slightly forward, initiating the move.
- The front knee bends slightly, remaining in the alignment of the toes.
- The push is passed on to the hips moving the waist, acting as the base for the connection of the shoulders and the latissimus dorsi.
- The trunk rotation will propel the striking shoulder straight forward, remaining low and connected to the latissimus dorsi.

The whole movement allows to let the arm go forward, including these details:

- No tension in the arm and forearm,
- Aligning the striking part of the fist, the wrist and the tip of the shoulder,
- Letting the elbow down and the shoulder connected to the latissimus dorsi,
- Looking at where you strike.

At the impact, the elbow must not be bent, but it should not be stretched ... the striking distance is therefore essential for a truly devastating strikes.
The fist should be held, but not tense. If the fist is really clenched tightly, it will be possible to make "brutish" strikes, but not the most subtle ones.

The fist will have more power when aligned with the opposite shoulder.

Much of the force of impact may be annihilated if we hold our breath, if we stuck our diaphragm. In addition, striking while holding the breath will make us tired much more than when striking with a relaxed breath.

We just have to strike the air first, seeking to feel, slowly and remaining relaxed ... we should not rush to train with speed (and it's not really necessary).

The more the move is direct, the less there will be "force leaks".

So, even slowly, you have to go from total immobility to a decisive move.

It is advised not to put attention on the striking hand or arm (it will create tensions), but rather on the rotation and mobilization of the back.

Once the move is loose enough, and without parasiting movements (or at least, as little as possible), we will strike stuff (rather a soft bag, but quite heavy, for example).

Traditionally, in our school, we hit a wooden post. We start from pushing, rubbing and then violently hitting the post. The work bag comes later.

We will see specific exercises that develop the impact force in another text (working with weights, targets, iron rings ...).

We are not talking here about the work of precision, speed or structure which will obviously determine the effectiveness of the strike.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adrenaline: assistance to a person in danger

In the primitive times of the development of mankind, humans had to struggle to survive. Every day, to eat and live, men were challenging death.

The confrontation with the possibility of dying was as present as life itself. We have not changed that much: our immune system is still functioning like in survival days.

The reaction to an important stress triggers a release of adrenaline that allows to deal with the two most important options: fight or flight. This rush allows us to have an increased neuromuscular function and to be more resilient to pain.

In our sterile society and where the sense of responsibility has vanished, we don't have many occasions to be confronted with these extreme body mechanisms, so they end up surprising us. We take this natural feeling, which renders assistance to a person in danger, as a pathological manifestation of our weakness in a situation: it overwhelms and paralyzes us instead of supporting us in our choice of action or escape.

When driving a car, it is requested to engage the clutch and then accelerate. If you do so, you will have a movement that depends on how hard you are pushing your machine. If you accelerate without clutching a gear, you will have a terrible noise, a shaking of the structure and some surprise of the driver who does not feel the expected motion. Adrenaline causes the same phenomenon in humans: if we learn to use it then it is of invaluable help, otherwise it will only disturb us.

Now we need to recognize the various manifestations of these rushes in our body. There are five major manifestations of our fears and anxieties that will be related to problematic releases of adrenaline:

- The anticipation anxiety,
- The fear before the confrontation,
- The fear during the confrontation
- The second dose during the confrontation,
- The anxiety following the confrontation.

Through daily pathological anxieties, we release, over long periods of times, small doses of adrenaline without any purpose or specific reason.

A possible confrontation with the partner, the department head or the "colleagues" at work, causes this anxiety unnecessarily. The more the body gets used to this constant release of adrenaline, the more the person will be tense, agitated and unable to respond to a real emergency situation. The constant stimulation of the system, without reason and without action, is not like a car that accelerates constantly without being clutched, thus burning the engine.

The compulsive calculation of possible conflicts destructs us and makes our daily life arduous. We'd better fight against situations that really come up, rather than tilting at windmills. Moreover, after a while, this unused energy, stagnant and "heating", will be turned against someone weaker than us in our daily life: a partner, a child or small pet (if we are really weak and pathetic). This sweet release of "poison" must be identified and sublimated not to destroy us.

This is an anxiety, so it comes from ​​the world of thoughts. It is a work of internal alchemy which begins with Qi Gong.

When planning a real confrontation, it is normal to be scared. This stimulation prepares us for a reality. Whether a request for an raise, the prospect of a breakup, a fight for one's life or for sport, the feeling will grow until the manifestation of the event.

This fear may be that of defeat like that of success. This adrenaline rush lasts long enough and becomes useless. It is very difficult not to be the victim of this waiting period, often much worse than what we really expect.

This is related to the field of "calming the mind", but this represents an advanced level of practice.

In a conflict situation, and according to our level of knowledge of these phenomenons, we have a wrapping and violent adrenaline rush.

Depending on our own reality, we will be overwhelmed by the flight of a sparrow or a bayonet fight in the dark night. The more we become  intimate with these rushes and situations, the more we live them fully, in a completely relaxed state. The response will be even proper if our intellectual mind is not involved: we are more in an instinctive response which depends directly from an adaptation to our perceptions; the mental compulsive mind there is not welcome here.

We wil be progressively able to be more familiar with our reactions in a gradual exposure to our fears. Thus we will be more able to respond normally to life, in a typical taoist non-resistance.

In a conflictual situation with life, we can misjudge it. This mistake may suddenly appear when realizing the confrontation: again we go through a fear of failure or success that will give us a "second round" of sudden release of this natural stimulant.

Too often ignored by unadventurous scholars in their studies on fear, the second wave can break the achievement of our action. Confident of our abilities, but surprised by how reality turns out, we can be knocked out by this phenomenon.

A fantastical imagination, nourished with hopes and dreams, may be the cause of the difference between our projections and reality. I love the image of the armchair fighter who actually for the first time on an opponent. He is sure of the immensely destructive power of his iron fist and he is surprised by the absolute lack of results on the guy standing in front of him.

Imagination and cheap books guaranteed him victory however, but reality is not as attractive. He can be gone strong to battle, with all his illusions, and receive a "second wave" of fear that will freeze him at worst, make him run at best.

A husband who wants to break-up with his wife can feel self-confident and full of power until the final confrontation where his girlfriend leaves him.

His universe of decision-maker male may be the source of a memorable adrenalin rush. Exposure to fears will help setting the proper level of response to fear to a pleasant degree for everyday life: This level differs depending on whether one is a dressmaker or a special forces agent.

After the conflict, a "drawling" release remains and relaxes residual tensions. May the confrontation be a success or not, there is often, in this moment, a violent feeling which concludes the expérience.

The emotions that will be linked to the happy or unhappy resolution of the confrontation will make this moment easily discernible or not. When we are very pleased with the success of a confrontation, the final corresponding release end can be confused with the emotional signs expressed, but it's here anyway.

The more the confrontation phase will be unresolved, the more violent the final phase will be. If all steps do not end in a clear resolution, the remnants will be very present and very troublesome.

How to recognize these manifestations of adrenaline release?

The  results a slow rush, ie type 1 of the "anxious", and type 2 , are by far more dangerous and can become chronic. The same symptoms can exist for a bad psychological reaction to type 5, the afetrward rush, it is a state of shock.

We have four major symptoms:

- Loss of sleep or disturbed sleep,
- Loss of appetite or weight loss,
- Depressive syndromes,
- High blood pressure and palpitations.

Regarding the violent releases in the confrontation moment, we have five manifestations:

- An agitation that starts from the heart pumping to shake the whole body (voice included)
- A lack of saliva and spontaneous sweat (hands included)
- A "tunnel"vision that reduces peripheral vision (useful but dangerous)
- A possible nausea or a desire to go to the bathroom,
- A distortion of time which may seem longer or shorter.

These are the manifestations listed as the most common in studies on fear and its biochemical process.

To regain a kind of relaxation in these situations, a more normal way of working, we have three key concepts:

- To accept by intellectual and experimental understanding of the body mechanisms,
- To feel the adrenaline rush without confusing it with weakness,
- To use this natural help to "fight or flight" the situation.

We will detail these steps later.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forms are useless

I mean the choregraphed form, composed of several techniques aped to strike the wind.

I was fortunate enough to meet many talented practitioners and masters in martial arts, they shared with me some forms and exercises that I still practice today.
After all this time, I want to say, whether for fighting, energetic development or for the spiritual aspect, forms are useless.

In terms of fighting, the exercises that modify the main qualities of the practitioner (ie his power and his "heart"), are enough to prepare the basis to approach physical confrontation.

The forms just give an illusion of fantasy and infeasible techniques. They take a precious time to the practitioner who'd better work seriously... But I've never met a fighter who had not a good technical training, based on on the practice of forms, or at least on training the body structure. Of course there are a few forces of nature, rather nasty and rough ... but they are out the classical practitioners category.
Concerning the use of lines of force, the respect of the structure in the action and the force transfer, repeating forms may be a good idea. Moreover, the fluidity of the moves, not impeded by thoughts since the mental mind had time to integrate the learning process of the form, allow to combine strikes... to keep the balance... hummmm.
I do not speak of single-move training, that we train later to "express the Jing", but of "danced" forms.

For the work on blood hence energy circulation,we just need to relax, and "it will come" ... What an idea to make movements that are supposed to "make the energy circulate" or "open the meridians"! Yet it is clear that certain moves develop and strengthen specific body parts. This development leads to a better circulation, thus an increased flow of energy. Could it be that some crafty people regrouped these moves to extract "forms"? If it has not been done, it seems like a good idea.
The forms that I could discover in the internal arts of taoist influences, those which are not from the day before yesterday, have this feature of brining a balanced circulation throughout the physical structure, "stretching" on the lines of the meridians of Chinese medicine and all that in a minimal quantity of movement. We can do without it, but since it is already there ....

For spiritual practice, which involves only a few people, I will not say anything ... but I do not think less.

Forms are of no use for fighting, but their practice will "relax" and enhance the fighter's qualities. They have an odd position in the practice, unnecessary but essential ...
Forms are useless, but without their study, the road seems longer.

A paradox!

I practice the "routine" from the beginning of my training, I believe they are useful.
But it seems to me that there is a paradox about their role: they are not useful for the reasons why they are practiced.

Athletes or combat sports practitioners do not know this practice. They focus on "single moves", the techniques and their applications.

In the internal arts, training forms is often followed by training single moves. These moves are often taken from forms, and they are trained separately, to enter the "no thoughts", and to learn to express the force.

Each move is then worked to become more powerful and more relaxed, all that being integrated in the form afterwards.

The exercises and training methods might be enough, as in Yi Quan for example, but yet the taste is not the same.
There is something "magical" in the forms, a spark from the past, a contact with something else.
I am a lover of old or rare forms, for the pleasure of the mind or to learn a way to express the jing in a precise system. In the same time, they seem unhelpful, but nevertheless essential.

Among the teachers I met, none of them was still practicing the forms, or just to teach them. However, they often had a free practice, nourished by the forms they had practiced before. At a certain level of body and mind freedom, the form can not be contained in its pre-determined structure, but without form freedom is hard to find.

The role of "routines" is much subtler than it seems.
There are basic movements, which are praticed first.

Exercises and training methods of internal arts, the "nei gong" and "wai gong"will allow to acquire power and relaxation in these moves.

Then you learn the forms, structured dances that incorporate the basic moves.

In these "routines", the basic moves are often used differently than in the basic exercises, they are given a further freedom and motion. The connection between the moves, the combinations and continuity of force along the form should be a specific work.

Dealing with the distance and the fighting concepts will emerge from the form putting the basic moves together.

In the internal arts, the basic techniques are often more focused on the body development and way of moving than on basic strikes. The latters are often practiced later in the exercises where you learn to express the force with single moves.

Why should we practice the forms today?

I think there are still three good reasons to do so:

- To prepare the body for movements of the style,

- To combine all the techniques which stucture the style,

- To concentrate the different ways of using the style, in one form.

In the form it will be possible to combine the way of moving, the movement mechanics, the fighting concepts and the way to deal with distance. None of these principles will only be truly visible, they can remain transparent in our practice if the training methods are not known.

The problem is that, over the centuries, the moves have evolved as a moves and not as principles anymore. Which leads to the faxct that a move originally created for a specific purpose, often ignored bythe practitioner, can then be changed without the practitioner understanding the reason. This will lead a more "prettier" form, more suited to the young master, but further from the original creation. Gradually, the style loses its "heart" and nourishes its "coating".

Furthermore, some techniques that could be used long ago, in a specific situation, are now obsolete. I refer in particular to techniques coming from fighting in armor, or designed to fight cavalrymen, who seem unnecessary in the street today. Unless you're overcome with bad luck and get attacked by a knight in armor!

Each movement of the forms has to be trained to express the power and speed while remaining relaxed. Without this training, the forms are "empty", and even if the moves are there, they lack strength and precision, they are useless, but it's pretty.

For art to remain alive, it must evolve.

A master proud to have a form that has not changed since the creation of style underlies two wrong things: the first is that if his style is appliable, he decreed that the ways of fighting have not evolved; the second thing is that people have become idiots in recent decades and thus unable to evolve or to think.

I repeat it: after mastering one's art, it is advisable to make it evolve if needed, or to leave it as such.

New knowledge in anatomy, cardiovascular training, techniques to develop proprioception, the understanding of how to increase strength and speed training exwercises... all this can lead us to an evolution the way we practice. If we prefer to ignore all this knowledge and practice like 300 years ago, it's a choice... which is often a waste of time, a precious time in practice.

"We have to find the right middle in everything". I think this is the solution. Traditional forms must be fed with today's knowledge, but we shall not give up the depth of knowledge of the ancients, the magic of passing on the knowledge.

The specificity of many internal arts lies in the seemingly innocent practices.

To develop deep changes in the body and mind of the adept, it is important not to give him too "clear" exercices, otherwise he will try to put strength and speed.

If you can train without "intent" on a transformation, everything is easier. Reproducing moves that express power through an unprepared body, or developing power in a fragile vessel, is like putting a heavy cannon in a boat: at the first shot, the boat sink.

In the internal arts, we give priority to the preparation of the body rather than to its usage. The form will allow test the structure, through an elegant dance which summarizes the theories of the style. After many years of understanding through practice, drills and training methods will feed the form that will "teach" the practitioner.

For all these reasons, the forms "are" the ancient arts, the" soul" of the styles and therefore they are of no "use".

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The different Jing (explosion of force)

Offensive Jing

"Repelling" is an offensive Jing that is very aggressive, even in defense. The idea is to ​​keep a protection zone in front of us, a circular area like a balloon in which we don't let any force penetrate. This is the area which we determine while holding the tree, a space where nothing can come in.
"Repelling" is not really a parry but a way to make the attack bounce and to hit in the same move. It is also a way to make the opponent fall when we managed to get into his guard. It is difficult to explain "repelling", but very easy to demonstrate. For those who already know, these explanations are simple.

The ideal thing to work on the repelling energy is to use a bag which we will make heavier and heavier. We can practice pushing, hitting, bouncing and deflecting. When using this move, this concept actually, the whole intent must be in aggressiveness.


This is a striking power that screws at the moment of the impact. This is the idea of ​​screwing (in any direction) after reaching the target. This circular action after impact involves a deep penetration of the power. We can strike with the fist, the knuckles, one finger or the palm. It is a way of hitting that we would love to use more often but which is hard to apply.

To train this, just put the fist on the still punching bag and suddenly screw the fist to propel the bag. This Jing is often used on cavities because they contain vital points of the human body. The focus must be inside the body as if it we wanted to send the power of impact under the surface of the target.


Breaking is used on the opponent's joints. This is very close to the intent we need  to cut wood. We need to focus and to aim at the branch that we will cut. This is just before the impact of the ax on the branch that we aim, then we have to accelerate the movement and extend it after touching the branch. For an effective action, we must remain relaxed and use force only at the end of the movement.

The best way to learn that Jing is to break small branches between the forearms. It is first advised to protect the arms but very quickly we get used to this movement. The most important is to focus the intent on what we do.


Whether it's a boxing hook, a "teaching slap", a circular elbow strike or a way of catching, circular strength is paramount in the art of combat. The most important work will be to coordinate all the body segments so that nothing is left behind during the rotation. We must remain completely relaxed until the end of the rotation, when we add a little more power in the last part of the movement before returning immediately to the starting position.

Throwing the whole body in one direction and then bringing it back in the other, reminds the movement of the whip. The quicker we bring the movement back, the more the power will penetrate deep inside the target as does the whip. This is an aggressive yet very relaxed Jing which gets effectiveness only with a lot of practice.

To train this, the ideal thing is again to take a punching bag in which you try to hit very quickly, causing a lot of noise but without pushing the bag.


The energy of the "diving" Jing can be horizontal or vertical. This is an horizontal energy when diving inside the guard to avoid an attack and not to be in the danger zone. For example, if an opponent tries to hit us in the face and that we have the reflex to dive inside his guard, his shot will hit an empty space or our shoulder. On an offensive or defensive action, we can use the vertical diving strike to hit the ribs downward, the hip or the leg often causing the opponent to fall. We can use this Jing in throwing more than in striking. This is a very good way to control while causing minimal damage.

On the punching bag you train while trying to reach the last ten centimeters of the bag, located around hip height. We start standing, straight on the legs, and when striking we drop the whole the bodyweight on 10 or 15 centimeters down. "Diving" brings a heavy hit  which take the opponent's balance.


We can easily understand what it means to push but it is difficult to understand how aggressive it can be, detering the opponent to continue the fight. We can push forward, downward or upward. We can push with one hand or with both, with long or short power. We can use the pushing power as a strike or as an action where the idea is to send off the opponent. It turns out not to be the most appropriate response, given that most of the time we will have to go get him back. The power of the push is obviously not in the arms but in the source of the power of the body, that is to say the legs and feet on the ground.

The most effective way to train pushing power is divided into two stages. We start by pushing something that does not move and after some practice we go to a pretty heavy bag on which one uses the same force. It is a training that is to be done, pretty hard to describe. A short power push can be very effective before bringing any other strikes: it is a way to shock the opponent to prevent him from responding.


"Catching" is a force that can be used to control, destabilize or throw. In general, it is recommended to engage contact with the surface to catch and then to feint in the opposite direction of the one you want to catch him into. The opponent's reaction will be to tense, which will make the throwing easier and reduce his ability to defend.

If the "catching" Jing is strong enough, it may be sufficient for itself. Most of the time, catching is a way to bring another Jing like "screwing", "circular" or "pushing". Rooting is essential in this kind of Jing as the person caught will inevitably attempt to break free. If we do not have a good balance on the legs, it is a dangerous Jing which can cost our own balance.

The only way to train "catching" is to have a partner with whom we can this concept.


In close range elbow is an indispensable asset that makes the difference. This attack is obviously difficult to counter and, inflicting heavy damage; but it is also a clever way to parry. Using the elbow for parry is effective since it breaks the aggression. Knowing how to use the elbows turns them into hand when we are close to the opponent. Again, explaining it with words is not worth the practice where the understanding is immediate. The use of elbow strikes can be straight, circular, rising or falling.

All these attacks are worked on a bag or on a moving target. These moves are also ways to parry with the elbow. The fighting arts, regardless of styles, always bring to a very short distance to reduce the danger. Without the practice of Jing elbows, it will be impossible to respond properly within a short distance.


We can use the hand or the forearm before rubbing on the front, on the side, up or down. This concept can be used to rub against an arm or a leg but can also be used on a seizing attempt to clear the way and be able to apply another Jing. It is a way to deflect the opponent slightly without sending him too far away, before engaging in a counter-attack.

A heavy punching bag will be very useful to train this Jing. We make the bag rotate without the use of the closed hand but with a rubbing action of the forearms. By rolling the bag we go from one forearm to the other, which develops their sensitivity. Rubbing can also be used in a sudden and violent manner, with the idea of ​​a ricochet. An advanced method involves taking a stick and rolling the hand and the whole arm on one side and on the other. Rubbing against the stick allows to condition the arms subtly while developing even more sensitivity.

The defensive Jing


The pulling action deflects the opponent and puts it in the position that suits us best. This Jing can be long or very short. With enough rooting, the action of pulling is enough to throw on the ground but can also cause a KO. To throw the opponent we just need to pull him by moving his center of gravity towards the empty point of his support polygon. People who are already familiar with the fighting arts will understand what is written.

If you learn to pull the arm in a brief and violent manner, it will cause a tension in the trapezium, which itself will compress a nerve in the neck. It is difficult to believe that if we never experienced a Jing violent enough to twist the head. This is a independant Jing, but which can also, like all other Jing, be done in combination.

The best way to train this is to use a wooden dummy and to practice exercises on it.


It is a defensive Jing where we go ahead of the opponent's strike, blocking his attacking Jing and staying stuck to his arms. Without using the hands to catch the arms we will use the palms, forearms and arms to stick as much as possible and prevent the opponent from finding enough space to thrust another attack. Moreover, this very short distance is appropriate to perform different types of Jing, since the opponent is made more vulnerable because he's tense.

This is a Jing difficult to apply but if you master it well enough, it becomes one of the best to use. Not only the opponent is turned harmless, but in addition we do not have to cause too much physical damage.

The only way to train "intercepting-sticking" is to practice appopriate exercises with a partner. This is an advanced defensive Jing but very interesting to work on. Moreover, the practice of this Jing is by far one of the funniset in our way.


These two opposed Jing allow to have to have a fast defense against surprising attacks. These are the typical parries which are found everywhere in the fighting arts. We have to understand that they are never a first choice but rather a backup solution when you have been surprised. To control the opponent, we have to use an aggressive Jing as soon as possible after opening or closing.

Again, the best way to understand this Jing is to train with an opponent who will try to surprise us by attacking quickly.

This was a first introduction to the various Jing for a simple usage. There are endless variations on Jing, knowing that each move, each situation can involve a different Jing. We have to understand that it is infinitely more effective to work rather than forms. Only when the Jing are perfectly mastered, we can use the forms as technical reminders.

The reason why Chinese internal arts are mostly  useless today is precisely because many teachers forms  sell the forms more easily than the difficult work that is Jing training . Again, they focus on the external form, which remains anecdotal for internal arts, while the essence of martial arts lies in the methods ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy idiot

It is sometimes justified to question ourselves about the pertinence of a spiritual practice: indeed this work turns  our inside world upside down and can bring suffering to liberate us from our sick mechanisms.

All those who have started a real research on how the human being works and on the internal and subtle mechanisms that drive us cannot lie to themselves anymore: though it is sometimes difficult to experience, it is very satisfying to understand how we work and how we can work better.

But those who let the wind push them to the right or to the left don't have these "spiritual" worries and they just have to face some of the vagaries of life that are also part of the researchers lot...

Therefore, it is normal to ask oneself if it's better to live in a certain ignorance of the way we work and of our spiritual aspect, to take care of "reality", or to do things the hard way in order to finally understand how our body, emotions, mind and breath work...

In fact, this question is more relevant of barstool thinking, for one who does not believe that a part of us is "spirit-related", mental, psychological or spiritual is of bad faith ... or is one of these Neanderthals allegedly still with us ...

There are now enough experiments and studies that prove the importance of the union of body, breath and mind to feel good, united and to live a life with no worries.

But we can put that aside, saying that we will take care of that later, when we have more time... Or when the fear of death, for various reasons, will organize our priorities back in order.

This idea that "we will do it later" is the same myth as the one of the room of the house or the corner of the desk that we will clean "later."

Sometimes we clean it, out of spite or obligation, but without ever asking ourselves the right questions ... As a result, the same place will be in the same state in no time!

For those who may ask themselves questions at the end of this text, a shorter version ( it may spare me some emails):

Question: Mr. Urban Daoist, should one practice?
Answer: yes, it is important, we have to.

And here is a little more thought:

How does your little child, absolutely absorbed in his thoughts, sometimes unconscious about his environment, has survived his first years of walking?

He was guided by you, who were more aware in these moments, trying your best not to lose him in the crowd or under a train.

So, the unconscious one is led by the most conscious, the one who sleeps is guided by the one who is awake ...

Therefore, in my unconsciousness and the moments when I am overwhelmed by emotions, I am led by the people who are more awake than me: can we think about some medias, professional sellers, advertisements or the big large mass manipulations?

Perhaps, this is not the debate here.

However, it is good to stay conscious, conscious of what is happening inside and outside, not to find ourselves the unconscious toy of a life where the values ​​are no longer the right ones.

Practice and you will be more able to hang on to, manage, live your own life ... It is a good motivation, isn't it?

The summer days

For those who have a regular, sometimes really important, rooted in their everyday life,  practice, you need to know today that you are responsible for much more than you think.

It is hard to know what will happen in our life, our travels and our evolution in our professions... You can not really say what you will do in 10 or 20 years.

If you carry a tradition with you, of which you have a direct experience through your personal practice and an understanding through your study and your exchanges with your practice "colleagues", you can be the vehicle at one time or another of a branch of your tradition.

Simply put, it is important to practice primarily to solve what we want to clarify, but we also become responsible for the manual, the technique, the tradition that offers all that.

It is important to understand how lucky we are having this burden, and I'm not exaggerating at all, but we carry with us a piece of the puzzle that builds the world of tomorrow. We have within us, and available for others one day, a tool for the evolution of the human being and his liberation.

Wether this puzzle piece is used or not at the moment, we are in an active movement in the construction of human consciousness ... Isn't that better than a home loan plan or stock market shares? It is not an exaggeration and it was proved in the history of our lineage: some informations have sometimes survived by improbable and unexpected vehicles which were not part of the initial plan.

It is important to be aware of one's importance and the impact of one's actions: when you give a book about the Way, when you say good or bad things about it, when you do what you do, you have a direct influence on your world, which is also mine!

There are no accidents, we are responsible for what we do and we are the actors of our life... or we have to  become all that quickly (see the text "happy idiot" )

Let's accept the responsibility that we bear in the world, let's commit even more in a local and global action, let's share this deep research that builds human consciousness and let's stop thinking that only  the others bear this responsibility.

 This could warm your summer up.