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Qi Gong for violists


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I've been going to a qi gong group for several weeks and much to my disbelief, I have been playing pain free. So pain free, in fact, that I am embarrassed to admit that I am looking at longer violas. I was told without question a year ago that I'd never be able to play anything larger than a violin, so I feel pretty dopey about this whole process, but I'm darned grateful to be free of pain. I have that typical Western aversion to anything but taking pills, so if this is working it's a real blow to my feeble mind, but I'm not doing anything else different so I guess the qigong must be it.

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**** yeah! Welcome to the club. During finals/juries week I did about 30 minutes of qigong every morning and 30 minutes every night. Life was good, and the day after I got home a former high school teacher told me a looked "rested."

My playing's not really pain free, but it's a lot better than before qigong. My posture, especially with the neck and shoulders, probably benefitted the most. What form/style do you practice, and how often?

-Aman

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Just had to say ditto to your comments. I started some years ago in a more combat frame of mind, and now also for health, relaxation etc. It's helped in interpreting new music, and has done wonders for my tendonitis, and pre concert stress as well as Martial Arts and overall Life.

As far as styles, after TaiChi, and Shaolin forms, I sort of do my own thing.

However, I would definitely recommend Yan Xin Qigong to anyone.

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We do Yan Xin also, and I am in a pre-beginner group, so I do what I can at least twice a day for only a few minutes. I never fail to come from a group practice in a better frame of mind, and this shoulder thing is really incredible to me. It also seems to help me sleep (not during rehearsals, hopefully). Plus, there are some lovely people in my group.

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I practice a standing meditation posture which I hold for 1 hour. This posture, sometimes called the 'standing post' is one of many postures taken from a martial art called I-Chuan (or Yiquan) which utilizes stationary positions to build power and energy. After doing this for almost a year I feel it's made a big difference in my playing, especially in ease and comfort.

If I let more than a week go by without 'standing' my playing suffers.

[This message has been edited by gypsyfiddler (edited 06-06-2001).]

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Ah gypsyfiddler, you practice the San Ti Posture from Wang _____ (name? knew it once but forgot it) personalized version of Hsing I Chuan!

Did you get it via a student of his most illustrious student Kenichi Sawai, who called the art "Taika Ken"?

I find it interesting that the grandmaster of your style believed that standing in the San Ti posture cultivated ultimate skill in reflexes, battle power, and stamina.

Not everybody agreed with him, and such a technique doesn't work for me as well simply because I'm too hyperactive.

But there is no doubt to the efficacy of this technique, as even Yang Shao Jung (grandmaster of Yang Tai Chi) felt the same way.

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I'm looking in one of several of Jan Diepersloot's excellent books 'The Tao Of Yiquan: The Method Of Awareness In the Martial Arts' (volume 2 from the Warriors Of Stillness series). Actually Huang the posture that I practice isn't the Santi posture, but is a derivation of it. In the Santi posture one foot is placed in front of the other (about 2-3 feet apart) with the lead foot pointing straight ahead and the rear foot pointing at a 45 degree angle from the centerline. One arm is held low near the waist while the other is held straight out, though slightly bent, in front of the body.

In the posture I practice both feet are parallel to each other and are spaced between 1 and 2 feet. The arms are held as if I were holding a ball, or hugging a tree. The great Wang Xiangzhai, who was one of the founders of Yiquan called this posture the 'Universal Post Posture'.

You're absolutely correct when you say that Wang was originally a Hsing-I stylist.

It's interesting that you mention Kenichi Sawei because the book tells of their fateful meeting in 1939. Sawei, who was a fifth dan in Judo, and a ninth dan in Kenpo was thoroughly drubbed by Wang. Each time they made contact Sawei was bounced effortlessly. He was so impressed that he spent the next 12 years studying with Wang.

I've been practicing on my own for almost a year now, getting most of my info from the book mentioned above. However I hope to start lessons in the near future with a teacher in the Bay Area. There is more to the system - far more - than just the stationary postures.

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So it's the "Universal Post" posture, also practiced by scores of traditional style martial artists worldwide.

Because I myself am not a Xingyi stylist, I simply assumed that San Ti (Pi Chuan) was used. My error.

The reason I myself don't do "Universal Post" is because I feel as if the raised elbows leave me open to attack. I like to keep my ribs enclosed, as befits my Shaolin training.

I think another reason I don't do "Universal Post" is because my Auer training has me keeping my left elbow in while playing violin. Even though my right elbow is held high, I don't ever raise it above the level of the right wrist.

I've gotten so used to these violin postures that I don't like getting away from them in nonviolinistic pursuits.

In a way, I always keep myself "covered" even when I play violin.

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Thanks for the info Leland. I've never heard of Dr. Weng but would like to find out more about him as I'm always open for suggestions. At the moment I'm considering a man by the name of Master Cheuk Fung, who has a website at: http://www.yichuankungfu.com/ BTW please let me know where Dr. Weng teaches.

An interesting point Huang, and one that I've given considerable thought to. Namely, that the high elbows/arms position might be detrimental (or at least be counterproductive)to violin playing. There are other positions, at least in the aforesaid mentioned book where it shows different Masters, Wang included, holding their hands at various heights; from head height, to chest height, to waist height. Perhaps one of these lower hand/arm heights might be better suited for violin playing. I think I'm going to experiment with this for awhile, just to see where it leads me.

Of course I've thought about adapting it specifically to similate (or resemble) violin playing. Another idea!

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