Idea is to still the mind through movement and to use movement to still the mind: meditation in movement

 

Create a state of emptiness

 

Promotes unattached centeredness

 

Body, breath, mind fusion into an integrated whole

 

Learn to use breath to develop power, to heal, and to raise consciousness

 

Balance the autonomic nervous system through focused and directed movement

 

Calm the central nervous system and still be able to react quickly, dispassionately,   purposefully

 

Learning to fight using the internal martial arts is a metaphor for mastering/conquering inner psychological and emotional battles

 

Based on the great spiritual philosophy of Taoism

 

Follows the Book of Changes (I Ching)

 

Teaches us to follow the Tao, the natural order of things, which is ever changing and circular, and integrating the opposites of yin and yang

 

Tai ji focuses attention of the meditative aspects of relaxing, letting go, yielding with full attention

 

Tai ji absorbs energy of one’s opponent and uses that force to defeat this enemy – in meditation we are also receptive to and use the energy of the universe to gain strength to thrive in the world

 

Teaches us to adapt and change effortlessly which helps the person deal with the natural flux of the universe and life’s vicissitudes

 

Teach us to be egoless and empty of expectation and at the same time to be fully aware of the moment and the current event as it unfolds

 

Teaches us to be hard or soft, active or receptive as things unfold

 

Balance of heath and performance

 

Focuses first on health, then strength and fitness (unlike external martial arts which focus on the later first)

 

Development, transformation, and transmission of chi/energy for health of body and mind

 

Use external force at the same time maintaining a subtle calmness and quite inside

 

Transformation of energy and chi into healing, meditation, and fighting

 

Twists the spine, stimulating all the nervous system connections

 

Stretches and tones all the muscles

 

Massages all the internal organs

 

Pumping the fluids inside the spine up through the brain

 

Promotes fluid exchanges within and between the cells

 

Spiraling forces developed bring our forces in harmony with the spiraling energies within our own bodies (DNA, muscles, finger tips), powerful forces of nature (hurricanes, tornadoes), and the universe (solar system, galaxies)

 

Dance like movements and in fighting forms are used by the practitioner as a means to express him/herself artistically, creatively and beautifully in fluid and effortless motion, , much like a painter uses his paints to express himself

 

Movement begins from deep within the body and works itself outward towards the muscles and skin

 

Can add mental intention/will and visualization to move chi/energy through the centers of power/chakras/tantiens/microcosmic orbit for healing and health, raising awareness, development of spiritual qualities (compassion, acceptance, intuition, kindness, creativity), and for concentrating and issuing power for martial art purposes

 

Move energy through the meridians associated with acupuncture

 

Whole body mind/spirit unity

Bagua

Major Benefits

He Jinbao believes that regardless of what style of martial art one practices, the art should not diverge from the basic precepts of:

1) Strengthening one’s body,

2) Improving one’s health

3) Developing one’s ability to fight, and

4) Preparing one to display their art in a visually pleasing way.

5) Meditation through movement, especially turning a circle with full body, breath and mental awareness (I added this as a fifth benefit.)

He emphasizes that while martial arts have far reaching benefits, one must be alert to potential hazards. “In the beginning of practice the initial result will be that the body gets stronger and you will continue to strengthen and grow as you practice.  However, practicing incorrectly may yield the opposite effect  -  you could actually hurt your body.”

He distinguishes between strength and health, saying that the latter, too, will improve with continued practice. “There are many important things to get out of training, says He,  “But longevity is very important.  Pay attention to the normal circulation of blood, breathing; the  health of heart and lungs.  Those who over train or move excessively should slow down and ‘gather’.  You should take into account your age, constitution, how long you’ve been practicing and how much each day in structuring your training to reach the goal of a healthy body.”

Perhaps due in part to the advent of the performance art dubbed “modern wushu” and the prevalence of ill-trained gongfu “masters” or those insincerely touting the importance of application, some question the legitimacy of the Chinese systems as fighting arts.  He Jinbao’s efforts to promote the value of Yin Style Baguazhang invariably reveal his combat skills.  He is agreeable to challenges and possesses a spirit and abilities that tend to allay doubts.

“It doesn’t matter what martial art, style or system you practice, you should know how to apply it,” he says. “The Chinese saying goes, ‘Whatever you study you should be able to use.’  Only if you know how to employ your martial art can you raise your practice  -  bring it to another level. And by practicing well you will be able to apply your art even better.  Your usage skills can also be seen as a way of measuring your growth or progress.”

He Jinbao dislikes the term “performance” when describing the demonstration of martial arts. “I  feel that performing is something you do for others,” he says.  “When you are practicing for yourself, observers will as a result notice more fullness in your movements. You ask yourself,  do my techniques feel good,  are my movements rounded and smooth, do I feel good after I practice?  Once you reach a high level it (your gong fu) should look good to other people because it feels good to you”

He says that by dropping one’s qi the abdomen gains strength. He feels that by being exact in one’s body alignments and paying attention to internal sensation, “You get things moving and experience a kind of self massage of internal organs.  And when you have to execute sudden or violent actions your organs will be strong and able to tolerate bouncing around . You can avoid becoming dizzy or nauseous.  No matter what style you practice your outside should be strong and powerful as well as your inside.”  To illustrate his conviction, when He Jinbao assumes the Lion Opens its Mouth, his rib area feels not unlike stone.