Intention and Yi

Having studied a little XYQ later, I came to realize after I left Japan that the teacher was using the sword training to develop what the Chinese call YI, or intent. Using a real sword gave me the ability to focus in a way I’ve never experienced before. Every time I drew the sword, I was “on” and paying attention to every last detail. Failing to do so would have resulted in injury.

On Buying a Taiji Sword – Formosa Neijia

Wow.. this is really a great point and something I wanted to expand on and explore a bit on my own. I really like the connection of using a live blade and the development of yi.

Often times, I’ve been told to imagine an opponent when I do the form, but imagine no opponent during push hands. Personally, I’m still working on the form part. I think one of the precursors to this is to understand the application of each and every movement of the form. In my experience, I have not encountered the type of teaching where each and every posture is taught along with the application except in rare cases (it’s taught this way when I learned the 12 animals of liuhebafa, and also in the Chen Practical Method). I then start to wonder if a lot of teachers out there *know* the application for each and every move??

On the flip side, I’ve been told that learning the applications to each and every move can result in a blockage of higher level development due to focusing on the “physical” and not the energetic application. Energetic meaning, when given a peng, counter with a lu. When given a lu, counter with a ji and then try to break down the form into their energetic components.

Which is right? I’m not quite sure, though I think it’s probably something along the lines of the “middle road” and a bit of each.

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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2 Responses to Intention and Yi

  1. lifegivingsword says:

    Interesting that you should mention this. I personally am of the opinion that thinking in terms of jins rather than techniques is a very advanced method that is the equivalent of distillation. In other words, you know everything so well that it has all been reduced to its component parts. When I teach a posture, I teach a couple applications for it so a broad connection can be made that gives the student something to work with on their own time. For example, I’ve been having some trouble getting my gf to the level of mental involvement that I would like (e.g. practicing or thinking about TJQ on her own time rather than just in class), despite the fact that I’ve taught her applications for the major movements. Anyway, since I’m trying to get her to where she knows the first section of the Yang Long Form, I’ve started feeding her faster so to speak. When we got to brush knee, I demonstrated a cavity strike application for it. (This application is particularly stuck in my mind as it’s the first app I ever learned from my first TJQ teacher, and he knocked my heart out of rhythm for a few days with it) This seemed to unlock the flood gates as she loves the technique and has now been practicing it in front of bathroom mirrors, showing it off to her little sister, etc.

    I think that as long as you know both the jins and the techniques, you’ll make the distillation eventually on your own steam. I make a point of doing self defense apps and saying things like “wouldn’t Pluck work well here?”

  2. chessman71 says:

    Having probs at wordpress lately so my first comment didn’t go through. Let’s try again.

    First, glad you liked the post. The iaido teacher was awesome. He was the most “on” person I have ever meet. He was very calm but had an attention about his that could be uncomfortable at times. His YI was so strong that it was I cound never win a staring contest with him!

    Second, I agree with framing taiji applications in terms of the jings. This really brings out the taiji knowledge IMO. Knowing how the jings combine in each one the moves really deepens my appreciation of taiji, allows me to find the jings myself in other parts of the forms, and also brings understanding of the taiji classics. The jings connect with the classics and explaining it like that allows people to do there own research in books, etc. plus, it gives us a common language across taiji styles.

    Take care.

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