When we first begin to learn Taijiquan, many expect instant miracles. Nevertheless, it takes time for Taijiquan even to begin to have any appreciable effect upon your immediate physical health and your mental health. The reason for this is that Taijiquan is indeed the supreme form of Qigong. However, it takes time for a new student to be doing Taijiquan as opposed to learning it. And there is a big difference.
When one learns Taijiquan, he or she is in complete physical and conscious mode. I.e., you will be thinking about every movement just trying to get the physical movement correct. This is not doing Taijiquan. It is said (by masters of past) that to think is to block the Qi. In fact, conscious thought is the same as physical tension and physical tension blocks or impedes the normal flow of Qi. This is why we are told that we must attain a state of sung while doing Taijiquan.
Sung is that state that one gets into just before sleep, not quite awake and not asleep. Some call this an alpha state. Alternatively, I like to express sung as being when we cannot feel the body moving (when doing Taijiquan). This state is difficult for the beginner (under at least six years training) to attain just learning Taijiquan alone. So, in order to gain the great benefits that this ultimate of all Qigongs has to offer while we are still learning it, we have basic or standing Qigong.
This form of Qigong will give you the benefits of Taijiquan at a basic level while you are still learning and not perhaps getting all you should from your practise as yet. Once you have attained a high level of Taijiquan practise and are able to perform the form without any conscious though of where to put the hands and feet, how to step, where to step to etc, then you can begin to lessen the time spent doing basic standing Qigong. This should take anywhere from six to ten years and even now that I have been practising Taijiquan for over 30 years, I still perform my standing three circle basic Qigong daily. Not for so long nowadays, but I still feel that I need it in some small way.
The three circle basic standing Qigong is the Qigong that all beginners should begin with. No matter how difficult it may seem at first, you should simply stand there. When I first began my training, I was told nothing, just stood in the position and the master then walked out. I dare not move from this position as I was in the master s house. I did not know until later when I became one of his closest followers that he was watching from a secreted room upstairs to make sure that I did not move. If I had moved my arms down or had taken a break, he would not have taken me as his personal student, only one of the others.
You will get the shakes. This means that you are doing it correctly, it will feel like shit and you will perspire profusely, especially from the fingertips. Every time the master walks over to you, you will be praying that he now stops you from this torture, but he will not! Not at least until you have shown that you are worthy of such torture! In addition, that your Qi is activated so that you are not doing this for nothing. He might feel your fingers, or stroke your arm, or back. This is his way of seeing how your level of Qi is going. Only when it is sufficient and you are shaking like a leaf, will he motion you to stop. Then he sends you home!
Well, you all know that I am not such a taskmaster, and I feel for my students, however, every now and again, I will just test you out to see how your level of Qi is going.
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