Just wondering how people train this expanding energy?
Personally i do it via Zhan Zhuang, xingyi's santi posture. A great explanation of this vital training comes from Lu Shengli a student of Wang Peisheng, courtesy of Zhang Yun's website: http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/XY_SanTiSh ... TiShi.htmlSix-direction Force"When you have developed the physical ability to hold the Santi Shi posture correctly, you should begin to train your mind in more detail.
Although your body will appear to an outside observer to be motionless during Santi standing, many changes and feelings of movement will be
occurring inside your body. It is said of this state that “Outside there is stillness but inside there is movement.”
Typically, six-direction practice is the first step in training your mind during Santi standing. It provides a simple way to focus your mind so that
your mind can lead your qi and your internal force. Diligent practice of the six-direction force will stabilize and coordinate all aspects of your
external posture. It will also integrate your internal force and develop an internal state of comfort and clarity.
The six-direction force practice is of central importance for the development of jin. In this practice, internal force is developed simultaneously in
six directions: forward; backward; leftward; rightward; upward and downward. Often, training in Santi Shi emphasizes force primarily in one
direction, but unless one develops the ability to support or express force in all directions, it will be difficult to change and maintain balance
during movement, especially when fighting.
Internal force should be expressed in all directions, but for convenience of training, only six directions are delineated. If you can express force in
these six basic directions, you can quite easily expand your skill to the release of internal force in all directions. Internal force should follow the
flow of qi and fill your body as air fills a ball. When inflated by air, a ball becomes springy and strong, and equal pressure is exerted at every
point on its surface. Internal force should similarly affect your body.
The following instructions for six-direction force practice assume that you are in the left Santi Shi posture, that is, your left hand and left foot are
in front. Each direction force is described individually.
Upward Force: Focus your mind on Baihui, the acupuncture point at the top of your head. Imagine that it is pushing upward. Imagine, too, that
your feet are being inserted into the ground. This will create a reverse direction force that will push your body up. The greater your feeling of
your feet’s being inserted into the ground, the more upward power you will feel. Be careful that the force is directed straight upward. It is
important that your body always be upright, especially your neck and head.
Downward Force: Focus your mind on the Dantian in the center of your lower abdomen. Think about relaxing every part of your body and about
your qi sinking down to the Dantian. This will cause your body to feel heavy and drop slightly. Imagine also that your legs are pushing down into
Forward Force: Focus your mind on the Laogong point in the center of your left palm and feel as though your left palm were pushing forward.
Feel power coming up from your back foot. Your right rear foot should press down into the ground, and power should feel as though it were
flowing up through your right leg to your waist, then through your back, your left arm, and finally out through your left palm. You should feel a
forward-pushing force from your back foot, in this case your right foot, all the way up to your front or left hand. At the same time, imagine that
your right shoulder is chasing your left hand.
Backward Force: Focus your mind on the Jiaji point in the center of your back and imagine that it is pushing backward. This feeling is often
characterized as “leaning on the mountain.” Imagine that your left foot is pressing down into the ground. This will create a feeling that your torso
is pushing toward your back. At the same time, imagine that your right hand is pulling something back and then coordinate this feeling with the
downward force in your left foot. The integration of the feeling in your right hand with the downward press of your left foot will augment the
Leftward Force: Focus your mind on the Shangyang point in your right index finger and imagine pointing with this finger to the left side of your
body. This will enhance the integration of your right arm and left leg and will create a feeling that your body is twisting to the left. The sense of
twisting will generate a feeling of power rotating to the left inside your body.
Rightward Force: Focus your mind on the Shaoshang point in your left thumb and imagine your thumb twisting to the right. This will enhance the
integration of your left arm and right leg and create a feeling that your body is twisting to the right. This twisting feeling will generate a force that
seems to rotate to the right inside your body.
In the beginning of your practice, you should concentrate on only one of the six directions of force. When you feel comfortable with one
direction, proceed to work on the next one. Remember that this training involves using only your mind to lead your practice and to create
internal feelings. There is no overt physical movement. Sometimes, a strong, clear feeling inside your body may cause some slight movement.
You should neither seek to increase such a feeling nor struggle to stop the involuntary movement. Just maintain a relaxed state and continue
with your six-direction training.
When you can practice each direction of force separately with confidence, you can practice pairs of force. First, practice upward and downward
forces together; then forward and backward forces and finally leftward and rightward forces. This gradual process is recommended because
most practitioners find it difficult to focus on more than one point or direction at a time. When practicing pairs, concentrate on each side of the
paired force directions. Initially, change your mental focus slowly and with clear intent from one force in the pair to the other. Eventually, you will
be able quickly to switch your mental focus back and forth between the two different directions. Eventually it will come to seem as though you
are focusing on the two directions simultaneously. When you can do this routinely, your mind will generate a powerful, clear feeling.
Acquiring this ability takes a great deal of practice, so be patient. With sustained practice over a long period of time, focusing your mind on a
pair of directions will seem almost effortless. Then, you can extend your practice to include all three-paired force directions. The goal of such
training is to increase your ability to generate or withstand power from any direction instantaneously and without conscious thought.
Basically, the six-direction force is an expanding force. He jin or integration force is the other important force that can be cultivated in Santi Shi.
It balances your energy, makes you more stable and allows your internal components to be comfortably coordinated. Integration force can also
increase your internal power. As with six-direction force, integration force concerns mental intention and physical awareness but does not
involve overt physical movement.
Integration force in your arms works to coordinate the use of both arms so that they can work harmoniously together as one. Integration force
flows from your back to your arms and hands. To feel this force, first imagine strongly pushing your front hand forward. At the same time,
imagine pulling your rear hand backward as though trying to tear a stiff and resistant piece of paper in half. Next, imagine pulling your front hand
back and pushing your rear hand forward as though trying to put two heavy things together. Remember that all these “actions” should occur
only in your mind. The images should not be accompanied by overt physical movement or by isometric tensing of your muscles.
Integration force in your legs is also a coordinating force. It can help develop rooting. To practice leg integration force, first imagine that your
body is sinking down. This will create a feeling that your feet are being inserted deeply into the ground. Your front foot should slant down and
forward, and your rear foot should slant down and backward. Next, imagine that you are standing on an icy surface. The surface is so slippery
that your feet feel as though they are about to slide apart. Imagine that your front foot is sliding forward and your rear foot is slipping backward.
In order to maintain your balance and avoid falling down, you will feel as though you need to use force to bring your feet together. Once again,
all of this occurs only in your mind. There should be no overt physical movement and no isometric tensing of your muscles.
Integration force in your arms and legs results in the coordination of your upper and lower body. A simple way to practice integration force is to
use three specific points on your arm and a corresponding set of three points on your opposite leg. The three points on your arm are: the
Jianjing point on your shoulder; the Quchi point on your elbow; and the Lao Gong point on your hand. The three coordinating points on your
opposite-side leg are: the Huantiao point on your hip; the Yanglingquan point on your knee; and the Yongquan point on your foot.
The first step in integration force training is to mentally connect one arm with the leg on the opposite side of your body. Focus first on the
Laogong point of your left hand and then expand this thought to the Yongquan point on your right foot. Then, focus your mind on the Quchi
point on your left elbow and connect that thought to the Yanglingquan point on your right knee. Next, focus your mind on the Jianjing point on
your left shoulder and make a connection in your mind to the Huantiao point on your right hip.
Then, shift your mental focus to the other Jianjing point, that is, the Jianjing point on your right shoulder and connect it to the Huantiao point on
your left hip. Continue by focusing next on the Quchi point on your right elbow and connect it to the Yanglingquan point on your left knee.
Complete this part of your practice by focusing on the Lao Gong point on your right hand and connecting it to the Yongquan point on your left
foot. Repeat these six steps until all the connections feel natural.
In the second part of integration force practice, you should try to coordinate the feelings in both arms with the feelings in both legs, at each of
the three sets of points. This integration training is commonly called bao or “holding and embracing.” In bao practice, you should focus your
mind first on both left and right Laogong points and then connect the feelings at these points to those at your right and left Yongquan points.
Then, mentally focus on both left and right Quchi points and make connections to your right and left Yang Ling Quan points. Thirdly, focus on
both left and right Jianjing points and connect them to your right and left Huantiao points. Next, focus on your right and left Jianjing points and
connect them to your left and right Huantiao points. The fifth step is to focus on your right and left Quchi points and connect them to your left
and right Yanglingquan points, and the sixth step is to focus on both right and left Laogong points and connect them to your left and right
Yongquan points. Repeat these steps until the paired connections feel natural at each set of points.
Integration force practice will strengthen your qi, increase your mental control and concentrate your shen. The physical training of movement in
your arms and legs will gradually cause internal changes. This is what is meant by the traditional adage that “outside training leads to inside
training.” As training improves sufficiently, the internal and external can be integrated. At this point, you can reduce your concentration on
external movement and focus more on training the internal components. Gradually, your internal feelings will grow stronger, and any internal
change will automatically cause an external change. At high levels of mastery, it is possible to focus exclusively on shen because everything
else, that is, mind (yi), qi, jin and physical movements, will follow naturally. With this ability, you will have fully achieved the integration force."
In an interesting comparison i noticed that in aikido they had a clue to this from the old boy (O'Sensei) via Kamae standing. When he said "Quote from Gozo Shioda:
Originally, there was no position in aikido that might have been called a "basic stance." The founder, while saying that the basic stance was "to open your feet o the six directions, N, S, E, W, Up and Down
" also wrote, "The complete kamae is what arises from where the gods lead you, depending on time, situation, the lie of the land, the spirit of the moment - kamae is what is in your heart" (from Budo).
He also said:
Through training in kamae, we learn to maintain a straight balance, keep our hands, feet and hips on a center line of the body, maintain correct posture without having to make an effort and extend our spirit forward. In Yoshinkan, in order to learn the stance that is necessary to develop breath power, we introduce kamae as the most "BASIC" part of our training.
---From Total Aikido"
Shame he didn't expand on it or pass it on properly.
Since this is my post topic in "The Distillery" may i recommend a large glass of my favourite tipple!