Songs of the Eight Postures

The Song of Peng

What is the meaning of Peng energy?
It is like the water supporting a moving boat.
First sink the ch’i to the tan-t’ien,
then hold the head as if suspended from above.
The entire body is filled with springlike energy,
opening and closing in a very quick moment.
Even if the opponent uses a thousand pounds of force,
he can be uprooted and made to float without difficulty.

The Song of Lu

What is the meaning of Lu energy?
Entice the opponent toward you by allowing him to advance,
lightly and nimbly follow his incoming force
without disconnecting and without resisting.
When his force reaches its farthest extent,
it will naturally become empty.
The opponent can then be let go or countered at will.
Maintain your central equilibrium
and your opponent cannot gain an advantage.

The Song of Chi

What is the meaning of Chi energy?
There are two aspects to its functional use:
The direct way is to go to meet the opponent
and attach gently in one movement.
The indirect way is to use the reaction force
like the rebound of a ball bouncing off a wall, or
a coin thrown on a drumhead,
bouncing off with a ringing sound.

The Song of An

What is the meaning of An energy?
When applied it is like flowing water.
The substantial is concealed in the insubstantial.
When the flow is swift it is difficult to resist.
Coming to a high place, it swells and fills the place up;
meeting a hollow it dives downward.
The waves rise and fall,
finding a hole they will surely surge in.

The Song of Ts’ai

What is the meaning of Ts’ai energy?
It is like the weight attached to the beam of a balance scale.
Give free play to the opponent’s force
no matter how heavy or light,
you will know how heavy or light it is after weighing it.
To push or pull requires only four ounces,
one thousand pounds can also be balanced.
If you ask what the principle is,
the answer is the function of the lever.

The Song of Lieh

What is the meaning of Lieh energy?
It revolves like a spinning disc.
If something is thrown onto it,
it will immediately be cast more than ten feet away.
Have you not seen a whirlpool form in a swift flowing stream?
The waves roll in spiraling currents.
If a falling leaf drops into it,
it will suddenly sink from sight.

The Song of Chou

What is the meaning of Chou energy?
Its method relates to the Five Elements.
Yin and Yang are divided above and below.
Insubstantiality and substantiality must be clearly distinguished.
Joined in unbroken continuity,
the opponent cannot resist the posture.
Its explosive pounding is especially fearsome.
When one has mastered the six kinds of energy,
the applications become unlimited.

The Song of K’ao

What is the meaning of K’ao energy?
Its method is divided into the shoulder and back technique.
In Diagonal Flying Posture use shoulder,
but within the shoulder technique
there is also some use of the back.
Once you have the opportunity and can take advantage of the posture,
the technique explodes like pounding a pestle.
Carefully maintain your own center.
Those who lose it will have no achievement.

Attributed to T’an Meng – Hsien as researched by Lee. N. Scheele

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Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk!

I once signed a sponsorship contract with a leading energy drink manufacturer. The representative kept saying “we want you to walk the walk and talk the talk”. His incessant use of a somewhat dated and cheesy line made him look all the more like the stimulant fuelled, career motivated, slightly confused individual he was, but all these years later his words still give me pause for thought.

In Tai Chi circles there is always talk of Yin and Yang. Awareness, sensitivity and change are the bedrock of the Classics. In business people recognise the need to evolve, develop and change to stay in touch with the market place. Yet when it comes to ourselves we invariably pay little heed to our behaviour and how it affects those around us.  We may be willing to talk the talk but more often than not we are reluctant to walk the walk.

The problem with walking the walk is that it is more tangible than the talking bit, it requires self-connection, introspection and regular reviews. Change has to come from within, the adage relating to a horse and water is always relevant to people. I can clearly remember things people have said to me in the past that have made me think about my behaviour on a deeper level:

You only ever practice what your good at – my sister when I was ten ish.

You’re always looking for the quick win – A friend/acquaintance when I was 21 ish

Your behaviour is not addressing the real issue – my wife when I was 28 ish

Strangely enough my current life circumstances seem informed by the above. I practice Judo, despite being in the GB Squad there is still an huge room for improvement. There are no short cuts to be had, marriage, kids and Judo all reflect clearly that you reap what you sow. As a family we have made life style decisions that are in line with our aspirations, the health and happiness of our children, enjoying our day to day lives which in turn creates a happy future.

I meditate, I listen and make decisions from the heart and gut. Listening and acting on what you hear are different things of course but if you listen you can then decide.

Life is constantly evolving, for some a challenge, distraction, stress or opportunity. Listening and acting are as easy or difficult as we wish to make them. The key thing to remember is that it is your life, if you learn to listen, trust and have confidence in your beliefs the world might become a happier place full of opportunity and wonder.