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The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

Exploring every avenue ... Bookmark

In a step away from the mechanics of internal power, this post will deal with a subject that I come up against time and again in the internal arts community. A subject hotly debated but rarely agreed upon. The subject of ‘chi’.

 

More specifically I would like to address my apparent rejection of ‘Chi’ as a useful term in my writings and teachings.

 

It would be fair to say that for many years, the idea of Chi and the use of the term was a part of my practice. I had some teachers who would use the term regularly to describe feelings experienced during practice or to explain how they were able to create certain effects in a partner. So why do I so rarely use it now in my teachings or practice?

Academy Update Bookmark

I have just updated the Academy with new videos on the following subjects :

 

- Vertical Dan Tien Rotation

- Crotch Arch Training

- Pulling Step Training

- Hand And Wrist connection

- Dragon Body

- An overview of Pulling Silk.

 

Join today to view these updates. Many more to be added in the coming weeks.

 

Happy training all.

Moving Slowly to be Fast Bookmark

When we think of the Internal Arts we often think of the slow motion practice or people standing in static postures but there is an interesting phenomena related to these practices. One which we see in combative exchange but is not immediately apparent in these fundamental training methods. This is the ability for some internal artists to move at blindingly fast speeds even though much of their training can be focused moving slowly.


How does static posture training or slow movement practice actually increase the speed of the practitioner? The two ideas seem to be at odds!

There are several factors at play here but first we can say that moving slowly or holding a static position makes us better able to recognize precisely how much effort is needed to perform a given action.


There is a physical law known as the Weber Fenscher Law which states:


’The higher the speed of a given movement, the less able we become to recognise the power required to perform it.’

Movement from stillness Bookmark

There is a concept in the internal styles that movement is inside stillness and stillness inside movement. We could say that this refers to the potential of our muscles to produce movement from a static position, which of course covers some methods. But we can also look at this phrase from a slightly different angle, one that refers to the inherent potential of the well trained body to produce motion using a different engine.

The Harmony of Opposites in the Body Bookmark

So moving on from the previous post on the action of the Ming Men, we are now going to look at a technique that allows practitioners to create movement and force within their own body. A method that utilizes the Ming Men as well as its opposite counterpart the QiHai, a method I call ‘Pairing’.

 

In this method we use the front and back of the Lower Dan Tien or Taren, in harmony with one another. It is this complimentary harmony of opposites, a pair of actions happening simultaneously but in opposition that gives this method its name. It is not a singular direction or motion but a 'Pair' of actions creating 'one' result. The Ming Men and Qi hai are the origination and termination points for the harmonized opening and closing in of the torso we will talk about in this post.

Using the Ming Men Bookmark

In Traditional Chinese theory there is a point in the middle of the lumbar region of back that is believed to be the centre of ‘Vitality’ and where the original life essence of the individual is based, this point is called the ‘Ming Men’.


Located at between the L2 & L3 vertebra, a couple of inches above the line of the Iliac crest in most people, this point is of foundational importance to Chinese Medicine and their associated practices. It is thought to be responsible for ‘warmth’ in the body, for fuelling correct metabolic action and organ function in these traditional systems. 

Spine Wave Bookmark

The internal arts and methods are perhaps best defined by the way in which they utilize the body to create, receive and transform forces. There are many different ways in which the body is used in this regard from rotating and rolling the Center, to tensioning the connective tissue web, to co-ordinating the limb and body into a unified action.  But in this post we will be looking at one of these interesting methods that utilizes the Axis of the body in a ‘wave’. This is often referred to as the ‘spine wave’.

The spine wave is created by the action of the Lumbar Spine, the thoracic spine and associated tissues working sequentially but in harmony with one another. It is often seen in the crashing forward direction of Xing Yi Quan’s Pi or ‘splitting’ method or in TaiJi Quan’s An or ‘push downwards’ method.

Thoracic Mobilty Exercise Bookmark

As we discussed in the previous post the thoracic spine can be an area of tension and 'stuck' tissue for some people. Especially those who work at desks all day.

This video is a demonstration and explination of a very nice Thoracic mobility method I use to help people reverse the effect of a bound spine in this area.

It is a relatively simple method but you have to maintain some of the Key components to make it as effective as possible.


  1. Limit flexion at the Elbow so as to fix the shoulder position.
  2. Avoid 'waving the head'
  3. Attempt to maintain a 90 degree angle between the floor and the arm/femur.

If you, or some of your students suffer from thoracic spine and scapular binding, give this simple method a try!

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