A thousand repetitions of Jiazi will suddenly increase the strength of the practitioner.
Secret Texts of Meihua Quan
INTERNATIONAL MEIHUA QUAN FEDERATION
Jiazi practice leads to the transformation of the body
Secret Texts of Meihua Quan
The practice of Meihua Quan allows the body to move freely in space. The primary training routine is called “Jiazi” or frame; a complex geometric pattern called the four doors and eight directions. The practitioner must have a focused mind to improve his kinesthesis and sense of direction. Jiazi teaches practitioners a method of mental concentration, a solid form of meditation, similar to that of the Bodhidharma conception. The union of mind and body guide the methods of training.
Jiazi is the foundation upon which the practitioner of Meihua Quan builds his Kung Fu. The more solid and well-developed the foundation is, the more one will obtain results in martial art development. The Jiazi constitutes a very complex set of paths that combines static positions with a dynamic and fast work of fundamental steps.
In ancient times, Jiazi was practiced on poles placed into the ground with three different heights corresponding to the skill level. The practice involved a progressive difficulty path with highly muscular and psychomotor qualities. It required about one hundred poles in the field. From the late Qing period onwards, Meihua Quan started to be practiced on the ground, called Luodi Meihua Quan. The practice on the ground is rigorous, maintaining the feet and body positions and the directions in harmony with the training theory on the poles.
The practice of Jiazi emphasizes the concentration of Qi in the Dantien by building in a natural and unforced way a type of Qi that flows freely in the internal organs, improving their functioning. A beginner must practice Jiazi for three years. After this period, he will find himself in exceptional physical vigor due to external muscle development. Those muscles are more internal and more profound than in common sports disciplines (where one tends to associate the concept of physical strength with a state of hypertrophy of the external musculature) does not train.
The Jiazi comprises WU SHI (five force-figures) and XING BU (work of the legs in movement). It is a training routine formed by the symmetrical repetition of the five figures on both sides of the body and along the spatial lines of a complex topographic scheme called the “Eight directions and four doors.”
Xing Bu consists of three walking methods:
The execution of the five stances of Wu Shi involves a state of total immobility like the famous five sacred mountains of China. From one stance to the other, there are intermediate steps. They must be flowing, like the rushing and continuous water flow. The extremely “static” becomes extremely “dynamic,” the Yin becomes the Yang; the extremely dynamic returns to static, and the Yang changes to Yin. This endless motion and the succession of the seasons respect the theory of Yin-Yang and are in perfect harmony with the cycles of Nature. Practicing Wu Shi is like acquiring the awareness that the human body is nothing more than a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm of the universe itself, in a meaning similar to Taoist philosophy. Only a great awareness of the fusion with Nature itself and its adaptation to its principles will allow Qi’s natural and deep growth. This identification can allow the image of the five positions to become highly evocative towards the five elements.
In a complete session of Jiazi, all eight fundamental planar guidelines are practiced. The geometric pattern for Jiazi practice follows the “four doors” and “eight directions.” The four doors correspond to the four cardinal points and the eight directions to the Bagua diagram. The unusual peculiarities of Jiazi give the taolu, much more than in other styles of Wushu, a definite characteristic of uniqueness.
A form can evolve into a different taolu. The ability to perform various techniques to move from one figure to the next and even to change the fundamental steps means that, at least on a theoretical level, the Jiazi can never be the same as the previous one. The five stances, the static part of the training, develop in the eight directions. The change from one direction to the next uses the three methods of Xing Bu in a continuous alternation.
It is an alternation between “motion” and “static,” “isometric,” and “development of coordination skills” such as balance, motor coordination, and orientation skills and between Qigong. It catalyzes the internal energy Qi and develops movement skills, used at a more advanced level of study to move freely in any direction. Xing Bu training develops Bai fa, a method of swinging, Che fa, retreating, and Zha fa, a method of piercing.
The necessary skill in the practical use of Meihua Quan is to move freely and without fixed patterns, change quickly from a high position to a low position, retreat immediately after making a lightning attack on the opponent. A complete session of Jiazi is going through all 8 directions of the basic pattern of the four doors, remaining motionless in each static position for at least five full breaths should take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Jiazi can be practiced by several people simultaneously, even in huge groups. The practice can only be done by those practitioners who have already acquired the four doors. The training with more people is developed on a circular model, where the five positions are performed on the fundamental steps on the circumference.
During the training of Wu Shi in a group practice, a new element of attention is introduced because the first person to move, to change to the next position, causes the immediate reaction of the rest of the group: all they will quickly move to the next position. A movement performed with a variant that involves the approach of a practitioner towards the one facing him at the other end of the circle will force the latter to execute, suddenly and instinctively, a movement that distances him, to maintain a constant distance from the “opponent” and vice versa.
An element of interactivity is found in other styles of wushu only in the application exercises (duilian) but never in a taolu.
Group execution develops in practitioners a different state of awareness, such as that of being all cells of the same being that vibrate in unison, in a sort of process of catalyzing the Qi and individual and collective.