Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Developing "Down" force - Wujifa Methods

Ho... I have been sitting on this post for a while. It's time to talk about some really cool exercises for developing down force (and internal strength in general) in a flexible way.

picture standing with arms relaxed on suspended bag

What you see in the first picture here is me with my hands on a punching bag which is hanging from a bungee cord. Notice that the posture is very similar to basic standing posture as we practice it in Wujifa. The difference here is that my arms are supported by the springiness of the setup we have going. What we were doing was keeping the arms relaxed in this position, and then "sitting down" more to accomplish a pulling down of the punching bag while maintaining this relaxation through the arms.

picture after "sitting down"

Notice that the bungee cord has become more stretched, which has been accomplished through a sinking of the body. Pay special attention to how the hip area moves here.

So in the video here, you see how my arms are staying relaxed, allowing the bag to bounce when pushed by my school brother as I sink my body, pulling the bag downward. Now, the upper part of my body is still fairly still here, optimally, the sinking movement would be evident everywhere. As we say in Wujifa, you are where you are and that's where you start, and methods are employed based on where the student is to serve as a bridge to "something more".

Continuing to look at this critically, you can also see how I'm using a lot of leaning with my body, and how at times it appears that if the ball were to disappear, I would fall over. You can also see where some good movement through my hips is showing up, and how at times the movement starts to look a little more connected throughout. A senior school brother also pointed out that I'm doing something weird with my lower back, but I'm not noticing that in the video... maybe a bit of a blind spot for me.

We always talk about how important the "feeling" is. For me, it was cool just realizing how relaxed my arms could be while still effecting a downward movement upon the bag. Cool stuff, and I can't wait to keep exploring how relax fits in to internal strength. Actually, a school brother of mine has been putting a lot of good posts on feeling and relax up on Internal Gong Fu, which are totally worth checking out if you haven't already.

I'll leave the post with this question from my practice:
Practicing Wujifa Dancing today - (Internal martial power probably generates a different kinesthetic feedback for a "strong" push... how can I find the new feedback for "strength" so that I can use it to guide my practice?)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Class Report

This Sunday was a pretty cool day of class. We started off doing a bit of side to side. My question had to do with some new feelings I was getting in my inguinal creases where instead of feeling like I was pulling something apart, it was more of an opening feeling. One of the senior school brothers pointed out something about how I was using focus, how I was really focusing into one area. The movement looked pretty stiff to him, but when I slackened up on the specific focus to talk to another of my senior brothers, he noticed that things started to flow a little more.

Isn't that interesting. Distortion, Deletion and Generalization are the three things are brains are capable of, says NLP. Senior Brother #1 said that I was using Distortion in the way I was focusing so heavily on the inguinal crease. My focus had warped the experience of the exercise like a fun-house mirror warps a reflection, then I added, I was deleting out much of the rest of the sensory information coming in from my body to focus intently on the creases. What is the bigger question? He asked, and I replied that it was to find more connected full body movement.

I was losing the bigger question when I focused down so specifically, but by playing with the specific focus within the bigger intention, (always keeping the bigger intention in mind) I still got to explore the creases intensely, but also allowed myself to notice other connections throughout my body (how my chest was contributing to the inguinal crease) and looking more from a one-part-moves-all-parts-move perspective.

Allowing was something I asked a question about later in the class, and feeling like I was forcing things in my life and in my practice. After a bit of psychological stuff, I noticed that my conception of being an adult had a lot to do with being in control. Being an adult means being in control of everything all of the time. Really? Well, that's a thought that's in my head. We have a saying that is "you are where you are and that's where you start". There was also this word "begrudgingly" that came up in our discussion of allowing vs. control, and how I "begrudgingly" accept things, which is different from just accepting. Begrudging has more judgment to it.

On further exploration, begrudging is like the parent that looks at the angry or crying child from across the room with folded arms shaking her head, and accepting is like the parent that goes over to the child and is with them and hugs them because angry or sad or whatever, it's okay.

In stance today, I worked with that kind of a feeling, the "it's okay" of a mother holding a child. It was a very different feeling than trying to get everything in the right place. Maybe my stance didn't look as pretty, but the FEELING that was there during stance has lasted up until now, along with a feeling of more ease, and more equilibrium, more connection. The middle triangle really likes acceptance and it's okay, I notice.

Last part of class had to do with some dancing practice. We tied up some sticks to the ceiling of the back porch, rested our hands on them and did a little Wujifa dancing practice. Letting my arms rest into the sticks and letting the resting connect down to the rest of my body gave me a really cool hint into down force, and when I danced with that feeling without the sticks, my ESB (Elder School Brother) noticed that it was looking pretty good. Also working with some more twisting of the spine while dancing.