“Song” ~ 松

松 “Song” is translated into English as relax. But this meaning is generally regarded as incomplete.  It also can mean loosening, releasing tension, relaxed alertness. To my mind The state of Song is directly related to correct posture and structural alignment.

By realigning the body to attain and maintaining correct natural alignment of the skeleton several things result. Internal organs are able to function at their optimum. Secondly, correct natural alignment enables the skeleton to assume its job of supporting the body as it was designed to do. Consequently the ligaments, tendons, tissue and muscles of the body can also assume the particular job they were designed for, namely to support the skeleton and not expend additional energy or create unnecessary tensions.  If we can achieve and maintain this natural state, then we can allow the body to function naturally and optimally. In this state, we have a chance of achieving the state of Song from the inside out rather than superficially from the outside in.

Shifu Ron Goninan demonstrating the “Covering the Ground with the Golden Bells” embodying the 松 Song Concept.

Shifu Ron Goninan demonstrating the “Covering the Ground with the Golden Bells” embodying the 松 Song Concept.

We are told to be in a state of “Song” which has been mistranslated as to “relax”. So the early instructors did the whole form with even paced movements, slow and calm for the whole form. This is not yin and yang! Song actually means something like “moving without the conscious knowledge of movement”. It does not mean to completely relax,  we would fall on the ground if we were to do that. However, within this state of song, there must also be yin and yang balance without losing the “song”. So built into the White Crane Boxing we have movements that balance each other out by having both yin and yang movements.

We will be moving along calmly, slowly and in as a relaxed state as possible, then will come an energy release point in the form where we perform a movement or set of moves that are totally explosive. Not tense, but explosive still retaining the song ideal. Then we will be back instantly into the calm and the flowing movements, just like the great river or nature in general. The whole body must be relaxed, loose and open, so that the Qi vital energy, can pass through without blockage.

You must first rid yourself of the hindrances of external muscular force.   Loosen and relax the waist and legs; meditate on stilling the mind; accumulate the Qi and concentrate the spirit. Relaxation is not simply becoming limp.  There should be a quality of vitality about it.

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