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The Third Stage of Hsing-I Chuan

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Posted (edited)

Hsing-I Chuan is one of the acknowledged internal martial arts and is sometimes called Mind-Body Boxing or Mind-Body Pugilism. There are three stages of development in this art.

1) Muscle Building

In this stage, the practitioner learns the postures and stances and works on developing and refining muscular tissue. He becomes aware of the direct relationship the body has with gravity in terms of mass and weight and force vectors - this is similar to most exacting physical regimens. The mind is trained concurrently by sharpening the focus it requires to make fluid. continuous and deliberate motions with the body. Basic breathing methods are learned which streamline energy consumption and usage. This stage requires an instructor, someone who has gone through the basics and is now at or beyond the second stage. There is more concentration on the internal state of the practitioner than on others around him. This is the science stage as efficiency and economy are the requisites for the next stage.

2) Sinew Changing

This stage involves working on the nerveless connective tissue that bind the muscles to the skeletal structure. Muscle mass usually decreases at this stage as more sinew is formed, making the limbs taut like a wound-up spring. More advanced breathing exercises are learned, such as reverse breathing. The individual postures and movements are joined through the forms of movement. Perception is enhanced through the practice of focussing and staying in peripheral vision. The mind is quieted of all activities unrelated to the physical movements. This is the art stage as absolute awareness and perception of the environment are the requisites for the next stage.

3) Marrow Washing

This stage can only be achieved by consistent application and practice of the second stage. This is the mystery stage and the experience is different for every practitioner. It jars and 'kneads' or 'massages' the skeletal structure to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more efficient blood cells, the energy carriers of the body. In most cases, this stage is rarely entered except in dire physical circumstances, such as the threat of imminent personal harm or death. However, through moving meditation, the practitioner can evoke this stage intentionally after sufficient practice. This is a formless stage, meaning adherence to the forms is not as critical as in the earlier stages. New schools of thought about the art are spontaneously developed here.

I can only give some examples of third stage pugilism from my own personal experience. There are times when I feel or hear a snap in my upper neck and others I view begin to seem to move in slow motion. My teacher once told me the snap is caused by the pineal and pituitary glands vibrating and releasing copious amounts of hormones into the bloodstream, though I have never seen physical evidence of his claims. However, the results are spectacular and undeniable. When it occurs in private practice, I find myself linking forms and movements in novel and spontaneous ways because, technically, there are no forms or movements but simply the union of mind, body and my will or intent; I intend something with my mind and the body executes the movements without hindrance.

I started practicing when I called myself a Taoist at the age of 14. It was taught to me by an aging Japanese who, for the surprise of me, was a master of a Chinese art. I have been practicing daily for 44 years now.

Edited by TheOctarineMage

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I started this topic because I am curious to hear of any similar experiences by practitioners of philosophy. I figure the first stage is learning logic and the tools necessary for the practice. The second stage involves practicing it with others. The third stage? You tell me. I would have loved to talk with Wittgenstein about his experiences.

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Hsing-I Chuan is one of the acknowledged internal martial arts and is sometimes called Mind-Body Boxing or Mind-Body Pugilism. There are three stages of development in this art.

1) Muscle Building

In this stage, the practitioner learns the postures and stances and works on developing and refining muscular tissue. He becomes aware of the direct relationship the body has with gravity in terms of mass and weight and force vectors - this is similar to most exacting physical regimens. The mind is trained concurrently by sharpening the focus it requires to make fluid. continuous and deliberate motions with the body. Basic breathing methods are learned which streamline energy consumption and usage. This stage requires an instructor, someone who has gone through the basics and is now at or beyond the second stage. There is more concentration on the internal state of the practitioner than on others around him. This is the science stage as efficiency and economy are the requisites for the next stage.

2) Sinew Changing

This stage involves working on the nerveless connective tissue that bind the muscles to the skeletal structure. Muscle mass usually decreases at this stage as more sinew is formed, making the limbs taut like a wound-up spring. More advanced breathing exercises are learned, such as reverse breathing. The individual postures and movements are joined through the forms of movement. Perception is enhanced through the practice of focussing and staying in peripheral vision. The mind is quieted of all activities unrelated to the physical movements. This is the art stage as absolute awareness and perception of the environment are the requisites for the next stage.

3) Marrow Washing

This stage can only be achieved by consistent application and practice of the second stage. This is the mystery stage and the experience is different for every practitioner. It jars and 'kneads' or 'massages' the skeletal structure to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more efficient blood cells, the energy carriers of the body. In most cases, this stage is rarely entered except in dire physical circumstances, such as the threat of imminent personal harm or death. However, through moving meditation, the practitioner can evoke this stage intentionally after sufficient practice. This is a formless stage, meaning adherence to the forms is not as critical as in the earlier stages. New schools of thought about the art are spontaneously developed here.

I can only give some examples of third stage pugilism from my own personal experience. There are times when I feel or hear a snap in my upper neck and others I view begin to seem to move in slow motion. My teacher once told me the snap is caused by the pineal and pituitary glands vibrating and releasing copious amounts of hormones into the bloodstream, though I have never seen physical evidence of his claims. However, the results are spectacular and undeniable. When it occurs in private practice, I find myself linking forms and movements in novel and spontaneous ways because, technically, there are no forms or movements but simply the union of mind, body and my will or intent; I intend something with my mind and the body executes the movements without hindrance.

I started practicing when I called myself a Taoist at the age of 14. It was taught to me by an aging Japanese who, for the surprise of me, was a master of a Chinese art. I have been practicing daily for 44 years now.

I am curious; how exactly does Hsing-I Chuan build up the muscles? If you could give some examples of muscle-building exercises or regimes found in Hsing-I Chuan, along with a scientific explanation -well, scientificish- of how these exercises and regimens work to increase muscle size, that would be lovely, thanks.

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Wow, did you have to quote the whole thing, lol? Anyway, I will go out on the limb here and assume when you say 'muscle building' you mean it in an entirely different context that I do. No, it doesn't involve building muscle mass as a body builder would, though some teachers do advocate that since the muscle mass is eventually slowly replaced by sinew in the later stage. My teacher had me climb coconut trees and toss the fruits as far as I could after I got them down, but I think he was just messing with me. It's more in the holding the poses over a length of time and in doing the forms and continuous movements on varying terrains such as on sand or in water. No pushups, jumping jacks, or the like. The regular forms in the beginning are very, very strenuous and demand a lot of energy. It was after my stamina was built up sufficiently before I was taught to link the forms in sets.

I don't know what you are alluding to when you say 'scientific'. It has to be scientific because otherwise you cannot see the validity of the practice, is that it? Like the man who said, "I will not walk over yonder mountain to see this wondrous thing you claim unless you can prove it to me right now and right here." Well, the arts have progressed far beyond mysticism and parlor tricks. Is that what you meant? Science is indeed great and repeatedly verifiable. How could anyone deny incorporating that into their art?

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Posted (edited)

Wow, did you have to quote the whole thing, lol? Anyway, I will go out on the limb here and assume when you say 'muscle building' you mean it in an entirely different context that I do. No, it doesn't involve building muscle mass as a body builder would, though some teachers do advocate that since the muscle mass is eventually slowly replaced by sinew in the later stage. My teacher had me climb coconut trees and toss the fruits as far as I could after I got them down, but I think he was just messing with me. It's more in the holding the poses over a length of time and in doing the forms and continuous movements on varying terrains such as on sand or in water. No pushups, jumping jacks, or the like. The regular forms in the beginning are very, very strenuous and demand a lot of energy. It was after my stamina was built up sufficiently before I was taught to link the forms in sets.

I don't know what you are alluding to when you say 'scientific'. It has to be scientific because otherwise you cannot see the validity of the practice, is that it? Like the man who said, "I will not walk over yonder mountain to see this wondrous thing you claim unless you can prove it to me right now and right here." Well, the arts have progressed far beyond mysticism and parlor tricks. Is that what you meant? Science is indeed great and repeatedly verifiable. How could anyone deny incorporating that into their art?

So, what you're saying is that Hsing-I Chuan activates muscular hypertrophy by use of isometric exercise (of which there are considerable disadvantages) and the practise of forms? You didn't explain how any of this builds muscle. I didn't ask for a scientificish explanation to extol the virtues of science, but because I wanted to know if you had any understanding of human physiology.

Mind you, as regards the isometric exercise, I am merely assuming that's what it is; what you describe could also be a form of yoga or pilates, in which case your claim that it is an effective means of increasing muscle size leads me to say :wtf:

As regards the forms, excuse me for being skeptical, but I have practised several styles of kung fu in my time, and my sifus made claims regarding the practise of various forms and their effect on various aspects of fitness, such as strength, power, speed, flexibility, the strengthening of connective tissues, etc. A study of the forms showed that these sifus had almost no understanding of human physiology. For example, the "hard shocking blows" of the Dragon style (against mid air, therefore against no resistance) were supposed to increase strength.

P.S. Nobody else has replied to the thread, because you haven't really given them an incentive to; all you've done is advertise a style of kung fu. What are people supposed to say in response? That sounds good, I'll try it? Tried it, not for me? Most of the people here probably don't even care how good one thinks their favourite style of martial arts is.

Edited by DaveT

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BTW, shouldn't this be in the Play forum?

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Posted (edited)

So, what you're saying is that Hsing-I Chuan activates muscular hypertrophy by use of isometric exercise (of which there are considerable disadvantages) and the practise of forms? You didn't explain how any of this builds muscle. I didn't ask for a scientificish explanation to extol the virtues of science, but because I wanted to know if you had any understanding of human physiology.

I guess 'Muscle Building' is a misnomer here, but that's what the tradition uses so I used it. Actually, it's both muscular hyperplasia and some measure of hypertrophy as one can expect from doing a physical exercise that works muscles. I didn't know you were a physiologist.

Mind you, as regards the isometric exercise, I am merely assuming that's what it is; what you describe could also be a form of yoga or pilates, in which case your claim that it is an effective means of increasing muscle size leads me to say :wtf:

No, muscle size does increase but not in the dramatic sense you seem to expect of the phrase. I've studied and practiced yoga, shiatsu, rolfing, Alexander technique, and other 'pseudo-sciences' (as you no doubt will call them).

As regards the forms, excuse me for being skeptical, but I have practised several styles of kung fu in my time, and my sifus made claims regarding the practise of various forms and their effect on various aspects of fitness, such as strength, power, speed, flexibility, the strengthening of connective tissues, etc. A study of the forms showed that these sifus had almost no understanding of human physiology. For example, the "hard shocking blows" of the Dragon style (against mid air, therefore against no resistance) were supposed to increase strength.

That says nothing but that you're experiences with the art and with your teachers were a dismal failure. If you really knew all that at the time of your participation, you should have quit and sought instructors who could have explained (and demonstrated) them in the parlance you expect. But apparently you persisted. All you seem to have cultivated is skepticism and a critical nature. Not a fair exchange if you ask me.

P.S. Nobody else has replied to the thread, because you haven't really given them an incentive to; all you've done is advertise a style of kung fu. What are people supposed to say in response? That sounds good, I'll try it? Tried it, not for me? Most of the people here probably don't even care how good one thinks their favourite style of martial arts is.

Finally, we get to the gist of the matter. I'm sorry if it seems I was advertising. That was not my intent. If you would put aside your pretensions and preconceptions, you'll see that I am asking if anyone has had similar experiences. The exposition of one's knowledge and achievements almost always appears self-promotional. That's a limitation of language and our understanding of it, I think.

Yes, you tried it and it was not for you. Again your preconceptions and expectations about the arts betrayed you and they were doomed by you before you had even started. It happens. Get over it.

I have other discussions with you before, David, and if anything, you are very dogmatic about the way you practice philosophy. You use science as a personal shield. You have become less charitable and open-minded over the years it seems, another consequence of the garbage you fill your mind with. You are not the one I intended to aim this at as you have not been alive long enough nor practiced philosophy long enough to be a master at it.

And so, I state clearly, I hope: if you who reads this has had any similar 'third stage' experiences, I would like to hear about them. If you would rather not share the experiences on an open forum, please email or message me.

Why should it be in the 'Play' forum? It says here 'Create', so I created an article. Please move it if you think that is best. Oh, and please stop quoting the whole article. You have made it unpleasant enough without more antics.

Edited by TheOctarineMage

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I guess 'Muscle Building' is a misnomer here, but that's what the tradition uses so I used it. Actually, it's both muscular hyperplasia and some measure of hypertrophy as one can expect from doing a physical exercise that works muscles. I didn't know you were a physiologist.

Without using methods of investigation that allow one to determine the cross-sectional size of muscle fibres in various parts of the body, how do you know whether it's hypertrophy or hyperplasia?

No, muscle size does increase but not in the dramatic sense you seem to expect of the phrase. I've studied and practiced yoga, shiatsu, rolfing, Alexander technique, and other 'pseudo-sciences' (as you no doubt will call them).

Making assumptions about me already, I see. Tut tut. Shame on you. As regards your first sentence, you're really just saying, "Yoga, Hsing-I Chuan, pilates (or whatever) does increase muscle size, but only to a limited degree." IOW, even if it does increase muscle size, it's hardly the most effective means of doing so.

BTW, I am glad that you didn't, as I've seen a lot of yoga and pilates practitioners do, try to tell me that while weight-training builds short, bulky, ugly, useless, slow, stiff muscles, Hsing-I Chuan builds long, lean muscles that are both strong and flexible. Whenever a yogi or a pilates practitioner says, "Pilates/yoga builds sleek, elongated muscles," I shake my head, often like this :nono: and sometimes like this :shakehead: .

That says nothing but that you're experiences with the art and with your teachers were a dismal failure. If you really knew all that at the time of your participation, you should have quit and sought instructors who could have explained (and demonstrated) them in the parlance you expect. But apparently you persisted. All you seem to have cultivated is skepticism and a critical nature. Not a fair exchange if you ask me.

Well, no, actually. What it shows is that I, somebody with a decent understanding of human physiology and fitness, studied various forms of kung fu, and found many of the claims made by various sifus to be contradictory to what I knew to be true through study, research, and experience. Again, you are making assumptions against me, rather than attempting to provide any arguments or defend your own claims.

Finally, we get to the gist of the matter. I'm sorry if it seems I was advertising. That was not my intent. If you would put aside your pretensions and preconceptions, you'll see that I am asking if anyone has had similar experiences. The exposition of one's knowledge and achievements almost always appears self-promotional. That's a limitation of language and our understanding of it, I think.

Yes, you tried it and it was not for you. Again your preconceptions and expectations about the arts betrayed you and they were doomed by you before you had even started. It happens. Get over it.

Are you going to bring your theory that everything everybody says is based on pretension and prejudice into every thread you enter or start? I have given no indication that I had any preconceptions or expectations about the arts that we are discussing, and my posts suggest that I made my mind up after studying them and comparing the claims made to what I know to be true as regards the human body and fitness.

I have other discussions with you before, David, and if anything, you are very dogmatic about the way you practice philosophy. You use science as a personal shield. You have become less charitable and open-minded over the years it seems, another consequence of the garbage you fill your mind with.

Before you started this thread, we had never held a single discussion. I think you have me confused with somebody else. I am sure you are aware that Dave/David is an extremely common name. Perhaps you think I am davidm. If you truly believe that, look around the forum, and you will see that davidm and I are two different posters. If, after that, you still think we are the same person, report me as a sock to one of the administrators.

You are not the one I intended to aim this at as you have not been alive long enough nor practiced philosophy long enough to be a master at it.

Right, so a person must have been alive for so many years before they can be said to have mastered something? Age = experience = knowledge, so an older person will be cleverer than a younger person, just by being older, right? As was written in a popular sci-fi TV series, some men live for five years in sixty, and some live for sixty years in five. Would you refuse to listen to the music of Mozart, because he composed it all before he was even forty (which would mean, according to your logic as regards age and mastering something, that he could not possibly have been a master of music)? Should Plato's The Republic have been ignored and forgotten, because it was written when he was only 43?

Why should it be in the 'Play' forum? It says here 'Create', so I created an article. Please move it if you think that is best.

By that logic, everything should go in the Create forum. It means "create" as in creativity; it's for discussion of art, crafts, building, etc. The Play forum is for discussion of sport, exercise, hobbies, etc. Hsing-I Chuan is a form of exercise and a hobby of yours.

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I have other discussions with you before, David...

You've never spoken with DaveT before. Are you referring to me?

... and if anything, you are very dogmatic about the way you practice philosophy.

:lol:

Let's see, you drop in here what, once every five years? To insult people?

You use science as a personal shield.

:blink:

You have become less charitable and open-minded over the years it seems, another consequence of the garbage you fill your mind with.

You know, I recall you being here in the past, but don't actually remember a single conversation with you. Yet you have such a long memory you know that I am uncharitable, close-minded and fill my mind with garbage. Wow, you are full of remarkable insights, aren't you?

You are not the one I intended to aim this at as you have not been alive long enough nor practiced philosophy long enough to be a master at it.

:point:

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Basic breathing methods are learned

A friend of mine once declined the offer to be taught these methods. He quickly changed his mind when he asphyxiated.

More advanced breathing exercises are learned, such as reverse breathing.

Which is always a massive relief when you've been holding your breath for 5 months because 'breathing out' is considered an advanced technique.

The individual postures and movements are joined through the forms of movement.

IOW, first you learn to do fuck-all, then you learn to move about a bit.

Perception is enhanced through the practice of focussing and staying in peripheral vision. The mind is quieted of all activities unrelated to the physical movements.

Unlike every sport in the world where you get taught to shut your eyes and let everything distract you.

This is the art stage as absolute awareness and perception of the environment are the requisites for the next stage.

Thus you discriminate against the visually impaired.

It jars and 'kneads' or 'massages' the skeletal structure to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more efficient blood cells

Piss off!

There are times when I feel or hear a snap in my upper neck and others I view begin to seem to move in slow motion. My teacher once told me the snap is caused by the pineal and pituitary glands vibrating and releasing copious amounts of hormones into the bloodstream,

He lied.

I have never seen physical evidence of his claims

That's right, you have not.

When it occurs in private practice, I find myself linking forms and movements in novel and spontaneous ways because, technically, there are no forms or movements but simply the union of mind, body and my will or intent; I intend something with my mind and the body executes the movements without hindrance.

IOW, you make shit up and move about without putting any thought into what you're doing.

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