Mike, You have said:
What you've gotta learn to do is simply go silent when there's an awkward question;
Mike, it is certainly not my style to duck or hide and your questions are simply not awkward. Funny, though, you have gone silent on two of my questions…
(1) So if you two guys can define chi so concretely, please now offer me something allot more concrete. Explain how the uproot occurs. Or better still, show me a video of it and support it with your explanation. Mr. Sigman, we have not seen you move. Would you take on this challenge and enlighten this old man?
(2) Lets just get some coconuts and break them together in a spirit of friendship.
You also said:
My point is that if you're going to set out these sorts of pronouncements, you need to be careful, particularly if you spend a lot of time trying to establish yourself in the eyes of the list as an expert.
I hfeel no need to establish myself. I am completely happy as I am. If a few people wish to join me in training, it is done without hierarchy, it is done with joy and laughter, it is done for free. It is done, I hope with a sophisticated simplicity where both myself and my partner develop the lesson and the learning together.. My payment is the fellowship. Perhaps some of these judgments you pronounce against me are merely a Jungian mirror, i.e. you are projecting onto me what your own image shows you.
Secondly, It would seem that if this is truly a discussion, parity would be part of the deal. But, somehow, I think this is more like an inquisition and you are the Pope. It reeks of insincerity.
You seem to want to debate yet you will not accept appeals to (1) my personal experience, (2) appeals to my teacher's authority and what they taught me or (3) appeals to written authorities that agree with me. Even if I cared to debate, it seems I would not know where to go to begin a discussion. debating breeds contention. I much prefer harmony. Irenics rather than polemics.
Nevertheless, to show you that your questions are not awkward for me, I will answer the following one:
You think Mantak Chia and CMC used different methods? Why do you think that? Give me an example.
I will use my own verbose style and spell Chinese terms as I remember them.
Mantak Chia, CMC (via Bill Funsion, student in the CMC tradition), Mike Patterson, Doo Wai) all used different methods.
I will approach these experiences as a timeline to press the point on how I came to following my specific path.
Bill Funsion (CMC-Style Tai Chi) 1974-1986
My training in CMC-style Tai Chi (37 movements) was at the hands of Bill Funcion. He was a federal agent who had recently been moved to Southern California. He was a student of one of CMC's top students. Bill brought his teacher to our dojo in my second year of training (1975) at Parker Linekin's Academy of the Martial Arts. I was 21 years old and in great shape from surfing about 6 hours a day. I was the first to volunteer to be "bounced" by the this Tai Chi Master. He hardly moved at all. His two forefingers were all that touched me. I was in a wai-gong-style Kenpo forward bow. I remember the feeling of a light electrical shock. Then I was airborne and on my rear. I had travelled about three feet off the ground and about 15 feet backwards. I remember afterwards that my neck must have been tight because I got a whiplash out of it.
Though I had trained with Master Liang and Parker Linekin in Yang and Wu styles for a year, I began also learning from Bill privately at his home. The only payment was for me to take his son places when he was on TDY. Our training in Nei Gung consisted of a very Taoist approach to moving Chi. The idea was to let nature do most of the work. We used primarily mental imagery, light perineum puckering (reminded me of "Kegel exercises"), and no forced breath or gut-wrenching muscle constrictions. Kind of weird for a 21year old guy that surfed, pumped weights and managed a health spa in the summer. We concentrated on how energies felt and debriefed them regularly. He never told me how it was supposed to feel. He just had me concentrate on (1) the soles of my feet, my legs, my spine, my arms, and the palms of my hands. Sometimes we traced the lines with our fingers to gently lead the path.
Mike Patterson, Sr. (Hsu Hong Chi's Hsing-I) 1976-1978??
I began training under Mike Patterson Sr. somewhere around 1976 if I remember correctly. A buddy who had lived in Taiwan and trained with Hung I Shiang had taken me to him. A case of Corona in hand and a willing spirit, I was accepted into his garage-dojo. Mike Patterson used aggressive perineum puckering to literally drive (or suck) sexual energy, earth energy and heavenly energy through the microscopic orbit. It was a blending of hard and soft. We focused on Fa Ging as developed through Tien Kan (Heavenly Stem Linear Pa Kua) exercises, White Crane exercises, bouncing ourselves off a vertical post to feel the coordinations needed for fa Ging, and doing a strange form of Pi Chen by pulling a karate belt that was tied to a large spring and suspended in his garage's ceiling. We breath packing ( 2 directions) and mental imagery to guide our chi up and out the hands with each movement in our linear forml. We would pucker the perineum before and after each move. Often, we would train our "Iron Vest" by striking our solar plexus while advancing in a Hsing-I stance while exhaling and doing the perineum pucker. We used mental imagery to attack the attacking fist with our torso. A real Tuff-guy training method. I can still take a pretty good shot in the solar plexus. Of course, cleansing meditations followed these kind of practices.
I also did iron palm with him using a bathtub, a cinderblock and a wet towel. We used our internal breathing as meditation before, during and after the iron palm. We did our training at the same time of morning every day and used sexual abstinence to assist.
I was told how to perform a Nei Gung that included hanging weights around my scrotum while performing my breathing exercises. I was warned not to do it longer than 4 months at a time and do it at the same time of day in the early mornings (4:00 am). The weights would swing as I breathed. Slippage was painful, but the internal pulling, stresses and stretching was certainly good Nei Gung and more aligned to the young testosterone-driven ways of youth. Of course, celibacy was mandatory. I was a fan of Patterson's Chi development style as late as 1986.
Mantak Chia (1984-1987)
Mantak Chia's was the most elaborate and I can only suspect that is because, by his own words, it was Tibetan as much as it was Chinese…. a fusion of the two that I am sure was not systematized as you claim, until he fused them.
We began with relaxing the body and the internal organs through breath and mental imagery. He allowed us to sit with an erect spine and a curved arch as long as our scrotum was free of any pressure. His system used the puckering of the perineum to literally drive or suck (depending on the imagery you used) sexual energy, earth energy and heavenly energy through the microscopic orbit and settling them into the Dantien. From there, we used the "six healing sounds" and "fusion of the five elements" (five major organ systems) to further "balance organ energies" by using vibration and more mental imagery. Aside from the health benefits, the martial purpose of this exercise was to create layers of Chi around the walls of the organs so that they had protection against blunt trauma. (IMO Patterson's weight were just a harsher method of obtaining the same results.)
The feeling was, however different than Patterson's method. I would describe my experience of this as having a balloon blown up around an organ and then another balloon blown up around the first balloon. Perhaps a little like getting a collagen shot in the lips. (A buddy in the Department of Justice who was a Tibetan White Crane Master had done a similar Tibetan with his iron palm training. His hands had actual chi bumps in them that acted as buffers when he hit things….and boy could he hit things.)
Pong energy was developed by lightly pushing against your training partner on all parts of his torso, legs and arms. Iron shirt was developed with breath and muscle pressures and light dit bu sam performed with bamboo and hand slapping. That is as far as I went with him.
Wai Fong Doo (1985-1987)
I began getting cross currents in training method once I met Doo Wai. Parker Linekin and Brian Adams, (and yes, the notorious Jim Lacey) had been training with him for some time. He has better credentials than anyone I had met in the internal arts. His family was a prominent medical family for centuries. His ancestor, Doo Tin Yin assisted Fung Do Duk when the Shaolin Temple in Fukien was destroyed. During his stay with Doo Tin Yin, he taught his kung Fu to the family. The Doo family method as taught by Doo Wai was simple and quite Taoist. It was primarily a form of breath packing. The videos he has on YouTube show me that he has not changed his percentages or sequences since I trained with him. But the Fa Ging he displays in these newer video streams do not do him justice. In his prime, he was a Fa Ging "machine gun" popping every punch with quick, never-ending whipping and thrusting motions. I remember making a joke to one of my friends saying, "Now that is truly the sound of one hand clapping".
But why was his system so simple? I suspect that real Taoists just allow nature to do most of the work. He taught a similar Dit Bu Sam to me using bamboo to tap the chi. We used P-rocks suspended in a cloth sack to train iron palm....no hot water to aid the chi flow as the patterson's did. I used herbs like Dot Da Jow and Dai Chi Jow to work their magic in bringing Chi to the bones as well as healing and toughening the bones.
As I have stated before, Doo's test was to break coconuts. I never was able to bust a suspended one. Jim Lacey was able to do this. I think Vincent Peppers did as well. But I could and often have broken coconuts with my heel-of-palm and a backstop.
I began to prefer the simplicity of the Taoist systems as taught by Doo Wai and as I remembered them from my young training under Bill Funsion's CMC. Nowdays, I do the simple way as I really prefer to allow natural forces do what they naturally do….without contention and without chasing chi. I had come full circle.
Now you have said,
So? What does that mean? You tell me, since you claim to do Xingyi. How does the mind use the chi in a strike like Beng Chuan?
Be nice. There are many people who do Hsing-I and I do not just "claim" to do it. You said earlier that you were not calling me a "fraud". Then why say such a thing? What form of fear so motivates you to be so disingenuous?
In conclusion: I am convinced that trying to explain how the mind uses Chi is your path… not mine. Any explanation are based on traditions and theory unless you can use a "scientific method", In other words,
(1) isolate it "in-vitro",
(2) measure it with scientific equipment,
(3) reproduce the experiment at will and upon demand
(4) write an APA style hypothesis
(5) and present it for peer review.
Of course, there is another way. Simply demonstrate it. Doo Wai's method was to break the coconut. You accuse me of being silent, well, you were interestingly silent on this question. Can you break the coconut? If defeating Nikkyo and bouncing someone with pong is your test, so be it. I can do that. Can you do it with Sankyo? Isn't that much harder? Now there is a test. How about Shiho?
One final question… If the mind leads chi, are we talking about the conscious mind or the sub-conscious mind? If the body can draw Chi subconsciously in order to perform what the person needs and wants, why can't Chi Gung be done without all the pomp and circumstance?
If a construction worker handles a jack hammer for two years, can his hands be permeated with chi just like in Iron Palm? I think so. Definitely so.
If you must have an immediate "healing" under duress, can your body do it? Yes.
Can a woman lift a car under the stress of saving her child? Yes.
My path is to simply allow Chi to do its thing. I affirm you in your path. Will you affirm me in mine?