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Old 08-27-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
thisisnotreal's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 695
Re: kokyu development for Aiki in Aikido

Hi, good idea Ron.
A lot of issues are connected here (sorry for the pun) ; so although not kokyu specifically and i'm not sure if it is outside what you were looking for; but i liked this basic description and seems to me it's relevant;


Mo Jing: In Search of Internal Strength
By Tu-Ky Lam

Do you know what to do when you practice zhan-zhuang? Many people do not. During zhan-zhuang, we do an exercise called "Mo-jing", which means feeling or searching for internal strength. Once we have found or built up our internal strength, it will accumulate and our internal strength will get stronger and stronger. Mo-jing requires that we have a correct posture with good zheng-li (which means opposite tension), use mind and not force, and move slowly with very small movements. We will discuss this in greater details in here.

Top and bottom.

We must place our torso properly on the top of our legs, which can make our weight and energy sink to our feet, thus making us firmly planted on the ground. Then we must lift the top of our head up. So our head and our feet are going in opposite directions -- one up and the other down, and create some tension from the top of head down to our feet. This top-and-bottom zheng-li gives us strength to perform all the tasks we are required to do and so it is the most important opposite tension or zheng-li in our body. Sitting properly on our legs and lift the top of our head up is also the most important requirement for a correct posture.

In zhan-zuang, the top and bottom zheng-li mainly applies in our head and our feet, of which the opposite tension stretches our body to make it longer, and also produces strength. (In shi-li, it may apply between the hands, such as in "chang fa" meaning palm strikes where one hand is up and the other down.)

Left and right.

Left and right zheng-li applies mainly in our arms. In "Cheng bao zhuang" (Embrace-a-Balloon) or "Hunyuan zhuang" (Embrace-a-Tree) posture, we need to extend our elbows to make them go in opposite directions -- left elbow to the left and right elbow to the right, and we also need to imagine that between the thumbs and fingers of our hands there are five elastics tying them together (thumb to thumb, index finger to index finger, etc.). At the same time we move our elbows away from each other, we do the same to our thumbs and fingers (imaging our thumbs and fingers are pulling the elastics to stretch them) to produce the left and right zheng-li.

We also move our elbows and hands to the front a little bit to keep them away from our shoulders to produce the front and back zheng-li. This move can make us feel that our back is round, and "jing" from our feet can easily come out to our hands.

Front and back.

Front and back zheng-li mainly applies to our legs. (But it also applies to our hands or elbows like in the above situation) When we practice "Hunyuan zhuang" (Embrace-a-tree posture) with one foot in front and the other at the back, we sit more on our back leg (70%). We make our back hip moves slightly backwards and our front knee move slightly forwards to produce the front and back zheng-li.

These three different kinds of zheng-li stretch our whole body in six different directions, and make us feel that our body is round like a ball. We should always maintain all these kinds of zheng-li during our practice. They make our energy flow and our internal strength increase.


During zhan-zhuang, we always imagine that we are holding a balloon, embracing a tree, or standing in a swimming pool holding a flutter board, etc. In the case of holding a balloon or a tree, we imagine we want to move the balloon or push the tree forwards, and then we want to move them back. Our body moves slightly (about a quarter of an inch or 2 mm) forwards and backwards with our visualization.

How do we make our body move during zhan-zhuang? In "Cheng-bao zhuang" (Embrace-a-Balloon) and other standing postures, where our feet are parallel to each other, our head has to lead the move. When we imagine that we are moving a balloon forwards, our head (which lifts up all the time during training) has to move slightly forwards (2 mm) at the same time the ball of our feet must push the ground and our knees move inwards (toward each other) for 1 mili-meter to send our body forward. Our hands moves slightly inwards, downwards and forwards (also about 2 mm).

When we want to move the balloon back to the starting position, the process is reversed. Our head moves backwards, and the ball of our feet pushes backwards. Our knees move outwards (away from each other) for 1 mili-meter, and our hands move outwards, upwards and backwards for about 2 mili-meters.

When we stand in the fighting stance where one foot is at the front and the other at the back, we must remember that our back hip has to sit back (which will bring our back knee backwards) and our front knee moves slightly forwards to produce zheng-li. When we want to push a tree (or anything else in your imagination) forwards, our head will move forwards to lead the move. Our front foot must push straight into the ground and our front knee must not move forwards. In fact, our front knee moves slightly backwards, but we do not feel it. Our back leg (mainly the ball of our back foot) has to push the ground to send our body forwards (2 mm). This way, our knee moves closer to each other.

When we want to pull the tree back, our front knee must not move backwards. Instead, it has to move slightly forwards, upwards and push backwards (with the help of the ball of our front foot) to help send our torso back to the starting position before we push the tree. At the same time, our head moves back and our hip must sit back to bring back our body for about 2 mili-meters. our hands move outwards, upwards, and backwards slightly (2mm) and we are back to the starting position again. Mo jing movements will go like this during zhan-zhuang.


The above section shows how our body moves slightly forwards and backwards during zhan-zhuang. The movements are very small and totally under the control of our mind and we have to relax and should not use force. This is very difficult for beginners who tend to use force to move forwards and backwards and their movement is usually big because they cannot do it small.

Beginners cannot avoid doing the movement big. But they should try to do it small later on. For example, as soon as we push the tree forwards, we pull it back immediately, and then push it forwards and pull it immediately back again. It just goes on like this. Slowly we will find that we move very little or hardly move at all. (Doing so gives us no time to tense up and use force and so helps us to relax.)

Wang Xiang-zhai, Yiquan founder, said, "Big movement is not so good as small movement, and small movement is not so good as no movement…" When we do a big move, our energy will tend to disperse and lack strength. Therefore, small movement is stronger than big movement.

No movement in zhan-zhuang does not mean absolutely motionless. It is mo-jing at its highest level where the movement is so tiny and not noticeable. Here our internal strength is placed at the best optimal position, ready for us to pounce at the enemy. That is why no movement is better than small movements.


By doing mo-jing what do we try to find? We want to find internal strength, but we will not find it directly and straight away. For people who have practiced zhan-zhuang an hour a day, they will gradually find that there is a big "lump" in their body which moves forwards and backwards at the same time they move their body forward and backward. This big "lump" -- from our head down to our feet - feels like our body weight. When we have better control of it -- being able to move it forwards and backwards at will - we can apply it to our opponent. This is the first sign of our internal strength.

To find this "lump" and to be able to use it, we have to be very relaxed. If we use force which can make our whole body tense up, we will never find it. It will certainly help if we try to feel our body weight shifting forwards and backwards during zhan-zhuang. We usually feel the "outer" body weight which will slowly move inside our body to give us the feeling of a big lump.

Our internal strength is this big "lump" plus the movement of the whole body as described in the section "Mo-jing movements". As for how internal strength works, see my article "How Does Hunyuanli Works?" also posted on this website.

Our internal strength is this big "lump" plus the movement of the whole body as described in the section "Mo-jing movements". As for how internal strength works, see my article "How Does Hunyuanli Works?" also posted on this website.

lump = dantien region
i liked the way he describes the outer body and the inner body centers of gravity.

Ron, was this okay? or too far off?
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