DSC_0105Our mind, inquisitive by nature, will always take us in search of answers, and we might end up in unthinkable places, so as to reach our objective, just like here in Bai Ma Shan.  While searching for oneself, you encounter a great variety of people from all around the world who speak different languages, have different abilities, and who emerge in one single place. Being different, we belong to a single whole: Dao. Empathy and team work are crucial factors to develop while staying in Bai Ma Shan. Only when the functioning of an organization is understood, for example a family, in school, or at work, or in Bai Ma Shan itself, do you get to understand the potential of your own body, another organism. We concluded Tai Ji fire-style this week, an explosive and though manner to perform Tai Ji. The best manner to perform it is to loosen your body, to allow the flow of energy. We have worked on Qi Gong and meditation since the very day we arrived, altogether with rigorous physical training, in order to keep our bodies loose and relaxed without losing the focus of our movements.

DSC_0117Li Shifu told us how it used to be practiced back in the days. Practitioners counted the number of oil lamps used during training. There was no electricity and training were until late night, therefore, the more oil for lamp was burnt the bigger skill was achieved over a time. Nowadays, electric power renders oil lamps redundant. Instead we write about our experience here to inspire more people to pursue their search. The very same way this story and others have inspired me to keep practicing.

DSC_0193Everything changes, let yourself change to find your way, like the water is constantly changing on earth, in the early morning it is dew drops nourishing the plants, that the insects will eat, that will then be the target of the frog, that will later be eaten by the snake, that will return to earth, to become a part of universal consciousness. Everyone has its role in this cycle, no one disappears, no one dies, only changing to give continuity to this flow that is life, a whole constantly changing. The sun and the moon finally appear after so many days of rain and fog. The full moon flashes her light, emits its power to awake the energy of our internal body. As Li Shifu says, it awakens our adrenal glands. Then the sun with its fire heats our skins, muscles and bones, projecting its energy to help us emit our own, after so many days training inside the temples, as it was raining outside, and sweat was raining inside the temple. As Li Shifu says, time plus sweat creates gong, gong that we use to project the Fa Li (power emissions) in all the movements of the Tai Ji form.

IMG_3146Also the sun and the moon help us to awaken our survival instinct that will add the main ingredient of the Tai Ji form, the Fire that is a particular way of performing Tai Ji that includes a lot of power emissions (Fa Li) in certain movements. Fa Li’s principles are to gather the whole energy of one’s body to project it outside from one single point of the body (like the shoulder, the elbow, the fist, the palm, etc.), with a striking shout of the voice, so that the opponent would be blown away in a single move. Fa Li are about harnessing internal power, as such they circulate the energy inside the body, and especially in the internal organs, which strengthen them as well as the connective tissues, allowing the practitioner to develop a lot of inner strength, that is then stored within the Dan Tian.

As Tai Ji Fire helps us develop the inner energy flow, especially toward the hands, we can then use it to help other people, for example giving them massages, as we have been studying together during our massage classes. We learned to perform healing massages, using various hand techniques on specific acupuncture points. The same morning, before running to the top of the mountain, when the sun was rising, we found a snake eating a big frog; how cruel is nature, it is Yin, it is Yang, combined to survive; we, as the snake, may have to fight one day to survive or to help others so we must awake the killing power inside of each one of us.

DSC_0085For the Tai Ji form, we need to put in front of us an opponent just like the snake and the frog, battle our own demons and fears with ferocity; fearless in battle willing to survive. Even in our dreams, Li Shifu says that if we train hard, we will be able to use our skill to face our own demons and the bad entities that would want to disturb us. We need to forge with courage every instant of training, with every drop of sweat, we cultivate the power and find the strength to push the heart to fight until the end. Cultivating this fighting spirit is part of our physical training and will allow us to harness the complete power of our physical bodies. However, it creates a temporary contradiction in the thoughts, as our higher goal is to always generate more compassion for all living beings, as compassion is the higher power amongst all.

This weekly report was written by one of the Tai Ji course student