NOVEMBER 2009 (Part 1)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
When "Lifting Sun and Moon" before "Golden Bridge" or "One Finger Zen", how is the Small Universe visualization?
— Sifu Jamie Robson, Scotland
There is no need to purposely visualize the Small Universe to synchronize with the movement of "Lifting Sun and Moon" or with "Golden Bridge" and "One-Finger Shooting Zen". The Small Universe will flow naturally.
But initially when the Small Universe is not firmly established yet, you can activate it or strengthen it when you feel it is absent or weak. Irrespective of the exact movement you are performing "Lifting Sun and Moon" or "One-Finger Shooting Zen", you gently visualize the Small Universe flow.
When you feel the Small Universe flow is established, you resume the appropriate visualization for "Lifting Sun and Moon" or "One-Finger Shooting Zen". In other words, you perform the visualization for the Small Universe, or for "Lifting Sun and Moon" and "One-Finger Shooting Zen" separately.
When you visualize one, you do not visualize the other. Yet, when you visualize the Small Universe, and even you do not visualize the chi flow in "Lifting Sun and Moon" or "One-Finger Shooting Zen", the chi will flow accordingly. In the same way, when you visualize "Lifting Sun and Moon" or "One-Finger Shooting Zen", and even you do not visualize the Small Universe, the Small Universe will still flow.
And when you have mastered them, the chi flow of the Small Universe, "Lifting Sun and Moon" and "One-Finger Shooting Zen" will flow spontaneously and simultaneously, unless you purposely direct the flow otherwise, even when you do not perform any visualization.
Is it up the back with the in-breath and palms rising, then down the front with the out-breath and palms lowering?
Yes, this is the correct visualization for "Lifting Sun and Moon".
By performing "Lifting Sun and Moon", one can develop the Small Universe, but of course it will take a much longer time to attain than using an appropriate Small Universe technique.
On the other hand, for those who already have attained the Small Universe, performing "Lifting Sun and Moon" will strengthen it.
"Lifting Sun and Moon" is an excellent way to get chi flowing, even when it may not yet develop the Small Universe, as well as to focus chi at the dan tian. Amongst other benefits, this makes the practitioner relaxed, ready, agile and forceful at the same time! Doesn't this alone make us marvels at the treasure our past masters have given us.
This is the main reason why it is found at the start of virtually all Shaolin sets and modern wushu sets. In Taijiquan sets, "Lifting Sun and Moon" is modified to "Lifting Water", which is also found at the start of virtually all Taijiquan sets. Most Shaolin, wushu and Taijiquan practitioners today do not realize this secret, though they still perform their outward forms.
I once heard that when the tongue is up (upper palate) the chi goes up, and vice versa. Is this correct?
No, it is not quite correct, though some chi may (or may not) go up when the tongue is up, and some chi goes down when the tongue is down.
The main purpose of moving the tongue up and down is to bridge the upper gap of the Small Universe. The ren (or conceptual) meridian runs from below the lower lip to just before the anus. The du (or governing) meridian runs from just after the anus at the tip of the backbone to the top of the head and continues down the front of the face to just above the upper lip. Hence, there are two gaps, the upper gap between the upper and lower lips, and the lower gap at the anus.
When a practitioner moves his tongue up and down in synchronization with an appropriate breathing technique, like moving the tongue up while breathing in and moving the tongue down while breathing out at the "abdominal breathing" stage of our Small Universe practice, he stimulates his chi to flow across from the upper to the lower lips, thus bridging the upper gap.
On the other hand, when he lifts up his anus while breathing in and relax his anus while breathing out at the "reverse breathing" stage of our Small Universe practice, he stimulates his chi to flow across from the front to the back of his anus, thus bridging the lower gap.
When he has practiced this for some time, and the gaps have been bridged, there is no need to move his tongue up and down, and lift and relax his anus. The Small Universe will still flow through. But if he wants to as he has been used to it, it is fine. On the other hand, had he not moved his tongue up and down, and lifted and relaxed his anus during the various stages of his Small Universe practice, he can still attain the Small Universe though it will take a much longer time.
Some students, especially those who had practiced other types of chi kung before, asked me whether it was necessary to place their tongue up when performing the Eighteen Lohan Hands. The answer, of course, was "No". Indeed, placing the tongue up unnecessarily could cause discomfort for those not used to it, and therefore distract from the exercise. But if one is used to it and enjoys doing it, it is alright to do so.
Basically, I have had many false break-throughs in my Small Universe, thanks to "Lifting the Sun and Moon", but would appreciate some clarity on practice.
The break-through of the Small Universe is classified into "false" and "real".
Imagine the ren and du meridians to be a continuous water hose round the body. This is not accurate because the ren and du meridians do not have any physical boundary like a water hose, but it gives a good image of the Small Universe.
Along the water hose there are a lot of blockages caused by dirt. Because of these blockages, water cannot flow smoothly through the water hose.
Now we have a powerful bubble of water. Because of its power, this bubble can push through the blockages and flow round the water hose. But after the bubble has passed, the blockages close up again.
This gives an idea of a false break-through of the Small Universe. Chi does flow completely through the ren and the du meridians, but after it has passed, blockages close up again.
Many of our Shaolin Wahnam students have had a false break-through.
Now, instead of a bubble of water, we have a column of flowing water. As it flows round the water hose, the column of water pushes the blockages away. This column of flowing water also becomes bigger and bigger while flowing round the water hose until eventually the whole hose is filled with flowing water without any blockage. This gives an idea of the real break-through.
You probably have a real break-through. Even if it is not completely through, there is not much blockage left. When you attend my Small Universe Course next time, you will attain a real break-through if you don't already have one, or if you already have one, you will establish and strengthen the real break-through.
Finally, when I lower my hands and enjoy chi flow (rather than begin GB or OFZ) I am instantly aware of the chi in my fingers and toes, is this Big Universe?
This may or may not be the Big Universe. Even when a practitioner has not attained the Big Universe, he can still have chi flowing to his fingers and toes.
Can I train both Small Universe Big Universe with Lifting Sun & Moon?
Yes, you can, but it is not the most cost-effective. In other words, by practicing "Lifting Sun and Moon" you can attain the Small Universe and then the Big Universe, but you will attain them faster if you use their appropriate techniques.
As a rough guide, by practicing "Lifting Sun and Moon", you may attain the Small Universe in 10 years, and then the Big Universe in another 5. But if you use the techniques taught in our school, which you can read from my books, you can attain the Small Universe in a year, and then the Big Universe in another 6 months.
Because you are already very proficient in chi kung, it is very safe for you to practice on your own from my books. If you make mistakes and derive adverse effects, not only you will know them but also you can rectify them on your own. Of course, most other people will not be able to do so.
But if you attend my Small Universe Course, where I usually teach the Big Universe too, you can attain the Small Universe in 2 days, and the Big Universe in another day! Of course this is unbelievable, and some people would call me a big liar, though I am sure you fully believe me.
As a comparison, you can attend the Small Universe in a year as a bye-product of practicing "Lifting Sun and Moon", but many other people will be unable to attain the Small Universe even if they practice for 10 years and use the actual Small Universe technique. Although you know the reason very well, I still like to mention it here for the sake of other readers of my Question-Answer Series.
When you practice "Lifting Sun and Moon", you generate a chi flow as well as focus chi at your dan tian. The flowing chi at your dan tian will grow, and eventually it will completely fill your ren and du meridians.
Many other people only perform the outward form of the Small Universe technique. There is no chi flow and no chi accumulation at their dan tian. It does not matter for how long they practice their outward forms, they will be unable to attain the Small Universe.
Then how could you attain the Small Universe in only two days at my Small Universe Course? If you are invited to my course, you already have the Small Universe, or at least its potential. I only help you to activate and confirm the Small Universe.
Would you be able to do it on your own in two days if I tell you the techniques. Unlikely. Actually, you can read the techniques from my books. But you will need about a year of practice so that you can perform the techniques skillfully. At the course I need two days to systematically transmit the skills to you.
As a rough analogy, you may read up on how to manufacture a car. If you do it on your own from scratch, it may take you a year. But I already have the car. If you come and see me, I can just give it to you in a day.
I want to learn the real Tai Chi Chuan for good health and real combat. I want to be a formidable fighter with a balanced and strong body.
— Ruben, England
I am glad you wish to learn the real Taijiquan. Today thousands of people practice Taijiquan, or Taiji as they usually call it. But more than 90% of them get less than 10% of the benefits genuine, traditional Taijiquan would give. Why is this so? The answer is quite straight-forward though many of them many not realize it or may not like to hear it. More than 90% of those who practice Taiji do not practice genuine, traditional Taijiquan!
Understandably, many people may be angry at my answer, but when asked by a sincere person seeking my advice, I prefer to say the truth rather than to say plesantries to please people.
What, then, is genuine, traditional Taijiquan? You can read some very interesting information from the thread of the same name at http://www.shaolin.org/discussion/forum02/robin01.html
Taijiquan is an internal martial art, the kind of art practiced by Taijiquan masters in the past. Two keys words are crucial -- internal and martial. In other words, when you practice genuine, traditional Taijiquan, you have internal force and are able to apply the Taijiquan for combat. Very few people who practice Taiji today have accomplished any one of these two essential abilities practicing genuine Taijiquan gives.
I have done hard style martial arts. I have read your website and I feel you speak the true Tai Chi.
Many hard style martial artists, especially those who have attained a high level in their arts, wish to learn some Taijiquan One main reason is that they have found they have sustained a lot of tension as well as injuries as a result of their dedicated practice over the years, and they hope that Taijiquan may help them overcome or at lease minimize their sufferings. It is indeed unfortunate that what most of them manage to find is external Taiji forms, not genuine Taijiquan.
Practicing external Taiji forms gives them some benefits, like making them more relaxed and balanced, but these benefits are nothing compared to the wonderful benefits of practicng genuine, traditional Taijiquan.
Had they practice high-level genuine, traditional Taijiquan, they would have overcome their pain and injuries, and have good health and vitality even at old age. They would also discover for themselves what they might have just read in books, namely that the graceful Taijiquan techniques can be very combat efficient, and they can spar for a few hours without panting for breaths or feeling tired.
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