Effective martial application concurrent with advancement of consciousness through a yogic model
These pages exist to foster martial and personal development in those of us who believe that correctly studied internal martial arts (for example, as in the internal martial arts of Ba Gua Zhang, Hsing I and Tai Chi Chuan) awaken special abilities and, that because of link between mind and body, access to the highest skill in these arts is inseparable from work on ourselves.
Furthermore, because of the required nervous system control and mastery of one's internal energy system, the mind-body-consciousness practices associated with evolved energetic arts can help us develop positivity, compassion, altruism, and wisdom.
Few men and women pursue the real meaning of "internal energy in the martial arts." Fewer still fathom how the merging of yogic alchemy, utilizing intention and will, can awaken subtle power and abilities that represent the pinacle of subtle martial arts skill.
Truly merging mind and body through the deepest practice of these arts opens us to the potential of sublime and secret power. This process of awakening results in a profoundly gentle approach to the world. I dedicate these pages to those of you who aspire to such mastery, with my prayers that you will be successful in your quest.
By John Bracy, Senior Master & Founder Chi Arts Assoc., and Hsing Chen Arts
The points covered here are essential to learning how to apply and master the internal martial arts.
Part I: Physical mechanics: Hard vs. Soft tissue body structure support as the basis of power development and advanced abilities. Includes principles of "Empty-Full," Suspension and Tensegrity, the body resilience principle of sung, and "block training"as a method to access advanced body mechanics
Part II includes Entrainment and mind-body linking, a free video "Examples of Advanced Abilities in the Internal Martial Arts," and comparisons of conventional vs. evolved martial arts
Part III: Now in preparation, this part shares examples of how to attain advanced abilities
What are the internal martial arts? Based on (especially three) Chinese martial arts of Hsing I, Ba Gua and Tai Chi, (See Note 1, below) fundamental principles of the internal martial arts were codified during a relatively short period beginning at the end of the nineteenth century (Note 2).
With principles first described in the late nineteenth century and culminating with curriculum of the Central Martial Art Academy in Nanjing in the 1930s, the internal martial arts developed a unique set of body mechanics linked to mental training. When incorporated into your training, these principles will lead you to attainment of mastery. They guidelines are, for the most part, old wisdom, that has been lost.
To understand how these principles apply to your training, it is first important to understand a few points regarding the history and development of internal martial arts. The internal martial art principles explained below are based on ideas codified, not from legends and tales of a thousand years ago, but much more recently.
For the most part these principles were elucidated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by a select group of martial artists. Those exceptional individuals who made these remarkable discoveries are our real teachers. They practiced, mastered and were able to describe principles of body balance, internal energy in the martial arts and effortless power. They are real individuals that put a tremendous amount of effort codifying what would become the underlying principles internal martial arts.
In contrast, it is not useful to study the history and development of an art that supposedly developed from a mystical figure or figures . . . (continued)
[Continue reading on Essentials . . . page 2]
Note 1.Formally written Hsing I Ch’uan (but also written xingyiquan), Ba Gua Zhang, (also written Pa Kua Zhang and baguazhang) and T’ai Chi Ch’uan (also written taijiquan). Hsing I Ch’uan translates as “Mind-Form Boxing,” Ba Gua Zhang as “Eight Diagram Palm” and T’ai Chi Ch’uan as “Grand Ultimate Boxing.”
Note 2. Historical Development of the Internal Martial Arts
Although foundational aspects of what would become known as Tai Chi (and ultimately internal martial arts) existed beforehand, according to martial art historian Douglas Wile, the first description of the martial art with references to the central role of the mind, chi internal energy and Taoist yogic alchemy in the study and practice of Tai Chi was written by Li Yi-Yu in the late 1800s. Detailing the relationship of this new approach to martial training, Li describes an art that could "access the secrets of yin and yang" and thus enabled the skilled practitioner to defeat an opponent with only a few ounces of effort. Li is the first to describe Tai Chi in this way.
Using Li's guide as a definition, authentic internal martial arts must include:
- Central role of the Mind and Intent in the training and use of the art
- Chi - Incorporation of internal energy principles
- Yogic Alchemy - Training of the body's energy centers based on Taoist yogic alchemy/ meditation principles that form the basis of acupuncture and traditional medicine
It should be noted; There is however, the tradition of “internal” martial art and sparse literature describing the notion that chi internal energy could optimize the warrior’s potential in combat dating to at least the mid 1600s. Of particular note is Huang Tsung-hsi’s philosophical discussion regarding cultivation of chi energy (Wile, Douglas Tai Chi Ancestors, p.41), the notion of coordinating the entire body (Ancestors, p. 43) and description of an “internal art” being counter to the brute force of Shaolin (Ancestors, p. 47). Huang writes: “Now there is another school that is called ‘internal’ which overcomes movement with stillness. Thus we distinguish Shaolin as ‘external.” As translated and quoted by Wile in Tai Chi Ancestors, p. 51
Informing the discussion of the merging of internal energy and ancient Chinese yoga with martial art, Ch’ang Nai-chou in the mid 1700s created a style that intertwined martial art with meditation which Professor Wile describes as “all but extinct.”(Ancestors, p. 71). Chang’s art placed priority on chi development,(Ancestors, p. 76), chi circulation (Ancestors, p. 77) instructing that stagnation can be removed by movement (Ancestors, p. 77) and emphasized the importance of focusing the body’s chi to a single point. (Ancestors, p. 78)
Wile, Douglas, Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty
Wile, Douglas, T'Ai Chi's Ancestors: The Making of an Internal Art
[Continue reading on Essentials . . . page 2]