In the teaching of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, many of us will have the same feeling that movements of Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey are hard to teach and learn. The most effective solution to this problem is to use auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching.
Meaning and functions of auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching
Auxiliary exercises are auxiliary exercises of a certain movement designed according to the required physical quality and athletic skills of this movement. They are used to help students learn complicated or difficult movements (referred to as “main movements” hereinafter in order to distinguish them from auxiliary movement). These exercises are meant to improve the physical quality and athletic skills through the practice of auxiliary movements so that students will learn and master the athletic techniques of main movements more efficiently and easily.
Part-by-part teaching is to reasonably divide a complicated into several parts according to its structure and then teach, demonstrate, and practice these parts one by one.
In the teaching of Health Qigong, we can effectively help students form a full understanding of the structures and details of complicated or different movements and thus help them master these movements more efficiently, if we can properly and reasonably combine auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching.
Here we will take as an example the teaching of the movements of Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing: First we divide Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey into T-stance Forward Springing and Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow according to the structure of this movement. Second, we design auxiliary exercises for the joint-by-joing worm-movement of the spine and upper limbs according to the technical key points of the T-stance Forward Springing movement, the anatomical physiological characteristics of the spine, and the part-by-part teaching method. Specific method:
1. Key points of different steps. (1) T-stance Forward Springing to Bow-step Front Tiger Claw—key points: The stride width of forward springing should be appropriate. During the movement of Bow-step Front Tiger Claw, the upper body should be straight and in the right position. Both arms should be basically straight (after both arms stretch forward with much strength, the elbow joints should be relaxed and dropped until they are slightly bent). Both hands should be placed at a distance equal to the width of shoulders and form the shapes of tiger claws. (2) Back Bow Backward-Drawing——key points: Move Zhiyang Acupoint (intersection point of the center line in the back and the linking line between the lower corners of both shoulder blades) until the body is slightly arched. At the same time drive the upper and lower vertebrae to move like worms. Then drive the shoulders and then the upper arms to move like worms until the movement reaches the fingers through all joints. (3) Bow-step Front Tiger Claw——key points: Move Zhiyang Acupoint upward until the body is slightly arched in the forward direction. Then return it to the original position. Continue to drive the upper and lower vertebrae and arms to move like worms. Finally switch back to the same posture as Bow-step Front Tiger Claw in Step (1).
2. Key points of teaching. (1) First perform the form-fixation exercises of Bow-step Front Tiger Claw and Back Bow Backward-Drawing (draw the back bow backward to the utmost) (this will last about 8 beats). Feel the muscles and joints of the body under these two different states. This will help students correct their movements and understand the correct way to fix their movements. (2) Keep the upper arms static and do some consecutive Back Bow Backward-Drawing exercises to feel the joint-by-joing worm-movement of the spine and the key points of the movement. (3) Do the worm-movement exercises of the upper limbs and feel the joint-by-joing worm-movement of the shoulder joints and upper arms driven by the shoulder blades and the key points of the movement. (4) Combine the exercises of (1), (2), and (3). It should also be noted that during the exercise of the entire auxiliary movements, the upper body should be kept in a relaxed state and the trainee should draw in the chest and abdomen and lower the shoulders and elbows while doing Back Bow Backward-Drawing. Given the correct exercise of the movements, the trainee will gradually feel numbness and distention in the fingers. These indicate that the strength and Qi has reached the finger tips.
Then we will divide Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow into Front Bow Obverse Leg Pressing and Hands-on-the-Ground Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow for the movement-fixation exercise: (1) First practice the Front Bow Obverse Leg Pressing movement (about 16 beats) and then perform the fixation of Hands-on-the-Ground Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow movement. (2) Check the movement during the movement-fixation exercise of Hands-on-the-Ground Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow to see if the upper body is shaped like a reverse bow and the distance between legs, the gravity center of the body, and the direction of the crotches are correct. Make adjustments if necessary and correct the incorrect movements. It should be specially noted that the shoulders must be aligned to the crotches. In other words, the linking lines between shoulders and crotches should be basically parallel to the ground.
Finally connect all the movements of Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey and perform a complete teaching and practicing activity. Be sure to properly connect these part-by-part movements to form one continuous movement. After this teaching and practicing process, students will quickly master and understand the key points of the movement of Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey. This method can achieve maximum results with little effort.
Application of auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching
To combine auxiliary exercises with part-by-part teaching, we should first decompose the movement according to its structure and then design auxiliary exercises according to the key points of the movement and the knowledge of autonomy and physiology. The following three methods are most frequently used:
1. Decomposition and design according to different parts of the body. This method is usually used when different parts of the body needs to perform different movements at the same time. For example, the movements of “Pulling back Tails of Nine Bulls” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing can be divided into three movements of the upper limbs, the lower limbs, and the trunk. Movements of the lower limbs can be divided into Bow Step and Back-sitting. These two parts can be used as fixation exercises with the piling method and be combined when the trainee respectively master both of them. The arm-bending and wrist-rotating movements of the upper limbs can be explained separately but practiced together. Then we can take the independent waist-rotating exercise of the trunk and combine it with Back-sitting Posture of the lower limbs in order to feel the key points of the movement in which the waist drives the crotches. Finally we combine all movements of the different parts of the entire body for an overall exercise in order to feel the key points of the movements in which the waist drives the shoulders and shoulders drive the arms.
2. Decomposition and design according to the sequence of movements. This method is suitable for movements that contain many steps and are suitable for decomposition according to their sequence. For example, “Crouching Tiger Spring on Prey” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing can be decomposed into T-stance Forward Springing to Tiger Claw and Hands-on-the-Ground Crouching-to-Reverse-Bow according to their sequence. Then we can design the auxiliary exercises according to the technical key points of the movements and the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the human body.
3. Decomposition and design according to the difficult parts of movements. This method is usually used for crucial technical movements or basic movements that are hard to decompose , such as “Star-picking Posture” and “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing. For such movements, we should pick out their difficult parts and design special auxiliary exercises for these parts. For example, we can do the auxiliary exercise of bow-step waist-rotation for “Star-picking Posture” (the key to this movement is to keep the lower body in the shape of a bow step, laterally raise both hands to the horizontal positions, and turn the upper body leftward and rightward. This exercise can also help students learn how to drive the shoulders with the waist and drive the arms with shoulders). Another example is the “Tiger Pouncing” in Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi. We can have an individual student lean on a fixed object or have two students press each other’s showers.
Matters to be noted in the application of auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching
1. Application of auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching should be in accordance with the actual conditions of students and the actual need during the learning of movements. In order to improve the quality of teaching, we do not have to use part-by-part teaching or auxiliary exercises for simple technical movements that are easy to master. But part-by-part teaching or auxiliary exercises provide good teaching effects for difficult technical movements that are hard to understand and master. It should also be noted that a certain technical movement may be easy for students of a certain level but seem quite difficult for students of another level. Therefore we must decide whether and how to use part-by-part teaching and auxiliary exercises according to the actual levels of students, the needs in the teaching of movements, and the conditions of the population learning Qigong (men, women, old people, children, healthy people, patients, and students with different physical quality and technical levels). In cases where part-by-part teaching and auxiliary exercises are adopted, we should also teach students in accordance with their aptitude and not enforce unity.
2. Base part-by-part teaching and auxiliary exercises on the structures and key points of main movements. Before learning a main movement, we should first analyze the structures and key points of this movement and select or design auxiliary exercises that provide the same effects as the main movement according to the technical key points, difficult points, and requirement physical quality of this main movement.
3. Auxiliary exercises should have clear targets. The purpose of auxiliary exercises is to improve the physical quality and technical level of students so that they are up to the requirements of the main movement. Therefore we should not do any irrelevant auxiliary exercise and the intensity of auxiliary exercises should be controlled so that they do not affect normal teaching.
To sum up, auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching in the teaching of Health Qigong will not only improve the physical quality and athletic skills of students but also effectively correct the mistakes in movements. It should be noted that: Auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching must be combined with correct demonstrations and explaining methods before they can provide good teaching effects. Practice has proved that reasonable and proper application of auxiliary exercises and part-by-part teaching play a very important role for the learning and understanding of complicated movements. They are usually crucial in the teaching of extremely difficult movements. (Cui Jian and Huang Caimei)
2009-03-22 16:47:00 Chinese Health Qigong Association