inner martial arts
When it comes to (inner) martial arts, most people think of fighting and rough violence, physical confrontation – they see how sheer physical strength overcomes the weak violently, possibly with some tricks or magical superhuman powers.
That is not at all what it is about. That’s not how we perceive things…
The aim of inner martial arts like Baghua Zhang or Taijiquan is and was through all times to propel spiritual development, growth and becoming, finding harmony and existence with the great and greater. In harmony and congruence with yourself, others, life and the world.
The aim has always been to become realized as a human being and not a better or invincible fighter. The way of this cultivation is inner work, work with(in) yourself.
In the understanding of Path of Dao, Inner-Martial-Art is first of all the INNER – being in contact, having access and a connection to our inner world, our inner state. It is important to take responsibility for inner conditions, processes and dynamics, to become aware of them in order to guide, regulate and transform them. Inner conflicts are unavoidable in life. They are normal. Opposites, head and belly, thinking and feeling, light and dark, expectation and reality, a Yin and a Yang who encounter carry creative but also destructive potential. Very often we FIGHT inner fights.
Eyes look but cannot see it
Ears listen but cannot hear it
Hands grasp but cannot touch it
Beyond the senses lies the great
Unity - invisible, inaudible, intangible
– Dao de Jing 14 –
Maybe we can run away on the outside, avoid facing the facts, but to our inner fights we are exposed as long as we live.
The question is: how can we deal with them? How can opposites find back to harmony again and unfold creative instead of destructive force? How can we stop fighting? How can we find inner peace and happiness?
It is about developing a consciousness for the fact that fights and struggles exist, on the inside as well as on the outside, and that every outer fight is as well an inner fight. How do we fight? How can we grow beyond?
At this point, the aspect of ART becomes important. Otherwise there would only be fight. But it says martial art, the art of fighting. Art is always about going beyond, transcending, a creative moment, a moment of formation. When I fight with myself, nobody wins. Art is going beyond; our skills are going beyond. The fighting and the fights stop. Peace emerges, an inner state of peace, coexistence, harmony and stillness.
Within the system of Path of Dao, exercises of Taijiquan and Bagua Zhang are supposed to enable us to do so. Cultivation of Qi and consciousness is the foundation built within our Qi Gong and stillness practice.
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“When it (the Qi) goes down it becomes quiet. When it becomes quiet it will concentrate. When it becomes concentrated it will begin to sprout. After it has sprouted it will grow. As it grows, it will rise up (to the upper regions). When it has risen up it will reach the crown of the head. Above, it will press against the crown of the head. Below, it will press downwards. Whoever follows this will live, whoever acts contrary to it will die.”
First document of “Dao Yin” - carved in two Jade stones about 600 b.C.
Meditation is not sitting still, Meditation is sitting in stillness – cultivation of stillness.
In modern times, traditional weapons are no longer known and in use. Weapons and their usage are often and mostly associated with violence and fighting. In Daoist teaching and practice the approach is a totally different one. Here, weapons and their usage play a superior and leading role.
Tai means the highest, the ultimate, the complete. Ji stands for a state of…, for principle, order or just for being. Put together we could say: a state of complete being. A principle of highest, ultimate order. Quan originally stands for fist and refers to martial arts in general, which are named Quanfa in Chinese. So, we are talking about the usage and skills of our hands. We talk about acting and action.