Sasha Lee gives an introduction to movement meditation through some more exploratory circle walking. This one is done in the sand, which provides more challenge in terms of maintaining balance but can also help you get a good sense of the “mud-stepping” process, of pushing down and off.
This video is silent so I would like to provide a little more commentary here. There is a great deal of literature that you can find on bagua circle walking, as well as video on youtube. I have dealt with a number of different sefus and have noticed that in every case they have a system which they are insistent is right. It is almost like the fundamentalism of certain Christians. Part of the training process of much traditional Chinese martial arts involves breaking down the student and then reforming them, literally, in the form of the training. In the FORM. I would like to introduce any would-be fellow student to the philosophy of YiQuan as I understand it, which is mind-driven (Yi) but it is not based around any particular or singular form. You must build off and around the rudiments – these rudiments can all be found in the 5 elements that I have already shared, in rudimentary form – with you all. I would like you to practice with them for at least 1- to 4 hours a day for several weeks before we can truly progress beyond the point that we are at now in this experiment.
Let me return for a moment to what you see in this video. I am orienting myself quickly in regard to the center point of the circle and then using the outer foot as a guidance, so that by walking forward I am really walking in a circle. It is the outward leg that is doing this, but angling slightly inward with each step. This is in a way like the orbit of a planet, which falls forever forward in a straight line yet never falls to the ground. I am also introducing a rudimentary version of the figure 8 in this demonstration, where you can quickly switch orientation and suddenly have a new focal point. You could in theory create not just one figure 8 but 2, and within each figure 8 present the different hand positions for a total of 4 with each cycle.
However, these systems can quickly become overly formalized and complex, and it is easily proven so by the fact that each school have their own animals and hand positions, all other schools are of course wrong, and so on. There are 3 hand positions that I think you must learn, and these are what I’ve called the ox, where you are holding a single ball beneath you (or you could think of two smaller balls within each palm) and this posture emphasizes the mud-step. You will feel, I believe, that as you bring your hands into this position and begin to circle walk, that you are noticing how you are pushing on the ground with the back leg, and pulling with the front leg, that the guiding (outward) leg is helping to define the circle as I explained, and that as you practice this particular stance for several months, you will notice a connection between the mud-stepping movement and a rounding of your scapula (shoulderblades) and the downward facing palms.
At this point you will start to feel an urge for the energy to naturally rise, and you can now bring in some of what you have practiced with water element as you bring your leading hand toward the focal point of the circle, with a slight twist that turns the vitals of that arm (tendons, veins, etc) back toward you and away from your opponent. At the same time your other arm will create a second circle of energy and focus by grounding and guarding. This arm is oriented toward the elbow of the other hand. You will notice with practice that the elbows are a secret “guardian” of the body, that if you control someone’s elbow you control their upper body, much as if you control their knee you control their leg. And through these outer gates, one can access the inner gate, much as by twisting the arm and elbow you can easily twist someone’s spine.
I ask you to try to follow along with what I present in these videos while at the same time beginning to experiment on your own with what your intuition leads you to explore. Do not over emphasize or repeat a single movement guided purely by intuition too much without either checking with another practicioner or with me — simply because you can either hurt yourself or just as bad, build in a habit that can take twice as long to unlearn if it is not a beneficial movement.
I am just a fellow student, and will have much to present in an upcoming episode about AUTHORITY — but for the time being please practice what has been presented in these 7 episodes, and do not hesitate to contact me direct if you are serious about this practice and would like to ask questions or even have further instruction than bi-weekly videos can provide.
You can also see all 6 episodes of the prior series together in one video here.
Internal Arts is a series dealing with the creative process in its various guises: from meditative techniques to anecdotal material from independent artists.
Whether you are a writer, musician, visual or film artist, or just want to learn a little about the ins- and outs- of the creative process from those who struggle to make a living at it, this show is for you. We will also often explore meditative and movement practices that might not necessarily seem connected with creativity or the arts at first glance. These are quite possibly more important than all the discussions we will be having about independent arts and media production, as they get us out of the ‘the chair,’ out of our heads, and back into our bodies. It is in and through our bodies, and nowhere else, that the true creative process begins. We are not brains in bottles. It’s our hope that you will find these practices and conversations an indispensable part of your own practice.
See Mythos Media for some of the work created by the producers of this show.