A brief synopsis by Todd Plager
On November 19th and 20th 2005, Mr. Yan conducted a training camp at the Dania Beach Pier area. The topic was the Xing-yi Five Element Form. Mr. Yan explained that the camp would focus on the practical experience of this art form. To that end, two person exercises would play a significant role in the time we spent together.
On the first day the group started off with a set of warm-ups for all the major joints in the body. Next Mr. Yan spent some time discussing a small section of the External View of the Yellow Court Scripture. Here is the section (a short translation):
“Lao Tzu leisure living composed 7 words poems.
To explain how to free one from his own body and spirits.
Up there is huang ting and there is guan yuan down below.
There is a dark gate behind and there is ming men in front.
Breathing goes through the middle into the dantien.
The water from the jade pond fertilizes the clear root.
Whoever can practice carefully will enjoy long life.
Yellow court sage wears red clothing.
Guan Yuan like a bellows closed two sides of the gate.
Hold the dark gate and let the energy go higher and higher.
The jing and chi are very subtle in the dantien.
Clear water from jade pond will produce rich nutrients.
Clear root will be firm and strong and will never deteriorate.”
Mr. Yan explained that studying the Yellow Court Scripture is a good continuation of our study of (Daoist exercise) Red Palm training (taught in the two previous seminars). He further elaborated on the benefits of proper Wuji meditation and the tremendous health benefits that can be gained from this training. According to the guidelines laid out in the Yellow Court, systems such as Red Palm, Taijiquan and Xing-yi have the same foundation. In fact, these guidelines form the foundation for all Daoist exercise. It is so important that according to a poem by Chen Wang Ting (credited with synthesizing Chen Taijiquan) the Yellow Court Scripture is the only book he retained in his later years. The Yellow Court Scripture is training for the spiritual level – compared to the Yellow Emperors Internal Classic which focuses on Qi level Daoist health training. We followed the discussion with a half hour of Wuji meditation.
Following a short break, the group assembled for two person drills. Mr. Yan detailed the concepts of: centerline, body alignment, six harmonies, closing/opening and the importance of dropping the elbow. Mr. Yan divided every single Xing-yi movement into two parts: bear and eagle. While we practiced the drills it became apparent how important these concepts would be in real life combat. We switched partners every fifteen minutes in order to broaden the experience of the difference in people’s energy.
On the second day of the seminar, we again started with warm-ups and a half hour meditation. The next part of the seminar would focus on linking the various two person drills we had learned the previous day with different footwork and stances. These linked drills would constitute our practice of what is known as the Xing-yi Five Element Form.
The subject then turned to the history and deeper meaning of Five Element Philosophy and how it relates to our body. Mr. Yan used an acupoint chart and model to show us how the Five Element form works on certain acupoints along the Five Element Meridians.
The group also took some time for ACT level and certification testing. As many of the students practice their forms with an understanding of proper acupoint alignment it was no surprise to see fine demonstrations of form and principle. Our Third Level Test is comprised of being able to maintain structure and alignment while taking a straight single direction push from someone not more than the participant’s body weight plus 50%. Many in the group have gained the skill that one usually sees only in a “master’s demonstration”.