Declare war againt your own body!

by admin on 2013/09/30

In order to reach the level of taiji practice that integrates body and mind connection, you need to declare war against your own body. A dialogue between the mind and your own body must be initiated. After that, most of the work must be done by the body, not the mind.

—Master Chen Zhonghua at the New Hampshire workshop in Sept. 2013.

Do not believe your body does what you think it is doing! Your body has a mind of its own and is quite independent of you. It does what it wants and what it is used to.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos Hanson October 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I agree with that statement. In order to be successful, we have to learn how to move and align our body correctly. We can think about it all we want, but without actually working on the physical practice, we will get nowhere. But that is the standard, “you have to practice”, mantra.

The mind is required to guide the body through the process, but the body has to do the work. If the mind gets too involved, then we might get focused on the wrong thing, or on one thing for too long, or we might start to think we are doing it all correctly. I move through these different aspects all the time.

I think the mind/body conversation is like the teacher/student conversation. Master Chen watches me practice then moves on. Then he comes back and shows what he wants me to do and leaves again. He is the guide, but I have to do the work. My mind is the guide, but my body has to work. Even if I could spend everyday with Master Chen, there would be no value in him constantly watching and correcting me. We have to work through what we are taught. As Kelvin noted, “simply follow straight forward instructions”. Don’t get attached to what you think they mean. Just have a conversation with the body and practice to work it out.


Bruce Schaub October 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I like the idea of taking an almost militaristic approach ” declare war “. I think it’s necessary, to really fundamentally change conditioned patterns. When you look at how military’s re-imprint people, they use a combination of psychological and physical reconditioning. they use mainly physical means to recondition you mentally in actuality. they break you down and rebuild you to where you only do the job you are trained to do, you no longer have to think about it. You are trained to the point under extreme stresses, your new automatic conditioning takes over. If you have to take the time to think about it, you haven’t been sufficiently or successfully trained.

If you extend this analogy to the taiji body as a newly trained army, each body part has a particular function as it relates to the whole and only does it’s particular job, and doesn’t’ compete, or join in with other body parts functions. Imagine if you had an army where in battle all the archers dropped there bows and ran angrily toward the front line and tried to fight hand to hand. Or it the soldiers with spears at the front line dropped their weapons and the front line fell apart so the commander couldn’t’ employ the flanking strategy he had intended. Total chaos and breakdown of any type of cohesive structure would ensue, and there would have been no point in training individuals to do their jobs.

So we have to train our body parts, to the point where they have no mind of their own, and they only work within the confines of their designated areas and tasks. No matter how much stress or pressure they are forced to deal with, they only do their job. This takes a lot of physical and mental reconditioning, time spent plus correct training = gongfu…..

In the new “Circle Corrections Detail” video, Master Chen says this type of training is “anti-human”. To me this means it goes against everything we do and seek as humans. It’s the opposite of how we normally move and behave. Declare war on your regular human behavior and reverse everything. Be an “anti-human” and the Taiji will start to come out.


Kelvin Ho October 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Declaring war against the body is a figure of speech. To conquer the body is to make it do something it doesn’t want to do at this point.

We are fighting everyday against it as it is already programmed to do something different.


Hugo Ramiro October 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Agreed with everyone. Waging war is a reflection of our commitment. We do not understand words like “relax”, “flow”, “natural”. We have distorted all these meanings.
Personally I laugh when people say “go with the flow”. Only dead fish go with the flow.


Bruce Schaub October 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

One more thing I think is important to understand, related to this. Anti- human concept. I think this has a tendency to put people off, because they hear so much to the contrary. relax and be natural…. go along with….. This is the way towards decay and death. Master Chen posted a short piece on the site a while back about a lesson he got from Hong. ” This is not your natural ” Hong said. The concept we have in our mind of what is natural and good is not a taoist way, the taoist way is to reverse everything. The natural that we know is not what we are seeking but we follow it all day as if it was reality. the natural that we seek is ” not our natural ” (the one we are so comforted by) . We have no concept of the fundamental “nature” of things, so we have to grind away at our normal “human-ness” to gradually reveal it. To “declare war” on your self, I think, is to make a serious attempt to effect very fundamental changes, in our reality, and how we view and interact with ourselves. Martial training has a unique ability to bring out the human spirit, under the right type of guidance.

This post talks more about “natural”


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