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Combine Shen, Yi & Qi

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Kung Fu and Tai Chi is the practice of combining Shen, Yi and Qi.

Shen means spirit and it is consider the general. The spirit should be concentrated but relaxed. Our facial expressions should be calm and the expression of the eyes should be filled with energy but not intense.

Yi means mental intent or thought and it is the king. Your mental intent should be real but not too heavy. That is why in Tai Chi they say "use Yi not Li" or use mental intent (thought) and not power. When you use Yi (mental intent) your energy will flow smoothly throughout your body. In Kung Fu you use Yi to allow the techniques to flow and follow through. Only then your true power will manifest. Using too much Li (power) will make you rigid and disconnected. You must use your mental intent to lead your movement and coordinate your whole body. Only then will you have full body connection and real power.

Qi means our internal essence or energy. Internal energy is nourished by the food we eat the air we breathe, and by making the body Song, which means to relax and make the body sink and be loose. In Tai Chi we focus on relaxing the whole body to allow a strong root. In Kung Fu we focus on sinking our stances to establish a strong root. Both methods build Jing (internal force) in the legs for proper rooting.

The practice of forms help circulate the Shen (Spirit), Yi (Mental Intent) and Qi (internal energy). In Tai Chi the movements should be done slow, smooth and continuously while in Kung Fu the movements should be done fast, smooth and continuously. This will allow the Qi to circulate down to the legs and out to the hands. When practicing your forms you need to use your Yi (mental intent) to let the Qi move and circulate within the whole body. This will reinforce the tendons, bones, and skin, as it builds internal strength. Regular Kung Fu and Tai Chi training will improve your Qi and promote better health and vitality.

It is said that a decrease of physical and emotional tension resulting from regular Kung Fu and Tai Chi practice also stimulates certain areas of the brain responsible for controlling the body's immune system, thus promoting resistance to illness and infections. Clinical studies have shown that Tai Chi practice is effective in reducing high blood pressure and a host of other stress related ailments.

Kung Fu and Tai Chi teaches control over the breath, discipline over the mind, and awareness of the body, making the practice a holistic approach to health and life.

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