Danya Rose, Annandale
became a student of Master Ric Lum in May 2002, largely as a matter of
curiosity and opportunity. Studying Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan has opened
my eyes to myself, to others and to "going with the flow" in both
literal and metaphorical senses.
Subject: Match Report 19/5
Today's class for me was quite amazing. Stepping into the Dance was like forgetting myself. At first I had an instant of thinking my way into my last step, progressing into my current step and then deliberately letting go of all that, at which point it felt like a door opened and I was no longer "driving". This continued until the end of S2, when my mind became just active enough as to take me out of that state (actually reminiscent of the few times I've been in true Push Hands). Despite losing the "other driver", it felt like the door into that state remained open for the rest of the Dance, and occasionally I was lifted above my normal state just a little before the end.
We closed with repetitions of left and right "Brush knee" and finally one run through that part of S1. During this I moved extremely slowly, and I felt my whole body almost shaking as if from chills and wind, even though I was warm enough. It felt very like I was in a vortex of the Cool Breeze, doing exactly what I should, exactly how I should. Amazing!
At coffee, Chris R, Roselle and Neelica all reported the sensation of the "breaking eggs". Amusingly, they all (without thinking about it or coordinating it) ordered omelettes!
Unlike most other steps, Kundala is not a region that permits conscious control - either you have imbibed the spirit of Tai Chi Chuan (and Kundala thus is free) or you have not.
In Mongolian horse stance, Tai Chi stance and Wu Chi stance (in order of subtle, as well as physical, height) this step brings spontaneous meditation.
In the form (Section 1 so far) it spontaneously imposes (no - inspires!) a straight spine in all postures, brings spontaneous meditation and transcendence during the form (or stances) so that even though the mind dropped initially into focus, attention/awareness is opened up everywhere.
In "frog on lily pad", it brought me to the bottom with great restfulness. I felt as though I were warmly enclosed by the earth, as an egg in a nest or a seed in the ground (and just as sleepy, but vibrant with potential). Rising from here was the one place where Kundala felt like it led directly - everywhere else it followed, but was also the source of spontaneous motion, directing physical awareness of my body - first raising and then inflating me.
It is beautifully natural.
In summary, this step is perhaps the first point
at which one is fully on the first rung to Wu-Chi. It is a trigger
for spontaneous meditation. It both requires and
inspires correctness in all earlier steps to freely raise one's
awareness to a higher level (particularly in motion). It is opening a
Subject: Final note on '3.07'
While consciously practising this step
in repetitions of "Brush knee", the "way" of moving
emphasised the weaving of the dragon, much more clearly than at previous
steps which introduced aspects of it
On 28/09/2011 4:32 PM, Danya Rose wrote:
On 20/09/2011 6:08 PM, Danya Rose wrote:
When weaving a tapestry the thread must weave in an unsubtle fashion between the other strands. Only once it has passed through in the correct pattern should it be pulled tight, and the new thread becomes less obvious, more subtle.
I left Push Hands this evening brimming over somehow. I pedalled my bike home seemingly powered only by Chi - it was like an effortless stroll the entire way, and very peaceful.
Thank you. This is incredibly illuminating. (the pieces were all there and put together - this just turns it on!)
I'm sure I'll be having unpredictable flashes of insight for week, months, years just from this alone.
Interesting tangent from applied maths/mathematical physics - a result called Noether's theorem, which in short states that whenever you have a physical symmetry (these tend to be in the form of time/space/rotational invariance, meaning that the equations remain the same when the variables are changed corresponding to translations in time or space or a rotation) you have a corresponding conserved quantity (respectively, energy/linear momentum/angular momentum).
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009
It seems to me that "Constant Rate"
is about being aware of a beat in the form, which makes it more explicitly a
dance. However, from the hints I've received, the idea of constant rate as
we received it today is a way to nail down the edges of an
understanding/awareness that will appear to be reversed later on – an
apparent contradiction - while maintaining fidelity to the principle in a
"When the beating of your heart
As today's lesson started, I noticed myself falling into a strange mental space. Almost as if I were drunk, I could not think easily, and all that remained of *me* was my awareness, which was at once both intensely focussed and completely defocussed. Unlike drunkenness, however, was my total control, which, paradoxically, was not even needed – everything I did while in this state felt guided, so I let myself stay there and not worry if this or that that was right or wrong.
While leading Grasp Bird's Tail I felt like a puppet on strings, guided by some other sense in pace and position. Everything was without concern.
This persisted until the time we began to form up to do Section 1 “Around the World”, but has left me in a clearer, better space all day, hovering on the edge of it in some way, relaxed and centred, without stress or pressure. I now have a real glimmer of understanding how Tai Chi should be taught, how it should be learned and why Ric sometimes seems startled when we ask questions – because questions don't come from this space and they intrude upon it, pulling you out like being shaken from meditation.
Tai Chi has a profound effect improving leg strength and balance on your feet. This extends to improving posture. Endurance increases and walking becomes effortless. Even when you are feeling weak, your legs will be able to keep you upright until you can rest.
17 May 2008
The amount of idiosyncrasies depends on the rank or level of the person. To begin with, the most important thing is flow. It’s like nailing down a sheet – you’re free to move around and you may express very strangely. People can express freely around what’s being nailed down. What they express partly depends on their physiology, their fitness, and their Chi flow. Within these constraints, there are correct ways of doing it. You generally see the correct ways in the more advanced students.
29th March 2008
Tuesday, June 05, 2007 11:51 PM
This evening washing my hair in the
shower I had a small revelation that I wanted to share.
It was the kind of simple discovery that made me wonder why I'd never noticed that before. At some stage the two concepts may coincide, but the subtle, qualitative difference between the two says they're not identical - the difference between true neutrality (conserving momentum) and taking a position and holding to it (requires forcing against the natural flow of the motion that dissipates energy most *efficiently*).
Sunday, January 28, 2007 6:51 PM
In essence, there is little to expand upon the title of this update - having a correct stance from the feet up through the knees (remember from an early lesson, knee in line with big toe) and maintaining the seat, particularly in the case of digging trenches with a mattock, will at least reduce the amount of strain on the muscles of your lower back around your spine. On rough ground, releasing the heel first gives you the opportunity to find a stable platform before you shift your weight, preventing falls or unbalancing from slippage (if you slip, just let your weight go down on your weighted leg and the unweighted leg will slide until it's done - a version of "Snake Creeps Down", in the extreme - your weighted foot should already be stable, and when the slide finishes you can transfer your weight and raise yourself).
Those are the main experiences where unconscious Kung Fu asserts itself, but if you are aware you will notice how it can infiltrate just walking, especially on rough terrain, or standing when hard work has tired you.
Monday, December 11, 2006 12:21 AM
In this morning's class (Sunday, 10/12/06) I realised for the first time that in the rising arms of the opening movement of the form there are two distinct phases of Chi. For the first half it seems to lift up on my hands, then, about 45° from vertical it changes direction and sensation and pulls forwards until the hands reach the top and turn to face palms down. In fact this is not a new sensation, but the realisation of this distinction was interesting. I also find that the same location for the change in phase also triggers the transition into the next movement, pivoting to the right.
Lastly, two observations of note:
first, it was in my mind the way you do the "Brush Knee" immediately before
"Fist Pounds Earth", and having seen you do it on numerous occasions I was
interested to try it, but when the moment came that avenue of flow was still
closed off to me - there was no point in trying to reach it. Second, my mind
became actively distracted (by now I know not what) early in section three,
just moving into "Jade Maiden" I realised I was about to skip it and go into
"Cloud Hands" instead. This was the only section of the form where I felt
trouble connecting to the flow, and felt intense heat coming out of my whole
body as I readjusted. It only goes to reinforce the message that activity of
the (intellectual) mind (even though I was not thinking of an intellectual
topic, the same part of my brain felt active) is not only not required for
Tai Chi Chuan - it is harmful to it.
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006
This week has generally been a good
one, but nothing especially stands out aside from the Push Hands lesson,
where there was some progress working on my right arm and particularly my
shoulder, which has been feeling a kind of "rustiness" in the gears and the
springiness that's in my left arm just isn't in my right - much like elastic
that's been overstretched and lost its elasticity, but also like a corroded,
rusty metal spring. In contrast my left arm feels silky smooth and well
Related to discussions we were
having, I find that when I try to progress faster than I'm ready to (whether
I know I'm ready or not) something will always hold me (or worse push me)
back. This happened twice when progressing from New Foot to Old Foot in
2004, where I fell sick each time within a week of the first lesson of it. I
believe it has happened to me on other occasions, but alas I remember no
specifics to back up my suspicion. The moral of the story is that there can
be no ambition to swim ahead.
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006
P.S. When walking away from Push
Hands I realised that my pelvis was untwisted. This has never happened
spontaneously (even when the chiropractor did it, it never felt so good).
Today towards the end of the form I felt my connection to the source of Chi open up dramatically. No longer was the Chi guiding me - it was dictating to me, and following its directions I felt myself moving ever more fluidly and stably. It was very amazing.
Starting on 'W..K' has started making things feel like I'm moving on a higher, stronger platform in my stances. The part where I am moving is less like I'm moving, somehow, and the feeling of being "in the air" in the middle of my feet is now more like rolling from the first platform and being caught easily on the new one, with almost no air-time. Introspecting now, I realise how much faking I must have been doing even doing 'U..K', let alone anything before it. This may sound disparaging or discouraging from lower on the spiral path, but it is the only way to progress, and when you progress you know you have progressed.
Thursday morning last week was terribly wet and windy, but standing in Wu Chi stance in the middle of it, warmly clothed and insulated as best as possible against biting wind and penetrating rain, was painless and enjoyable. Maybe that's partly my ego rewrapping the memories, but it was certainly bearable and felt better than just "standing easy" and trying to shrug off the weather, if not preferable to being inside and cosy while nursing a hot drink!
Last week was also the first time in over a year where my body wasn't so craving sleep that I was having trouble staying awake towards the end of all my lectures, too.
September 03, 2006 2:35 PM
This week feels like a slow week, but a good one. Getting up earlier is easier, as is going to bed. My mind has been unfogging, and the overstressing of my knees from riding my bike in too high a gear has been healing.
Push Hands was fulfilling, and my understanding of where I am in it is becoming clearer. I am happy to be exactly where I am; to have both come so far and still have such a long way to go. The former being obvious, I think, and the latter because I enjoy the learning process so much.
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 6:07 PM
Today I seem to have found the seed of a kind of internal personal
space that I have been missing for a significant length of time, that I
can hopefully nurture back to full health. This coincided with practising
Tai Chi Stance on the platform at Redfern station and on the train to
Strathfield. During this practice I finally, finally figured out what to
do with my left knee to make my foot feel like it's properly flat on the
ground (not rolling slightly to the inside as I've been aware of it being
since at least my first lesson with you). This in turn feels like the
turning point for my twisted pelvis and its straightening, not to mention
all the follow-on effects that should allow my spine to straighten, which
in turn will help balance my shoulders, thence my arms, etc..
I learned an important lesson on Thursday - one that perhaps won't leave me now.
The sense of Chi directing my form that I mentioned to you in person several weeks ago is persisting. The strength of it varies at times, but there is always at least some. It grows stronger when I am focusing more on what I am doing but trying less to /do/ it myself.
Push Hands feels like it's going in deeper. I am enjoying having a range of other people to learn with; it is like coming out of a monochrome room and seeing a larger range of colours. I also appreciate more how much you have gone through to teach me what you have. I am humbled!
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 11:06 AM
A little earlier that evening I had started feeling somewhat worse, after having so far made fairly quick progress through symptoms the previous two or three days (I still felt awful, but by that time I was nearly stellar compared to how I felt on the weekend). Shortly after the point where I utilised Chi, however, I started feeling more energetic, stronger - physically and mentally. It could easily be dismissed as the effect of the food, and I know how much effect food can truly have on the body and on the psyche, but in this case I feel more inclined to attribute this to Chi.
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 10:01 PM
Sent: Thursday, May
25, 2006 10:22 AM
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 9:20 AM
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:26 AM
Sent: Monday, March
20, 2006 6:45 PM
literally running late for Advanced Dance class:
February 22, 2006 4:10 PM
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 8:58 AM
Sent: Saturday, June 04, 2005 5:28 PM
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 9:41 PM
At today's lesson, just watching Ric lead Holly through the Section
1 Brush Knees, I found it very hard to distinguish the two in terms of
their flow. At a purely physical level they looked very different, but
I had to actually clear my head to see that it was two people, not just
one person in two places (which is very much how it felt).
"Over the last couple of months I have felt lifted tall, as if I
were the string tying a helium balloon to the ground. Firmly attached
below and lifted straight from above. It has also been my experience that
small wounds have started healing a little faster than they normally would."
“I started Tai Chi lessons at the end of May 2002. I have, since the
very beginning, found it satisfying at every level of my being, as if it
fulfills some craving or hunger that I have always had. The grace and
elegance of the form, and the underpinning strength and balance, flow
through into the rest of my life, and I feel grateful to all the
influences that have led me to this point.”
“Today's tai chi lesson was very amazing. I did the standard stuff
for these lessons (as Ric already knows), and at the end received one
tiny, subtle-as-subtle-can-be change for the chi exercise and felt
as I was doing it my hands being warm (usual), slightly filled with pressure
(also usual), slight tingling in the palms (a bit like pins and needles
- again usual) but such power coming through all of them that it was frightening
and I had to spend a minute just discharging from it before I was game
to let myself do it again. There was also a feeling in the shadow of my
mind that seemed like a visual effect that wasn't truly light (or I'd
have seen it properly, and others too, of course :) ) that seemed to appear
both in my vision and not in it like my hands were radiating faintly,
whitely (without colour, I guess you could say, and without light, as
I said). I'm still not certain if I was really "seeing" this
or not, but it "appeared" to be a part of my vision...”
“I found on Saturday that something in my body has clicked over.
I feel like I'm standing more balanced, my walking has more even steps
and my back isn't feeling slightly twisted by archery. I also found that
my actual stance had improved, too.”
I started doing Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan at the end of May in 2002, at the age
of 21. I have never studied any other forms of Tai Chi, nor any other
martial arts in general. I enjoy the art immensely, and I like the way
Ric teaches his classes.