Week Ten Sessions Outline:
- Take a few moments to stand in a relaxed position, quiet your mind, relax your body, and slow and deepen your breath before you start into the qigong exercises
- This week we will apply our movement and energy awareness skills to fighting an imaginary opponent. You may want to spend some time practicing exercises from earlier weeks as a warm up, or alternatively you can go straight into imagining you have an invisible opponents (or several) and fighting this opponent using controlled and graceful movements with energy awareness. Spend as much time on this as you want to in each session
- End your sessions with some simple qigong self massage to help return your energy to your centre
There is a long history of applying qigong energy awareness to martial arts, taiji (also spelt tai chi) is one well known example of this, but many types of martial art use these principles in varying ways and at different stages of training. It makes sense to do this, as fighting really requires peak performance in order to be successful, and energy awareness is a fantastic tool for developing this level of performance.
Whether or not you are interested in martial arts, there is great value in you spending some time experimenting with energy awareness in this context. Due to its dynamic and often unpredictable nature, fighting often involves wide variation in patterns of movement. Practicing with this in mind will help you to explore and use types of movement which will benefit the health of your body that you otherwise may not have thought of. Also a fight is a stressful situation which can cause us to stiffen up and cause other problems in our bodies. If you are able to maintain the calm, relaxation, gracefulness and balance which allows energy to flow and awareness to occur throughout a fighting scenario, you will be better prepared to maintain that same calm, relaxation, gracefulness and balance through other stressful situations that may occur in your life.
A lot of the movements you have already practiced in this course can be used in a fighting context. The ‘Playing with Waves’ movements can be used to intercept, block, push away and strike. ‘Empty and Full’ and ‘Twist and Turn’ stepping will allow you to advance on an opponent or step around and evade them. ‘Stir the Mist’ movements can be used for knocking aside, dragging and pulling down, trapping and manipulating arms. ‘Playing with a Ball’ can be used for many of these same things and also combined fluidly with other movements to block, strike and evade at the same time. ‘Floating and Soaring’ can be used for kicking.
You can do a lot of fighting using just these movements and your imagination. You may also want to include some more overt fighting movements such as punches with a closed fist and kicks on different angles, and see if you can maintain energy awareness throughout these.