Taiji Classics


Or if reading is not your thing try holding  Mūla Bandha {Dai Gung} while you play a sport like Rugby, which is relatively similar in its physicality to fighting.


I am reading through some translations of old Chinese Martial Arts Books often referred to a Taiji Classics, the one I am revisiting at the moment is


by Wu Zhiqing
[published by 大東書局 Great East Bookstore, March, 1931]

[translation by Paul Brennan, March, 2011]


Quite early in the pice it reads..

If we cannot assemble the boxing teachers of the nation and combine their experiences, then we cannot know the extent of their skills and the good and bad points of their art. But commonly people talk of the two schools of internal and external. One who has ability in the internal school is as rare as a phoenix feather or a unicorn horn, and I do not yet know of anyone.
Although the external school has a great variety, generally speaking, it divides into the two branches of passive strength and active strength. Active strength uses hardness to win. Passive strength uses softness to win. Each reaches its extreme. Neither is better or worse, except when discussing how the body is nourished and then the passive strength does not compare to the active strength. The passive strength restrains the body to avoid opponents, with the chest hollowed like a monkey’s and the ribs shrunk in, the energy gathered and strictly confined. The active strength extends the arms and lengthens the sinews, moving with vigour. To begin training in the boxing arts these days, surely the active strength is the suitable one.


With the current trend, at least here in Australia to regard Wing Chun as an Internal Martial Art  {something that I do not agree with}  I found this quite remarkable especially as it was written in 1931.

Something that really caught my eye in this passage was the reference to the passive strength ‘chest like a monkey’, this is remarkably similar to the yoga practice of Uḍḍīyana Bandha, this is a well known meditation practice.

Internal Wing Chun followers talk highly of what they refer to as Tai Gung, which is of course the yoga practice of Mūla Bandha another meditation practice.

I did Yoga for many years as a young man and fully understand the benefits of these practices, but they foster stillness and not movement, passivity and not dynamism.

The Yoga Bandhas, or ‘Body Locks’, Jalandhara Bandha, the neck lock, Uḍḍīyana Bandha, the abdominal lock and Mūla Bandha the perineum lock are intended to keep all energy centred inside the body, an essential part of meditation, but if we are fighting we need to be able to issue our energy outwards to the striking limbs, we do in fact need to be able to ‘unlock’ the energy channels.

If like me you are doing Wing Chun as a fighting art then I advise that you do some research on the practice and usage of the Bandhas, and come to your own conclusion about their practicality in a dynamic activity like trying to save you from random violence.

Or if reading is not your thing try holding  Mūla Bandha {Tai Gung}, while you play a sport like Rugby, which is relatively similar in its physicality to fighting.





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