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Chan Yuan Gong (Zen Circles Practice)

         Chan Yuan Gong (Zen Circles) is a way of meditation for Shaolin Monks.  They are simultaneously practicing martial arts and meditation.  The monks call it WuShu Chan.  Ordinary meditation enthusiasts already have some understanding of traditional meditation methods.  So, how exactly is meditation accomplished during the martial arts movement of drawing circles?  Enter martial arts with Chan, using martial arts to make Chan obvious/observable.  This is the perfection of the Zen Circles.  In other words, Chan Yuan Gong is based on Zen Dharma thinking and meditation methods.  It is integrated into the martial arts movements.  Performing a series of circular movements displays the wisdom of Zen meditation.  Chan Yuan Gong (Zen Circles Practice) is guided by the method of Zen meditation.  Although it is practiced by drawing circles in the dynamic, the still/silent intention rests within the motion.  There is no arbitrary motion.  It is absolutely intended motion.  It is practiced in awareness in every moment, allowing every part of the body to be engaged in the movement as well as making the body and mind to unite inside and outside.  The body, Qi, and spirit are highly coordinated and unified, so as to cultivate awareness, increase wisdom.


         In terms of martial arts, Chan Yuan Gong can help practitioners in a short period of time to harmonize the body and mind inside and outside, be able to more effectively utilize the entire body to express power, as well as less readily produce internal friction.  This is because Chan Yuan Gong does not train gross force, local strength.  It trains the overall expressive power (of the entire body).  Thus, less easy to produce internal friction.  During the course of Zen Circle Training, it can continuously harmonize every muscle, every joint.  Every part of the entire body, top to bottom, inside and outside, can be trained to participate in the ability to exert force.  Thus, if the martial artist, in the course of practice, wants the movement to be smooth and unhindered, and get the overall strength, you cannot not talk about Chan Yuan Gong and you cannot NOT practice the circles!  Old-timers in the martial arts field often say that all movements in martial arts are circular movements, and the overall strength/power is produced in the motion of countless circles or arcs.  As the saying goes, no circles, no life; no circles, no change.  The circle is the key to the fluidity and many changes of the overall force.  Because only the movements with the circle can be expressed as things like: horizontal force, vertical force, straight force, spiral force, whip force, etc.  In addition, in the meeting of emptiness and form, the rise and fall, turning and folding kinds of yin yang changes, are also due to the fact that the circle can be more harmonious and unified.  So, whether in fast or slow movement, the overall energy is allowed to be continuous.


        In relation to meditation, Chan Yuan Gong, firstly, has the requirement:  “Practice in Awareness, Be aware In practice.”  In other words, it is a very good method to develop awareness.  For example, through practice, it allows us to know a truth.  You will say in surprise “I never thought of it!”  It turns out that any martial arts movement is inseparable from the word “circle” which is a variety of movement derived from the “S” form.  No matter how complicated the movement, it is to draw a circle inward, draw a circle outward, or simultaneously drawing both an inside circle and an outside circle.  It can be said that the “circle” is the mother of all forms.  This is the power of awareness.  So, after we understand this truth, many complex martial arts movements are easy to understand.  The practice of Chan Yuan Gong is to take the simple circle movement, repeatedly practice it, seriously practice it, intentionally practice it.  Then, you can develop concentration and continuous awareness.  During practice, try not to fall into delusions as much as possible.  (That is, don’t allow your attention to be pulled outward.)  Once you fall into it, use the methods of lifting your spirit and lifting your Qi to pull back your right mind and settle it down into the lower dantian.  Grasp this point.  This is the key to enter the Zen state.  This is the basic function of Chan Yuan Gong for meditation and martial arts.  If you stick to it at least half an hour every day, I believe that within half a year, the body and mind can be transformed from separate to integrated, thus opening the door to wisdom.

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