(11 pages total)
Page 9 - Bagua Qigong (Pa Kau Chang Ch'i Kung)
An eventual goal of this training is to maintain the full body Qi feeling while executing the complex turning, twisting, and coiling movements associated with Baguazhang. This is not an easy task, and thus the training must progress gradually. After the student can maintain the full body Qi feeling in the basic Qi exercise, a slightly more complex Qigong set is practiced which begins to incorporate some of Baguazhang's characteristic body movements. Once this basic Qigong set is practiced for a sufficient amount of time, the student will then graduate to a simple Baguazhang Qigong circle-walking form.
As in all aspects of training, Park starts the student practicing the Qigong form with very simple movements and then continues to add more complex maneuvers in progressive stages. The focus of the Qigong form will be to maintain the full body Qi feeling, however, by this stage in the training process the student will begin experiencing this "feeling" at deeper levels in the body.
In terms of Qi circulation, Park talks about three areas of concern; the skin, the nerves, and the bones. By "circulation of Qi in the skin" Park is referring to circulation through the meridians and channels defined in traditional Chinese medicine. This would include circulation in the major meridians and channels as well as the smaller network of collaterals or, lou. The sensation of Qi and blood circulation at the skin level will be the first the student will experience. These sensations are different for each student, but will typically be experienced as tingling, fullness, and/or heat.
Circulation in the nerves is slightly more advanced and will usually be experienced after the student has been practicing Qigong for a fairly long time (although it will vary from person to person). The student will typically experience a sensation in the hands, or other parts of the body, like an electrical shock when Qi begins to circulate at this level. This feeling can be somewhat uncomfortable at first.
Feeling the Qi circulation in the bones is usually experienced at the more advanced stages of practice, again this sensation is different for different people. When a student begins to feel Qi circulation at the nerve or bone level, Park will modify their training program to help bring the student to still higher levels of experience.
The term "meditation" means many different things to different people. Depending on the intent and focus of the meditative process a wide variety of results can be obtained. Some individuals meditate to reduce stress and tension, others meditate to increase levels of awareness or improve the ability to concentrate, while many others meditate for spiritual development. The type of meditative technique you practice will depend on the result you want to obtain.
Like all techniques taught in Park's school, the first meditation exercise the student will learn is very direct and simple. This method is designed to help relax the body and mind and improve the ability to concentrate and maintain focus. You will start the exercise sitting in a comfortable position with the eyes closed. The breathing is relaxed and follows a natural rhythm, the meditation at this level is not chained to a breathing technique. While maintaining a natural breathing rhythm, a relaxed body and mental calmness; you start slowly counting backwards from 300. Each number is visualized clearly in the mind's eye and spoken, either silently to yourself or aloud. Exactly what form the number appears when visualized will vary with each person. It is best to keep it plain and simple. While counting, your mind will inevitably wonder off to other thoughts and you will loose track of the numbers. Each time this happens, bring yourself back to the counting.
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