Six Combinations of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan
1) The BODY combines with the MIND (Mind-Intent).
Extraneous thoughts should be excluded from the mind and concentration utilized. The mind-intent moves the Chi (inside atmosphere of the body) so that it may sink deeply and penetrate the bones. The mind-intent and Chi must interact in a lively manner in order to achieve both smoothness and circularity.
2) The MIND combines with the IDEA.
Before the MIND directs the movement, you should have a clear IDEA of what to do. Relax the entire body, calm your mind and concentrate on breathing from the diaphragm. The relationship between the mind-intent and the Chi is like an automobile; inside is the driver and the engine. To move the automobile, it will take the mind-intent who is the driver and the Chi who is the engine working and interacting
3) The IDEA combines with the CHI.
The IDEA directs the CHI to circulate throughout the body with balanced alignment of T’ai-Chi rooting. The breath must be in unison with the movements of the body. Each meditative movement heightens perception of body awareness and cultivates Chi.
4) The CHI combines with the SPIRIT.
Push the crown point upward, as if the head is suspended from above, ears are listening inward, the tongue is rolled toward the back of the mouth with the teeth and lips lightly touching together. The CHI is concentrated downward into the tan t’ien and flows smoothly. The breathing is long, slow, smooth, rhythmic and continuously linked to each movement. Do not use CHI alone to move you, but also put your SPIRIT into the movement. SPIRIT and CHI together directs your movements.
5) The SPIRIT combines with the MOVEMENT.
You should put your SPIRIT into the MOVEMENTS. Without SPIRIT, the MOVEMENT will be dull. Express each of your movements with your eyes and your crown point raised upward. Move like a lively dragon – up and down, left and right, in and out, allowing all movement to move from the waist. Your movement should be round and smooth. Thus, your movements look both esthetically balanced and lively.
6) The MOVEMENT combines with the AIR.
To move like the AIR is to move effortlessly like a fish swimming, with the least body resistance. Rather, your Mind Intent of the Six Combinations moves your movements.
Eight Methods of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan
(The following are excerpts from Master Li’s seminars at the Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Healthcare Institute in Boston during the 1970s)
“In China, there are two kinds of exercise. One is called External. Another is called Internal. External shows out: you see appearance, but in Internal everything is concealed: you cannot see. Also, the outside seems so soft, but the inside is very hard. It’s hard as steel. You cannot force it. So, there’s a difference between Internal and External. One uses strength. Another uses force: inner force. It seems so smooth, but it is so hard inside. If you want to study some kind of Internal Exercise, then you must first understand the EIGHT METHODS. There are Eight Methods for us to study, so it takes a long time to go over the Eight Methods.
All our movement should be moved in natural and go to the Natural State. The Natural State will empty your mind. That’s very important to empty your mind. No thought is in your mind; it’s empty. Empty should calm your mind: empty. No other thought is in our mind. Empty your mind. Empty your mind, then you can return to the Truth. You are so calm in your mind, you can find out the reason why. You can find the Truth by meditation.
In this lesson we will discuss the Natural State. What is the Natural State? If you gain the Natural State, you are satisfied. You’re happy and you enjoy internal and external as well. The Natural State means harmony with the universe. Inside you have the world, outside you have the world and the two worlds are harmonious.
First we must learn Eight Methods. With the Eight Methods we can move from simple to the Advanced State. What is Eight Methods?
1) CHI – Chi works internally, concentrated by ones spirit.
The Chi works internally as an energy source which circulates your blood. Chi emanates from an area called the “tan t’ien ” (Sea of Chi or abdomen), located about one and one-half inches below the navel. The tan t’ien is the source of energy from which all movement emerges. This energy lies dormant within everybody until it is activated by consistent practice of internal health exercise. the spirit guides all our movements toward being expressed with relaxed, flexible, lively suppleness. Chi, without spirit, is dull. The Chi must be controlled so that it can move throughout the body and penetrate into the bones. Its limit depends on the correctness of instruction and the amount of concentrated practice.
2) BONE – The internal force is concealed.
The internal force (Geng = internal strength) is concealed within the bones and joints. Use your mind to exercise your internal energy. Let the internal energy sink into the abdomen. Eventually, the internal energy can be condensed into the bone marrow. The nature of this internal force is to come forth suddenly when needed, and then to subside. The internal work is more forceful if we push from the hind leg which is rooted to the ground. In the beginning, the ability to concentrate on the form practice is very important. The development of concentration will help you to control your mind. Then you can use your mind to increase the awareness of your internal bone energy. If, in the beginning, we practice the proper way to root ourselves, then, in the advanced stages, our internal energy will be more powerful.
3) FEATURE – Movement is fluid and continuous.
From the time we begin to learn the basic T’ai Chi preparation principles, throughout the acquisition and application of each sequential movement, we must set our mind on the goal of practicing perfect T’ai-Chi form. Each movement should be clearly distinguished from the other. In the advanced stage, the movements in the T’ai Chi form are smoothed into spherical, fluid, continuous movement
patterns. Relaxation should be overall, throughout the entire body. The goal of the body’s feature is to move every joint and muscle of the entire body, together in unison, without hindrance or obstruction anywhere.
4) FOLLOW – Meet an opponent’s force with circular movement, interpreting the force and yielding to it.
In pushing hands we apply and train our sensory feelings through a very light touch of relax, yield and stick, following our opponent’s movements. The lighter your physical contact is with the opponent, the more difficult it will be for him to off-balance you. Without mentally anticipating the opponent’s movement, we are able to feel, yield and redirect oncoming force effortlessly. In this manner we can understand our opponent’s intentions–how he wishes to uproot, off-balanceand attack us. The principle of sticking and following is much like a physical game of chess. When your opponent advances, interpret his movement. Sticking, withdrawing and attacking energies all are involved in an instant. You learn how to lead your opponent to over-extend his advance, then uproot him with ease of a gentle, light touch.
5) RISE – One’s head is held as if suspended from above and relaxed.
When the head is raised and held as if it were being suspended from above, the mind is tranquil and relaxed. There is increased alertness, awareness and vitality. The mind intent and the Chi (inside atmosphere of the body) interact in a lively manner in order to achieve both smoothness and circularity within all movements. As the clouds of upper atmosphere are lighter than the earth’s, so mankind must maintain balance between heaven
and earth. Raising the head helps facilitate an alert, intelligent mind with harmonious, relaxed, balanced movements. In this manner, the circulation of the Chi moves from the base of the spine to the back of the head, then down the front of the body and back to the tan t’ien , like a river returning to the sea. Your head is always held lightly and relaxed, as if it were moving through the heavens.
6) RETURN – To maintain an even balance, movement in one direction is to be tied to its opposite (to and fro, up and down, left and right).
To maintain an even balance, movement in one direction is related to its opposite. Return is the means of maintaining perfectly balanced movement between to and fro, up and down, left and right, in and out. The legs work like a bow, firmly rooting the feet to the ground. The joints, ligaments and muscles move together as coiled springs. Advance and retreat should be controlled by the spine and the waist.
7) RESTRAIN – The mind should be calm, devoid of preconceived thoughts, maintaining an inner stillness.
The mind should be calm, maintaining an inner stillness. Don’t mind how fierce your opponent is. Whatever move he makes will be seen and interpreted with clarity and quickness when the mind is calm, focused and relaxed. Calmly watch your opponent with an inner stillness. (Look for nothing and see everything; look for something and see nothing) Your mind must be as calm as a mirrored lake which clearly reflects all its surroundings. Calmness and stillness of the mind will provide crystal-clear expression within the idea and timing of your movement. This calmness is needed to meet any opponents attack the instant he comes into your reachable space. A calm, relaxed mind is equipped with the capacity to think, calculate and be logical with immeasurable speed. Theories concerning the limits of speed, in regards to the physics of the mind, are believed to have numerous phenomena of energy formation that travel faster than light waves. The high speed of psychomotor experience in time, space and force coordination is integrated by the mind and body with ultra-fast light units of speed when the mind is emptied, relaxed and devoid of preconceived thoughts. Also, body posture and movement alignment, with the goal of perfect balance, is extremely essential in facilitating a calm, inner stillness, while confronting an opponent or any other difficult, stressful situation.
8) CONCEAL – The inner force is concealed until it is needed.
Maintain a comfortable, natural, relaxed mental and physical state of practice. Your body movements are concealed with soft, gentle, even expression, as though you were moving the air. Conceal your force like a bow within the joints and bones with spiral, spring-like focus. Send it out straight as an arrow.
Summary of Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi’s Eight Methods
Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan is one of the few authentic intrinsic martial art health care systems which still integrates specialized psychomotor alignment with intricate breathing techniques, as originally taught by the Taoist Monks. There is great virtue in the practice of the Hwa-Yu T’ai-Chi Ch’uan health care forms. These forms were formerly known as the six combinations / eight methods internal strategy inherent for this highly renowned martial arts health care science. This intrinsical art was exclusively taught only to an elite few in each generation by Taoist Monks. Today, Hwa-Yu T’ai Ch’uan is available to anyone who is in search of an authentic temple style T’ai Chi art.
All movement is in strict line with gravity. Movement is light and lively, expressed with your own will. The heightened awareness and sensitivity to feeling movement is deeply profound. You learn to always know your opponent’s intentions without his knowing yours. Your movements are like a flowing river. Extreme softness will develop extreme strength. Your calmness within movement is as a mountain. You learn to turn your spirit to stillness, humility and emptiness. The enjoyment and awareness of movement of life is greatly heightened.
The movement and breathing are in unison without thought, form or feature. Your natural state of awareness becomes immensely high. The form should be done properly in the beginning, executing every movement with slowness, calmness and gracefulness. In the advanced stages your movement becomes formless, but always maintains a spherical shape with poise of movement. As you increase in ability to execute the Hwa-Yu T’ai-Chi form, exceeding enjoyment of being in a very high natural state of meditative movement will also increase. This feeling of eternality of movement and emptiness is realized without thought.
The intrinsic force is concealed in the bones and joints. This intrinsical force is able to be expressed at will. It comes suddenly when needed from within the joints and bones with spiral, spring-like energy. It subsides at your will. The Chi moves the spirit and the blood. The spirit is fully attentive to helping the Chi to move throughout the body at will. The spirit of the movement is able to be both concealed and expressed through the eyes and within the movements.
In practicing Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan, one’s body and limbs must be poised, balanced and relaxed, not collapsed. The poised posture, balanced movements, easy and relaxed muscles as advocated in the six combinations / eight methods are in perfect agreement with the theory of the center of gravity of the human body. It should be emphasized the importance of maintaining spinal alignment and conformity of the pelvis tilt within every movement. When the T’ai Chi exercise is in conformity with the criteria of natural poise, mildness, relaxation and comfort, the body and mind will realize wonderful replenishment of vitality.
If the principles set forth in the six combinations / eight methods are followed faithfully and carefully, the student will be successful in the use of T’ai Chi internal martial art health care science. There are many variables involved and no one standard method of training can be applied perfectly for every student.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that the student’s learning process be supervised by qualified instructors in order to avoid possible serious injury and wasted time and energy, which will discourage and frustrate T’ai Chi’s internal training. Consequently, students and those in advanced stages of training should be carefully guided in their formation and use of internal energy and power.”
“Those who set out to learn the exercise, do not misjudge the value of The Chinese Five Word Song.”
“The Chinese Five Word Song” was written by Master Li Tung Fung during the early part of China’s Sung Dynasty. Master Li Tung learned Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan (Liu Ho Pa Fa Ch’uan Fa) from Master Chen Hsi-I, creator of the martial art and health exercise. Master Li Tung Fung took refuge in the mountain of Yun, southeast from the Lok district. While living on Yun, he authored the famous Chinese Five Word Song, which serves today as the only extant treatise explaining the principles of the original Liu Ho Pa Fa.
[Some historical records report that Master Li Tung Fung discovered the manuscript that Master Chen His-I wrote before his death.]
Hwa-Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan was a closed-door martial art for almost 1,000 years. Master John Chung Li opened the door to hundreds of students in China, the United States and Europe. Master Li translated The Chinese Five Word Song and added his commentary to each of the 134 verses to help students understand the truth within Internal Martial Arts. We are privileged to now offer the insights to this phenomenal martial art and healthcare science through the publication of The Chinese Five Word Song.
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