Internal Arts IA

martial arts , health enrichment, development of consciousness

Formosa Neijia Insights on Kua article

Posted by Editor on July 27, 2006

At Formosa Neijia, Chessman 71 has posted a very insightful commentary on our post Function and Usage of the Kua. In his post Song kua, pt. 2, (July 24th, 2006 at 12:57 pm) (Taijiquan) he has identified core principles in Chen Zhonghua’s teaching. Here we will further consider Chessman 71’s perspective.

Chessman 71 grasped this central point and excerpted it:

“Kua is the joint responsible for transmission of power. The mistaken notion of dantian acting as the transmission should be amended, to recognize the primary role of kua. The dantian, ( in Tai Chi functional terms, not qigong usage), is defined as the area between the kua and the arm pit. This is one big ball. When this area turns you won’t see the kua turn. On the surface, you only see the area from the kua to arm pit turn. Therefore many people practice shoulder movement, turning dantian from the top. We must emphasize turning of the dantian from the bottom.”

He continued to note:
My primary Chen style teacher has said this many times. The kua, not the dantian, is responsible for the transmission of power. I also like how Joseph Chen separates talking about the dantian in functional versus qigong terms. Many people get used to this idea of the dantian in terms of qi, or cosmic energy production, etc. But that’s a dead-end IMO. Bringing the material back down to earth in terms of function is the way to go.

With this understanding Chessman 71 has recognized the main emphasis of the teaching of Chen Zhonghua, as handed down from Hong Junsheng. It is the “Practical Method”. In this emphasis, form is dictated by function. This was the great contribution of Hong, as he devised this approach to integrating the decades of teaching he received from Chen Fake. Chen Fake recognized this, as he encouraged Hong to take that approach.

Hong’s Practical Method is intended to be entirely systematic and scientific, without reliance on vague or mysterious concepts, so any student can achieve the results, only dependent on the amount of practice. The end result is the practical method we have today. The functionality and applicability of any technique in the form is the basis for its design. Therefor, if the kua is the area of consideration, it will require understanding of its “function and usage”, as Chen Zhonghua provided in this interview.

Now, to consider the point contained in the above excerpt:

“The dantian, ( in Tai Chi functional terms, not qigong usage), is defined as the area between the kua and the arm pit…. many people practice shoulder movement, turning dantian from the top. We must emphasize turning of the dantian from the bottom.”

The first part is definitely an expansive concept, beyond most teachers’ way of talking about “dantian”. When you study the circles as they are practiced in Hong’s method, the path of the circle truly applies this principle, as the unity of movement connects the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder, with the entire spinal center, from kua to throat. This enables connected peng throughout the entire path of movement. The stability of structure, and the centering of all upper body rotation around the spinal axis, is always maintained on the grounded platform of the lower body, communicating through the kua and then the dantian out to the upper body and limbs.

The second part distinguishes this process from the misconception, of shoulder movement or torso movement guiding the dantien. Hong’s teaching emphasizes the critical role of the kua to achieve real unity of movement employing the correct functional mechanics. This requires rotational movement of the kua, as opposed to horizontal side to side movement. Again, the requirement is for the upright centralized rotating spinal axis to be maintained on its solid foundation. The various kua rotations must be coordinated in a manner which can allow for this constant maintenance of proper structure and balance.

It is most gratifying for us to find that a reader such as Chessman71 has recognized such a crucial aspect of Hong’s teaching, and has appreciated its implications. We welcome any further comments and/or questions which might serve to explore the topic in greater depth. It is a well which will never run dry.

In future posts we will try to bring to light the practices which can help facilitate the physical capability for correct usage of the kua. Keep in mind, understanding the correct mechanics is only a starting point, to avoid wasting time with wrong mechanics. Then it requires lots (years) of diligent practice to develop the sensitivity, fluidity, coordination, and structural balance which allow for the “open kua”


One Response to “Formosa Neijia Insights on Kua article”

  1. chessman71 said

    Thanks for the nice comment. Looks like your blog is off to a good start and I look forward to your insights. The practical Chen method intrigues me.

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