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Zhan Zhuang Standing information

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42 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

I've seen this time and again in various body arts classes, and of course, in myself. The teacher will show a posture, and everyone inevitably adapts the posture to match their own physical/mental habits. They end up distorting the posture, which is why you need the teacher to provide you feedback.

 

Well explained!

 

The issue is relaxation (or more accurately Song)...

 

There is quite a lot of nuance and study to be done on the quality of Song. And when you think you 'get it' - suddenly a new depth opens up for you to explore.

 

When people stand and 'relax' often this simply means the shape of their internal tissues go back to their regular shape - just as the tendency of a rubber band is to go back to its unstretched state.

 

And it becomes very difficult to understand what the 'correct' position is - because as you say, it often feels odd or uncomfortable (or even painful). So our tendency is to subtly shift our posture into closer alignment to our habitual state.

 

You always require correction - the feedback for this correction has to be something a bit more objective than how you feel (for the above reasons). Using a mirror, for example, helps a lot. But only in the beginning. Because as you body adapts, changes and develops, you'll need other more subtle, more nuanced corrections.

 

34 minutes ago, bax44 said:

I see a lot of terms and “levels” being referred to here as if those are the only benchmarks of any progress in this training. That is really absurd, and seems to be an ego game.

 

I'm not opposing your view as a form of argument - maybe just offering a different perspective that might be useful for you.

 

I understand it feels like an ego game - mainly because these systems are hierarchical. So our western sensibilities feel a little bruised by this seemingly authoritarian approach.

 

To the western mindset, where everyone should be considered equal - the idea of a 'master' feels totally egoic. And to be honest, in the majority of cases, it really is!

 

But there is a good reason for a hierarchical system of seniority. It's not that one person is somehow better as a person than another. But it's certainly the case that one person can be further ahead in their training than another person. My teachers refuse to be called 'master' or even 'teacher'. But by the very nature of their level of experience, they are clearly way ahead of their students in the arts that they've dedicated their lives to.

 

So from the outside perspective - the respect one pays to a teacher may seem silly and old fashioned - but it makes sense. This is the case for any art that requires a master-apprentice relationship (most practical arts do!)

 

The 'levels' you see are similarly really important.

 

First of all these practices are always practical - they're not just something you do - like playing the guitar for fun.

 

They are steps along a path of deep inner transformation - and each practice is there for a reason - to create change in a cause-and-effect chain. There are very clear stages of development - where the results of the practice can be ascertained to have been achieved. For example - the microcosmic orbit is often thought of something that you 'do'. But it's not... It's something you achieve. The 'doing' part is just the practice that allows you to achieve it eventually. When you've achieved the microcosmic orbit - it becomes like a natural part of your existence. Same with abdominal breathing - and pretty much anything else.

 

And in this way - someone who has achieved the microcosmic orbit is more senior than the one practising it. Natural hierarchy. Not domination or ego. It's just practical. The one who's achieved the MCO is clearly more suited to talk about it, because they've probably made all the mistakes, know the pitfalls and can tell you where you're going wrong and what you're doing right.

 

So when you have three people - one who's read about the MCO, one who's practising the MCO and one who's achieved the MCO - by the very nature of depth of experience - there's a natural hierarchy. And I think it's silly to try and fight that. It's not subjective. It's not based on opinion - it's practical. Replace "MCO" in the sentence above with the word "somersault" and it becomes even more clear.

 

And the result of MCO is as clear and physically verifiable as a somersault.

 

This is important - and most public teachers never talk about it.

 

Each 'step' along the path (at least in the Daoist arts) has a verifiable achievement to it. It's very clear, and sort of black and white - you can either do a somersault or not. Ok once you can do a somersault there's a grey area - some people are better, smoother, more or less acrobatic and so on. But whether you can do it or you just fall over is clear.

 

The ones who say that it's subjective or 'just energy' or 'just an experience' either haven't achieved it or realise that it's bad for business (because 95% of 'hobby' students will never achieve it).

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8 minutes ago, Master Logray said:

Does it mean going into a completely different system?    It would be a reasonable request if so.  If the systems are similar, then, it is not easy.   Even start from scratch again can't remove old habits.

 

Well, there are some important principles that are part of any system.

 

No Daoist system I know wants to introduce tension into the body, stagnation into the kwa, and complete deterioration of Ming Fire.

 

Which is what these guys presented with.

 

A major blockage in the mingmen would cause issues training in the class because there's transmission involved - and it can aggravate some blockages.

 

13 minutes ago, Master Logray said:

Even start from scratch again can't remove old habits.

 

It can.

 

It's just hard work.

 

Removing old habits - however ingrained - is the name of the game!

 

It does require humility though.

 

Sometimes it's such a big hit on the ego - to think that for the past 10 years you've been doing something that's been setting you back in your cultivation - that it's easier just to go back to what you were doing - at least there you're considered senior.

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2 minutes ago, freeform said:

It can.

 

It's just hard work.

 

Removing old habits - however ingrained - is the name of the game!

 

It does require humility though.

 

Sometimes it's such a big hit on the ego - to think that for the past 10 years you've been doing something that's been setting you back in your cultivation - that it's easier just to go back to what you were doing - at least there you're considered senior.

 

My experience is cannot.  Having decades of experience in one form of Taichi and shift to another,  the old form's shadow is always there.   There is also a cost issue in addition to humility.  Some of the differences are not significant enough to spend great efforts to change.  Ego is not that big an issue, because when you start with the new form, the old experience will make you progress much faster.  It should be satisfying for most.

 

Re your another post, how is the Master/Sifu/Teacher relationship with students in the US?   Is it purely commercial or still follow traditions like father/son relationship for major students?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pretty startling difference on the view of standing meditation on the first 2-3 pages of this thread as compared to the newer version.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Master Logray said:

My experience is cannot.  Having decades of experience in one form of Taichi and shift to another,  the old form's shadow is always there.

 

Yes - you're right.

 

There will be an essence of the quality of the old art - as there will be an essence of the quality of your job for example.

 

There is nothing wrong with that if the qualities are compatible. Yang taiji and Wu taiji - it's fine... Yang taiji and bodybuilding? Not so compatible.

 

Things change with Neigong, however.

 

It's different than Taiji.

 

As in Neigong, we accumulate a huge surplus of Qi.

 

And Qi = change. We use qi to change the physical as well as the mental/emotional and the spiritual. For example - if you didn't want the quality of an old art to be in your body-mind, with enough work, and enough Qi you can change it. It's the very nature of transformation.

 

1 hour ago, Master Logray said:

Re your another post, how is the Master/Sifu/Teacher relationship with students in the US?   Is it purely commercial or still follow traditions like father/son relationship for major students?

 

I'm not sure actually. I have studied with a teacher in the US and in my case it was master-apprentice type relationship. But I'm pretty sure that's not the norm.

 

The case is the same in China actually. Many teachers charge exorbitant fees to teach secrets (and then often leave out crucial details).

 

A genuine teacher with development, skill, willingness to teach along with virtue and integrity is very rare!

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