Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Great Wave

The Guardian had a very nice article on the artist Hokusai and his most famous painting, The Great Wave.

I can't copy from the website to print an excerpt. The full article may be read here. There are many of Hokusai's paintings in the article. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How Did Tea Conquer the World?

Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water. How did that happen?

Below is a TED presentation on tea. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Brief History of Jujutsu

First of all, Advent officially ends today to the Advent Challenge is over!

At Because Jitsu, was a brief history of jujutsu. Below is an except. The full article may be read here.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is easily one of the most popular and combat effective martial arts of the present day.  But when asked, most Jiu-Jitsu students couldn’t tell you much about the actual history of the art or how it came to be.  They would likely say something about how a frail Helio Gracie created leverage (as if there was never leverage before) based on Jiu-Jitsu that he had learned, which came from Japan, used by the samurai warriors of old. Truth be told, there is very little documented evidence of how the Gracie family was even taught Jiu-Jitsu in the early 1900’s, beyond second hand stories, newspaper articles, and straight up conjecture. Going further back in time to its ancient Japanese origins is even more vague, especially considering the secretive ways that medieval Japanese military arts were transmitted to soldiers at the time. But in this multi-part series we will attempt to do just that; take a trip back and try to piece together the real history of Jiu-Jitsu.

No one actually knows of the true beginnings of Jiu-Jitsu, and anyone who claims to is either ignorant or lying.  It likely had multiple influences from outside of Japan.  We know that the word Jujutsu as a name for various fighting styles started around 500 years ago, but also that it was known by other names, such as “Yawara.”  It would make sense if it was related to Japan’s other wrestling style Sumo, with its origins in traditional Mongolian folk wrestling, but there’s no real proof of that.

Some say it was brought to Japan in the 1500s by a Chinese doctor moonlighting as a martial artist.  But we have evidence of martial arts in Japan before that.  Some go further back to suggest it originated from the Buddhist monks of the Shaolin Temple in China, the origin of all martial arts, around 500 AD… except for that the Shaolin temple is not the birthplace of martial arts. There is plenty of evidence for martial arts existing in China predating the construction of the Shaolin Temple by thousands of years. For example, the classic Chinese literary saga “The Spring and Autumn Annals,” written in the 5th century BC, describe a sportive form of wrestling called “Jiao Di,” which dates back to 2700 BC, where two fighters wearing bull horned helmets basically just head butt each other out of consciousness.  And it is common knowledge that even the arts of the Shaolin Temple have their origins in India, when in around the 5th or 6th centuries AD, a traveling Indian monk named Bodhidharma brought Zen along with his kung fu exercises to keep the monks from being lazy. Then in all his irony, lazily meditated in a cave for 9 years whilst literally staring a hole through the wall.

There are even some historians who believe that it was the ancient Roman Empire who brought martial arts from the west to the east, which is actually quite plausible considering the military might and cutting-edge training methods of their armies.  After all, even the English term “martial arts,” which dates back to 16th century England, comes from the concept “Arts of Mars,” the Roman god of war.

If true, it would mean that Jiu-Jitsu and western folk wrestling are actually much closer related than we thought, with a shared ancestry in ancient greek martial arts such as Pankration.

The Japanese samurai who practiced Jujutsu often told Shinto-based origin stories of how their particular martial arts were passed down to the grandmaster of their school from the gods, transmitted unto him through meditation in a sort of spiritual vision of enlightenment.  Unfortunately, we don’t really know how Jiu-Jitsu started, but if I had to guess, it wasn’t mythological or religious in nature.  Like all of the ethnic martial arts from around  the world, and amongst the other great human inventions in general, it most likely arose from our need to survive.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The 48 Laws of Power, #23: Concentrate Your Forces

One of my favorite books on strategy is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers.  Where The Art of War, by Sun Tzu is written as an overview of the whole topic of strategy, seeking to provide an overall understanding of the subject; and The 36 Strategies tries to impart the knack of strategic thinking through 36 maxims related to well known Chinese folk stories, Mr. Greene focuses on how we influence and manipulate one another, ie "power".

Mr. Greene draws from both Eastern and Western history and literature as his source material. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli as cited as much as wonderful stories of famous con men. Among my favorites is about a scrap metal dealer thinking he bought the Eiffel Tower.

Each of the 48 Laws carries many examples, along with counter examples where it is appropriate that they be noted, and even reversals.

It is a very thorough study of the subject and the hardback version is beautifully produced.

One of the things I admire about Greene is that he not only studied strategy, he applied what he learned to his own situation and prospered.

Today we have #23: Concentrate your forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pushing Back

Below is an excerpt from an outstanding article which was published at The Art of Manliness. The full post may be read here.

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” –Flannery O’Connor

To look at various metrics of physical and mental health in the world today is to observe a rather gloomy picture.

Life expectancy in the United States, which tends to consistently edge upwards, fell this year. It was the first such decline in over two decades, the last being due to the rise of the AIDS epidemic.

The effects of obesity played a role, but part of the decline is also the result of a striking rise in deaths due to drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, and suicide.

One in six Americans has taken at least one psychiatric drug, usually for depression or anxiety. And the suicide rate in the U.S. has reached its highest level in 30 years. It rose by 24% between 1999 and 2014, and has been accelerating since 2006, doubling the annual increases common 16 years ago.

This surge in suicides has cut across nearly every age group, with the highest jump for men — an alarming 43% — found amongst those aged 45-64.

Overdoses, both from illegal and prescription drugs, have risen sharply, especially for white Americans. It’s tripled for those 35-44 in this population and hit those 25-34 even harder — going up five times over. As one report on these sobering statistics notes, “The rising death rates for those young white adults…make them the first generation since the Vietnam War years of the mid-1960s to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation that preceded it.”

Related to this uptick in substance abuse and suicide is a rise in perceived mental and physical troubles; middle-age white Americans have become increasingly likely to report pain, mental illness, struggles with socializing, and difficulty walking a quarter mile or up a flight of stairs.

Such issues extend beyond whites, and beyond American shores, however.

The World Health Organization reports that suicide rates have gone up 60% in the last 50 years, with the most marked increase in developed countries. Rates of global depression have risen across nearly every culture and age group as well, so that it is poised to become the second most common health condition in the world, behind only heart disease, by 2020.

And that’s just the mental side of things. Physically, health in many developed nations has gone down over the last several decades as obesity has gone up; today 2.1 billion people — almost a third of the world’s population — are overweight or obese.

Overall then, the West is less healthy, and less happy than it used to be, and that’s just based on those quantifiable factors that have been tracked and studied.

Anecdotally, many people report maladies that are less serious, but still troubling. While they’re not clinically depressed, they feel out of sorts. Anxious. Restless. Disoriented. Unmotivated. Something about their life feels off somehow. They’re plagued by a malaise that’s difficult to describe or datify but is nonetheless experienced as pervasive and entrenched. It’s a feeling that life could be better, more fulfilling somehow, but that this potential remains frustratingly ungraspable.

What’s behind this seeming decline in quality of life? The state of the economy always comes up in such discussions, and certainly shouldn’t be discounted. Yet phenomena like the rise in suicide and depression predate the 2008 recession, and in some cases stretch much further back than that; Americans in fact report greater depressive symptoms now than they did during the 1930s.

So how can it be that we’re less happy than those who suffered through the Great Depression, when our overall standard of living is higher — when all kinds of goods are cheaper and more accessible and technology has led to great advancements in science and created more and more conveniences in our daily lives? Today we can map the workings of the brain, order food with a press of a button, make “phone” calls face-to-face, send messages instantly, and hold the world’s library in our hands.

We’re surrounded with gadgets and devices that would have seemed like something straight out a sci-fi novel to our great-grandfathers.

Therein lies the great paradox of the modern age; on paper we’ve made the kind of technical progress that should lead to life feeling absolutely amazing…
…but it doesn’t.

It’s the kind of conundrum that feels unique to our modern age. But like all problems, it’s actually not without its historical parallels. The closest of which happened around the turn of the 20th century.

To explore this period is to come to see not only how uncannily similar it is to our own, but also to uncover what turned out to be the most effective solution to our shared malaise.

A solution that was for that time, and will have to be for ours, nothing short of a new kind of resistance movement.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Taiji Boxing

Today we have another guest post by Gurjot Singh on Taijiquan and western boxing.

Pugilistic Taiji Boxing: Schooling the Dogmatic Traditionalist

Quick quiz! What do Chan Tai-San, Huang Xiao-xia, Xia Bai-Hua, Wong Shun-Leung, Chu Kao-Lou, and a plethora of other Chinese martial artists all have in common? The answer is training in Western boxing. Western boxing, it has been the 800 lb. gorilla that has been sitting in the room for more than 150 years….

You want to talk about “real fights”? Fine. Let’s talk about how they frequently happen; an overwhelming barrage assault that overcomes the senses and frequently shuts down the person being attacked. That is precisely what it is designed to do. That is why PRESSURE TESTING is so important if you want your martial arts to be REAL. Learning to function with adrenaline response is the ONLY way to fight effectively. It’s why so called “sport fighters” are always going to be better prepared for a real fight than the guy who never leaves his traditional school. 
Of course, there were always those who resisted innovation, and particularly anything foreign. At one of the government sponsored Lei Tai competitions, Chu Kao-Lou placed second. Chu openly admitted he also trained in Western boxing, to which one of the Taiji masters who had been in the audience complained that Chu’s fighting style was not using Chinese Martial Arts at all! Chu’s brother, Chu Kao-Chen, challenged that Taiji master, who in response didn’t accept that challenge. 

 – Sifu David Ross

Western Long Boxing … A bridge between old and new…
Before we begin it is important to note that unarmed combat comes from armed combat. The internal and external is shaped by the use of weapons training to perfect the use of force. All things being equal between combatants and internal alchemists, the adept that uses the sword will develop faster and execute healing and harming more effectively than an adept who does not. Let us begin our exploration of Western and Eastern pugilistic boxing in this context.

Study the information provided by the link. This demonstration of the fusion of eastern and western pugilistic boxing is based on decades of giving, taking, getting up from and looking for mental, physical and emotional asswhuppins. I am performing against younger and in some instances larger opponents. I have only two advantages. I have martial skill. I have energetic skill. The origin and continuing evolution of what you will see is chronicled on the Youtube Channel, Western Long Boxing.

The Western Long Boxing system is a Taiji Quan style. It’s unarmed power comes from breath controlled postures used in transition during weapons drills and pressure testing in the ring and cage. Those trained in a similar manner and feel they do not need to, need not continue reading; however, those that do not should visit Temple Underground Internal Boxing Gym. If they do they will find themselves disappointed in their performance martially and energetically by comparison.

Let’s do some martial epistemology.
Sifu Marcus Brinkman authored a translation of Wu Mengxia’s Original Skill in Taiji Boxing. In this treatise great detail is placed on the use of clouding hands. There is no live, demonstration that you will find better than in the execution of Western Long Boxing. You will also never see a more powerful demo of short power and the importance of mixing eastern and western methods of neutralizing incoming force.

Wu Mengxia also authored the Nine Songs of Yang Family Small Frame Taiji Quan. From these two treatises one can begin to understand a pugilistic application of Great Extremes Boxing. For me it was the reading of Wu Gong T’sao’s Gold Book. It too is an explanation of Yang Family Taiji Quan of the Small Frame method.

The question is where the term “long” comes into play. In the Gold book it is revealed as a treatise that borrows the definition of long from none other than Zhang San Feng’s treatise: Tai Chi Chang Ch’uan.
In motion the whole body should be light and agile, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together. The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited, The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered. The postures should be without defect, without hollows or projections from the proper alignment; in motion the Form should not become disconnected. The chin [intrinsic strength] should be rooted in the feet, generated from the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers. If correct timing and position are not achieved, the body will become disordered and will not move as an integrated whole; the correction for this defect must be sought in the legs and waist. The principle of adjusting the legs and waist applies for moving in all directions; upward or downward, advancing or withdrawing, left or right. All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention], not external form. If there is up, there is down; when advancing, have regard for withdrawing; when striking left, pay attention to the right. If the I wants to move upward, it must simultaneously have intent downward. Alternating the force of pulling and pushing severs an opponent’s root so that he can be defeated quickly and certainly. Insubstantial [empty; yin] and substantial [solid; yang] should be clearly differentiated. At any place where there is insubstantiality, there must be substantiality; Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality. The whole body should be threaded together through every joint without the slightest break. Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river rolling on unceasingly.

Taiji Quan Striking and Grappling Integration

The key martial term here is a motion of the continuous kind. Western Long Boxing takes movement from an emphasis on static to active foot movement. Striking is the concept of importance because it un-stuctures as effectively as grappling uproots. These are martial concepts that are founded upon energetic process. Postures are said to be threaded together as described in the treatise and demonstrated in the video link. Postures perfected through the practice of San Bao or the Three Treasures are threaded together in thought, deed and passion. This is the enhancement of modal behavior (thinking, doing, feeling) that internal boxing practice is supposed to manifest. None of this is possible until the mastery of breath is said to be “long”. So what does this mean in the sense of the term “Western”.
Western is a term that reflects the emphasis of pragmatism over dogma. In the practice of internal boxing this means that a martial system is unapologetically determined to integrate doctrines, methods, philosophies and training regimens to enhance modal behavior.  In this context Taiji Quan Master Chu Kao-Lao who was questioned but never physically challenged by those who wanted purity of style over authenticity of method.

Some would argue with the term authenticity and prefer the term effectiveness. I respond that in martial energetics or internal boxing the terms are synonymous. The terms Pugilism and Boxing should be synonymous terms but they are not. The definitions are not based on dictionary presentation. They are based on experiential application.

Boxing is the ability injure but not be injured in unarmed combative situations. It implies that an adversary’s offense is neutralized through evasion which is suggestive of maintaining a longer distance from an opponent when striking and being very mobile when that distance is compromised. Pugilism is the give and take of punishment, through striking and grappling, wherein no substantive external or internal damage is incurred. It implies infighting and is suggestive of a defensive method that neutralizes incoming force while exerting continuous offensive force in an exacting, combative manner.

For the Western practitioner of Taiji Quan, a method of Internal Boxing, the following 26 strategies merge the Eastern Pugilistic Boxing way with the Western Pugilistic Boxing way.
13 Offensive Methods (Merging Taiji Quans 1st 6 Methods with the Seven Stars): Wardoff, Rollback, Press, Push, Split, Grasp, Head, Shoulder, Elbow, Hand, Hip, Knee, Foot.

13 Defensive Methods (Merging Eastern Elemental Steps with Western Boxing Movements): (All movements are Sunken, Circular, Spiraling, Centered and Rhythmic) Earth (Stationary), Metal (Forward), Wood (Backward), Fire (Traditional Right or Strongside), Water (Traditional Left or Weak-side), Air (Up and Down), Block, Parry, Trap, Duck, Pivot, Circle & Slip.

Taiji Quan a Combative Martial Energetic System

Taiji Quan is taught as a combative system of martial energetics. Stilling and moving meditation is an integral part of performance enhancement. The aim is to improve modal behavior (thinking, feeling, doing).  Modal behavior intent is insubstantial until the breath is mastered in such a way that it creates form within the mind. The integration of Eastern and Western pugilistic boxing creates principles of stilling and movement….

Principle is the substance of essence, energy, and spirit. Essence, energy, and spirit are the substance of the body. Body is mind applied. Power is the applying of body. Mind and body have a specific controller: principle. Essence, energy, and spirit also have a specific controller: heartfelt sincerity. Sincerity is the way of nature and to be sincere is the way of mankind, and neither of these ways leaves the mind for an instant.

If you understand the principle that nature and mankind are of the same substance, you will naturally grasp the solar and lunar [i.e. active and passive] flow of energy, that the energy is the flow of intention, and that spirit lies naturally hidden within principle. Then you will obtain the martial and civil aspects, and the qualities of wisdom and spirituality. In order to make use of martial arts as a means to discuss mind and body or to develop power and strength, keep it based in the Way, for this art is not only for developing skill.

Power comes from the sinews. Strength comes from the bones. Looking at it purely physically, one who has great strength is able to carry many hundreds of pounds, but this is an externally showy action of bones and joints, a stiff strength. If on the other hand the power of your whole body is used, it may appear you are unable to lift hardly any weight at all, yet there is an internal robustness of essence and energy, and once you have achieved skill, you will seem to have something more wonderful than one who has the stiff sort of strength. Thus runs the method of physical training for self-cultivation.

Wu Family Gold Book Treatise on Taiji Substance and Application…

The Importance of Western Pugilism in Taiji Quan
Much of the Greek way of Martial Arts was lost with the Fall of Rome.  Resurgence is found by the 13th century and is in full practice in the sense of Close Quarters Combat systems (Weapons and Unarmed Fighting). Competitive armed and unarmed fighting begins to become competitive sport (in the way that Pankration developed in the Mediterranean) by the 17th century. A Martial System is defined, in this book, as a (combative & competitive) proven armed and unarmed practice of fighting. The armed part of the system precedes the unarmed part as it sets the principles of offensive and defensive form to be used in applied function. The sword teaches aggression, the shield protection and the spear evasion. The unarmed practitioner would abide by the lessons that these weapons teach in battle. There are two classic treatises in Western Martial Arts that give a brief example of this doctrine in a manner that could be understood by a Western Internal Pugilist: Boxiana and Fistiana.

The significance of the treatise Boxiana and Fistiana is that they give an historical connection between Greco-Roman martial systems and the resurgence of those systems in pre-modern Western Martial Arts. The Significance of Professor Mendoza's work is that it emphasizes and details a treatise that emphasizes skill over natural ability. This information needs to be assessed to understand how the West viewed the Martial strength of China, the source of Internal Boxing, at the end of the 19th century; moreover, how that view reinforces the importance of the worth of knowing the sources of contemporary Pankration and Pammachon. 

More examples of the development and evolution of Western Pugilistic Systems are Professor & Champion Daniel Mendoza’s  treatise on competitive 19th century Boxing, Professor’s  Chausson’s treatise on competitive and combative Kickboxing and Professor Lewis’s and Price’s 19th and 20th Century treatise on Mixing Boxing and Grappling for (street) Combative purpose.  Through the books Boxiana and Fistiana one finds that Ancient Greek Pankration and Pammachon skills were highly prized as sources to rekindle and justify the militant behavior of Western Europeans during their rise to global hegemony. If anything these 17th Century illustrations are powerful reminders that the West were most certainly scientific in their cultivation of Martial prowess as will be presented later with more specificity. In the West, during this epoch, a Martial Master was not considered so until he could not only demonstrate but explain his system of fighting in a treatise.  This method of codification is representative of a culture that took Martial Science endeavors as a scholarly and practical academic enterprise.

Daniel Mendoza is the father of the “Sweat Science of Boxing”. Using the House of Boughton Rules of Fighting he was a Heavyweight Champion at 165 lbs. who bested opponents twice his size and out-weighted him by 40-100 pounds. He details how he did this in the book, The Art of Boxing.  Literary references like Boxiana and Fistiana detail the history of Western competitive Pugilism up to the 20th Century.  Mendoza’s Treatise was written in the same century that Wang Zhongyue wrote his Tai Chi Ch’uan treatise. However the Western Treatise is more functional than allegoric:

Mendoza’s Two Principles of Pugilistic Boxing

The First principle to be established in Boxing is to be perfectly masterful of the equilibrium of the body…. As to be able to change from right to left handed positions: to advance and retreat striking or parrying… and to throw an opponent’s body forward or backwards without difficulty or bafflement.

The Second principle to be established is the position of the body, which should be in an inclining posture or diagonal line… as to lace the pit of the stomach out of an opponent’s reach… the elbows at the ribs, both knees bent and the hands directly before the throat or chin.

Later in the book the reader will see how these insights are very close to Eastern Treatise directives of body position. One will also see how I have found ways to alter the traditional forms of the east to meet these principles. It is important to note that Eastern mimicry of Mixed Martial Art treatise and lessons also call for these adaptations to be competent in competitive unarmed training.

By 19th century Professor Chausson of France adds a Treatise called The Noble Art of Savate which combines upper-body striking and lower body striking and proves its effectiveness in competition. Edmund Price's book on self-defense and the Danish book by Professor Onderrichtinge, Worstel Konst, details how Western Pugilism can be codified to be applied to Close Quarters Combat. If one adds to this lexicon of unarmed combat the time honored texts that codified the use of weapons (Trattato di' Sciencia d'Arm) written by Professor Papa Guilio III then the Warrior Scholar of Western Pugilism indeed has a wealth of referential guidance.

Illustrations of  The Noble Art of Savate in the 19th Century

A Martial Arts System is based on weapon and empty-handed skill refinement and cultivation.  Of course this idea is the reason for presenting the revision to the Art of Western Tai Chi Ch’uan.  This is the earliest evidence for a precedence of a Western Tai Chi Chuan being practiced in Europe as early as the 17th Century. The following drawings depict the exactness and flow of an exchange that is meant to train for CQC situations.  

Sword (Dagger) Two-man Forms

In the middle of the 19th century England and China can be viewed as representatives of Western and Eastern martial culture.  Martial contests were conducted regularly in each culture.  The two cultures were actively engaged in intellectual and mercantile enterprises, although in a “lopsided” dynamic relationship. 

In due course the martial curiosity of the British who lived in China led to a scrutiny of Chinese Martial Arts.  A British 1870’s periodical called the China Review published an article called The Noble Art of Self-defense in China.  In this observation of Chinese martial arts unarmed combat is not given much account (China Review, 1873, pg. 85). 

British Illustration of Chinese 19th Pugilism

Ethnocentrism may have played a part in this account even as contemporary research and media presents the world with the richness of Eastern Martial Art prowess in pre-20th Century history.   The secrecy by which the formidable skills of lineage Kung Fu was practiced was, of course, another contributing factor.  However, the Western interest in un-armed combative skill was indeed in existence and in need of codification and cultivation.

An important treatise written by Edmund Price in England and published in 1967 called The Science of Self-defense: A Treatise on Sparring and Wrestling.  Striking and grappling, in tandem, in a standing position is preferred as is the trend in the 21st Century.  The author writes about the importance of understanding the rise and fall of Greco-Roman hegemony as it may have hinged on the celebration and practice of combative sports.  He even alludes to the combative nature of human beings in a modern age: (Price, pg. 2 & 3)

Our purpose is not to dwell on the past; but no one familiar with the history of the Grecian or Roman people, can fail to realize the fact, that to out-door sports and games they were indebted for their stalwart warriors, warriors that made Rome the mistress of the world. It was only when effeminacy and luxury pervaded the masses of the nation that the seven-hilled Queen fell before the conquering arm of the Goths and Vandals. 
Man is a pugnacious animal. The organ of combativeness is largely developed in many heads, and has just as legitimate a place as reverence of ideality, and though Phrenologists term it a propensity…Wisdom should teach us, not to ignore either its existence, or power for good or evil, but how wisely to guide and control it. It is a well-known fact that professional pugilists are generally men of great forbearance under provocation, and we are satisfied that a thorough knowledge of the 'Art of Self Defence' renders man not quarrelsome but forbearing, for they feel it is glorious to possess a giant's strength, but cowardly to use it like a giant. Therefore, on the score of good manners and breeding, we suggest a thorough cultivation of this manly accomplishment.

 Learning to Connect Modal Behaviors through First Gated Change Regimens

From the pictures and information presented so far you can see the foundations of Western Long Boxing. In essence it’s the pragmatic systemization of eastern and western martial and energetic science. Pushing Hands is akin to the Ring Bach two person form in the sense of connecting intentions through touch and using skill to neutralize incoming force. It is a gentle exercise that helps coordinate breathing, rhythm, strength, speed and intention. One follows, links, adheres, sticks to never release or resist. In this sense it is intended for meditative exchange of energy. It is not intended to measure the skill of those adepts who have very little fighting skill. It is part of a process that can help one reach a fuller level of martial energetic skill execution.

If one practices pugilism, in a combative sense, then striking and grappling must come together. A weapon being in the mind of the practitioner, makes the martial energetic practice worthy of attention. Look at the video of training my son in knife fighting. Then look at the picture sequence. You will find value in both first gated change regimens because they help find connections with continuous and limited physical contact. It is the gap in between that helps develop a knowing without knowing…. An awareness such as this is cultivated from the first gated to the sixth gated change. The cultivation of moving and stilling meditation manifests a vitality that enhances our modal behavior. This is possible when we train the extremes of our modal behavior. By doing this we find a middle way, a center state of being. As human beings we are at our best when we are at our worst. This human condition can be used to evolve beyond our self-imposed and naturally imposed limitations of behavior. Reflect upon this observation.

CQC Armed & Unarmed Training

Bow… Engage with single arm ward off and begin silk reeling… Assume double arm wardoff against push.

Transitioning From Great Extremes Long Boxing to Western Long Boxing

(The Power of Vedic & Taoist, Stilling & Moving Meditation)

Is There an Authentic Kung Fu Process?

Internal Kung Fu is hard work to achieve skill. Neijia Gong is internal boxing and alchemy. The first gated change deals, directly, with armed and unarmed training. This develops a powerful sense of discipline, confidence and humility. The forth gated change deals directly with Taoist qigong. This develops longevity, rejuvenation and cultivation of essence, energy and vitality. Practiced in their extremes the adept will begin to find the ability to harm and heal, themselves and with time, others. When the adept possesses these abilities it is said they have Internal Boxing and Alchemy skill. If the process they follow produces such skill then their kung fu is authentic. This is the case whether the process is along contemporary or traditional, lineage or non-lineage regimens of practice. 

This training to gain authentic skill is conducted so that the adept learns to mentally, emotionally and physically connect to other people and things. When the adept is at a fuller potential of modal behavior they will be able to consciously connect to places. When a person's Neijia Gong brings them to the center of extremes in thinking, doing, and feeling they exude a sense of peace and power.  What they feel, more than likely, is a shared sense of knowing who, what, where, why and when they are in the scheme of things.  Western Long Boxing is a discipline where the goal is as illusive as the regimens are developmental: There seems to be no end to the work because as you reach one level another level presents itself.

It is in our nature to be volatile when we express the separating essentials of taijitu and ghostlike in a void-like state of Wuji.  We become immortal in a transcendental state of san bao, and translucent in a capricious state of Tai Shou Yin Ying.  We become sage-like in a transformational state of Wuji and Shiva-like in the uprooting and unstructuring states of liu men gua qi xing ( 6 neutralizing postures and 7 Stars).  Finally, we are formless in the adapting states of Bagua.  Neijia Gong is a compelling practice of finding the center of extremes in modal behavior because those who practice it have experienced its power.  From these experiences they have found faith in the process.  It is the process that authenticates Neijia Gong as a martial science.

As a practitioner, myself, I know those like me will perfect themselves through dedication, commitment, and perseverance.  The result is a physical state of being that could be described as a Warrior's Heaven (the mental state a Scholar's Sanctum sanctorum, the emotional state a Priest's Monastery) where love of self, found through discipline, becomes a love of everything else and everyone else.  But, as is in our nature, until we transcend it, there will always be battle and always the fight.  We need to be at peace with that until we are content with what we behold.

I believe all of the brothers and sisters reading this book are dedicated, skilled, and martially educated adepts with formidable skills against the uninitiated.  You have turned to the ways of our Western Long Boxing discipline to add to that kit of tools.  That being said, I am blessed with enough access to information to know the rewards of discipline that go beyond traditional allegiances and systemic boundaries.  It cannot be contained through vows.  It cannot be misdirected through secrecy of realistic practice.  Authentic Internal Kung Fu can be observed as the unseen but intensely felt practice of responsibly sharing all that is known about a discipline (in an open forum) for the purpose of providing a process that will be applied to the arduous task of achieving skill.

Great Extremes Long Boxing (The Original Codified Taiji Quan Classic in China) has many paths to achieve the center of modal extremes aimed at enhancing full potential of thinking, doing and feeling. When this is the goal it opens doors to those ready and desiring.  For these people, teachers appear when the student is ready, and students appear when the teacher becomes a student.  Our discipline is safe in Western Hands and, as such, as authentic as any on earth.  In our hands are the most effective healing and devastated harming martial science system of its kind because we are the most creative, pragmatic, integrative, and ubiquitous culture on earth, at the moment.  The most dedicated of us will eat bitter to evolve this discipline radically, or from the root, to be as it was intended: Pugilistic Internal Alchemy!!!!

Structure, Rooting and Movement in Great Extremes Long Boxing
The rules of structure must be powerful enough to help the adept – be he or she armed or unarmed – to withstand the most powerful attack. It must also have utility to respond or initiate an attack. This is combative thinking. Only a person in the best of internal and external health can consistently perform to this standard. Only the most dedicated to internal alchemy will have the longevity to gain such skills. Yang’s Ten Points are a good guide for the armed opponent. But for a pugilistic adept a slight lean at the waist, sinking of the elbows into the ribs and placing the hands at the center and raised to be held tight to the jaw… The iris of the eye tilted up as the forehead is tilted downward.

The Chen system of structure holds that the back and legs be very strong through a silkreeling process (discussed in detail in chapter five) that has the entire body moving in the same, circular direction. The healing specifics of silkreeling has the body snaking a chain of movements which develops and reanimates suppleness of organs, muscles, bones and joints.

Then rise slowly while adhering to his torso rising his center… He is ready to be uprooted…

Rooting is simple. Squat to strengthen and relax the hips and lower back. The wider the legs can be while squatting the more stability one will acquire. The pigeon toed posture of Wing Chun is also an excellent posture to practice in the defense of being pulled off balance. In either training exercise one must connect with a circular weight. This will help the connection from the earth to the body and to an object be it a person or a weapon.
Whether the stance with a slight or profound usage of substantial/Insubstantial (Small Frame or Large Frame Stance) the side that engages opponents, in a static or dynamic posture, must have where the top thigh and torso meet compressed into the hip. This is the substantial or weighted side and the weight on the foot rests mostly just below the balls of the feet at the foot-hollow. The insubstantial or unweighted side must have the hip opened and thigh and torso as separated as possible. It is on this side that the ball of the foot-hallow and the heal move to turn and twist the torso, with the hips locked, to issue striking while in close range. 

Movement is about dynamic compression and release of the hip while engaging incoming force in a circle and discharges that force with its own in a linear manner. I have come to believe that soft is circular, and hard is linear. 

The transitions from one to the other should be spherical, so essence, energy, and vitality are expressed in tandem until movement is exhausted by choice or design.  Definitions of energy are made to account for shape, and not force alone. The spiral defines the shapes of linear and circular manipulations of energy. 

Everything has force and power.  It is just the intensity and directional movement, which is the issue of emphasis.  I love the idea of the "investing in loss" aspects of these concepts because they can be understood when the principles of yielding and neutralizing are applied to incoming force.
Shadowboxing Form must follow Combative Application

Uppercut in Form and Function
It is very difficult to express Western Long Boxing in the manner that Zhang San Feng, Wang Zhongyue and Li I-yueh discuss in their treatises without  the ability of the entire body (inside and out) performing actively unified structure of linear, circular, and spherical design.  The moving form is a series of transitioning structures that are circular to neutralize, linear to discharge, and spherical to gather while doing both in tandem. 

Hook in Form and Function
Moving structures like these must not collapse, over-extend, rush-in or resist; However, in relation to incoming force, they must follow to invite resistance, link to make them rush-in, adhere so they over-extend, and stick so that they collapse.  These are my thoughts when I apply the principles of Great Extremes Long Boxing to armed or unarmed practice and to stilling/moving meditation.
Neutralizing Incoming Force and Redirecting Force

Greeting incoming force and swallowing … His force exhausted I return the force …

About rooting--let me explain my take on this as a developing adept--rooting is good when the foot is static and linear.  It is devastating when it is dynamic and circular.  What makes what we do magical to the uninitiated is our ability to be within reach and not touched, touched but not harmed, felt but not seen. 

He yields attempting to attract into emptiness… Find opening to discharge strike around guard

How do we do this at its most effective? We constantly follow to cause pressure on the opponent's skill. We constantly Link to bridge physically (Contact/Breath), mentally (Mantra/Visualization) and emotionally (Intensity/spirit).  We constantly Adhere to neutralize (5 Steps, 6 harmonies, Neutralizing methods & 8 Gated/Changes) incoming force, and we constantly stick to strike (7 Stars). 

Circular Pivoting Continuous Strike
We do this in order to never release or resist force, but to borrow it in order to find, establish, maintain or institute harmony.  This is our way.  This is truly our root. This is our discipline, and when viewed by observers when we express martially, it is like a storm erupting over a mountain lake.  We are the tempest who can forgive, educate, punish, or destroy.  Such is our charter when our skills are peerless in the form of Great Extremes Long Boxing.

Tai Chi Ching Ch'uan
Great Extremes Long Boxing Treatise
Chang San-feng (est. 1279–1386) as researched by Lee N. Scheele

In motion the whole body should be light and agile, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together. The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited, The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered. The postures should be without defect, without hollows or projections from the proper alignment; in motion the Form should not become disconnected. The chin [intrinsic strength] should be rooted in the feet, generated from the legs, controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers. If correct timing and position are not achieved, the body will become disordered and will not move as an integrated whole; the correction for this defect must be sought in the legs and waist. The principle of adjusting the legs and waist applies for moving in all directions; upward or downward, advancing or withdrawing, left or right. All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention], not external form. If there is up, there is down; when advancing, have regard for withdrawing; when striking left, pay attention to the right. If the I wants to move upward, it must simultaneously have intent downward. Alternating the force of pulling and pushing severs an opponent’s root so that he can be defeated quickly and certainly. Insubstantial [empty; yin] and substantial [solid; yang] should be clearly differentiated. At any place where there is insubstantiality, there must be substantiality; Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality. The whole body should be threaded together through every joint without the slightest break. Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river rolling on unceasingly. Peng, Lu, Chi, An, Ts’ai, Lieh, Chou, and K’ao are equated to the Eight Trigrams. The first four are the cardinal directions; Ch’ien [South; Heaven], K’un [North; Earth], K’an [West; Water], and Li [East; Fire]. The second four are the four corners: Sun [Southwest; Wind], Chen [Northeast; Thunder], Tui [Southeast; Lake], and Ken [Northwest; Mountain]. Advance (Chin), Withdraw (T’ui), Look Left (Ku), Look Right (Pan), and Central Equilibrium (Chung Ting) are equated to the five elements: Metal,Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures A footnote appended to this Classic by Yang Lu-ch’an (1799–1872) reads: This treatise was left by the patriarch Chan San-feng of Wu Tang Mountain, with a desire toward helping able people everywhere achieve longevity, and not merely as a means to martial skill.

Kick in Form and Function
It is important to note that the reader knows that this treatise was not meant primarily for unarmed combat.  It was meant for use of the sword.  Connection is the theme of this treatise, and the underlying alchemy goal of the esoteric, but finally revealing secrets of the Ten Gated Changes.  From a Western perspective, this observation has great importance because unarmed Taiji Boxing and Western Boxing are both annotated historically by treatise.  In the Western Martial Arts history, the writing of treatise was sacrosanct for the Master of Arms.  The first of note is James Fig (1719-1791) who was a Master of Self-defense.  His "Dojo or Kwoon" was called an Amphitheatre.  As much a building as an institution, these were gymnasiums where Gentlemen could learn a Master's Martial Science System.  Fig’s system was a standard for centuries, even as the rules of unarmed combat would evolve into a less dangerous Combat Sport.  The standard was Sword, Quarter Staff and "The Manly Art" of Pugilism.  That being said, the implication of Traditional Chinese Family and Monastic Taiji Boxing being taught as an unarmed martial science, firstly, and then with the sword, secondly, (if even at all) is troublesome.  There are many practitioners of contemporary Taiji Quan whose only connection and expression of the sword is the form--with very little sparring or conditioning.  This is a distinguishing feature of Western Long Boxing.  This feature arguably differentiates the practitioner from the peerless boxer that Wang Zhongyue speaks about in his treatise which is discussed in the next section.

Crossing Swords High & Low and to the Side … Prepping to Walk the Circle

Great Extremes Long Boxing (GELB)--A Living Discipline
"Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river rolling on unceasingly".  This is a powerful statement of armed/unarmed combat and internal alchemy.  The stilling and moving meditative states are presented in the prose thereby making the treatise above the foundation of Long Boxing.  The ultimate purpose is to connect to oneself and one’s environment in such a way that there is a knowing within the heart/mind that supersedes kinetic and cognitive logic.  The spiraling flow of transitions from posture to posture is constructed from the development of the heart/mind, from intuition and feeling.  It is understood as a continuous flow of transitions from one posture to the next.
Apply the term Wu Chin when facing an opponent facilitates this: Follow, Link, Adhere Stick, Never Release or Resist.  Power is gathered through Stilling Meditation and observably expressed in Moving Meditation.  The stilling meditation aspects are found in the internal alchemy regimens that teach the adept to express Wuji (Yin/Yang Fused), Taijitu (Yin/Yang Separated), San Bao (Essence, Energy, Vitality), and Tai Shou Yin Yang (Greater and Lesser Yin/Yang).  The moving meditation aspects are found in the moving meditation regimens that aid in the expression of Wu Xing (Five Elements), Ba Men (Six Harmony neutralizing methods), Qi Xing (Seven Stars), and Ba Men Qua (Eight Gated Changes).   The following treatise gives the standards of observable performance when executing in accordance with Master Chang's guidance:

Throw in Form and Function

The Treatise on T’ai Chi Ch’uan attributed to Wang Tsung-yueh [Wang Zongyue] (Eighteenth Century) as researched by Lee N. Scheele
T’ai Chi [Supreme Ultimate] comes from Wu Chi [Formless Void] and is the mother of yin and yang. In motion T’ai Chi separates; in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to Wu Chi. It is not excessive or deficient; it follows a bending, adheres to an extension. When the opponent is hard and I am soft, it is called tsou [yielding]. When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up, it is called nian [sticking]. If the opponent’s movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly.

Pugilistically cross hands ….      Prop arms into a circle & spiral … Swallow incoming Force

Although there are innumerable variations, the principles that pervade them remain the same. From familiarity with the correct touch, one gradually comprehends chin [intrinsic strength]; from the comprehension of chin one can reach wisdom. Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand T’ai Chi. Effortlessly the chin reaches the headtop. Let the ch’i [vital life energy] sink to the tan-t’ien [field of elixir]. Don’t lean in any direction; suddenly appear, suddenly disappear. Empty the left wherever a pressure appears, and similarly the right. If the opponent raises up, I seem taller; if he sinks down, then I seem lower; advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long; retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.

A feather cannot be placed, and a fly cannot alight on any part of the body. The opponent does not know me; I alone know him. To become a peerless boxer results from this. There are many boxing arts. Although they use different forms, for the most part they don’t go beyond the strong dominating the weak, and the slow resigning to the swift. The strong defeating the weak and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands are all the results of natural abilities and not of well-trained techniques.

From the sentence “A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds,” we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength. The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people, how can it be due to swiftness? Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and move like a turning wheel. Sinking to one side allows movement to flow; being double-weighted is sluggish. Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize, and is always controlled by his opponent, has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness. To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang. To adhere means to yield. To yield means to adhere. Within yin there is yang. Within yang there is yin. Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other. Understanding this you can say you understand chin. After you understand chin, the more you practice, the more skill. Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind. Gradually you can do as you like. Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others. Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far. It is said, “Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray.” The practitioner must carefully study. This is the Treatise

From Master Wang there is a portion of the treatise that holds the standard for the Western Long Boxer to become a peerless boxer, a wielder of the Supreme Ultimate Fist.  The power of the statement renders years of training to the simplicity of illusive and Pugilistic Internal Alchemy. 

It directs the adept to become, in action, what he/she should feel in spirit: Looked for his/her power cannot be seen, listened for cannot be heard, felt but cannot be touched. "Don’t lean in any direction; suddenly appear, suddenly disappear. Empty the left wherever a pressure appears, and similarly the right. If the opponent raises up, I seem taller; if he sinks down, then I seem lower; advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long; retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short. A feather cannot be placed, and a fly cannot alight on any part of the body. The opponent does not know me; I alone know him. To become a peerless boxer results from this" (Sheele).

Although it is clear that the author is talking about unarmed combat, it is less clear that he is not also negating to specify the obvious. He is saying that these wisdoms obviously used with a sword is not only plausible but necessary to take into account if the treatise was to be taken seriously by any warrior of the time.  I first thought that this treatise was written for the sole purpose of describing the perfection of skill when observing an accomplished Great Extreme Long Boxer in unarmed combat.  It is still that and more, given my new insights.  It could be used as an accompanying document describing how to react to the loss of a weapon or being without one.

Are the reflexes of a master swordsman (skilled in these treatise) powerful enough to slip and bridge to the handle of a lesser skilled opponent with a sword with the goal of disarming him?  Yes, I believe that it is possible.  That being said, we should always keep in mind as Westerners how this treatise can aid the armed and unarmed adept if they train the sword with an emphasis in order to prevail in unarmed combat.

Strengthening Yin/Yang Motility Vessels

The Yang Motility Vessel is the principle source of discharging energy. Standing and Inverted Vedic Postures strengthen the connection between energies and intent. Within Yang the Yin is hidden, The Yin Motility Vessel is strengthened by Inverted and Seated postures that gather energy from the binding of compressed air within the body focusing on the anus, abdomen and Esophageal Airway, Both should be profoundly studied to build the proper defenses and offenses of unarmed combat.

All movement begins with a thought regulated breath…
The stilling nature of the posture of sitting in this way has effect. Intake, retention and release of air, compression of air and mudra/mantra expression controls energy and stores it. This is the essence of stilling the body so that the mind explodes with awareness. The same thinking, action and feeling is used when approaching an antagonist. For the uninitiated it is an experience that can be best described as… unsettling!!!!!

Energy is found from the earth and sent through the adept to the heavens. This feeling is expressed defensively and offensively.  This is the way of form and function….

The Fifth (Vinyasa) and Seventh (Sparring) Gated Changes
Warrior Postures and Squatting … Keys to Internal/External Fighting Strength

Compression and extension… opening and closing… swallowing and spitting out…

Vinyasa Yoga unifies Breath, Intent and Movement … Protection from Incoming Force
Finding Center of Extremes and Balance between Tension and Relaxation…

This yogic posture is one of three exercises that protect and rejuvenate. They also form the basis of pugilistic might. One must eat bitter and invest in loss to benefit from them.

Posture Reinforces Power of Movement

The Vedic and Taoist postures that extend appendages and open the fertility and spiritual energy centers in the lower abdomen and spine gives youthful movement, suppleness, balance.

The Fifth Gated Change regimens are responsible for strengthening Yang Motility Vessel Pathways and Yin Motility Vessel Pathways. The strengthening of the former develops great ability to discharge energy in pugilistic practice. The strengthening of the latter develops a great ability to withstand incoming force. This is the Tao of the Third and Fifth Gated Changes developed from pugilistic and yogic practice…. Internal Boxing and Alchemy!!!

Ten Gated Changes

Review the information on the link referring to the Ten Gated Changes. The specifics are found in the well-reviewed book, Western Long Boxing: Tao of Ten Gated Changes.  Pugilism and Vinyasa Yoga are the Third and Fifth Gated Changes. The Third gated change gives one great protection from unwanted incoming internal and external forces. The fifth gated change gives great powers of joining mental intent and physical realization of that intent. These two gated changes are linked to moving meditations that will give one powerful skills that will help them develop an uncanny awareness of intent, This skill will be cultivated in the sparring regimens of the Sixth gated change. Advancing into the Seventh Gated Change one enters the powerful essence gathering stilling meditations of Metta and Tummo Meditation.

The compassion and breathing regimens cultivate energies that literally change the composition of the nervous, neurological and limbic systems. Taken together the stilling meditations of the Seventh Gated Change and the moving meditations of the Sixth Gated Change provide the extremes of modal behavior practice. One is now ready for Bhakti or surrender yoga. As a result one begins to expand consciousness to other planes of existence even while sparring. It can also be developed and glimpsed as an expanding conscious state in recovery practices discussed in Chapter Five. Restorative powers come from Alternate Nasal Breathing (Second Gated Change) and Taoist Microcosmic Orbit (Fourth Gated Change). The Mantras and Mudras resonate through conscious and unconscious states of mind, body and emotion. As such they help join in the centering process. This is the connecting of Vedic and Taoist alchemy. In the regimens of the Sixth Gated Changes the treatise of the Five Character Secret provides a guide.

The Five Character Secret of Calming Mind, maintaining continuous breathing, unifying Agility, Building Intrinsic Strength and Concentrating Spirit is a process completed by eating bitter and investing in loss. The more intense the extremes of internal and external regimens the deeper the centering of modal behavior.  Power... True Power is eminent but the danger is that humans were not meant to hold onto power... only to funnel it to its destination. Capability must give way to capacity goals of practice. All things being relative to a time training begun power will manifest within and change will come. This is first evident in ones immunity against common illness and then martial science development.... The presence changes as does the perspective.... You will begin to learn to control the power of others. 

Tummo is the practice of increasing the powers that flow through the Yin Motility Vessel. This vessel of meridian pathway involves the stimulation of Kidney, Bladder and Lung accupoints to regulate brain functions and the opening and closing of the eyes, bring energy to the head and balance energies in the lower extremities. When this vessel is free of stagnation and the organs involved are free from inflammation:

  1. Improved sleeping
  2. Improved focus
  3. Improved vitality
  4. Improved urination function
  5. Improved resistance to blunt force trauma

This stilling meditation method raises the body heat to an extreme level. An adept can survive sub-zero weather with very little clothing worn. So long as the body is not trying to repair a combat injury while performing intense external regimens, the adept will be resistant to common seasonal illnesses. These powers of increased internal strength and stamina allows one to commit to a more consistent martial science program of improvement. The “pearl” or outer case for the immortal fetus begins to form manifesting as a knot of concentrated viscera and muscle at the lower dan tien. There is an energetic feeling that is associated with this manifestation of yin energy. The skills also allow one to seem like they can walk through incoming strikes.

Intercepting, Blocking, Trapping and Twisting incoming Strikes at the wrist and elbow to uproot and place opponent in position to use a striking combination is now a certainty of success. When the benefits of the Tummo practice begins to be recognized during sparring there is an altering of consciousness. One will begin to understand stamina as a state of mind at some point during modal behavior conditioning... it becomes the place where my understanding of the feeling of "tired" really is an illusion reflected in my fear of loss. Sung or total, modal relaxation can now be an observable thing.

The Internal Alchemy of Western Long Boxing
Emphasize the breath before everything in order to ensure the execution of the Five Character Secrets of Li I-Yueh. In my practice of Applied Form and the execution of Wu Chin (Follow, Link, Adhere, Stick, Never Release or Resist) I have found it best to follow strong at all times. This is because the martial application of Neijia Gong is to in-fight. A good infighter knows when to defensively close and offensively open and to do the former with greater emphasis than the latter. In this context relaxation and tension is balanced through the teachings of Qigong seated and standing (static) postures.

Erectness, grounded-ness, weightlessness, substantial and insubstantial are harnessed in the sessions of vitality which for most is Silk-reeling.... Perhaps the muscles are relaxed but the joints are flexing with proprioception... The Chest is definitely relaxed but the abdomen ripping as the tailbone is lowered and opened.... Asanas are a conscious balance of tension and relaxation wherein the act of balance grows ever quieter with sustained practice. So it is with the martial application of Neijia Gong.
Soft is a shape that is always strong. Hands propped up in a circle to receive incoming force is manifest with the first concept of Western Long Boxing: Peng which immediately must become a Confounding Round Spiral.... and then a strategy found in the Eight Words Song after finding the opponent's flank: The first to execute One Ward-off, Two Roll-backs, A press and a push will take the initiative... Then seek the oblique and stick (strike) them or allow for Hua Chin... attraction into emptiness... When feet are static silkreel to a substantial insubstantial alternating weighted beat... When in motion make them circle to gather energy and make them linear when releasing it... The stages of internal boxing regimens of Vedic and Taoist, Stilling and Moving meditations help the adept integrate martial and energetic aspects of the Ten Gated Change process.

There are 4 stages to the Stilling and Moving Meditation methods one will use during the Third Gated Changes performed in pugilism. The pugilistic regimens are supported by combining elements of the 2nd, 4th and 6th gated changes. These methods are cumulative in effect and immensely effective in enhancing modal behavior as the skills gained in practicing pugilistic training. In the Gated Change process pranayama and pugilism is used to move the body and the mind but suppress the emotional spread of energy and channel it where needed. The emotional "tank" is not to be emptied in a forceful manner. Emotion is a force to be harnessed, directed and connective from the adept to the elemental forces of the heavens and earth.

This is a metaphysical perspective but scientifically, observable. There is an observable process to be followed based upon the construction of a practical set. This is an intervention for combatives adepts authored by Professor Dorthy Yates. The Abdibhamma Psychology is phenomenologically assessed in the works of Dr.’s Lutz, Dunn and Davidson concerning Tibetan Meditation processes:

Stilling Meditation Process

1) Develop an intellectual, attitudinal and kinetic foundation to illicit trust and confidence in fighting ability.

2) Develop breathing and other relaxation skills known today as Samatha Focus Attention (FA) leading to Vispayana Object Monitoring (OM) which brings the body to a muscle-tendon tense-free state and the mind to a tabula rasa state. The OM aspects lead to the seventh gated change.

3) Integrate mantra or psychodynamic exercises presently called Self-Talk (ST) into the cycles of breathing that accompany samatha and vispayana meditation methods. The former is a fixed attention logic stability exercise that activates the right hemisphere of the brain. The latter is an emotional uninhibitor exercise that stimulates the left side of the brain.

4) Oscillate between samatha and vispayana methods with a fuller emphasis in time on the samatha method to hold the emotional stimulation to a measurable state of lesser than the fixed attention aspects of breathing and kinetic motion. This keeps the training well within the third gated change arena. But breathing alchemy is an essential aspect of pugilism. The samatha aspects of altering consciousness helps us understand how important pugilism is to developing internal boxing expertise.

1. Yawn and Sigh for several mins before motion. While in motion air goes in nose out mouth and then in top of nose out the bottom and then in the bottom of the nose and out the top. Control breathing with focused attention drills that have you forcing air out every fifth, seventh or 9th step or strike. This is down through the anaerobic phase of the moving meditation which is 2.5 to 3 mins.

2. Coordinate the breathing rhythm with the movement rhythm from mins 3 through 10. This is the period leading to the aerobic phase of moving meditation. 

3. After 10 mins of focused attention breathing ones respiration is much smoother and sunken, centered, circular and rhythmical. Visualize, from the outside in, watching yourself move with proper coordinated breathing and moving. Observe yourself as the object of monitoring. You will become your own purpose for moving at all.

4. Next visualize yourself as being within your own inner vision. This vision of self is perfection made more perfect because you will take the wheel so to speak. The true captain of this vessel meant to serve your will. It is now purified enough to do so. You are submersed within the image of yourself without thought of your physical body.

5. Begin muttering a mantra or self-talk expression that is in sync with your inner and outer motions. This mantra means something to you that is conscious and unconsciously known to you.  

6. While maintaining the mantra have your attention and visualization oscillate between the attention on breathing and the attention on the sensations you imagine having and see yourself having within your inner vision..... Another method is to focus on any fixed point of the lower, middle or upper Dan Tien. Then switch attention to desire to complete the task. Keep oscillating attention until there is an expected halt in activity meaning the task is done or the obstacle is removed.

The Alchemy Secret of Changing Fire into Water

In the book “Science of Internal Strength Boxing” by Zhang Nai Qi, there is presented the most succinct and important message. It tells the internal boxer how to exist in the perfect state of tension and relaxation in seated, standing and moving postures. How can an adept rid the lungs of excessive toxicity?

The answer lies in the post-natal state of being. In this state the abdomen is relaxed and the chest is tense. The mental and emotional state is related to controlling the breath. In the pre-natal state of being one is like a child. Children know how to breathe diaphragmatically. One must return to the pre-natal state. To do this one must know the elemental nature of water and fire as it relates to the abdomen and the chest.

Soft is a concept referring to yin or the passive force. Hard is a concept referring to yang or the active force. As fire and water relate to each other, soft and hard; moreover, yin and yang relate to each other. In all the relations the former terms are passive and the latter terms are active forces. As these interrelational concepts apply to post-natal states of the abdomen and chest, the abdomen is a passive force (soft) and the chest is an active force (hard).

The post-natal state needs to be reversed to be begin the process of Western Long Boxing. The abdomen must be made tense and the chest made relaxed in seated and standing, static and dynamic movement postures. The second gated change regimens of pranayama and fifth gated change of vinyasa yoga will make this happen. Through these gated changes mind and body are unified through joining of intent and breath.

Lift the anal sphincter. Touch the shoulder blades together. Drop the shoulders. Rest the elbows close to ribcage. Keep the tongue on the roof of the mouth. Ensure the nine palaces are in harmony (this is discussed later in the chapter). The shoulders, elbows and wrists are moved and placed in sync with the hips, knees and ankles. To ensure balance within the harmony the centers of the body at the lower abdomen, chest and head must be aligned. Through the disciplines discussed in the previous paragraphs one begins to gain self-mastery over automatic body functions.

Power over self through the submission of autonomic function begins with mastering stillness. It is an indescribable feeling of accomplishment when ones powers of stillness and motion are consciously felt and controlled. In the sense of knowing self, being true to that knowledge and treating others in accordance with that truth is accomplished, for me, through the disciplines of Vedic and Taoist regimen.  It is my hope that this is an example of how others can do the same.

At the Temple the three treasures are essence (harness sexual impulse), energy (align the spine in standing and prone postures) and vitality (maintaining intensity between anaerobic, aerobic, plyometric, eccentric action). We sit and breathe in specific ways to gather energy. We use specific postures of standing and prone to refine essence into energy. We cultivate energy into vitality through specific movements in weapons drilling, striking drilling and grappling drilling. The breath is manipulated as an expression of stilled posture alignment and motion intensity execution. We teach the appropriate breathing pattern for the expression of stilling and movement. The breath affects thoughts and emotions way beyond the physical conditioning phase of competence. It focuses thinking to endure the distractions of an offending opponent. It converts emotions (spirit) into feelings (energy) that can be used extend the limits of endurance, suppleness, strength and stamina.
Performing the Three Treasures for Taiji Boxing

Perform seated postures and control breathing to gather essence. Perform postures standing and prone to align, open and strengthen the spine and six harmonies (shoulders and hips, elbows and knees, wrists and ankles) to refine essence into energy. Move from posture to posture in continuous motion with alignment and harmonies that are synced with rhythmic breathing to cultivate energy into vitality.

Martial Moving Meditation & Application -

Martial and energetic regimens must be performed within the numeric alchemy of time, space and repetition. Examples are setting the goal of 108 minutes of sustained training, breaking that sustained training into 36 minute sets, placing a focused attention 9 feet in front of you on the ground when pugilistically running and synching breath to three steps or strikes each for inhalation and exhalation. The ancients say that a fuller modal behavior potential can be unlocked by following this numeric alchemy.

All the fighters at Temple Underground undergoing the process are experiencing significant performance results. This can be seen mostly through the young pugilists’ performances on the Facebook page for Temple Underground Internal Boxing.

The foundation of these practices of breath control begins in the gathering of essence phase and builds from there. Nasal manipulation increases health. Retention of air increases awareness. Cessation of breath controls excessive responses to stimulus. These are just a few descriptions of the, foundational, breath manipulating process. Diet, rest and regular visits to TCM doctors supplement the efforts to maintain health, raise awareness and regulate overstimulation. It is said that martial science is not an art until it can be performed from apposition of weakness. Temple Underground fighters are known as strikers with the ability to neutralize most attempts to submit them on the ground. Valor cages are small and the opportunity to exercise movement limiting so they find themselves, often, at a substantial disadvantage. Certain training resources create simulation situations that help in the application of energetic breathing methods discussed.

General Vedic Mantra Breath Control Guidelines

The exercises practiced require the adept to breathe in three manners:

1.       Use an even count of breathing during the process of inhalation, lung-filled air-retention, exhalation and lung-empty air denial.  This begins a conscious access to the Reticular Activating System which is the only way the adept can begin to control autonomic motor functions. The Cundi coupled with Metta Meditation sutras or chants (Mantras) is an excellent to way regulate a balance of equal breathing time. Nemah Sapatnam Samyuksambuddha Korinam Tadyatha Om Cale Cule Cundi Om padi Om padi Om Svaho (May the World, Family, Friends, Strangers or Enemies bear no ill will or corruption of the heart so that they be free from animosity oppression, trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!' May the World, Family, Friends, Strangers or Enemies abide having suffused with a mind of loving-kindness with one direction of the world, likewise the second, the third, and the fourth, and so and so on above, below, around and everywhere, and to all as to themselves; may they abide suffusing the entire universe with loving-kindness, with a mind grown great, lofty, boundless and free from enmity and ill will). Regular practice of the exercise allows access to ones Amygdale and Anterior Cingulate Cotex with a more pronounced effect when doing so while staring into a White Candle. The candle part helps stimulate the Hypothalamus which is annexed through the Amydale. The ability to listen and communicate understanding empathically, to an extraordinary extent, is the result of this exercise.

2.       A ratio breathing process of 12:48:24 that can be increased proportionally with time. As the adept is able to slow this count there can be more control of internal and external forces through the will and mind. This exercise defines and clarifies the power of ego but ironically cannot be accomplished until the limits of ego are embraced and released. Wuji or emptiness/no-mind can begin to be reached through this exercise. Keneshitnam Patati Prishitnam Namoh, Soham Shivoham (What is the power that directs my mind to desired objects? The Power of that power I bow to with folded hands because the Power of that Power I Am!!!) is a powerful mantra that should be used when one can realize and control the natural inclinations of the Mind. The effort will help make ones Taiji Pugilisic Boxing peerless.