Alternative training methods.

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Alternative training methods.

Postby caesar » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:49 am

Hi.

I'm interested in what kind of training methods do you do in addition to Qi Gong, to help you feel your body and relax in martial arts?

In addition to concentrating on everyday walking, standing, walking stairs down and up while eyes closed...

I have tried a bit of astanga and hatha yoga. Both increased my flexibility and energized me in the mornings. But stopped doing them, without proper instruction I started hurting myself and getting my lower back jammed.

I've went a couple of times to a feldenkrais instructor to learn body connectivity and sensing. In feldenkrais the instructor may for example ask you to lie down on the floor, raise your right hand up pointing at the sealing and then ask you, do you feel a weight change between your right and left heel while raising the arm. I found it very beneficial! Feeling of walking, standing etc was totally different after those classes.

Something a little similar is Alexander Technique where the instructor might "put you" in the right or a better relaxed position, while for example standing. I felt weird when it was done for me, for a while I had no shoulder pain from an old injury and felt very relaxed while standing. It gave me a better idea of what it means to be positioned in the center.

I've given a try to modern dance and similar dance style called contact improvisation. In both dance styles the practitioners is encouraged to learn a natural and relaxed way to move the body in sync with your feelings and improvise in movement. I found it beautiful and beneficial for martial arts, many practitioners there moved there bodies in very beautiful circular and spiral ways.

In modern dance, and a japanese martial art I found ukemi training beneficial for understanding relaxation while crushing into floor. It has been helpful for me to understand the continuity of movement and how it is possible to decrease the amount of pain felt, when being hit or kicked. Training ukemis with tai chi speed makes it very interesting and encouraging to focus on breathing while training it.

My sister is a pilates instructor and has given me a couple of lessons. It had some similarities to feldenkreis and yoga. I found it fun and challenging. It helped me to feel and understand the waist movement and breathing in sync, and also strengthened the deeper muscles of my body. But I have some injuries which made it difficult for me to perform some of the exercises, so I've had a break from it now.

Last but not least, zen meditation (zazen: sitting with legs crossed, counting your breaths) has helped me a lot to focus on getting the mind and breath to sync with each other, taught me patience, silence, not getting so easily mixed up in thoughts, and the feeling of being here and now, which helps me when performing form in tai chi...when my concentration is starting to break. I love zen meditation, but lately been a very lazy fat bottom and hardly doing it at all.

Also some literature from writers like Eckhart Tolle and Anthony De Mello have helped and encouraged me to train awareness when being in everyday situations like sitting in a bus, walking to store etc. I believe these moments have also taught me how to relax better when training TCC and to realize "NOW"

I'm interested in trying Kundalini-Yoga in near future. Time will show if I like it...and will I meet Shiva. ;)

How about you?
caesar
 

Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby Brian » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:23 am

With the greatest of respect...you sound like someone at a food tasting evening...dipping into and trying many different dishes, but not experiencing the true flavour of any of them.
Why not focus on your QiGong training, go deeper into it, feel it, truly experience it....you won't need 'alternative' methods, especially if you have a good teacher.

Cautionary word about 'walking up and down stairs with eyes shut'....recipe for a major fall, I'd say!!

You mention zen....are you studying with a recognised Zen Master?, how long have you been training zazen? Do you know how long it takes to become proficient in zazen?

My advice is to train deeper into your QiGong, quieten the Mind, let your energy flow and just be mindfull while practicing.
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby caesar » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:29 am

Hehe. with greatest respect, thank you for your opinions also brer_momonga. I was also expecting for some of them to be asked. But I will try to explain myself shortly...

With the greatest of respect...you sound like someone at a food tasting evening...dipping into and trying many different dishes, but not experiencing the true flavour of any of them.


You are pretty right. I am the one usually tasting everything a bit. But I usually choose what is the main course for my practice and leave the other dishes for just giving me slight ideas which I feel are beneficial for my main course (which = TCC & Qi Gong)

Why not focus on your QiGong training, go deeper into it, feel it, truly experience it....you won't need 'alternative' methods, especially if you have a good teacher.


It's not like wouldn't be doing Qi Gong everyday and instead of going to other activities. It's more like going "now and then" to a course of yoga, feldenkreis etc...and I'm pretty sure I won't be doing kundalini-yoga regurlary, I'm just very interested in all kinds of ways to learn about myself and my body...I've always been and always will. I discovered dancing 17 years ago, I don't want to stop doing everything else only because I have a possibility to do Qi Gong every single day. I feel like one or two classes of feldenkrais a year might teach me a lot, and it's not taking very much time from Qi Gong and Tai Chi practice.

Cautionary word about 'walking up and down stairs with eyes shut'....recipe for a major fall, I'd say!!


You are absolutely right. I don't recommend it to anyone. I do it extremely slow and usually hanging to the handrail at the same time. For me it's a way to practice confronting my fears and sensing. Perhaps some day I will have an injury and regret for doing it. But nothing ever happened so far and I'm doing it with extreme caution.


You mention zen....are you studying with a recognised Zen Master?, how long have you been training zazen?


Yes, I am studying with a recognised master. I go to a zendo now and then. Now I've been studying it for about a year, but I won't take credit for being the most active student. Too much to do and not always enough money.

Do you know how long it takes to become proficient in zazen?


Hehe...might take forever or sometimes a small moment of enlightenment might hit for a very short while. I don't think it matters how long it will take. Actually, what I've learned from zen is that the whole question isn't very beneficial...asking myself "when will this practice pay off?" is very far from zen. Getting benefits from zen happens immediately when starting the practise. Just like in Tai Chi or Qi Gong, there is no limit in zen where you'd truly be a master with nothing to learn anymore. There's always new things to learn and discover.

I thank you for your questions and advice. But don't get me wrong, I am glad you asked me straightly...but I still had a small feeling as I had in another post where I was asking for advice on which Qi Gong to start in addition to Zhang Zhuang. I got answered something like "don't lose your faith in ZZ, it's very beneficial." although I wasn't gonna stop ZZ anyway. Well...the result was that I did go to learn some "stationary moving Qi Gong" from a teacher, found it very beneficial, been doing it every day, and also felt like ZZ has been more pleasant for me afterwards.

I believe some day I might drop off the alternative training methods. But as long as I feel getting benefits from them, I don't hesitate of continuing. And perhaps I wasn't very clear, but I correct myself now...I am not doing those alternative methods daily or even regularly (except from zazen), mostly it's Qi Gong and Tai Chi...but hey, a few ukemis won't take a lot of time but will still be teaching me better how to land safely, right?
caesar
 

Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby Brian » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:47 am

caesar wrote:I thank you for your questions and advice. But don't get me wrong, I am glad you asked me straightly...but I still had a small feeling as I had in another post where I was asking for advice on which Qi Gong to start in addition to Zhang Zhuang. I got answered something like "don't lose your faith in ZZ, it's very beneficial." although I wasn't gonna stop ZZ anyway. Well...the result was that I did go to learn some "stationary moving Qi Gong" from a teacher, found it very beneficial, been doing it every day, and also felt like ZZ has been more pleasant for me afterwards.

I believe some day I might drop off the alternative training methods. But as long as I feel getting benefits from them, I don't hesitate of continuing. And perhaps I wasn't very clear, but I correct myself now...I am not doing those alternative methods daily or even regularly (except from zazen), mostly it's Qi Gong and Tai Chi...but hey, a few ukemis won't take a lot of time but will still be teaching me better how to land safely, right?


Just wanted to make sure you weren't just 'island hopping' (if you know what I mean)...but you seem to have a handle on it.....so good luck with your practice!

:D
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby caesar » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:31 pm

Hehe, no islands and no hopping! ;)
Thanks and good luck to you too!

ps. I just noticed that I had accidentally called you brer_momonga instead of Brian in my answer. Whoops, sorry. :)
caesar
 

Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby wpgtaiji » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:34 am

where do I begin??? LOL Just kidding.

When i see someone "try" a bunch of different things, that is one thing. When I see someone continue to search for answers in other places, that is another (and you seem to be doing the former, so no worries).

When I see the latter, it can indicate that the practices one is suppose to be doing are not complete. Take standing qigong for example. Everyone can (and does) stand, fine. But that does NOT mean you are doing qigong. We have had discussions about the thinking aspects, and I made the point that you just do it. Let me put it this way, I had an alignment off by MILLIMETERS, literally. I moved the alignment into correct position and the practice started. No thought, other than getting into the correct posture. My point, just because someone puts "I do zz" doesnt mean they are doing it! Qigong is another.. what does that mean? "I do qigong"... wonderful! Which? properly? The reason I DONT do 8 brocades is because I choose not to invest the time to learning to do the movements correctly, and there is a huge difference vs just waving your hands in the air (which is what i see most often).

I have a friend who has spent time hitting the "pad" (as I understand it, for palm conditioning). That is all fine and good, but very basic (and he has been doing martial arts for 25 years). Erle has always been against this sort of thing because you are actually injuring the body. Any practice that hurts the body is unnecessary, he would say. What my friend doesnt understand is, you dont need to do that to have striking power.

This could be an interesting topic, but first, we would have to understand what the person means by the generic words they use.
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby Dvivid » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:56 am

Interesting topic and great posts.

I recommend this type of cross training. You can always learn something from a single class, or a short while with another discipline. Each informs the other. Bikram yoga is simple and formulaic, but can be incredibly helpful in many ways.

With qigong, alignment is important for sure, but the key aspect of the practice is the mind; your intention. Any movement or posture can be a legitimate qigong practice, once you have gone through and embodied the stages of the Five regulatings: body, breath, mind, qi, spirit.
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby pete5770 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:22 pm

caesar wrote:Hi.

I'm interested in what kind of training methods do you do in addition to Qi Gong,


As everyone knows I'm not a Qigong type of guy. I do, however, spend an hour or two a day
at Tai Chi. I also lift weights every 2 or 3 days. Not anything heavy, mostly higher reps at a fast pace. I'm also an avid cyclist and pedal anywhere from 75 to 200 miles a week. I play the violin when time permits. I'm 63 and retired and this is a pretty full schedule. There isn't really any time or energy left to do much more, what with home, wife, family, and all those type of things taking up their fair share of life. IMHO don't try to do everything, you can't. Find what you enjoy and work at it to learn all you can. Doing bunches of different things will result in you knowing not very much about any of them. Be specialized. If you love Yang Tai Chi and maybe Qigong, then do them and don't worry about the rest of it. Tai Chi will keep you learning for the rest of your life.
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby SzJoska » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:39 pm

Hi i wanna aks is it a matter if you start with an external style, or internal style?
So if you don't have no experience and 27 years old, but not too strong even then u could start with Xingyiquan or Tai Chi Chuan or is it better that your first style should be Hung Gar or something Shaolin kung fu (external)?
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Re: Alternative training methods.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:28 am

SzJoska wrote:Hi i wanna aks is it a matter if you start with an external style, or internal style?
So if you don't have no experience and 27 years old, but not too strong even then u could start with Xingyiquan or Tai Chi Chuan or is it better that your first style should be Hung Gar or something Shaolin kung fu (external)?


The real question is what instructors you have access to. Start with a good instructor in any solid style rather than on your own if you have the option. I have to say I love Xing Yi as a choice but it would be better to train Shaolin with a competent instructor than Xing Yi on your own.
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