Chapter 3: With a dragon like vertebrae, focus the center of gravity and spike the hair
After Tang Zichen had made Wang Chao demonstrate the “Lifting Yin Palm” and “Monkey Stealing the Peach” moves, she nodded her head, “Not bad, your posture is decent. Your usage of power and your center of gravity isn’t all that bad either. You have potential. come on then, I’ll show you a way to improve the power of your fists.”
“When fighting, one specialty will be good enough to serve you. When practicing, two specialties will be enough to defend you.”
Drawing a line on the ground, she had Wang Chao stand on both sides of the line with his legs.
With this line, his body was split in two.
Tang Zichen had Wang Chao stand straight with one arm at his rib while the other hand was raised evenly above him as if he was holding a bayonet in both hands.
“This line is the midway line where the vertebrae is. The vertebrae ends at the back of the head, while it starts at the tailbones. No matter what the martial art is, if it does not practice the vertebrae, it is useless.”
“Listen well, I want to say this once. Every single martial arts originated from Guoshu. If you don’t know this much, then you will never walk past the door to the martial art world.”
Hearing the grave tone in her voice, Wang Chao immediately concentrated on each one of her words as if afraid to miss even a single word of it.
“When it comes to martial arts, then there has to be one important word. ‘Qi’. This Qi is not the same meaning as breath, neither is it the air in the world.”
TL Note: Qi means air as well.
“When a person moves, they emit heat, and when it grows serious, sweat appears. This heat is Qi. This so called vital energy that humans use is that same heat.”
“But, a human has countless pores. When heat is made, it is expelled through those pores.”
“So it’s like that, this is Qi!” Wang Chao’s eyes lit up in understanding as if he had just awoken. “The Qi is extremely hot, so we have to sweat it out.”
“Correct, it’s like that.” Tang Zichen nodded her head, “The pores on the human body are like a wicker basket; it’s a wasted effort to try and contain the water since it will come out by itself. By the same logic, no matter how fiercely someone moves, the Qi will be exerted out of the body and become useless.”
“When exercising, preventing this Qi from escaping is the very basics of Guoshu as well as being quite deep at the same time. This is the way of Guoshu.”
“Qi is emitted through the pores. If one wants to keep the Qi, then at the most crucial moment, they must shut the pores.”
“How do you shut the pores?” Wang Chao asked in a hurried manner.
“Have you seen when an animal gets angry? Look at a cat or dog, when they grow angry, their entire fur all turns spiky. This is called exploding hair which is done after shutting the pores. Humanity works the same way. There are some times when people feel goosebumps where the hair stands up. This is also shutting the pores.”
Tang Zichen took out a towel and draped her beautiful black hair over it. Stepping away a single step, she spoke, “Take a look as I show my power.”
Walking towards a Chinese Ash tree, Tang Zichen suddenly spun around, “Pa!”. With a palm strike, her hand slammed against the tree.
Tang Zichen’s hair shot up straight away as if shocked by lightning before falling back down as before.
At the same time, a cracking sound could be heard as the Chinese Ash tree cracked in two starting from where the palm strike was before splitting in half.
From where Tang Zichen had stepped, the cement below her feet looked as if it had been crushed by an extreme amount of pressure.
“My….god….” Wang Chao had desperately wanted to swear, but he had swallowed his words so as to remain coherent.
“Haha, little idiot, this is what it means to use Hidden Jin. It is also called Neijing. You are still too far away from this. It is said that when a master of the Xingyi sect had practiced, he was able to step on the ground without a sound and yet each step was capable of shattering the ground. Hidden Jin is silent yet holds an extreme amount of power, hence why it is said to be ‘hidden’”.
Tang Zichen showed off her prickly hair once more.
“The ‘Qi’ I said before, using Hidden Jin, I can collect it and explode it outwards. Look at my hand.”
Extending her arm for Wang Chao to look, suddenly, her arm grew extremely wet from sweat.
“Little idiot, all of the sweat has been forced out.” Tang Zichen spoke to the amazed Wang Chao.
“Sis Chen, I was looking at your stance but I didn’t see any fierce swings, just how did you release so much strength?” Wang Chao asked curiously.
“Little idiot, when fighting, one must be calm. When one is rushed, then the internal heat will force too much sweat outwards for the body to deal with internally.
Tang Zichen continued to speak, “There is a mnemonic for this, an enemy is one you can set fire to. When a person is anxious, they immediately begin to sweat and lose all of their strength. But when a person sweats, it becomes useless to try and gather Qi. That is why Cheng Tinghua spoke that when fighting, you must focus it on your hand. When you start to emit heat, close off all of the pores on your body except for on your hand. Have you ever seen a high powered faucet before? It is the same concept.”
“When anxious, the entire body will sweat, this is the principle of ‘Intent and Qi”. But if you force the sweat from only the hands, then it is the principle of ‘Qi and Strength’.”
“Intent and Qi….Strength and Qi…so there was something like this…?” Wang Chao nodded his head. He had already lived for 16 years, but he had never heard of such a thing like this before.
“The posture I am going to teach you will allow you to control your pores. This is a true physical martial art stance.”
And so Tang Zichen had Wang Chao remain in the bayonet holding position.
“I taught you the horse stance last time to strengthen your legs and toes. Today, what I will teach you will strengthen your vertebrae as well as teach you how to control your pores. Pay close attention to where I point.”
Tang Zichen placed her finger at the part near the hindbrain of Wang Chao and inch by inch, she slowly started to push against the vertebrae. With each inch she went down, Wang Chao could feel his entire body and vertebrae being straightened.
At the same time, the vertebrae movement had caused both his skeleton and muscles to straighten as well. He could feel heat flowing from within his body before coming out as sweat.
Suddenly, Tang Zichen’s finger came to rest as his tailbone.
Wang Chao’s center of gravity began to focus at the end of his tailbone as if he was like a cat with its back arched. Goosebumps began to appear all over his body as the heat within his body began to rush outwards.
“Feel each joint of the vertebrae from your head to tailbone. Head, body, tail, the three parts of the body. This is called the three integrals of the body. An animal can use its tail to provide balance as well as for any fierce movements along with each of their hair popping up with ease. Since humans no longer have a tail, we cannot do the same thing.”
“The horse stance is to stand without a foundation like a horse, the three integrals is to stand without a foundation without a tail!”
“The center of gravity in the three integrals of the body is at your tailbone as like a cat with its tail stepped on. If you do not feel your hair exploding, then even if you stand like this for a hundred years, it will be useless.”
When Tang Zichen had been pushing against his vertebrae from his head to his tailbone, Wang Chao had felt as if he had just came out from the steaming room with his head all dizzy. But with the cold wind that just blew across him, he felt awake.
Wang Chao immediately told this sensation to sis Chen who nodded her head, “Not bad, this follows the same principle of taking a hot shower. When one takes a hot shower, they are surrounded by hot air which opens up the pores. The vital energy will gradually be leaked out of the body and so you begin to sweat.”
When the vital energy is siphoned away, people will react to them in different ways. Those with a weaker physique will instantly feel dizzy, have chest pains, or be short of breath. That is all because of the vital energy being siphoned away.
“But at that moment, when they step out of the hot shower and are hit with a cold wind, the human body will react to the stinging cold and develop goosebumps. Humans will regain their spirit and be awakened once more, thus preventing the vital energy from escaping the body.”
“This type of logic was figured out a long time ago from our predecessors which gave rise to a chant, ‘To refine essence into Qi is to bathe, to feel the Qi return is to feel the cold wind.”
“The vertebrae is the median of the human body and splits the body into two major parts. When the backbone gets exercise, then the entire body is exercised. When your entire body emits heat, then right when sweat is about to be produced, the vertebrae is the cause. The principle of acupuncture and moxibustion follows this same concept, but they use needles while the three integrals uses the vertebrae to stimulate the body. One focuses within, the other focuses on the outside.”
“A true expert does not sweat when he practices. It is only when killing someone should one sweat.”
After finishing up her explanation, she took out a heavy metal card from her pocket, “This is the posture of the three integrals. I’ve already explained the reasoning behind it; pushing the joints helps you grasp the fundamentals. Go back and practice by yourself. When winter break comes, come to the 18th building by Lake Tianxing and look for me.”
“Your sister has some things to take care of, so I can’t teach you right now.”
“Use this to get in.” Handing the card over to Wang Chao, Tang Zichen said, “The password is XXXXXXXXXX. With this card, you’ll be able to enter.”
“If you can show great progress with it, then find me and I’ll teach you something new. If you can’t, then throw away the card and don’t look for me.” Tang Zichen spoke seriously.
“Sis Chen, what is considered good progress?!” Wang Chao cried out with worry. After so much help from her, Wang Chao had already considered her as a bigger sister, so he couldn’t help but speak out in a hurry.
“When you can feel your temple swell a bit, that is when you can find me.”