9. Continuity without breakage. – Xiang Lian Bu Duan - 相連不斷
In external martial arts, the power used is only physical strength, and therefore there is a start and a finish to it. In between is the break where strength from the previous move is finished and before the new force is issued. This is the weakest point and can be easily exploited by the opponent. Taiji Quan uses yi and not li, hence the movements become continuous without ending like a roaring river without ceasing. When in circulation, the qi can be described as drawing silk from a cocoon, to signify continuous flow of movement.
Hi Mark, This principle led me to review number 6, use yi, not li. I'm trying to understand li in relation to gong. To reel silk you need to use a combination of gong and sung. Is li force, or the manifestation of extreme use of gong? And what is the relation to fa jin? ( excuse my Chinese spelling).
Great questions Mary. I think it may help to attempt to further define some words.
Li is the physical manifestation of movement. Gong as in Gong Fu is effort or hard work. Gong Fu being skill acquired through effort. A person uses a lot of gong in a chess game and not much li (unless the pieces are very heavy ;))
Fa Jin is to issue Jin power. You can also practice Fa Li or issuing Li power. Tests of power in Yi Quan are called Fa Li and in TaiJi they are called Fa Jin. Sifu Fong would say there is no difference between correctly issued Jin and correctly issued Li. It is a matter of approach, but correct movement is correct movement.
Silk reeling is about consistency and continuity of power. Are you consistent in the appropriateness of your force and is the continuity between the movements?
Thank you for clarification of the meanings, Mark. I think it takes a lot of time and practice to distinguish what exactly are the questions, and how they apply to one's current practice. I'm working on it!
I had a thought the other day...if this distance learning continues, maybe you could do a seqence on the ba duan jin. Since it is done in one place essentially, it might be a good candidate. You may already have ideas, but....just saying.
I often look at that video, but I remember you had so much in depth information, particularly the breath, when you gave that workshop years ago, and now I'm trying to remember what you said. I hope you and Tat are well and enjoying your "sabbatical".
The silk reeling had me feeling all tied up and nowhere to go, just kidding. I was mesmerized by this class, feeling the continuous movement without breakage and paying attention to fully finish the movements before continuing. How do you know if you have fully extended before moving? Many times I think I do rush through the movements and I'm trying to pay more attention to what's in-between, the pauses are very important. These classes have been so beneficial. Regards, Beverly
Thank you so much for doing these classes! I could keep up in this class doing the Cloud Hands in our regular way, but I can see I will need a lot of practice doing it backwards or reverse. So practice, practice, again. Also throughout the day when I stop to practice Golden Rooster or something else, I find myself saying to myself, "lift the knee, lift the knee". Being able to follow you online has been helpful because sometimes I have been dropping one arm, elbow, or hand instead of keeping it up in an active position. So many things to think of all at once! I find that practicing alone with you, helps to lift my spirits and I feel more awake. Thanks goodness I can do it anytime that it fits in my schedule.
Th pauses are important and should be used as a learning tool. We should also remember that even though you pause the movement you do not let go of the silk. You can hold the bow steady as you aim without letting go of the arrow. Movement in stillness and stillness in movement.
To answer directly, pause in the movement but extend and see if you can go further without loosing structure. Burn the feeling into your body and remember the feeling when you repeat the form.