The concept of generating power is one that I stumbled around with for a good decade in Wing Chun. All the wing chun guys that I held a focus mitt for just seemed to tap it, while my power crazy nature wanted the ultimate punch. So I developed a method that makes your training partners bones scream with pain through the focus mitt when you hit it.(grin)
I used the Tai Chi classics as my inspiration and extensive meditation to help my understanding of them and how they might apply to my art. Here is a rough outline of my method for those of you who are interested. I broke this system down into several stages. The first stage of practice is mental in nature as I believe the mind must be trained first to control chi.
Stand in a neutral stance, feet shoulder width apart, with your arms hanging comfortably by your side. Take a couple deep breaths, inhaling the thought of relaxation and exhaling tension, repeating this cycle until you feel relaxed. Drop your awareness to your center of gravity just below the navel, and about half way in towards your spine. As soon as you have found your center, begin to penetrate your mind into it. The deeper you go, the emptier the feeling becomes. As you continue with penetrating into this emptiness, if any thoughts enter your mind just block them out and keep sinking deeper into the emptiness of your depth point/center. After a few cracks at this exercise, you will begin to find a space within your center that holds a quality of timelessness, spacelessness and ultimate emptiness. It is this quality that one must learn to evoke in your mind and body on a moments' notice.
The first two qualities that we want to manifest out of our newfound void is the quality of rising yang, which will eventually activate sinking yin energy.
We once again stand in our neutral stance, dropping your mind into the center and activating the quality of absolute void. When you feel you have reached this state, draw the emptiness down the body into the root 6 inches into ground, below your center of gravity. Become accustomed to this feeling of emptiness in the root. Visualize the emptiness like a black hole or a vortex sucking your feet down into the ground, Some people like to visualize themselves standing on a black hole or well in the ground. Now get used to this feeling of emptiness under the feet sucking you into the ground. (now remember we are still at a stage of mentally connecting to the void or Wu Chi) Upon establishing a mental void under your feet in the root let the emptiness rise up into your feet.
As the emptiness hits your feet three things will begin to happen: 1. Your feet will begin to relax as the emptiness moves from a mental state into a physical state. 2.The relaxation will result in sinking of chi, which is energy released during the relaxation phase. The yin sinking energy will drop into the emptiness of the root and distill into yang rising energy feeding the upward force even more. Hence the cycle of yin and yang. Continue rising the emptiness up into them, relaxing the ankles, sinking the ankles into the root and moving upward with a strengthened, rising force. Continue the wave of relaxed emptiness up the legs allowing separation to take place. (Separation is a term I use to define how emptiness creates sinking and rising energy in the body).
When the relaxation reaches the the hips and pelvis they relax and sink to the lowest point in the pelvic tilt. continue drawing the empty force up the tailbone. When the tailbone is released it sinks, changing the pelvis angle slightly, bringing it forward like sitting on the edge of a barstool. This is created purely through relaxation and not in the holding and tucking in of the pelvis.
As we continue the wave of emptiness up the spine we must remember to allow separation to take place. As the emptiness relaxes each vertebrae it sinks and stretches downwards, opening the vertebrae while stretching the spongy cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the spine. The vertebrae above our point of awareness must stay suspended from above to allow for the opening and closing of each vertebrae up the spine. This is done very slowly at first but with practice it will speed up as required. This opens the DU meridian, clearing any stagnant chi that may be causing energy imbalances in the body. This is also very effective for relieving many forms of back pain.
When the wave of emptiness reaches the neck, let the neck relax and stretch upwards, opening the chi flow up to the crown. When the wave of emptiness reaches the crown, let the crown open like a water fountain and enjoy the mental and spiritual refreshment, letting the wave of emptiness reach 6 inches above the crown. By now a gentle downward, trickling feeling will be growing while simultaneously an upward, rising feeling will be operating. Now sink the mind down to the root at about the same speed it would take if you dropped a book to the ground from that height. Repeat the whole process over and over until the wave becomes fast enough to travel from root to crown in under a second, which may take some months.
When the wave of emptiness has become stronger, slow it down again while magnifying its strength. Now bring the wave of emptiness slowly up from the root, up to the mid point of the scapula, dividing it into two lines moving out to the shoulders, while still moving up to the crown. When the emptiness reaches the shoulders, let the shoulders sink back and down connecting to the root. Let the emptiness raise the arms slightly, while sinking and rising the energy. Continue this over and over each time allowing the emptiness to raise and drop the hands a little more, remembering never to use any muscles to raise the hand but only emptiness of mind and separation. When you are able to raise the hands all the way up in this fashion into a guard position, relax and sink the guard so you are comfortable with it. This may take several weeks.
Now that we have learnt how to raise the guard, we take a guard position using the principle of how to raise the guard. Then we bring a wave of emptiness up from the root to the shoulders, relaxing, sinking and releasing the shoulders. Let the wave continue down the arms as the arms slowly begin to extend out. Relax and sink the elbow downwards while the relaxed wave of emptiness is moving forward and outwards. Let the punch extend out while holding the fist as if you had a small ball of empty force in your hand. When the punch reaches full extension, close the hand, letting the ball of emptiness in your hand explode forward into the desired target. The intention for the damage level is stored in the empty ball you are gently clenching in your fist, making your partners bones scream with pain through the focus mitt as you hit it. Repeat the process over and over until it speeds up, creating an awesome punch.
Sifu Rasmus has been practicing Martial arts since the Mid-70's, starting his training in Karate before moving through several different styles, eventually discovering Wing Chun in the mid-80's. Sifu Rasmus has focused his energy over the last 10 years on developing an internal approach to Wing Chun. All his articles are based on his experiences and development, and are not claimed to be traditional, even though many of the principles are traditional concepts. Sifu Rasmus teaches on the Gold Coast in Australia and is available for seminars globally. You may e-mail him at: email@example.com
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