Taiji Power Secrets
We trained long hours in the Solo Form, Pushing Hands and Quick Fist, which he knew very well. He showed us a lot of the extra training and body conditioning methods Master Huang Xingxian had taught him in the early days, later giving us the medicines to heal the bruises. It was interesting to observe his own training methods. Each day as well as the Taiji (Chi), he trained other internal exercises and meditation. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he practiced Tibetan Buddhist meditation and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday he practiced Daoist meditation. On Sunday, as he said, he went swimming.
He had some special exercises Master Huang had taught him for accelerating the development of Jin (Ching) or Relaxed Elastic Energy. As he had sworn not to show these, he always locked himself in his room to practice them. Naturally I was curious, and my little prayers were answered when a Head Instructor from another of the Master's schools arrived to see me at this instructors's house one day. He suggested he take me for a drive in the country to see the pleasant scenery and I agreed. But the purpose of this excursion turned out to be quite different. This is the story he told me. A few years before, a friend of his, an old man, was travelling with the Master and at night he shared a room with him. He said to the Master: "More than 20 years I have been with you and you still have not taught me any secret internal methods of Taiji. Soon I will be dead. Please teach me something". The Master responded by teaching him an exercise not taught in the normal classes, under the condition that he tell nobody. It involved movement, breathing and a changing concentration of the mind, both in the sense of awareness and intention or Yi. The reader may think "Aha, a Taiji secret"; and so did I at the time. But I have a few stories like that. In each case it was the first time the person had dared to voice their request and the Master always gave them what they needed, which was sometimes also what they had asked for, so how can you call these secrets.
The old man in this story then went to a friend and taught him the method,
saying "I had to wait almost until my death for this but you are young
and I do not want you to have to wait so long". This head instructor
then expressed the same sentiments to myself adding that due to his present
state he was unable to make use of it for himself, but hoped that I would
be able to. The old man had told him that if you used this method for 3 years,
your Taiji Jing would increase ten fold, perhaps approaching that of Master
Huang's. I suspected this was a little exaggerated, and still think it is.
There was more to the Master's ability than power.
Practicing it for many years proved to myself that it certainly produced
results. It involves a combination of intensely concentrated will, special
breathing and secret physical movements. But acquiring these results still
required hard work. They were just produced more efficiently by this method.
I have seldom taught it because this increase in power is difficult to use
unless many other aspects of Taiji are worked on simultaneously. Only the
very dedicated have the time and energy for this. About 7 years good training
and daily practice of 2 to 3 hours, would be the requirement for this enhancing
procedure to be usefully applied. Also, unless a person has the right intention,
it is questionable whether we should help them increase their power so significantly.
That would be like in the old Chinese saying: `Giving wings to tigers'.
There was one man attending the Master's school who had practiced a lot of Gongfu and had strong Qi, but he had a troublesome nature. Every day the Master pushed hands with him. As a result the student became weaker and weaker until he barely had the energy to practice anymore at which stage he left. Afterwards Master Huang said that the man was too powerful for a `bad hat', so each time they practiced he took away some of the man's Qi (Chi) - clipped his wings you might say. It makes you wonder what else went on doesn't it. I must say that on many occasions we experienced the opposite to this Gongfu man.
Presumably this is why the Master restricted distribution of such `training methods', but this does not make them secrets. He distributed what people deserved, when they needed it. More power for everyone was not especially high on his list of priorities. After some years I left this basic power training behind me - as I had observed the Master himself do - in the never ending search for refinement. To have kept practising it would have locked me into its results thereby hampering future progress.