Tai Chi Notebook course

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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:41 am

Hi Chris,

So here are the time stamps you are talking about:

1.47
Image


2.34
Image

So the idea with 1.47 is to really overemphasise the stretch of the connective tissue (fascia if you like!) across the yin channels. This is achieved by moving the body beyond the range that would be considered optimal (say for a martial function). So I'm leaning back a bit and losing alignment of the body, just to get that feeling of a stretch.

I just tried it again, and I don't find that this posture has any effect on my abdominal region, or prohibits me from using it for reverse breathing. (In fact, I might even conjecture that because you can't access the lungs in the upper chest as easily (they are being squashed/stretched) it should make it a bit easier to use abdominal breathing?)

Once you get that feeling you find using the reverse breathing has a notable effect on the pull on the yin channels (your arms should move a bit just because of the breathing - which you should be able to see in my video).

There's a separate exercise for the yang channels, then later I say that once you get the hang of this, you can forget that posture and move on to doing it in the standard hug the tree posture at 2.34.

Again, the extreme posture of 1.47 is just for beginners to get the feeling. It's a progression.

As to whether it's a "trap" for beginners... I guess that would depend on the person? Hard to generalise about everybody like that. I find some people just get everything right straight away, and others tend to somehow manage to find a way to do everything wrong immediately! The only way to see if it works for somebody would be for them to provide some feedback either in person, or via a video.

---
Incidentally, once you get the idea of breathing affecting movement that I'm outlining in this video it starts to reveal what exactly should be going on in ba duan jin exercises. But that can be further complicated by other factors, and I don't think there is only 1 way of doing the ba duan jin - for example, you can stretch your arm - hold the stretch, then use breathing to increase the pull down a channel as a qi conditioning exercise, but don't move the arm. That's a different method that I'm showing here of allowing the pull on the channel from reverse breathing to lead the movement. So the situation is complex, and probably only solved by asking your teacher what the exact purpose of each ba duan jin exercise is in their system.

(That's a discussion/method that is beyond the scope of my course).
----

Image
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:12 am

Thanks for the reply.

Again, the extreme posture of 1.47 is just for beginners to get the feeling. It's a progression.


thanks for the clarification. I agree with your comments on Ba Duan Jin, It is the same in my own training, the breathing cycle is used throughout the first three sections for the same purposes you describe.

So a secondary question related to the breathing cycle

I talk about normal and reverse breathing in my material, part of that is to use the breathing cycle to add a 'stretch' into the tissues during extension. For beginners i use this posture:

Image

Can you explain how the abdominal extension in reverse breathing would differ from the same extension in natural belly breathing physiologically? Especially if we are focused on the "stretch of the connective tissue"

Here is a diagram from my material where i show the similarity.

Image

For me reverse breathing is for something other than connection training as the desired effects can, IMO, also be achieved by normal belly breathing, but of course not all methodologies are the same.

thanks for the information.

Bao,

Reverse breathing is a natural function of movement and will come naturally from correct body use.


One of my teachers would say 'The Postures Breath for you, so dont think too much!'

A very similar concept.

thanks both.
Last edited by middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:51 am

“Can you explain how the abdominal extension in reverse breathing would differ from the same extension in natural belly breathing physiologically? Especially if we are focused on the "stretch of the connective tissue"

Here is a diagram from my material where i show the similarity. “



For me reverse breathing is for something other than connection training as the desired effects can, IMO, also be achieved by normal belly breathing, but of course not all methodologies are the same.



Hi,


So from what you’ve written, (and I may be misunderstanding this), you seem to treat ‘normal’ and ‘reverse’ breathing as essentially physiologically being the same thing in terms of the amount of stretch on the body they can generate, just in polar opposite sages of the breathing process?

You say: “the desired effects can, IMO, also be achieved by normal belly breathing”..

I would disagree with you here (but let’s not get into a fight about it), they are quantifiably different in terms of the amount, and power, of stretch that can be generated. (I agree that there is also something else going on with reverse breathing - particularly an increase in pressure that can be used in ways to increase the power of the human body - like Bao and his car - but here we’re just talking about the physiological effects on the body-stretch. I briefly touch on this area later in the course).

So ‘normal’ belly breathing can have some effect on the body-stretch, but ‘reverse’ breathing is much more powerful because physiologically it produces a much stronger pull inwards as you breathe in, which can be felt in the rest of the body if it is pre-stretched/conditioned. You simply can’t generate the same inwards pull in ‘normal’ breathing without making it artificial - by adding a level of tension to the process. I’ve just been experimenting with it and it feels to me like to do it in normal breathing you’d have to contract your abdomen severely as you breathe out - which is just not possible without adding an extra crunch to the movement (after the diaphragm has already returned because air has been expelled). And then there’s no “pull” on the rest of the body, because you’ve tensed he abdomen in isolation (cut the connection).

So, to return to my point my answer would be that: It’s the inhale and the pull in on the abdomen happening *together* that really gives you something to work with. You can do a similar thing with normal breathing but it is weaker on a physiological level.

At least, that’s what if feels like to me.

best,
Graham
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:21 am

Hi,


So from what you’ve written, (and I may be misunderstanding this), you seem to treat ‘normal’ and ‘reverse’ breathing as essentially physiologically being the same thing in terms of the amount of stretch on the body they can generate, just in polar opposite sages of the breathing process?


If we are looking at them for creating stretch when extended, then yes.If we are comparing both methods for other goals/aims then no they are not the same thing for me.

You say: “the desired effects can, IMO, also be achieved by normal belly breathing”..

I would disagree with you here (but let’s not get into a fight about it), they are quantifiably different in terms of the amount, and power, of stretch that can be generated. (I agree that there is also something else going on with reverse breathing - particularly an increase in pressure that can be used in ways to increase the power of the human body - like Bao and his car - but here we’re just talking about the physiological effects on the body-stretch).

So ‘normal’ belly breathing can have some effect on the body-stretch, but ‘reverse’ breathing is much more powerful because physiologically it produces a much stronger pull inwards as you breathe in, which can be felt in the rest of the body if it is pre-stretched/conditioned. You simply can’t generate the same inwards pull in ‘normal’ breathing without making it artificial - by adding a level of tension to the process. I’ve just been experimenting with it and it feels to me like to do it in normal breathing you’d have to contract your abdomen severely as you breathe out - which is just not possible without adding an extra crunch to the movement (after the diaphragm has already returned because air has been expelled). And then there’s no “pull” on the rest of the body, because you’ve tensed he abdomen in isolation (cut the connection).


No fight :) I completely agree that Reverse breathing can create more interesting power dynamics related to internal pressure, Abdominal activation and compression. Reverse Breathing does have an effect on the connective tissue as it forms higher internal pressure, forcing the tissues to pull tighter inward to contain this. This is actually one of the ideas i mean when i say I think it is for different work to the stretching of Connective Tissue. However, Here we are talking about feeling the 'stretch' in the tissue of the front channels, which is different from buiding internal compression / pressure IMO.

The 'normal' belly breathing (I should have probably called it diaphramatic breathing to be clearer) i mean here would not be to distend the belly on the in breath uncontrollably and then dramatically pull it in on the out breath, a natural method of belly breathing still requires some training to achieve, to get out of the chest, to not perform a crunch etc. It is the action of the diaphram rather than the abdominal muscles that create the effect.



So, to return to my point my answer would be that: It’s the inhale and the pull in on the abdomen happening *together* that really gives you something to work with. You can do a similar thing with normal breathing but it is weaker on a physiological level.

At least, that’s what if feels like to me.

best,
Graham


Thanks for the reply. I think perhaps the difference is not a dissagreement so much as it is you have included two concepts in one method (internal pressure + Stretch) where i have seperated them in my diagram ( Just stretch)

regards
Chris.
Last edited by middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:05 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:43 am

Hi Chris,

I've been thinking about this over lunch, and I think the internal pressure you create in reverse breathing adds to the stretching potential. I should have just written that - it would have been shorter :)

(It also helps to initiate the back bow, but more of that.... later....)
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:04 am

I've been thinking about this over lunch, and I think the internal pressure you create in reverse breathing adds to the stretching potential. I should have just written that - it would have been shorter :)

(It also helps to initiate the back bow, but more of that.... later....)


Thanks for taking the time.
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:30 am

b.t.w if anybody would like to learn more about the breathing methods than I've mentioned in my brief clip then this video by Chen Zhaosen is gold:

https://vimeo.com/63562043
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby Bhassler on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:23 am

middleway wrote:The 'normal' belly breathing (I should have probably called it diaphramatic breathing to be clearer)...


No, you should call it belly breathing. All breathing (outside of very nasty diseases) is diaphragmatic breathing. Although, if I recall correctly, "breathing" technically only refers to exhalation, so maybe you should call it "abdominally dynamic respiration", or something like that. 'Cause that's totally clear...
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:59 am

In our tai chi we have 4 distinctive breathing patterns
I don't choose to consciously choose to do reverse breathing but have done it at certain times
It can happen naturally
A lot of people I have seen think they are doing reverse breathing but are over time revert to intercostal breathing
The main reason for reverse breath is to massage the organs below the diaphragm
For most people it is best practiced outside of form practice and for its health benefits
In some ways it can become a form of double weighting
So buyer beware
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby charles on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:19 pm

wayne hansen wrote:The main reason for reverse breath is to massage the organs below the diaphragm


One of the reasons for which I was taught it was to increase developed force/"power".
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:24 pm

I would love to see some examples of this increased power
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:08 pm


No, you should call it belly breathing. All breathing (outside of very nasty diseases) is diaphragmatic breathing. Although, if I recall correctly, "breathing" technically only refers to exhalation, so maybe you should call it "abdominally dynamic respiration", or something like that. 'Cause that's totally clear...


Well that isn't a term that I just pulled out of my ass :P . If you do a PubMed search on the term you can find it used alongside terms like 'deep breathing' in numerous studies across a number of disciplines.

I don't think anyone is suggestion that the diaphragm isn't used in all breathing in those studies or here.

I am pretty sure this isn't the topic of the thread however. :)

Thanks
Last edited by middleway on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby Bhassler on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:40 pm

middleway wrote:

No, you should call it belly breathing. All breathing (outside of very nasty diseases) is diaphragmatic breathing. Although, if I recall correctly, "breathing" technically only refers to exhalation, so maybe you should call it "abdominally dynamic respiration", or something like that. 'Cause that's totally clear...


Well that isn't a term that I just pulled out of my ass :P . If you do a PubMed search on the term you can find it used alongside terms like 'deep breathing' in numerous studies across a number of disciplines.

I don't think anyone is suggestion that the diaphragm isn't used in all breathing in those studies or here.

I am pretty sure this isn't the topic of the thread however. :)

Thanks


I was mostly just giving you a hard time, but it is worth occasionally pointing out where - even in PubMed - people use an approximation because it's common terminology or "close enough", and then in IMA forums (or wherever) folks go on to have these exceedingly detailed arguments about minutiae of subjective phenomena based off of "close enough" foundations. Plus, tropes tend to annoy me. It's a thing.

Always enjoy your perspective, though.
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby middleway on Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:26 am

I was mostly just giving you a hard time, but it is worth occasionally pointing out where - even in PubMed - people use an approximation because it's common terminology or "close enough",


Thats alright I dont mind a bit of piss taking now and then. Agreed on PubMed.

Cheers. :)
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Re: Tai Chi Notebook course

Postby BruceP on Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:08 am

charles wrote: One of the viewers tried the exercise and reported here that it was helpful to him in feeling a connection. One can't argue against subjective feelings: one can't state the feelings are "incorrect"



Nope. I'm pretty sure that guy was talking about the substantive body-unity he has practiced for more than a couple of decades being reproduced through the methods Graham is showing in his notebook series. Albeit, with a slightly modified posture (head and neck alignment).

Nothing subjective at all since the same body-unity has been trained and tested by himself and a bunch his training partners in various competitive formats. Practicable and repeatable without "feeling" anything. It's either substantial, or it isn't.

Lesson 1 is similar to the way 'connection' is explored and tested using Polish-mirror
Lesson 2 is similar to the way 'connection' is explored and tested using Cloud-hands
Lesson 3 is similar to the way 'connection' is explored and tested while transitioning into, and out of White-stork (as he mentioned in one of his posts).

None of that Yin/Yang gobbledygoop or meridians or...
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