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Thread: 8 section brocade question -> Draw the bow to shoot the hawk

  1. #1
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    8 section brocade question -> Draw the bow to shoot the hawk

    Now why anybody would want to shoot a hawk, I don't know - usually I'm pretty stoked to see one circling high overhead....

    Anyway - looking for some input from you Baduanjin practitioners out there regarding the "draw the bow" movement (2nd movement in the form usually) - how do you coordinate your breath? Do you inhale as you "draw the bow" or do you inhale first and then exhale as you draw the bow?

    I've experimented a bit with both ways and found different results - but I'd like to hear from you folks out there what your experiences have been and if you have a rationale as to why you breathe in a particular way.

    Here's a youtube link that shows the first two movements of the form - it's the second one... btw does anybody know who this chap is?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller???

    One,

    herb ox

  2. #2
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    Good to hear from you here again, herb ox!

    The actual quanpu in chinese is zuoyou lagong ru she diao (左右拉弓似射鵰). The last character, diao (鵰), is translated as golden eagle, sometimes as vulture. It's distinct from ying (鷹) which is the term we use for Eagle Claw in Kung Fu; ying is also conventionally translated as hawk or falcon. Unfortunately, my Mandarin isn't good enough to get at the heart of the issue here.

    I do two versions of this move in my practice. The first is stationary in horse stance and it is how I originally learned it at Shaolin from Shi Decheng. The second shifts from reverse bow and is how Shi Yantuo did it. I've seen similar forms with GM Tu Jin-Sheng's version. I exhale during the bow pulling part, which is how I was taught from each of these masters, plus a few others.

    I've merged most of the brocade threads into this one: Baduanjin-(8-section-brocade). I may merge this one too someday, but we'll see how it works as a stand alone thread for now.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
    Greetings herb ox, long time.

    I learned to inhale while drawing/pulling the bow. There is a natural contraction in the arms and across the back as you reach full inhalation. The exhale begins once you have released the bow and continues until you have returned your hands to their original starting position.

    To add, I have learned to count each repetition of each exercise separately or to count both sides, left and right, as one

    mickey
    Last edited by mickey; 03-12-2015 at 11:55 AM.

  4. #4
    More,

    I do not know who that guy is.

    his alignment during that exercise is off. The elbow rising above the shoulder* is pretty new to me. There is no contraction of the muscles of the arms and shoulders which really defeats a lot of benefit from the exercise. I have seen from shoulder level to arm drawn back in chamber. The back and arms are supposed to benefit and they are not.

    mickey

    *I have seen that once and in that "once" the practitioner was leaning, maintaining the plane of contraction.
    Last edited by mickey; 03-12-2015 at 12:12 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the warm welcome back

    Greetings Gene and Mickey - indeed it has been awhile, much has happened since I last posted on the forum here. At the time I was in the midst of grad school and things were really intense trying to balance study time and working - in essence I was on the computer average 14 hours a day and felt the need to break from the screen. Life is intense in a different way now, but I now revel in a brief moment when I can log on as I am no longer a computer jockey...

    I've been revisiting my practice in Baduanjin with great interest, as my body has recently been facing some challenges - namely, not enough vigorous exercise and not enough sleep, as our newborn son wakes every couple of hours through the night Anyhow, my usual qigong routine, while performed standing is more of a nei dan routine and I was feeling the need for more external, more physical routine to keep the body lithe and strong. I learned Baduanjin from one of the Shaolin monks, though my memory may need some help - it was either Shi Decheng or Shi Xinghao back around 2004 or 2005 - Gene was there so he might remember better than me.

    Anyhow, the years have left me with questions on how to perform the routine - like the breathing during this technique... I realize the exercise can be performed in various ways, yielding different results. I'm convinced there are more RIGHT ways to do the technique than wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    There is no contraction of the muscles of the arms and shoulders which really defeats a lot of benefit from the exercise. ... ...
    This is another question of mine - there is a subtle balance necessary here - too much tension blocks the flow of Qi and creates stagnation, not enough tension and the exercise feels "empty". Personally, I like to emphasize tension at the end of the motion to emphasize the tendons and ligaments.

    Have either of you experimented much with varying the amount of tension used while executing the movements and what did you notice?

    Happy Friday,

    herb ox

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    Decheng & XingWEI

    Shaolin Warrior Monks Seminar
    The Tiger Claw Foundation supported two Shaolin Warrior Monks, Shi Decheng and Shi Xingwei, for three instructional seminars in Shaolin Basics (Jibengong) Shaolin Form (Tongbei) and Shaolin Internal Power (Baduanjin), February 27th and 28th, 2004, Fremont CA USA. In cooperation with Russbo.com, USAOmei.com and KungFuMagazine.com.


    When I'm feeling martial, I practice this movement like a Hung Gar Kiu Sau. When I'm not feeling as martial due to an injury, an illness, a hangover , or whatever, I practice it more softly. That's what I like most about the brocade - you can modify it to fit your daily needs.

    Qi is vital so qigong must be a vital practice. If it is locked into one rigid way of doing things, it stagnates. Of course, there's a caveat there in that there are definitely some wrong ways to practice. But the brocade is so widely practiced that there are so many variations, most of which all have their internal validity. Given so vast of an archive, your own practice can have a lot of plasticity.
    Gene Ching
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    Thanks, Gene

    I appreciate the memory reset, Gene. Wow it's hard to believe 11 years have already passed since that great seminar!

    The wheel keeps turning and it won't slow down...

    This movement is helping one of my clients restore function. He suffered some compression fractures of the thoracic vertebrae a few years back and has been in constant pain ever since. We've been working together for a few months now and he has improved significantly, with the ultimate goal of getting him back to one of his favorite pastimes - archery, which up to this point has been exquisitely painful to even draw the bow.

    When he told me he was an archer I immediately started thinking of some supportive exercises for him. Draw the bow... came to mind and he has been practicing daily for 3 weeks now. Last week he told me he felt confident enough to start planning a trip to the archery range near his home. I feel this exercise in particular helped him to not only mobilize the affected region but overcome the fear of re-injury.

    Good stuff, this qigong

    peace

    herb ox

  8. #8
    Greetings herb ox,

    There is no conscious tension. It happens as a result of drawing the bow. The elbow higher than the shoulder really kills that. I have done the set using embryonic/reverse breathing and found it to be a positive experience.

    It is the ego that really gets in the way. Just let it happen.

    Your client's condition may have been exacerbated by the muscular imbalance that drawing the bow on one side can do. The exercise gave his muscles a chance to balance out. While his condition has improved, would you consider teaching him the entire set?

    mickey

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    <zuǒyu lāgōng r sh diāo> As you pull the bow, exhale to end of movement then inhale as you bring back towards middle chest (shanzhong) then go to opposite side.
    I learnt a few versions of baduanjin but they all have elements per the routine and health of the practitioner. Follow the steps as you were taught and practice accordingly!

  10. #10
    Greetings mawali,

    Who exhales to draw a bow???? That is a real first for me.


    mickey

  11. #11
    I also learned to exhale during the pulling-the-bow motion, and inhale during the transition. Pulling the bow is the exertion part of the movement, and comes at the end of a cycle, so exhaling there is doubly natural.

    If you want to put more content or oomph into it, exhale while pulling with a slight (and increasing) effect like when a singing coach says "sing from your diaphragm" and let the feeling of energy or fullness that this creates inflate your limbs until you reach maximal extension. (You don't have to try to feel anything exotic, if it doesn't come by itself.) At maximal extension you end with a final nudging punctuation. Don't overdo it. It's not anything extra added, just the result of everything leading up to there. Immediately relax, moving like a cloud, and inhale naturally during the transition.

    The whole cycle is one large oscillatory movement; don't fixate on the "cool pose" at the end. There is increasing tension or muscle tone during the pulling movement, but it should be smoothly integrated and balanced against emptiness in the transition.

    My highly personal opinion is that it's not so much about working big muscles for strength, but balancing small muscle groups that control the areas around joints.

    High pulling elbow would seem obvious for this movement because that's common in archery, but exactly how high depends on what you want to accomplish, I guess. For example pulling with elbow above shoulder could be helpful if you make sure not to lift or push forward the shoulder at the same time. This activates a lot of things in the shoulder area and may help improve tracking and prevent dislocations (but this latter is just speculation).

    Thanks to H for the singing metaphor which I believe is exactly right.
    Last edited by rett2; 03-18-2015 at 05:03 AM.

  12. #12
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    Hey Team,

    Diao just means any bird of prey, in the villages I visited people used 'Diao' to refer to an Eagle as well.

    The reason the name is 'shoot the eagle' is to tell you something about the stance. Namely that you should be aiming the bow at the sky, not at mid level. Of all myriad versions of this form I have seen in SongShan the oldest masters tended to do it in the reverse gong bu, the fist on the rear hand is pressed hard against your chest, just above the nipple, with elbow in line with the 'arrow'. The open palm points slightly up. Imagine there is an opponent in front of you, you avoid his strike by leaning away from him and throw your palm towards his face to keep him away and cloud his vision, a very natural movement. So aim your palm about the level of someones face. Turn your body so you are 'Shun' that is completely side on, the hips are open in this gong bu not closed. In this gong bu you are inhaling like drawing the bow. Your body and head are tilted so there is a straight diagonal line from top of head to heel. There are extreme versions where you aim very high and lean the body to an extreme but this is a training variation rather than a standard.

    The Ma bu version is different and it is more common to exhale and with tension slowly. For this you would strike at mid level.

    So, both exist. I don't know which one is more correct historically or otherwise.

    In one village I saw the master doing this technique with a weight. He held a large stone pressed between his fist and his chest then would lean in this manner, then when he switched sides he would grab the stone with the other hand and press it against the other side of his chest and lean the other way.

  13. #13
    Greetings,

    herb ox, mawali, rett2 and RenDaHai: Does your transmission come from the current Songsan Shaolin Temple or is it pre 1949?


    mickey

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Greetings,

    herb ox, mawali, rett2 and RenDaHai: Does your transmission come from the current Songsan Shaolin Temple or is it pre 1949?


    mickey

    Hey Mickey,

    My transmission is not from the temple itself but from the surrounding villages. A few of my masters were very old and literally learned before 1949, but even with the younger teachers practicing the local style they maintain the tradition and don't mix their material with that of other clans. All are within the shadow of the mountain as it were and attribute their gong fu to Shaolin temple and JinNaLuo.

  15. #15
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    Are we going to do this for each of the 8 movements?

    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Who exhales to draw a bow???? That is a real first for me.
    Who sticks their pointer finger up to draw a bow?

    Quote Originally Posted by RenDaHai View Post
    Diao just means any bird of prey, in the villages I visited people used 'Diao' to refer to an Eagle as well.
    Indeed. It would be better translated as 'raptor' but most kids today would think of dinosaurs. Draw the bow and shoot the dinosaur is just too Fred Flintstone. The vulture is a raptor too.
    Gene Ching
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