Doing Nothing. Just Stand.
Kim: The most difficult thing in (chi gong, zhan zhuang or yiquan) practice is to remain perfectly and yet effortlessly aware. To apply intent (yi), whether gentle or explosive, is momentary. Yi is started, it is kept and it is let go. This is yi.
We can compare this to any kind of concentration exercise and as anyone who has ever tried to keep one's focus (yi) on a single task for anything longer than few seconds, the various thoughts, ideas, memories and impressions make the mind distracted. This is also the case in yiquan. Although not all yiquan methods use this, typically an yiquan practitioner uses certain mental visualisations to learn about (1) the necessary correct alignment of the body, where the body is unified and joints are open and (2) to study the mechanics of well aligned body by applying gentle or forceful visualisations. This whole methodology is based on the principle of concentrated focus and being mindful of both the visualisations as well as sensations in the body.
For a long time in my own yiquan as well as meditation practice, I was interested to find the kind of ”basic mind” that is always present, always clear and never distracted. For a long time when I tried to stand zhan zhuang or sit in meditation without doing anything, without yi, I would sooner or later get distracted by different mental fluctuations. Then as my practice kept progressing, I started having longer and longer periods when this undistractable basic mind was there. This in turn made it possible to really ”just stand, doing nothing”. Little by little, I could just stand, without using yi, without getting distracted.
To me personally as I have been a ”spiritual seeker” as well as a martial artists since I was a child, it has been a great relief to finally, after decades of searching, lots of practice, study and experimentation, to be able to ”just stand” without getting distracted. I have met and studied with a number of yiquan, chi gong and tai chi teachers but it is very difficult to find a person who would be able to discuss this (which is why I began this thread here now, in case others have this issue too). Anyhow.
My inner martial art practice has been on and off as I realised pretty early on that if I wanted to find and establish this ”basic mind” in my practice, I would need to focus on meditation first, and then only after that take it into martial arts.
I don't actually feel like a ”martial artist” anymore, not for a long time because I don't have any interest in fighting or match skills, not really even push hands.