From a post on DragonDoor
Yes, I incorporate qigong into my training. My primary background is in CMA and as you stated power is cultivated via breathing, intent and fluidity.
I recognized later on that what is often discussed in TMA as relaxation is better stated as optimal ratio of relaxation:tension, and that optimal ratio different at different stages of motion. So, there are paradigms of fully tense and fully relaxed, and most movements resides in state of flux between the two.
The tension principles and techniques are useful to study, as are relaxation methods, as it gives your body a frame of reference to be able to move between the two.
The question to ask is WHEN to be tense and WHEN to be relaxed; how much of each at what times. I would never suggest that kettlebell lifting or weightlifting of any sort can develop the quality of power that intentful, coordinated movement will. Yet, I think KB training leads to purposeful movement much more readily than most forms of exercise, outside of IMA. At the highest level of KB practice, like MA, the transfer of power becomes more subtle and effortless.
I would say that most people do not have access to high quality MA instruction in the traditional sense, and so they adapt a very external approach to skill acquistion in the arts. In that context, if you are going to pursue a muscular-power based system of movement, which is 99.99% of the exiting systems, it is wise to study the techniques of tension and know when and how to apply them.
The pursuit of totally energy-based systems that do not depend upon muscular power but rather on breath/intent only moving through the frame; is so far out of the mainstream awareness that there is not an easy way to bridge the gap. Qigong as a general practice is the first step for most, be it tai chi or otherwise.
You might say that I walk between the 2 'worlds', and continue to investigate the same questions you ask. Perhaps a 'qigong lite' is yet to be discovered, developed, that like a multi-vitamin, can be taken in a daily dose and everyone will benefit.
I'm not going to attempt to speak for Pavel on the topics you bring up. I don't find contradictions in my own practice, other than the obvious needs to 'do more of this', or 'less of that'.
Soft can overcome hard, and hard can overcome soft. In most cases, hard will overcome soft; I find for most people, being strong and connected is sometime more effective self-defense than soft-only practitioners. When most hear 'soft' they think weak, and yet in most cases soft is weak.
I have a qigong and MA Master and he can throw me around the room effortlessly, and can do the same to anyone else, too. I know that if I want to do what he does, I have to practice what he teaches me. I don't look to weighttraining for answers about energy or MA.
I take what is useful from any particular system or teacher; I really like the kettlebells and I particularly like the girevoy sport because it pursues a very refined level of power transference which is uncommon to most activities.
You'll have to play around with the KB some and come up with your own ideas about what is harmonious and what conflicts with your MA practice. If you have a MA teacher I would not look outside of that for mechanical advise unless your current system proves to be incapable of answering your questions (via proof); chances are if you keep practicing you art, and get stronger simultaneously, you will be better equipped to use you art. It's that simple.
Thanks for your question.
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