Master Li Gui Chang On Xing Yi Quan


Speech of School Uncle, Chen Quan Gong, at Taiyuan Tai Ji Quan Association

By Bai Jian Yun in 2010

Translated by Huang Guoqi 

四月十号协会请师伯陈全恭讲课,师伯一下车就把写好的《纪念先师李桂昌》的文稿给了我。陈师伯是跟师爷李桂昌学艺时间较长的弟子之一,至今学练内家拳已经四、五十年。师伯虽然已经是七十多岁的老人,但身体健壮,性格开朗,神情豁达,不以长者自贵。最近在摄制推手光碟时,连续运动一个多小时,仍然精神矍铄,身手矫健,力量雄浑,应用自如,鲜明地印证了修炼内家拳的养生效果。
会议由池少斌主持,陈师伯讲授,协会部分会员参加,主题是形意拳。

 

On April 10th, School Uncle, Chen Quan Gong, was invited by the association to give a lecture. As soon as School Uncle got out of the car, he gave me his written manuscript of “In Memory of Late Master Li Gui Chang”. School Uncle Chen is one of the disciples who has learned the art with Master Li for a long period of time and has trained the internal arts for over 40 to 50 years. Although School Uncle is an old man over seventy, he is still strong in his physique, cheerful in his disposition, open-mined in his expression and never styles himself a “senior master”. In shooting the film for Pushing Hand CD recently, he trained continuously for over one hour, and still looked hale and hearty, vigorous and nimble in his movements, and firm and forceful in his strength and free in his applications, vividly expressing the life-preservation effect from training the internal arts.

The meeting was held by Chi Shao Bin. School Uncle Chen gave the lecture. Some members participated in the meeting. The topic was Xing Yi Quan.

 

形意拳的概念。

The Concepts of Xing Yi Quan

一、形意拳解
陈师伯首先问:“大家知道什么是形意拳吗?谁能回答一下?”
大家沉默。我一边听师伯讲课一边看师伯的文章,师伯在文章中引用师爷的话说:“国家大事,君臣商议;家族大事,父子商议;学习艺术,就是师徒商议了”。在门内师父、师伯们常常希望弟子提出练拳学拳中的问题,来因势利导,再看师爷的语录,可见教与学在思想上的沟通也是门内很好的一种学风。
陈师伯见大家回答不上来,就开始讲授:“要弄清这个问题,就首先要弄懂什么是形,什么是意,什么是拳。”
邓锋:“形就是动作,意就是思维”。
白建云:“形意拳的‘意’是对身体内的指挥和感觉”。

Explanation of Xing Yi Quan

First, School Uncle Cheng asked: “Do you know what Xing Yi Quan is? Who can give me an answer?”

All were silent. I was listening to school uncle’s lecture while reading his article. In the article, School Uncle quoted School Grandpa (Li Guichang): “For state affairs, the monarch should discuss with the ministers. For family affairs, the father should discuss with his sons. For learning the arts, the master should discuss with his disciples.” In the school (在门内Zài mén nèi literally, “in the door”), the masters and school uncles want the disciples to raise issues that come up in training the martial art so that they may use the opportunity to give advice. Reading School Grandpas quotation makes it clear that the school (门内Mén nèi Door) has a very good method for encouraging “question and answer” between the teachers and the disciples.

Seeing nobody gave any answer, School Uncle Chen started to teach: “In order to make this issue clear, it is necessary to understand what Xing (form) means, what Yi (mind) means, and what Quan (fist) means.”

Deng Feng: “Xing means movements, and Yi means thinking.”

Bai Jian Yun: “’Yi’ (mind, intention) in Xing Yi Quan refers to (giving a) command to the inside of the body and the feeling of the body.”
 

陈师伯:“大家的认识都有一定的道理,但是从思想上的认识和理论上的角度来表述的,而不是从练形意拳到一定程度的身体感受来描述的。对于这个问题李师父是这样认识的:何为形?何为意?何为拳?发之于外谓之形,含之于内谓意,这是形、意二字的解释。如何成为拳呢?含之于内的意,可发之于外,发之于外的形,可含之于内——如此方为形意拳。

School Uncle Chen: “There is some truth in your understanding, but it’s expressed from the ideological and theoretical point of view, not from what you feel inside your body after training Xing Yi Quan to a certain extent. Master Li understood the issue this way: What is Xing (form)? What is Yi (mind)? What is Quan (fist)? Releasing to the exterior is termed Xing (form). Containing in the interior is termed Yi (mind). This is the explanation of those two characters of Xing and Yi. How can it become Quan (fist)? Yi (mind) “containing in the interior” can be released externally, and Xing (form) “releasing in the exterior” can be contained internally – Only by this way, can there be Xing Yi Quan.”

 

白建云:“听师爷对形意拳概念的解释是不是可以这样认为:形意拳的形是拳术中的形体,但又不完全和一般拳术身体表现出的形体一样,而是形体内含有意识,按这种意识表现在形体上,才能成为形意拳的形。而‘意’虽然也是思想意识,但它是对身体内部感觉指挥的思想意识,只有这种对形体指挥的意识能够在身体内部体会时才是形意拳的‘意’;用身体内的意来指挥形成形体运动,用形体运动来表现身体内的意识思想的目的,这种将身体内的意和形体运动高度结合的拳术才可以成为形意拳。

Bai Jian Yun: “After listening to the explanation on the concept of Xing Yi Quan from School Uncle, can we understand it this way?: the “Form” in Xing Yi Quan is the physical shape in the boxing art, but not completely the same as the physical shape presented by the body in an ordinary boxing art, because in Xing Yi Quan there is an intention contained inside the body. Only when this intention is manifested in the physical shape of the body, can it become Xing Yi Quan. Yi (mind) is also the ideological consciousness, but it is the ideological consciousness to command the internal sensation of the body. Only when this consciousness commanding the physical shape is sensed inside the body, can it be the ‘mind’ in Xing Yi Quan. The intention inside the body is used to command the movement of the physical shapes. The movement of the physical shapes are used to express the purpose of the conscious thought inside the body. Only by a high integration between the consciousness inside the body and the movement of the physical shape can there be Xing Yi Quan.”

(Because this passage is hard to understand I am including another translation for reference: 

 

Bai Jianyun: "can we understand it this way? The shape of Xingyiquan is the form of boxing, but it is not exactly the same as that of the general boxing body, but the body contains consciousness. According to this kind of consciousness, it can become the shape of Xingyiquan. While 'Yi' is also ideology, it is the ideology of sensory command inside the body. Only this kind of consciousness of body command can be inside the body. It is the 'meaning' of Xingyiquan when you experience it; use the meaning of the body to command the formation of physical movement, and use the physical movement to express the purpose of the ideology within the body. This kind of boxing that combines the meaning of the body and the movement of the body. Can become a Xingyiquan.)

The above is a bit hard to understand but is essential for grasping how to cultivate the inner body. Part of the difficulty is to understand what is meant by "Ideological Consciousness" since that is not a meaningful phrase in English. In Chinese it is Yěshì sīxiǎng yìshí 也是思想意识. Which can also be translated as Ideological Awareness (which might be a better way for us to think of it). "Ideological" however does not make sense but is the closest one can get in English it seems. According to Baidu it means:   people apply the knowledge stored in the brain to the activities of thinking about the various feelings of life. 

 

Of course that is not clear either. In the sense of Xingyi it does not mean that the brain is controlling the body but rather that the body has its own consciousness in a sense. 

 

There is a type of Yi which is different from the type used in chi gong where the conscious mind, or the brain is used to direct the qi throughout the body. It is a type of "unconscious consciousness" that is an awareness of the internal sensations of the body. This body consciousness when developed or cultivated is what than commands the outward body shapes, the forms and techniques of Xingyi Quan.

 

陈师伯:“可以。所以形意拳强调的就是形、意以及形和意高度结合的修炼。所以李师父说:‘形意拳站桩时,目光要远大,眼神放出去。打拳时,目光盯着指尖或拳根,随着拳势而盼顾,但余光仍要照着远方——这都是将意发之于外的训练法’。说得就是身体内意识和形体的结合。他还说:如何将形含之于内,这是老辈拳师不轻传的东西。以炮拳为例,炮拳总是两臂一磕,顶杠而进,有出手没有收手,其实杠出去后,还有个身子向后一纵的动作。这就是炮拳隐蔽的手法。说是个动作,便错了,狠微,甚至不必作出来,心领神会地一下,即可。有此一耸,就出了功夫。这一句看似讲得是拳架,实质是讲身体内部的劲力,讲得是两臂顶杠而进和身体向后一耸劲力相互支撑,讲得是内劲。也就是通过举例炮拳内劲的要求来表现身体内部的意识和形体的结合。

School Uncle Chen: “That is ok. Therefore, the form and mind are emphasized and the high integration between the form and mind are trained in Xing Yi Quan. So, Master Li said: ‘In training the standing posture, the vision should be far and the eye expression should be released outward. In striking with the fist, it is necessary to stare at the finger tip or fist root, looking around with the posture, but the split vision should still look forward to the far distance --- this is the training method to release the mind externally.’ This exactly talks about the integration between the consciousness inside the body and body form. He also said: ‘How to have the body form contained internally? This is the stuff the senior masters would not readily instruct. Take Pao Quan (Cannon Fist) for example, two arms always cross forward and advance like a pole, coming out with the hand but not taking the hand back. In fact, after crossing out, there is another movement to jump backward. This is a hidden technique in Pao Quan. If it is termed a movement, it is wrong. It is really fine (微Wēi Tiny, very small), and should not even be done. If it is intended it is enough. Once you can do this, real skill comes out.’ This sentence seems to be talking about the exterior boxing frame but in fact, it means the energy and strength inside the body, mutual support between the crossing out of the two arms and backward jumping of the body. It talks about the internal energy. It also explains the integration of the consciousness inside the body and the physical shape by giving the example of the internal energy required in Pao Quan.”

 

怎么练形意拳
陈师伯:“通过上面的讨论,大家对形意拳的概念有了一个比较清楚的认识,那么怎么来练形意拳呢?”。
白建云:“是先学五行吧?”
陈师伯:“对。但五行、十二形以及单练、对练套路教的主要是练功和实用的拳架,但粗略的会了拳架只能说是个皮毛,最根本的是要出功夫,有了功夫,身体才可能健康,学用招式才能有体能基础,否则就只是空架子。所以李师父说:‘现今学武,总是练套路的多,练功的少。学到拳架的是学生,学到功夫的是徒弟’。那么,为什么要有学生和徒弟的区别呢?其实就是学拳入门没有入门的区别,所以徒弟称入室弟子,而学生还是门外汉。所以学内家拳,会了一些架势后主要的精力应该是练功夫。那么怎么练功夫呢?首先就要对内家拳功夫形成的大致途径有个总体的认识。李师父对这个问题用形意拳做事列有很精炼的描述,就是:‘桩功、慢练、入道’。也就是通过站桩、慢练,引起身体的变化,最后达到体呼吸,到达道家空静虚无的功夫境界”。

How to Train Xing Yi Quan

School Uncle Chen: “By the above discussion, all of you have a comparatively clear understanding about the concept of Xing Yi Quan. Then, how to train Xing Yi Quan?”

Bai Jian Yun: “To learn five elements first?”

School Uncle Chen: “Right. Five elements, twelve forms, single training, set form training, and functional usage of the boxing frame (拳架Quán jià fist fight). But if the boxing frame is only known roughly, it is only A and B (皮毛Coat, or the Fur, meaning the outward skin). The fundamental thing is to build up the skill (功夫Gōngfu Kung Fu). Only when the in skill is built up, can the body be healthy, and can there be the physical fitness for learning the techniques, otherwise it is only an empty shell (空架子Kōngjiàzi shell, basket case). Therefore, Master Li said: Currently in learning the martial arts, more attention is spent in training the set forms, not the skill. The students learn the martial forms and usage but the disciples also learn the skill (Gōngfu). Why is there a difference between the students and disciples? In fact, it is just a difference of whether, in learning the martial art, they have been given the key or not. Therefore, the disciples are the apprentices, and the students are the laymen. So, in learning the internal martial arts, the main attention should be focused on building up the skill (Gōngfu), after a few postures are learnt. Then, how do we train the skill? First of all, it is necessary to have an overall understanding about the general pathway for the formation of skill in the internal martial arts. Master Li had a very precise description about the issue of training order for Xing Yi Quan, namely, ‘standing posture skill, slow training, and be in the correct way (入道Rùdào following Taoism, literally “enter Dao”).’ That means to induce (引起Yǐnqǐ Cause or “give rise to”)the changes in the body by training standing posture (站桩Zhàn zhuāng stake standing) and practicing slowly in order to eventually achieve the body respiration and reach the state of Taoist empty, tranquil and void art.”
 

怎么站桩
陈师伯:“所以练功夫首先要从站桩做起。但是,桩法有很多,每一个拳势站着不动都可以成为一种桩法。那么,站什么桩好呢?初学还是站三体式比较好”。
徐新民:“混元桩可以吗?”
陈师伯:“不行!不出功夫。要练对,不要走弯路”。
徐新民:“不站桩能不能练成”。
陈师伯:“我没见过。
邓锋:“从师伯刚才讲的形意拳功夫是从桩功、慢练到体呼吸来说,站桩也是练呼吸对吗?”

How to Train the Standing Posture

School Uncle Chen: “Therefore, it is necessary to train the skill (Kung Fu) starting from the standing posture. But, there are many types of standing postures. Each fist form can be a kind of standing posture method if it is stood statically. Then, how to train the standing posture correctly? For the beginners, it is better to stand San Ti Shi (三体式Sān tǐshì three body pattern).”

Xu Xin Min: “Is it okay to stand the muddled standing posture (混元Hun Yuan Zhuang. A standing posture in Taiji)?”

School Uncle Chen: “No (不行Bùxíng means “no” but also “that won’t work”). You can’t develop the skill if you don’t practice correctly. Don’t take a detour.

Xu Xinmin: “Is it possible to get it (练成Liàn chéng means “excel at” or “master”) without doing the standing posture?”

School Uncle Chen: “I have never seen it.”

Deng Feng: “Just now School Uncle Chen was speaking about how the skill of Xing Yi Quan starts from the standing posture and slowly trains the body respiration.  Is the standing posture for training the respiration, too?”

 

陈师伯:“对!”
邓锋:“站桩是在静止的状态下练呼吸?是不是应该有意识的调节呼吸?”
陈师伯:“是用身体调整呼吸!但意识上不要刻意呼吸”。
邓锋:“那么形意拳功夫和四把、瑜伽一样吗?”
陈师伯:“四把实际就是调整呼吸,瑜伽也要调整呼吸。四把和瑜伽是健身运动,对形意拳功夫有好处”。
白建云:“是不是说四把和瑜伽是一种养身的活动,和武术有区别,不可能产生形意拳技击的功夫,而且修炼呼吸的方式也不同,四把和瑜伽是通过意识来调整呼吸,而形意拳是通过身体的运动来调整呼吸,对吗?”
陈师伯:“对!下面大家说说怎么站桩?”
徐新民:“空静自然,什么也不要想”。
邓锋;“松顺自然,八字诀:顶、扣、圆、敏、抱、垂、曲、挺”。

School Uncle Chen: “Right.”

Deng Feng: “Is the standing posture (站桩Zhàn zhuāng stake standing) to train the respiration under the static status? Is it necessary to regulate the respiration on purpose?”

School Uncle Chen: “With the body regulate the respiration. Should not intentionally breath. (意识上不Yìshí shàng bù “not consciously”)

Deng Feng: “Is the skill (Gongfu) of Xing Yi Quan the same as Four Forms (四把Si Ba) and Yoga (瑜伽Yújiā Yoga as in Indian Yoga)”

School Uncle Chen: “The practical use of the Four Forms is to regulate the respiration. Yoga is also to regulate the respiration. Four Forms and Yoga are healthcare exercises, beneficial to the skill of Xing Yi Quan.”

Bai Jian Yun: “(You) mean that Four Forms and Yoga are exercises to preserve the health of life (养身Yǎng shēn self conservation, health) and are different from the martial arts, and they cannot build up the martial skill of Xing Yi Quan. They are also different in the training methods. Four Forms and Yoga regulate the respiration using the intention, and Xing Yi Quan regulates the respiration using the movements of the body. Is that right?”

School Uncle Chen: “Right. Next, tell me how to train the standing posture?”

Xu Xin Min: “Void, tranquil and natural, do not think anything.”

Deng Feng: “Loose, smooth and natural. Eight-character poem: Ding (顶 prop, butt, carry on the head), Kou (扣button together, buckle), Yuan (圆round circular), Min (敏quick, smart, nimble), Bao (抱hold with both arms, embrace,), Chui (垂hand down, droop), Qu (曲bend, twist,) and Ting (挺stick out, straighten up).”

 

陈师伯:“大家说的基本对。但松顺自然不是什么也不想,站桩时要求空静是说不要想站桩以外的事,心事要放在自己身体上。所以李师父说:‘形意拳是用身体想,开悟不是脑子明白,而是身体明白。等身体有了悟性,听到一点信息就有反应,就像马挨了一鞭子,体能立刻勃发出来’。所以无论是站桩还是练拳都要通过身体内部来体会师父、拳谱以及自己练拳的意识,而不是空洞无物,这也就是形意拳的‘意’。

School Uncle Chen: “What all of you have said is basically correct. But, to be loose, smooth and natural does not mean that you must not think anything. To be void and tranquil in training the standing posture means not to think about anything other than the standing posture. Attention should be focused on your own body. Therefore, Master Li said: ‘Xing Yi Quan is supposed to think with the body, to understand does not mean the brain understands, instead the body should understand. When the body is able to understand, the body will respond to the slightest stimulus, like when a horse is whipped, the energy (of the horse) will immediately break out.’ Therefore, either in training the standing posture or in training the boxing, it is necessary to experience with the interior of the body the sense of the Master, the boxing manuscript and yourself training, rather than nothing at all. This is also ‘Yi’ (mind) of Xing Yi Quan.”

 

“八字诀是对的,是对身体的要求,但是把每一个字的字义记下来,照样去做似乎就变得复杂。李师父对站桩身法的要求就显得更容易掌握,更生动具体,他说:‘你抱过女人没有?这个抱字,不是两条胳膊使劲,而是抱进怀里,整个身体都要迎上去。这是对站桩拿劲的比喻。拿住这个劲,一站就能滋养人。然后就这样站着,呆着,渐渐就站进去了。站到一定程度,身体一下就开了’。这句话的意思是说什么呢?是说站桩并不完全是随其身体的自然去站,而是筋骨要撑住劲力,要撑成一个整体,特别是要抱尾闾,但这个劲力不是肌肉的拙力,而是筋骨的合力。不过要做到这一点也不是很容易的,需要下一番苦功。

 

“The Eight Characters are correct, and they are the requirements of the body. But it seems to be very complex if the meaning of every character has to be remembered and followed in training. The demands Master Li talked about seem easy to follow and more vivid and concrete. He said: ‘have you ever embraced a lady? ‘Embrace’ does not mean to use force in the two arms, it means holding in my arms, with the whole body meeting her. This is a metaphor for the grasping energy in the standing posture. If one is able to grasp this energy, it is possible to nourish the body as soon as you stand. Then, stand like this, keeping standing, gradually stand into it. To a certain extent, the body would immediately open’. What does this saying means? It means that in training San Ti Shi, it’s not just standing naturally by following the body completely. It is necessary to stretch out and hold the energy, stretching out to be an entity, holding up the tail in particular. But, this energy is not the awkward strength of the muscles. It is the combined force of the tendons and bones. However, to do this is not very easy. It needs a lot of hard work.”
 

“另外,李师父对站桩时训练脊椎也有自己深刻的体会和秘诀,就是“站桩要先正尾椎,从尾椎一节一节脊椎骨顶上去,直到后脑,脊椎自然会反弓,脑袋自然会领起,两臂自然会前伸,然后下巴一钩,手下按,脊椎一节一节退下来。如此反复练习,会有奇效。脊椎就象是一条大龙,它有了劲力,比武时方能有‘神变’。当然要能如此做到,是在身体整个筋骨‘开了’以后才有可能,所以更是不容易的事,但应该知道,作为大家努力的目标。

“In addition, Master Li also had his own profound experience and secrets to train the spinal vertebras in the standing posture, i.e. ‘in training the standing posture, it is necessary to straighten the coccygeal vertebras, prop up the spinal vertebras one by one from the coccygeal vertebras, all the way to the back of the head. So the spinal vertebras could be naturally arched backward and the brain could be naturally lifted, and the two arms could be naturally extended forward. Then, with the chin hooked and hands pressed downward, (the intention) comes down one by one of the spinal vertebras. If trained this way repeatedly, magic effects will appear. The spinal vertebrae are like a great dragon. When the spine has energy and strength, ‘magic changes’ would occur in contest of the martial arts.’ Of course, this can only be done after all the tendons and bones of the body ‘open’. Therefore, it is not a easy thing to do. But, we should be aware that it is the goal all our efforts.”

 

“还有对站桩中丹田怎么运动也要知道,李师父说:‘丹田不是气沉丹田,要较丹田,肛门一提,气才能沉下来了,否则气沉丹田是句空话,上提下沉这就较上了。较丹田的好处多,学不会较丹田,练不出功夫,等于白练’。这一句告诉了‘气沉丹田’的方法,而且强调了丹田在修炼内家拳功夫中至关成败的重要性。人们常说站桩没有真传就不可能出功夫,甚至于会出毛病,其实李师父对于‘拿劲’脊椎、丹田的这些要求不就真是不肯轻传的秘诀吗!

“Also, it is necessary to know how to move in the Dantian area in training standing posture. Master Li said: ‘In talking about the Dantian area, it does not mean qi sinking into the Dantian area, it is necessary to twist the Dantian area. Once the anus is lifted, qi can sink downward, without that it is an empty phrase to say “qi sinking into the Dantian area”. To lift upward and sink downward is exactly to twist Dantian. There are many merits in twisting the Dantian area. If one does not know how to twist the Dantian area, it is not possible to achieve the skill (Gongfu). The training will be fruitless.’ This quotation tells the method of ‘qi sinking into the Dantian area’, and also emphasizes the importance of the Dantian area for sucess in training the internal arts. People always say that no skill can be built up without real instruction in the standing posture, and that you might even develop problems. In fact, those demands of Master Li to ‘grasp the energy (劲 Jin) of the spinal vertebras and Dantian area are exactly the secrets that are not easy to teach.”

 

“同时站桩到一定程度还要有对外的意识。李师父说:‘站桩还要练眼神,人眼光散了,干什么都没劲。站桩要眼毒,不是作出一副狠巴巴的样子,而是老虎盯着猎物时伺机而动的状态,这也不对,因为太紧张,要不紧不慢方为功,肌肉紧张出不了功夫,精神紧张也出不了功夫,站桩时肌肉与精神都要‘软中硬’,眼睛要放于虚空,方为适度’。

 

“At the same time, (we should) to some extent have an outward intention when the standing posture is trained. Master Li said: ‘need to train the expression in the eyes in the standing posture. If the eye expression disperses, there is no  energy to do anything. In training the standing posture, the eye expression should be sinister (眼毒Yǎn dú Eye Poison, a poisonous expression in the eyes), but not making a ruthless expression, and if it’s like a tiger staring at its prey, that is not right either, because it is too nervous. To be skillful it should be neither too tense nor too slow. The skillfulness will not come out if the muscles are too tense and if the spirit is too nervous. In training the standing posture, the muscles and spirit should be ‘tough within softness’, and the eyes should be void, that is the proper way. ”
 

“站桩到一定程度还要有战斗的意识。李师父说:‘站桩时,也要动起步趟进,侧身而闪的心思,外表看似不动,其实里面换着身形,要静之又静,长呼长吸,站空了自己。
“对站桩的思维状态李师父也有要求,说:‘无为的要站出灵感才行,有为的得站空了自己才行’。

“To a certain extent it is also necessary to have consciousness of fighting while training the standing posture. Master Li said: ‘in training the standing posture, it is also necessary to have the intention to move forward and dodge sideways. The outside does not seem to move. In fact the body form changes in the interior. It is necessary to be tranquil as much as possible, to have long expiration and long inspiration, and to be empty in yourself in standing.’ ”

“Master Li also had demands for the state of mind in training the standing posture, saying: ‘It is necessary to stand with inspiration without action, and to stand to purposely empty yourself.’”
 

“这样,经过长时间的站桩,身体就会起变化,就会自然而然产生一些现象,李师父描述说:‘冬天虫子钻在地里死了一般,等到春天,地里生机一起,虫子就活了。站桩要站出这份生机,如虫子复苏般萌动,身上就有了精力’。李师父还说:‘站桩一会后,自然能体会到一种流动感,身上有的地方顺畅,有的地方异样,便缓缓转动,或是抖一抖,直到整体通畅。以外在的形体调整内在的机能。’李师父对站桩这种现象的描述是身体中自然而然产生的,这种虫子蠕动、流动的感觉是本能的,不是想象产生的。站桩要站出能量来,自然就蠕动了。当然站桩的最初阶段是痛苦的,这种痛苦因人而异,年龄大的人可能痛苦多一点,年龄小的人痛苦小一点;局部肌肉明显的痛苦多一点,肌肉不明显的少一点。但是痛苦会越来越减轻,是有阶段性的,过了这个阶段就舒服了,就入门了,最后就是高度享受,站完桩走起来嗖嗖的,很清利”。

“Thus, after training the standing posture for a long time, some changes will take place in the body and it will naturally produce some phenomena. Master Li described it this way: ‘In winter, the insects drill into the ground and seem dead, but when the spring comes and the vitality rises in the ground, the insects will live again. In training the standing posture, it is necessary to stand having this vitality, like the insects recovering and revitalizing, so the body can be energetic.’ Master Li also said: ‘After training the standing posture for a while, naturally (you can) sense a flowing sensation, smooth in some places and abnormal in some places of the body, (you should) turn slightly or shake a little bit, till it feels smooth everywhere, in order to regulate the internal functions with the external body shape.’ Master Li described how in training standing posture, this phenomenon occurs naturally in the body. This insect-creeping and flowing sensation is instinctive and is not generated by the imagination. In training the standing posture, it is necessary to stand having the energy, the creeping sensation will come naturally. Of course, the initial period of training the standing posture is painful. This type of pain varies from person to person. Those who are older feel more pain and those who are younger feel less pain. It is also more painful if the muscles are obvious (明显的Míngxiǎn de apparent or conspicuous) and less painful if the muscles are not obvious. But, this pain will decrease gradually and is periodical. After going through this period, (you) will feel comfortable, and then (you) have a beginning, and finally (you) will enjoy it a great deal and will walk lightly and freely after training the standing posture. A very clear benefit”

 

白建云:“站桩过程中的疼痛是不是可以理解为骨骼和血管,筋腱别住所造成的,经过调整,顺畅了就不疼痛了”。
陈师伯:“所以在站桩的过程中出现不适时可以缓缓转动或抖一抖,李师父说:‘站桩有一个要点,时常浑身抖一抖。传说狗熊冬眠的时候,隔几天,它就自发性地浑身颤抖,否则僵滞不动,身体要有问题。同样,桩为什么站不下去?就是缺这一抖。很细致,很轻微地抖抖,就能够享受桩功养生了。其实比武发力,也就是这么一抖擞’。这个‘抖’的实质是站桩出现问题时,要松散一下自己的身体。所以李师父要求,‘站完桩要多遛,这一遛也长功夫。遛是站桩的归宿’。

 

Bai Yun Jian: “Can the painful sensation appearing during training the standing posture be understood as being caused by improper ways in the bones, blood vessels and tendons, and it will no longer be painful after being smoothed by adjustment?”

School Uncle Chen: “Therefore, if discomfort occurs during training the standing posture, (you) can turn slightly and shake a little bit. Master Li said: ‘There is one important point in training the standing posture, shake the whole body often. It was said that in hibernation in the winter time, a bear would spontaneously shake the whole body every several days. Otherwise, if the body is stagnant and does not move, a problem will occur in the body. Similarly, why (are you) unable to keep training the standing posture? It is exactly because this shaking is lacking. By shaking the body delicately and slightly, (you) can enjoy the regimen of the standing posture skill. In fact, it is also this type of shaking in releasing the force in the martial contest,.’ The truth of this ‘shaking’ is to relax your own body, when any problem occurs during training the standing posture. Therefore, Master Li requested, ‘After training the standing posture, necessary to stroll a lot. This stroll is also able to build up the skill. Stroll is the final goal of training the standing posture’”.
 

对站桩的一些理论认识
陈师伯:“上面给大家讲了怎么站桩,以及站桩时出现的状况和不适时处理的方法。那么站桩站到什么时候就大功告成了呢?‘有没有站桩成功的标准?没有。一般能站二小时,身子有浮起似的感觉,这表明身上有成就了。还有一个长功的标志,就是站得浑身细胞突突(高密度,高深度的颤抖),由突突到不突突,反复多次,直到经络通畅,就出了功夫。不过这些现象不能一概而论,不一定是每个人的必然现象。总之能够站到站桩和运动中都能够‘体呼吸’就算成功了吧。

 

Some Theoretical Understanding on Standing Posture

School Uncle Chen: “I talked to all of you about how to train the standing posture in the above, and the methods for dealing with the situations and discomfort present in training the standing posture. Then, how long does it take to be successfuly accomplished in training the standing posture? ‘Is there any standard to be successful in training the standing posture? No. Usually, after being able to stand for two hours, when you have a floating sensation in the body, it means you have achievements in the body. There is another sign to show the skill is built, e.g. keep standing til (you) have the cells throbbing in the whole body (high-density and high-depth trembling), from throbbing to no throbbing, till smooth circulation in the meridians. Then the skill (Gongfu) is built up.’ But, those phenomena cannot be generalized and are not necessarily inevitable in everyone. Generally, you are successful if you can feel the ‘body-respiration’ from training the standing posture and exercises.”

 

“另外大家通过上面站桩的方法要知道,站桩,身体是基本不动的,但并不是完全不动。李师父说:‘以上这些桩法都是动的,不过很慢很微,外人看不出来。桩功是‘慢练’,这些都是入门的巧用,一练就会有效果’。

 

“Besides, all of you should understand from the above-mentioned methods for training standing posture that in training the standing posture, the body is basically immobile, but not completely immobile. Master Li said: ‘all the above methods for training the standing posture are mobile, but very slow and slight, and can not be seen by outsiders. The skill of training the standing posture is ‘slow training’, These are magic ways to get started. The effects can come out once the training is done.’ ”
 

邓锋:“是静中求动?”
池少斌:“桩是一个相对静的状态,不是一点也不动,不是木头,内家拳站桩是要身体的内动”。
白建云:“慢练也是自我有意地调整骨骼,让劲力顺畅”。
陈师伯:“当然!”大家都说的对。所以站桩不是完全的静功。要用‘意’不用力,是说不要用拙力,‘神’到位就是意,可以用内劲”。
白建云:“拙力是不是有意识的用局部的肌肉力量”。

Deng Feng: “To seek motion from tranquility?”

Shao Shao Bin: “The standing posture is a relatively tranquil status, but it does not mean no motion at all, it is not wooden. The standing posture in the internal martial arts has the internal motion inside the body.”

Bai Jian Yun: “Slow training is also supposed to intentionally adjust the bones, to get the energy and force smooth.”

School Uncle Chen: “Of course. What you said is correct. Therefore, the standing posture is not completey tranquil (静Jìng static, quiet) power (功Gōng). To use ‘intention’ and not to use strength means not to use awkward (拙Zhuō clumsy) strength. When ‘the spirit’ is in the right place, it means intention, (and you are) able to use the internal energy.”


 

Bai Jian Yun: “Does awkward strength mean to deliberately use the strength of the local muscle?”
 

陈师伯:一开始都难免。所以李师父说:‘站桩一动不动,只能是令肌肉苦楚,精神挫折。桩法是活动的,不是静功,而是慢练。慢练,增力之妙法也。慢慢以神意运动,舒展四肢。桩法是动的,只不过动的很慢,外人看不出来,慢慢以神意运动,七字价值万金。所以桩功是在身体外形大致不动的基础上用意识调整身体内部机体的运动。

School Uncle Chen: “It is inevitable at the very beginning. So, Master Li said: ‘If (you) do not move at all in training the standing posture, the muscles will suffer and the spirit will be frustrated. The standing posture method is a mobile, not a static skill. It is slow training. Slow training is a marvelous method to increase the strength. The movement is guided with the spirit and mind for stretching out the four limbs. The standing posture method is moving but moving very slowly, with the spirit and mind, and is not visible to outsiders. Seven characters are worthy of ten thousand gold.’ Therefore, the standing posture skill is a movement to regulate the internal organism inside the body (using) the intention, based upon the largely immobile physical appearance.”
 

三体式桩功的效果
陈师伯:“三体式桩功是修炼形意拳功夫的重要形式,对提高体质和体能都有重要作用。李师父说:‘桩功难学。桩法能使小脑、肾、性腺得到开发,所以‘形意一年打死人’,不是说招法厉害,是说形意能令人短期内由弱变强,精力无穷,是体能厉害’。还对桩功提高体质的功效总结说:桩功可以使‘脏腑清虚,经络舒畅,骨腱髓满,精气充足,即达神经敏锐的效果’。

Effects of San Ti Standing Posture Skill

School Uncle Chen: “San Ti Shi is an important form for training the skill (Gongfu) of Xing Yi Quan, expecially important for the enhancement of the physical fitness and physical capacity. Master Li said: ‘It is difficult to learn the standing posture skill. The standing posture skill can help the development of the cerebellum, kidney and gonads. Therefore, ‘to kill a person within one years training of Xing Yi’ does not mean that the techniques are “ferocious” (厉害Lìhài powerful). It means that Xing Yi Quan can change (a person) from being weak to being strong in a short period of time, with infinite energy and force, and powerful physical capacity.’ Concerning the effectivness of the standing posture skill to enhance physical fitness he concluded: the standing posture skill can ‘make the Zangfu organs clear and unobstructed, the meridians smooth, the bone marrow full, and the essence sufficient, for realizing the effect of sensitive nerves.’ ”
 

如何练拳架
陈师伯:“当然形意拳的功夫仅仅站桩也不行。站桩虽然是长功夫的重要方法,也是用法的重要基础,但不能代替用法的修炼,而用法的修炼则主要是通过拳架招式来进行的,所以李师父说:‘桩法必须溶入拳法’

 

How to Train the Fist Frame

School Uncle Chen: “Of course, the standing posture method is not enough for Xing Yi skill. The standing posture skill is an important method to build up the skill, and is also an important foundation for applications. But, it could not  replace the training of the application methods. And the training of the application methods is mainly processed by training the fist frames and techniques. Therefore, Master Li said: ‘The standing posture methods must be dissolved into the fist methods.’

 

“在形意拳拳架中有五行、十二形,还有许多单练对练套路,那么练拳架招式是练什么呢?当然得先会基本的样式,但是知道基本样式后又练什么呢?李师父说:‘形意拳先教“行劲”,行对了劲,也就找着了身法。也就是说修炼的是各个拳架中身体内的劲力。而形意拳的拳架招式很多,从哪里入手呢?的从形意拳的母拳‘五行拳’开始。而五行拳的母拳又是横拳。李师父说:‘形意拳之母是五行,五行之母是一横’。但要正确理解这个‘横拳’,这个横拳不是简单的外形横拳,而是指丹田。所以五行拳都离不了丹田。而从劲力的方式讲实际只有三拳,钻拳和横拳劲力基本相同,都是直线向外旋转,炮拳和崩拳相同都是直线向内旋转。所以找的基本是劈拳、钻拳、崩拳的劲力。

 

“In the fist frame (拳架Quán jià fist fight) of Xing Yi Quan, there are five elements, twelve animals, and also many single training drills and two-person training drills. What are the fist frame and techniques trained for? Of course, it is necessary to learn the basic forms. But, what to train after the basic forms are known? Master Li said: ‘teach ‘moving energy’ first in Xing Yi Quan, and when the energy moves correctly, it is easy to find the body method.’ Namely, the energy and strength should be trained in various fist frames. And there are many fist frames and techniques in Xing Yi Quan. Where to start? Start from the mother fist of Xing Yi Quan, ‘five element fist’. And the mother fist of Xing Yi Quan is also Heng Quan (Crossing Fist). Master Li said: ‘the mother of Xing Yi Quan is five elements, and the mother of five elements is Heng.’ But, it is necessary to understand this ‘Heng Quan’. This Heng Quan is not a simple external Heng Quan, referring to the Dantian area. Therefore, the five-element fist can never be separated from the Dantian area. In terms of the modes of energy and strength, there are only three types of fists actually. The energy and strength in Zuan Quan and Heng Quan are basically similar; outward rotation on the straight line, and both Pao Quan and Beng Quan are basically similar; inward rotation on the straight line. Therefore, what is sought is basically the energy and strength of Pi Quan, Zuan Quan and Beng Quan.”
 

“如何练劈拳?李师父认为:‘劈拳就是一起一伏,用躯干打劈拳就是熊鹰合形。起要钻,落要翻;起如挡锉,落如钩杆。起落好似水翻浪。不但要用躯干,还要用躯干里面打劈拳,要练功,不要单单练拳。
    “另外还教过个练劈拳的具体方法,就是:‘劈拳如推山,身体由后向前,一分一分地缓缓而推,推的越吃力越好,如此能长功夫’。
    “在练崩拳的方法上要求比较简单,‘把直来直去的拳打转了,把转着的拳打直了,这是崩拳的练法’。
    “在钻拳的要求上主要强调是:‘钻拳不是钻拳头,是钻身子’。

“How to train Pi Quan? Master Li believed: ‘Pi Quan is exactly to rise and fall, and to do Pi Quan with the body trunk is a combined form of bear and eagle. Need to drill while rising, need to turn while falling, to rise like a blocking file, and to fall like a hooking stick. To rise and fall like water waves. Don’t only use the body trunk, but also strike with Pi Quan using the inside of the body trunk. Its necessary to train the skill, and not just train the fist.

“He also taught a concrete method to train Pi Quan, e.g. ‘strike with Pi Quan like pushing the mountains, with the body moving forwards, pushing slowly one fen by one fen (1/10 cm), pushing as strenuously as possible. Thus, the skill will be built up.’ ”

“In the method to train Beng Quan, his demands are comparatively simple, ‘to train the fist in straight route circularly, and to train the fist in circle route straightly. This is the training method for Beng Quan.’ ”

“In the method to train Zuan Quan, he mainly stressed: ‘Zuan Quan is not to drill with the fist, it is to drill with the body.’ ”

 

“李师父强调的这三拳的要点是在整体劲力上的侧重,并不是不顾及整体的劲力,要正确理解。这里顺便说一下练太极拳、八卦掌、形意拳的总体劲力的练法。因为我们门里练得是内家拳,太极、八卦、形意、南少林是内家拳的基本拳种,所以也应该知道。李师父说:‘武林里有句取笑形意、太极、八卦姿势的话,叫太极如摸鱼,八卦如推磨,形意如捉虾,说到此,有如下解释:

 

Master Li emphasized that the main points in those three fists was focused on the overall energy and strength, not ignoring the energy as a whole. It is necessary to understand it correctly. By the way, I will talk about the training methods for overall energy and strength in Tai Ji Quan, Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan because we train the internal arts in our school.  Tai Ji Quan, Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and South Shao Lin are the basic fists of the internal arts. Therefore, it is also necessary to know (about them). Master Li said: ‘in the field of the martial arts, there is one sentence that teases (取笑Qǔxiào make fun of) the postures of Xing Yi Quan, Tai Ji Quan and Ba Gua Zhang , saying Tai Ji is like catching fish, Ba Gua is like pushing the millstone, and Xing Yi is like catching shrimp. Talking about this, there are the following explanations:’ ”

 

‘太极如摸鱼,要如手探到水里般,慢慢而移,太极推手正如摸鱼般要手‘听’。练拳时,也要有水中摸鱼的‘劲’,有这么一点意念,就能练出功夫了’。“推手中‘手听’就是用手仔细揣摩对方的劲力。练拳时是听自己身上的反应。

'

Tai Ji like catching fish (摸鱼Mō yú fishing in troubled waters), it is necessary to explore with the hand into the water and move slowly. The pushing hand in Tai Ji is exactly to ‘listen’ with the hand like catching fish. In training it is also necessary to have ‘the energy’ of catching fish in water. Once you have such an intension, your skill is built up.’ “‘To listen with the hand’ in the pushing hand is exactly to carefully test the power of the opponent with the hand. In training the fist, (you must) listen to the reaction of your own body.”

 

‘八卦如推磨,除了向前推,还要推出向下的碾劲,八卦掌一迈步要有两股劲,随时转化,明白了这两股劲的道理,就能理解八卦掌的招数为何千变万化’。两股劲是竖劲和横劲,向前推是横劲,向下碾是竖劲,两股劲劲互为作用。

 

‘Ba Gua is like pushing the millstone, beside pushing forward, it is also necessary to push downward with a grinding force. While walking out in Ba Gua Zhang, there should be two strands of energy, that can change at any time. When the theory on two strands of energy is understood, it is possible to understand how the techniques are changed numerously.’ Two strands of the energy refer to the vertical energy (Shu Jin) and transverse energy (Heng Jin). The forward-pushing strength is the transverse energy, and the downward-grinding strength is the vertical energy.  The two strands of energy are mutually functional.

 

‘练形意拳时,要如捉虾般,出手的时候很快,收手的时候,手上要带着‘东西’回来,这‘轻出重收’四字便是练拳的口诀,千斤不易。‘轻出’是筋骨的撑拔力,是打锉的干脆劲;‘重收’是筋骨的内缩劲,是钩杆的拔河劲。

'

‘In training Xing Yi Quan, like catching shrimp, the hand goes out very quickly, and takes ‘the stuff’ in the hand and then comes back. Four Chinese characters meaning ‘going out lightly and coming back heavily’ are exactly the poem for training the fist, very very valuable.’ “Going out lightly” refers to the stretching and pulling force of the tendons and bones, a clear-cut energy in striking file. ‘Coming back heavily’ refers to the inward-contracting energy of the tendons and bones, a tug-of-war force of the hooking stick.

 

“通过李师父对练拳的论述,我们可以知道,修炼形意拳功夫或者说修炼内家拳功夫不是说会得招式越多越好,而首先是要知道基本拳架的基本劲力。在这种基础上增加拳术的招式。所以练拳必须‘知己’,明白自己的不足,这是很重要的,所以李师父说:‘练拳的第一个进境,就是有了自觉,能知道自己的毛病’。思想上有了这个认识,感到自己‘练拳无进步,就要重新站着不动地校正拳架,去揣摩每法,动也是它,静也是它,否则,静不下去也动不起来’。只有这样才能长功夫,所以练拳架招式也要慢练,要仔细琢磨。

 

“From Master Li’s exposition on how to train the fist, we can understand that in training the skill of Xing Yi Quan or training the internal martial arts, it does not mean we should know as many techniques as possible. First of all, we need to know the basic energy of the basic fist frame. Based upon this, the techniques of the fist art can be increased. Therefore, it is necessary to ‘know yourself’, and understand insufficiency of yourself. This is very important. Therefore, Master Li said: ‘In training the art, the first progress is self awareness, to know your own problems.’ After understanding this, if you feel ‘no progress in training the fist art, it is necessary to stand still again and adjust the fist frame, and figure out each method. The motion is it, the tranquility is also it. Otherwise, it is not possible to move up again after being quiet.’ Only by this way, can the skill be built up. Therefore, the fist frames and techniques should be trained slowly and carefully figured out, too.”
   

     如何练用法
    “拳架里的劲力找到了,练到身上了,就有了内家拳的基本功夫,但有了这个功夫并不等于就可以搏击。所以李师父说:‘功夫好相当于一个人有了家产,比武相当于会不会投资,从功夫好到善比武,还得要一番苦悟’。就是说功夫好只是基础,要真真搏击还得在思想上,实践中磨练,醒悟。不过这种磨练和醒悟是多方面的。但首先要知道基本招式的基本用法。

How to Train the Applications?

“Once you find the energy and strength in the fist frame and have gotten it in the body, you have the basic skill of the internal martial arts. But when you have this skill, it does not mean you can fight. Therefore, Master Li said: ‘Good skill is equivalent to a person with a fortune. The martial contest is equivalent to whether this person knows how to invest. Even with good skill and good talent in the martial contest, it still takes a period of painstaking efforts.’ It means that good skill is just a foundation. A good talent in a contest, still needs to train and sense (醒悟Xǐngwù wake up, come to realize the truth) in the idea and practice. But, this kind of hardship and sense are multiple. First of all, it is necessary to know the basic applications of the basic techniques.

 

“首先说劈拳,李师父说:‘劈拳的打法是‘劈拳如劈斧’,山民抡斧子劈柴,跟抡鞭子一样,要个脆劲,否则,斧子就只能砍进木头里,无法一下劈成两半’。是说使用劈拳的时候要有惯性的那种打划的劲力。李师父还说:‘起手接变,缩身顶杠而进,有出手没有收手,其实杠出而后,还有个身子向后弓身动作,这就是劈拳蓄劲进身的隐蔽的手法。这是说实战中劈拳身法的应用。

 

“First, let’s talk about Pi Quan. Master Li said: ‘the striking method of Pi Quan is ‘Pi Quan like splitting axe’. The mountain people chop the firewood, like swinging a whip, for a crisp energy. Otherwise, the axe can only cut into the wood and cannot split it into two halves.’ This means that in using Pi Quan, it is necessary to have that inertial striking and drawing energy and strength. Master Li also said: ‘when the hand rises, changes start, shrink (缩Suō contract) the body and walk forward propping with the bar. The hand goes out and does not come back. In fact, the bar goes out later, and there is also a movement that the body bows backward. This the hidden technique to gather energy and advance with the body in Pi Quan.’ This is the application of Pi Quan agility (身法Shēn fǎ also, body methods) in actual combat.”

 

“其次,是崩拳。李师父说:‘崩拳比武最方便,伸手就是。崩拳如箭,发中同时,这份利索是高东西,修为到了才能有。崩拳的要领在‘转环崩’上,转环崩是枪法,枪法中有转环枪,就是一枪刺过去,被对方兵器架住,不用换动作,枪杆子一转就势扎过去。将这无形的大枪杆子旋起来,就是转环崩。转环崩厉害了,等于耍大枪’。崩拳看似简单,其实不简单,从自己的劲力到实战的应用是很需要体悟的,李师父都赞扬是‘高东西,修为到了才能有’。

“Next, let’s talk about Beng Quan. Master Li said: ‘Beng Quan is the most convenient in the martial contest. It is there when the hand extends out. Beng Quan is like an arrow. At the time when it hits the target its nimbleness is a high level thing, which can only be achieved after painstaking cultivation. The main point of Beng Quan lies in ‘ring-circling Beng (smashing)’. It is the spear method. In spear methods, there is ring-circling spear. Namely, when the spear is poked out and blocked by the weapon of the opponent, (you) don’t need to change the movement, just turn the spear stick and poke with the posture. To rotate this invisible big spear stick is exactly the ring-circling Beng (smashing)’. The ring-circling Beng (smashing) is powerful, its just like playing with the big spear. Beng Quan is seemingly simple but in fact its not. It must be sensed from your own energy and strength to be used in actual combat application. Master Li appraised it is as high level stuff, which could only be attained after painstaking cultivation.”

 

“再次,是钻拳。李师父说:‘钻拳不是钻拳头,是钻身子,一个是前手压住对方,扯带得后手撵锥子似地撵进去。另一个是,前手一晃,你就撞在他后手上了,变魔术一般,不是障眼法,而是他换了身形(两者的虚实不同)。冬天冷的时候,门上挂着沉甸甸的棉门帘,人进门时,前手一撩门帘,身子就往里钻,身子一动,手上搭的份量就卸了,人进了门,帘子也刚好落下,有道缝就进了人。这是生活里转换虚实的现象,形意拳的‘换影’也是这个。这是说实战中敌我双方劲力在粘接以后的虚实转换,其实太极推手也是这个道理。

“Next is Zuan Quan. Master Li said: ‘Zuan Quan is not drilling with the fist, it is drilling with the body. On the one hand, press and hold the opponent with the front hand, pulling and taking the rear hand to drill into the opponent like drilling an awl. On the other hand, shake the front hand, and you would bump into his rear hand, it seems like magic, not a covering-up method (障眼法Zhàngyǎnfǎ camouflage, cloaking so someone will not see the truth), but he changes his body form (different in real and false status). When it is cold in the winter, a heavy cotton curtain is on the door, a person enters into the door and the door curtain just falls down. A person can come in, just through a slit. This is a phenomenon of transformation between the false and the real in life. This is exactly what ‘changing the shadow’ means in Xing Yi Quan.’ This is the transmission between the false and the real, after the energy and  strength of the enemy and mine stick and link in actual combat. In fact, this is the same principle as in pushing hands in Tai Ji Quan.”

 

“另外李师父对形意拳在搏击中的步伐、身法和与对方的距离也有要求,说:‘形意拳走中门,占中路的道理,以慢打快。关键在步法。打法定,先上身,手脚齐到方为真’。是说搏斗时要发挥形意拳身体整体协调运动的特点,这样才能发挥形意拳整体劲力的优势。他还说:‘打人如亲嘴,也就是穷追不舍的意思,因此说,练拳如亲嘴’。是说形意拳、太极拳搏击中和对方的身体要赞粘连随,不让对方脱开自己的劲力控制。

“In addition, Master Li also had his demands on footwork, body methods and distance to the opponent in the martial contest of Xing Yi Quan, saying: ‘walk the middle gate in Xing Yi Quan, to occupy the middle road theoretically and to strike the fast with the slow speed. The key lies in the steps. Once the method is decided, have it in the body, and it will be powerful if the hand and foot arrive simultaneously.’ This means that in combat, it is necessary to display the features of the cooperative movement of the whole body in Xing Yi Quan, to bring to bear the advantage of whole energy and strength in Xing Yi Quan. He also said: ‘to strike a person is like kissing a person, e.g. to keep pursuing (穷追不舍Qióng zhuī bù shě chasing him closely, seek, trace) . Therefore, it is said that to train the fist is like kissing a person.’ This means that in combat with both Xing Yi Quan and Tai Ji Quan, it is necessary to stick, link and follow the body of the opponent, not letting him away from the control of my own energy and strength.”

 

“而且在劲力上李师父认为练拳和实战也有不同,他说:‘形意拳的练法和打法,迥然不同。比如,练法要‘以身推肩,以肩推肘,以肘推手,直练到川流不息的程度,而打法则要将手鞭子样甩出去,再以肘追手,以肩追肘,以身追肩,如两手拍巴掌,很响,用身子拍手,就是打法了(快响)’。

“Also, Master Li believed that the energy and strength were different between training and actual combat. He said: ‘the training methods and striking methods are totally different in Xing Yi Quan. For instance, in the training method you want ‘to push the shoulder with the body, push the elbow with the shoulder, push the hand with the elbow, till the degree of endless flow, and in the striking method you want to throw out the hand like throwing a whip, and then to pursue (追Zhuī, chase, trace seek) the hand with the elbow, to pursue the elbow with the shoulder, and to pursue the shoulder with the body.’ For instance, it is very loud when two hands clap together. To clap the hands with the body is the striking method (very loud)’.”

 

“在搏击的战术原则中,李师父也有自己的认识,他说:‘总之,见手说话,来手化打结合,正所谓‘拳法意来本五形,生克裹钻变化精。要知识者真消息,只在眼前一寸中。手脚齐到方为真’。化打结合是搏击的原则,发人、击人身体由下而上的整体气力是关键。

“Master Li had his own understanding of the tactical principles of fighting,. He said: ‘generally, talk while seeing the (enemies) hand, and when the hand comes, the dissolving method and striking method should be combined. This is exactly that: ‘the meaning of the fist methods originally comes from the five elements, with delicate changes in inter-promotion, interaction, wrapping and drilling. To know and identify the real implication is only within one-inch distance in front of the eyes. It is really skillful when the hand and foot arrive simultaneously.’’ The combination of dissolving and striking methods is the fighting principle.  The key in throwing and hitting the person is the overall strength from the bottom to the upper part of the body.”

 

“李师父对实战意识的培养也有自己的方法:他说‘练拳的心思怎么动?练拳时,好像对面有人,每一手都象实发,是象实发而非实发,自己要多设想几个对手,慢慢地练拳,一拳出去要感觉是以极快的速度冷不防打倒了其中一个,其他人还盯着你呢。不要想着正式比武,要想着遭人暗算。等真比武脑子就空了,一切招式都根据对方来,等着对方送招,对方一动就是找挨打,所谓‘秋风未动蝉先觉’,比武就是比谁先知道,形意拳的后发制人不是等对方动手了我再动手,而是对方动手的征兆一起,要应着对方,适合什么用什么’。当然这种意识的训练是找到拳架劲力的基础,和知道拳架用法的基础上进行的训练,和练功的程序不能本末倒置。

“Master Li also had his own methods to build up the sense of actual fighting. He said: ‘How to initiate the intention in training the fist? In training the fist, assume a person is in front (of you), release every hand as a real hand, like (you are) releasing for real but not releasing for real. You need to imagine several opponents and train the fist slowly, and when one fist comes out, you should feel you are knocking down one of them with extremely fast speed, and the rest of them are still just watching you. Do not think about the real martial contest, (you) need to imagine you are intrigued (遭人暗算Zāo rén ànsuàn being plotted against). In the real fighting the brain should be empty. All techniques should appear according to what the opponent does. Wait for the opponent to offer the techniques. Once the opponent moves, he looks to take a beating. This is exactly what ‘cicada feels first, even though the autumn wind has not moved yet’ means. The martial contest is just to test whoever knows first. To gain mastery by striking only after the enemy has attacked does not mean that I start to strike after the opponent has already struck. Instead, as soon as the opponent signals (the impulse) to strike, you need to respond with whatever is appropriate.’ Of course, this awarness training is a foundation to find the energy and strength of the fist frame and should not be placed upside down (本末倒置Běnmòdàozhì”Don’t put the cart before the horse”), with the training conducted based upon awareness of the fist frame and applications then the training procedure.”

 

总之有功夫到比武实战是有过程的,在具备了功夫后,思想意识就显得很重要了,所以李师父教导说:‘平时用心思多练,一出手就是合适的。只有练拳时方方面面的心思都动到,在比武电闪雷鸣的一瞬,才能变出东西来’。

In short, there is a process from being skillful (Gongfu) to the actual martial contest. After the skill is built up, the (physical and mental) awareness is very important. Therefore, Master Li instructed us: ‘When times are ordinary (平时Píngshí in peacetime), (you) need to frequently train on purpose, and (your actions) will be appropriate as soon as the hand goes out. Only by thinking of every aspect of training the fist, will it be possible to conjure up something at the moment of thunder and lightning in the marital contest’.

 

“李师父这些对练功和实战的经验都是在长期的修炼中总结出来的,都是实实在在的学问,内家拳的爱好者应该牢牢记住,即要知道武术功夫是实战的基础,又要知道功夫代替不了实战,得把功夫放在实践中体悟才有可能变为搏击中有用的东西。

“Master Li’s experience with the training of skills and in actual combat is summarized from his long-term training and is real knowledge. The enthusiasts of the internal martial arts must firmly remember that. Not only do we need to know that the marital skills are the foundation of actual combat, we also need to know that the skills cannot replace actual combat, and only by sensing and experiencing the skills in practice, can we change them into useful things in actual fighting.”

 

形意拳的养生
陈师伯:“内家拳是一种武术,搏击当然是他首要的作用,但是内家拳又是一种独特的养生术,这种养生作用随着时代的发展越来越显示出他的优越性。内家拳养生的优越性主要来至于他独特的运动内涵,也就是他是一种在道家哲学思想基础上,吸收道家内丹功而发展成的一种独特的养生术。但是内家拳如何能够成为道家的一种养生术,其实人们的认识还是模糊的。李师父说:‘许多人都知道形意拳是内家拳,此拳是可以通‘道’的,但拳谱上往往只有拳法,简单陈列出道经摘抄的语句,至于如何由拳通‘道’便含糊了’。在如何‘通道’的问题上,李师父用自己的身体实践回答了这个问题。他说:‘体呼吸’正是形意拳通‘道’的法门,从全身毛孔云蒸雾起为呼吸,此功夫,乃是精神真正呼吸,非有真传难入其‘道’,非有恒心难达其境,学‘道’者,勉力为之。

Regimen (养生Yǎngshēng Health) of Xing Yi Quan

School Uncle Chen: “Nei Jia Quan (Internal Martial Arts) are martial arts, and fighting is their primary role. But the internal arts are also a kind of specific (health) regimen. With the development of the times, the superiority of this (health) regimen is demonstrated increasingly. The superiority of this (health) regimen in the internal arts mainly comes from its specific sports connotation. Namely, it is a unique (health) regimen developed from Taoist philosophical thoughts plus Taoist internal energy skill. But, people’s understanding is vague about how the internal arts can become a kind of Taoist (health) regimen,. Master Li said: ‘many people know that Xing Yi Quan is an internal martial art, and this art is linked with ‘Taoism’, but, in the boxing manuals, there are only the fist methods, and they simply list the quotations from Taoist canons. As for how this art is linked with ‘Taoism’, they are not clear. As to the question about how Xing Yi Quan is linked with ‘Taoism’, Master Li answered this question with his own body practice. He said: ‘‘body respiration’ is the initial approach (法门Fǎmén Dharma, the law) that links Xing Yi Quan with ‘Taoism’. Cloud steaming and evaporation from the hair pores of the whole body is the respiration. This skill is the real respiration of the spirit, this ‘Taoism’ cannot be easily approached without real instruction and cannot be easily realized without persistence. Those who learn ‘Taoism’ must act with their best.’”
 

“所以李师父要求:‘练拳光练‘劲’不行,要‘练精化气,练气化神,练神还虚’,‘练精化气,练气化神、练神还虚’是道家用于描述内丹功过程的术语,一般人认识很难理解的,所以李师父简化说:‘身心得起变化,把‘练精化气,练气化神,练神还虚’的大道理就说通了。但李师父说的这个身体变化是有丰富的内涵的”。

So, Master Li requested: ‘in training the fist, it is not right to train ‘energy’ only, and it is necessary to train the essence into qi, train qi into the spirit and train the spirit into voidness,’ ‘To train the essence into qi, train qi into the spirit and train the spirit into voidness’ is a Taoist phrase describing the process of building up the internal energy. It is very difficult for the average person to understand. So, Master Li simplified it: ‘the changes should take place in the body, then it is possible to explain this major theory of ‘training the essence into qi, training qi into the spirit and training the spirit into voidness’’ The physical change Master Li talked about is very meaningful.”

 

邓锋:“是不是说改变人的气质?”
陈师伯:“对!李师父说:‘形意拳要练精化气,练气化神,练神还虚,气不(仅仅)是呼吸的气,比如男子的英俊潇洒,女人的妩媚亮丽,就是气的作用,所谓生机勃勃’。这就是形意拳改变气质的作用。形意拳改变人的气质是通过身体的变化来实现的。例如不练功的人仰着头,耸着肩无精打采的。而练内家拳的人站桩的时候头是向上领着,身体的筋骨的劲力撑成整体,而且精神矍铄,精力充沛,思维敏捷,动作灵活,这些都是气质改变的表现。而在精、气、神这些体质的表现上‘气’的变化的主要是“气息”。所以李师父认为站桩和劈拳从这个角度来说就是练气息,李师父说:劈拳就是练息。气息越来越绵长,越来越深远,精力充沛了,手部动作激发了全身,渐渐感到气息鼓荡,全身毛孔开合。李师父这里的‘息’,有两个含义义:一个是‘至于呼吸的气,叫做‘息’。另外一个含义是信息,‘气息鼓荡,全身毛孔开合’的气息是身体对外感觉信息的物质基础。形意拳练到高程度练什么,就是练‘息’,看你得到什么信息,对方有表现出一点信息来,自己就知道是要干什么”。

Deng Feng: “Does it mean changing people’s temperment?”

School Uncle Chen: “Right! Master Li said: ‘it is necessary to train the essence into qi, train qi into the spirit and train the spirit into voidness in Xing Yi Quan. Qi does not (only) refer to “qi of respiration”. For instance the handsomeness and elegance of men and the gracefulness and prettiness of women are just a function of qi, so energetic and vigorous.’ This is the function of Xing Yi Quan in changing the temperament (气质Qìzhí qualities, disposition). The change of a human beingings temperament in Xing Yi Quan is realized by the changes in the body. For instance, those who do not train the skill look unenergetic, like when they tilt their head backward and their shoulders are hunched listlessly. But those who train the boxing and the standing posture uplift their heads and stretch the energy and strength of the whole body into an entity (整体Zhěngtǐ whole,integrated), moreover they are energetic, vigorous, quick thinking and nimble in their movements. These are all manifestations of a change in temperament. The change of ‘qi’ in the physical manifestations of essence, qi and spirit, is mainly ‘qi breathing’. Therefore, Master Li believed that from this perspective the standing posture and Pi Quan are for training qi breathing. Master Li said: Pi Quan is to train qi breathing. Qi breathing can become increasingly longer and profound, so the energy is sufficient. The movements in the hand stimulate the whole body, gradually you feel vigorous in breathing and the pores in the whole body open and close.’ ‘Qi breathing’ of Master Li contains two meanings: one is ‘qi of the respiration, termed ‘breathing’, another meaning is (sensory) information. Qi breathing, ‘vigorous in breathing and the pores in the whole body opening and closing’, is the material foundation of the body’s ability to feel the external sensory information. What should be trained, when Xing Yi Quan is trained to a high level, it is to train ‘information’, to see what information you can get. Once the opponent shows a little information, you can know what you want to do.”
 

邓锋:“练拳能练出来这样的状况来?”
    陈师伯:“对啊!能练到这样的程度你看活不活?这就是站桩、练拳中重点要明白的,但不是脑子明白,是身体明白”。
邓锋:“体悟?”
    陈师伯:“对啊”。
    邓锋:“有点糊涂”。
陈师伯:“坚持站桩,练拳,久而久之,通了以后就不糊涂了。”

 

Deng Feng: “Can this status (body breathing and the level of awareness) be achieved by training the fist?”

School Uncle Chen: “Right. Are you sure you are active or not, while training to reach this state? This is the standing posture. It is necessary to know the main points in training the boxing.  You won’t understand with the brain, you will understand with the body.”

Deng Feng: “Understand with the body?”

School Uncle Chen: “That’s right.”

Deng Feng: “ I’m a little bit confused.”

School Uncle Chen: “Keep training the standing posture, and the boxing.  With the passage of time you will understand and no longer be confused.”
 

白建云:“体呼吸中丹田的呼吸是不是和毛孔的呼吸在节奏上、频率上来往运动方向上是相互联系的,一致的”。
陈师伯:“那是肯定的,咱们一般人一开始是胸呼吸,练得成为腹呼吸,最后练到毛孔呼吸。最后到忘呼吸,但忘呼吸不是不呼吸”。
邓锋:“整个身体就像肺一样?”
陈师伯:“对!对!对!有这个意思。所以咱们门里比较重视劈拳也就是这个意思。李师父说:‘劈拳练息,先去病再强身,通过练息,身上的气养育起来,大脑时常会有灵感,此时,学拳就真是趣味无穷了。

Bai Jian Yun: “Is the respiration of the Dantian in the body-respiration related to the respiration of the pores in rhythm, and is the frequency and direction of the movement identical (相互联系的,一致的Xiānghù liánxì de, yīzhì de inter-related and consistent)?”

School Uncle Chen: “Certainly. Most people breathe with chest breathing at the beginning, then they learn abdominal breathing, and later how to breathe with the pores. The final stage is to forget breathing. But, “to forget breathing” does not mean there is no breathing.”

Deng Feng: “Is the entire body like the lungs?”

School Uncle Chen: “Right! Right! Right! That’s the meaning. Therefore, Pi Quan is highly emphasized in our school. Master Li said: ‘In training qi-breathing in Pi Quan, first (you will) expel diseases, and then strengthen the body. By training qi-breathing, qi is built up in the body. Inspiration will then often appear in the brain. In this moment, learning the boxing art becomes endlessly interesting.’ ”
 

“以上给大家讲了李师父对形意拳的修炼和实战以及养生的经验,下面再给大家讲讲李师父对习练内家拳在德行上的要求。李师父说:‘古人讲,武者不详。练武人太容易陷进是非,还不如不学武,就算学了,也最好一辈子默默无闻,有一份名气,便多一份烦恼’。‘练拳的时候,不宜在人多的地方练,晚上练,让谁也不知道。不准占别人的地方。遇到有人生事,不准动手比武,要学会以理服人,以德服人,要留着时间习武,不要卷入是非中,虚耗光阴’。李师父总的思想是要把精力放在习武上,不要和别人争名。

“In the above, I have talked about Master Li’s experience in training, actual fighting and also the (health) regimen of Xing Yi Quan. Next, I will talk about  Master Li’s moral requirements in training the internal arts. Master Li said: ‘I’m not sure which of the ancients said:  “If those who learn the martial arts easily fall into the trap of right and wrong, then it would be best for them not to learn the arts at all.  Even if they did learn them it would be best if they kept it a life long secret.  Because once there is a piece of reputation there will be a piece of worry.”

‘In training the boxing, it is not suitable to train in a place where there are a lot of people. Train in the evening, so that nobody will know. Do not occupy other people’s space. In encountering personal affairs, don’t get involved in martial contests. We must learn how to understand others and to pursuade people with morality and reason. It is importent to schedule time to train the martial arts, and not to waste precious time with arguments’. Master Li’s general idea is that the energy and strength should be put into training the martial arts, not competing with others.”
 

“李师父对如何管理门内事物也有自己的一些观念。他说:‘旧时代拳师收徒弟学孔子。孔子有子贡帮他结交官府,有颜回帮他传学问,有子路帮他管人。门庭有了三个这样的人,必然会兴盛’。‘从《论语》中可以看出,别人提问,孔子会耐心解释,语言简要准确,这是训练弟子一言以服众的能力,去管理其他弟子’。这些经验对我们的发展都是很值得借鉴的”。

“Master Li also had his own ideas about how to manage affairs in the school. He said: ‘In olden times, the masters asked the disciples to learn from Confucius. Confucius had Zi Gong to help him in associating with the rulers, Yan Hui to help him pass on his knowledge, and Zi Lu to help him manage people. If there are such three people in the school, the school will inevitably flourish.’ ‘It can be seen clearly from “The Analects of Confucius” that when others raised questions, Confucius would patiently gave explanations in simple and precise language. This is the ability to teach the disciples, convince people with a simple sentence, and manage other disciples.’ It is worth learning from these experiences for our own development.”

 

讲完课,大家纷纷要求购买师伯录制的推手光碟,师伯很高兴。自谦说:“要说我的技艺水平不及恩师的一半,深感不能把恩师的全部技艺传承下去,不过可以自慰的是多少也给世上留下了些东西”。听着师伯的话语,想起师伯文章中的结束语:“我从先师学练拳术,数十年间,精益求精,未敢有一日懈怠。今老矣,遥想前尘,检点旧事,恩师言笑,恍同昨日。光阴易逝,不觉先师仙去已界十载,感慨之余,援笔濡墨,草成此篇,以慰恩师在天之灵”。

After the lecture, all of us asked to buy the Pushing Hand CD recorded by School Uncle. School Uncle was every happy, saying modestly: “I have to say my level of skill is less than half of my late master’s, and I feel unable to pass down his complete skill (技艺Jìyì also “artistry”) But, I take comfort that I can leave something behind.” Listening to School Uncle’s speech, I think of how School Uncle concluded his article: “I practiced the martial arts with my late Master, for dozens of years, constantly seeking perfection, without slacking off for even one day. Nowadays, I am old, looking at the past and thinking of old times, Master’s smile and speech seem like just yesterday. Time goes by so fast. My late Master has been gone for over ten years now. Being filled with regrets, I pick up my pen and hastily write this article in memory of my late master.”