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What are the six harmonies? In the book written by Liang Shou-Yu and Dr Yang Jwing Ming, “Xing Yi Quan”, the six harmonies refer to certain elements of the body (the physical or externals) and the mind (the internals). And how these elements all need to unite and work in harmony for one’s movements to be effective in a fight.

The elements of the body are the pairing of the feet with the hands, the knees with the elbows and the hips with the shoulders. Sometimes called three externals or six, if counting the three of the lower body and the three of the upper body.

People generally speak of using the waist to generate momentum, to have powerful strikes. And would use the waist/hips to drive the blows through. Nonetheless, what generates even more power, is when the momentum is generated from the feet and then the feet drive the hips and waist, with the motion ending out of the hands.

Usually our eyes will see the turning motions of the waist and not pay attention to the feet. The entry point of the motion from the ground and up through the upper body before it exits out.

The mind or the internal aspect, is the unity of the emotions with what is translated at times as the wisdom mind/intent (the mental force). And as the emotions calm down, then the mind, emotions, intent, and all, can then sink to the ground. Allowing the release of tension downward and the already acting forces of the body to work in unison. This is done by not tensing the tendons, ligaments, and sinews. You do not fight gravity when you do this. From the “sinking” mentioned above, the upward force from the ground is generated.

Now this is from a physical point of view, the external. Now what manifest this, is the internal, referring to the mind.

When two opponents engage in a duel, it is the one who lacks or loses this unity within themselves that succumb to defeat, the one who remains constant or in harmony will win.

People if not born with any defect, physical or mental, usually have their Liu he united and harmony. It is with time as they grow up that they lose it. This loss is evident with growing mental stress and with lack physical suppleness or flexibility, as a child grows to become an adult. Of course, they are those who maintain certain of these aspects, through physical or mental activities.

The stress is stored in the body and manifested by having stiff joints, tight hamstrings and this highlights the necessity of stretching. Whereas a baby, has calm, relaxed joints and is pliable. This is the quality spoken of in Taijiquan classics when the refer to one being relaxed.

On a mental level, it is through the settling down and calming of the emotions of the mind, that the intent (the mental force) can gradually gain control of the body and thus unite the two, the body and the mind. Like most things in the universe, the two are intertwined and influence each other, and are only separated to be understood, but in the dynamics of life, the two are simultaneously interacting.

To note, the calming of the emotions is more of a taijiquan approach as with xing yi quan, it is said that one rouses their emotions in co-ordination with the mental force, still maintaining harmony. Like a tiger displaying its ferocity in hunting its prey.

With martial arts, we can see and experience how the mind can influence the brain and an alter it. Something that is a central theme in the book, “The Mind & The Brain, Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force”- (by Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley). This is something the ancient Daoists already knew.



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