GENTLE PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND CHI KUNG; TAIJI DANCE AND TAIJIQUAN
I have practiced the Eight Pieces of Brocade for more than three years. But just now when I performed Lifting the Sky, which is also found in the Eight Pieces of Brocade, I felt a lot of energy, more than what I had ever felt before. Why is it that I could feel so much energy just now, but could not feel any energy before although I did the same exercise?
— Matthew, USA
The eight exercises in the Eight Pieces of Brocade are the same as the first eight exercises in our Eighteen Lohan Hands. Lifting the Sky is the first of these exercises.
Although you have practiced Lifting the Sky and other exercises of the Eight Pieces of Brocade for more than three years, you have not felt any energy because you have practiced them as gentle physical exercise. Gentle physical exercise does not generate energy flow.
You felt a lot of energy just now by practicing Lifting the Sky because you practiced it as chi kung, or energy exercise. Chi kung generates energy flow.
Suppose you practice singing. Would you have the result of dancing? No, you won’t. (If you do, it is because you also have practiced dancing, it is not because of your singing practice.)
Similarly, if you practice gentle physical exercise, you would have the result of gentle physical exercise, you won’t have the result of chi kung. You only can have the result of chi kung if you practice chi kung.
A crucial result of practicing chi kung is to generate an energy flow. Just now you could feel a lot of energy because you practiced high-level chi kung. When you practiced the Eight Pieces of Brocade, you did not feel any energy because you practiced them as gentle physical exercise.
Most people can easily differentiate between singing and dancing because the outward forms of singing are different from the outward forms of dancing. But most people cannot differentiate between gentle physical exercise and chi kung because the outward forms of gentle physical exercise are the same as the outward forms of chi kung. Similarly, most people cannot differentiate between Taiji dance and genuine Taijiquan because their outward forms are the same.
You can perform Lifting the Sky as gentle physical exercise or as chi kung. The form is the same. You can also perform Grasping Sparrow’s Tail as Taiji dance or as genuine Taijiquan. The form is also the same.
But the results are different. If you practice Lifting the Sky as gentle physical exercise, you may loosen your muscles and joints. If you perform Lifting the Sky as chi kung, you can generate an energy flow which gives you good health, vitality and longevity.
If you perform Grasping Sparrow’s Tail as Taiji dance, you have a pleasing demonstration. If you perform Grasping Sparrow’s Tail as genuine Taijiquan, you develop internal force and combat efficiency.
The above is taken from Question 2 December 2013 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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