Archive for August, 2009

How to do Fa Jin

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Following on from the Fu Zhongwen Fajin blog post, we thought we’d add a bit more to the pot. Faijin isn’t just for martial arts or self-defense. Fajin can also be used to help the body heal itself, and keep itself healthy. A bit of impact every now and again helps the bone density, apart from the fact that you just feel good after practising fajin for a bit.

So, we’ve filmed a short video on how to practise basic fajin, which, at its heart is just a quick shake of the hips. The trick to it is to be relaxed enough so that the weave of power produced by the hip shake flows all the way into the limbs and fingertips. The feeling is not unlike a bounce. You’ll feel the wave of power bounce out from your core and into your extremities.

Now, you don’t need to have complete mastery of fajin to garner health benefits from it, and we believe the tradition of needing fajin being absolutely perfect stems from the self-defense days. Fajin was (and still is) used as a method of generating massive power over short distances, e.g. striking over a couple of inches. At high levels, this power would be lethal power over such short distances. In the days when there was no police force in China, mastery of fajin to this level of martial effectiveness was the difference between life and death, so it would obviously be emphasised. Fajin was after all what gave martial Taiji it’s edge, it’s what made it different and was the thing that it could do that not everyone else could.

Fast forward a few hundred years, our priorities are not so much “Am I going to walk away alive” but rather “How can I fix my back?” and so on. So, the emphasis of Taiji, and of fajin is now different. We’re all about the healing, and fajin, just like any other exercise in Taiji, will assist with that.

Breathe Like Babies! How to do Abdominal Breathing.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Just around the time we both dropped off the face of the earth with assorted life-events, we were talking about breathing, and more importantly, how breathing can help you with your Taiji practise ,stress control etc. etc. etc.

Greeny mentioned that we should answer the rather obvious question of how you should actually breathe. Now, there are lots of ways to breathe, and different schools will tell you many different things and go through lots of different techniques. There’s to name but a few, tonic breathing, reverse breathing, abdominal breathing, burst breathing, the list goes on. What we’re going to focus on here is abdominal breathing, the simplest and most natural way of breathing.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a young child or baby available, just watch them when they’re sleeping. They breathe abdominally. We can all agree that babies have not had the opportunity to develop bad breathing habits, so their bodies are just going to breathe however they want to, i.e. abdominally. If you hearken back to the post on just letting your body breathe, that’s what your body will do if you just let it do the breathing, but for you all who find this difficult (and we had quite a few emails from those of you who found letting go and letting your body breathe) this is the exercise that can help you bridge the gap between breathing consciously and breathing naturally.