Updated: Nov 4, 2022
This article is the third in my series outlining a curriculum for my Discover Yi Chuan program. In the first installment, "The Discovery Yi Chuan Journey" we looked at the Discover, Develop & Use phase/aspects of the program. In the second installment, 'The Core Practices of Discover Yi Chuan" we looked at how each those practices fit in developing and attuning the Integrated State to enhance our lifestyle.
In this article, we will begin looking at the core exercises included in the Discover Yi Chuan program and how they are used in various stages/aspects of training starting with Tree Wrestling.
Tree Wrestling is my quick start guide to Standing the State designed for both newbies and experienced practitioners looking to go deeper. As we see below the practice leverages our intent to help us gain conscious control over our structure. The feeling states we will induce in the various phase/aspects of Tree Wrestling become keys to unlock other parts of DYC. Furthermore, the 'Tree Wrestling Feeling' is something we will cultivate and refine as its presence indicates centrally balance whole-body tensegrity, a condition precedent for Integrated Strength.
Tree Wrestling Background
Tree Wrestling was born out of my frustration with Standing the State. For many years now, folks have reached out to me that having spent significant amounts of time practicing standing, with very little to show for it. When I examine their posture I see a collapsed frame with no expansion into the six surface, no inflation, no 'pung'. It irks me that sincere, dedicated practitioners get so little return on their investment.
My own early experiences with Standing the State were not good. First, I felt lost as to what to do and I would spend much of the time in my head, essentially trying to distract myself from the discomfort I was feeling. When I was in my body, it hurt. There were times when my shoulders ached so much it felt like they were tearing, my feet felt like they were on fire, I would shake and quake pouring out buckets of sweat.
Eventually I started to hear my Teacher and use my intent instead of will power. Using intent I learned to change the experience from the inside, to make my frame as they say. Gradually I was able to gather more and more conscious control over my structure and the practice became more and more enjoyable. These days I look forward to having a few minutes to get present, click in and charge up a bit. The key for me was to use my intention to keep my attention on the exercise, to keep my mind in my body.
Originally Tree Wrestling came later in my curriculum, preceded by a period of focusing on body requirements. You are probably familiar with many of these, gripping the toes, squeezing the knees, tucking the tailbone, reaching with the crown, etc. These requirements get us 'in the ball park' physiologically speaking and can be very helpful for newbies to the practice, but are generally old news to those who have been around this type of training.