Relaxation is something we are always seeking. Whether it is after a busy day at work, or staying home with the kids. Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, Martial Arts, exercise, and many other activities are all tools to help us cultivate relaxation and learn to use it in our daily lives. These tools help us relax by helping us cope with stress. Although we all cope differently there are three pillars which must be present in order to deal with our stress in a constructive and positive way.
These three pillars are in the realms of character, mindset, and physique. Some of these tools train all the pillars and some of them only train specific aspects of them. To achieve functional relaxation, all three pillars must have a strong root in your life. For the sake of simplicity we’ll outline the pillars and go into depth afterwards.
This principle is one that has countless applications for health and martial art practice. This simple phrase gives you a lifetime of work that will always bring fruit and ever expanding self-discovery. Many times the principle of “Move 10,000 pounds using only 4 ounces” becomes the measuring stick to say if someone’s practice is truly Tai Chi. So let’s look at what this means…
To put it simply moving 10,000 pounds with 4 ounces can be summed up in one word, efficiency.
What do we mean by efficiency?
The founding mechanic of Chi Kung!
There are two things that we train to effect Jing, Chi, and Shen. These two things are Yi and Blood. In all of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA), and Chi Kung these two are what we work with to effect Jing and Shen. Chi as we noted above is the intermediary, and you’ll see in a little bit why the description of Jing Chi and Shen was an important precursor to this post. If you haven’t read my previous post: Chi Kung: The art of using Jing, Chi, and Shen I’d say stop here, read that one and come back.
Alright, that being said, let’s get to it. In TCM we have a saying, “Yi moves the Chi, Chi brings the blood” This is the crux of all our training, seeking to establish a seamless connection between Yi, Chi and blood, which is guided by Jing, Ying + Yuan Chi, and Shen. There are various avenues to do this which vary system to system, but for the sake of simplicity I’ll stick to broad examples across different mediums. We’ll touch on how this simple, yet quite complex, principle applies to massage, acupuncture, and how we train them in hard + soft Chi Kung, that also translates into internal and external training of Kung Fu.
Part 1: The flow of Jing and Chi
All of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) hinges on the interplay of 3 things. Jing, Chi, and Shen. In this post we are going to explain the role of Jing and Chi to our martial art, meditation and self-healing practice. In the following post we’ll go over how we connect and use these “Three treasures” to greatly benefit our lives.
If you’ve had any exposure to me before you probably have gathered this, I’m not a big fan of esoteric or spiritual explanations of concepts. I like to keep things as concrete and useful as possible. I feel these types of explanations are detrimental to that goal. The reason I bring this up is because many times explanation of Jing, Chi, and Shen can get very spacey, I’ll do my best for that not to happen.
Lets start off by giving Jing, Chi, and Shen short simple definitions on which we’ll elaborate further. Jing is similar to our primordial essence, Chi is similar to vitality or energy, and Shen is similar to spirit or our true/detached selves.
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu
Tai Chi Chuan
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage