It doesn't matter how many movements you can perform or how many internal tai chi forms you know. If you haven't got 'connectivity', you haven't got anything.
The whole foundation upon which we base our fighting/healing systems is in this connection between outer and inner, or the external movement and the internal movement of Qi. This doesn't mean that we should look at the old classic sayings of for instance 'you must move like the great river' and then try to act like we are a river flowing on etc. It means that we BECOME the river at a sub-conscious level. We no longer have to think about connecting because when we TRY to connect, we have lost it already. Think, and it is gone is one of the sayings of my main teacher which I have kept all these years.
We get connectivity from simply doing the internal tai chi movements over and over and by taking into our mind's eye, those movements done by our teacher. You should not try to take in each tiny part of the movement, but rather take in the movement as a whole using your 'eagle vision'. All of the different ways that we can perform either the Internal Tai Chi or Bagua forms are simply manifestations of this connectivity and it truly is a wonderful thing. Your arms will move in accordance with your internal Qi moving, your hands, legs and torso all move as they should automatically when we have this connection.
It begins with absolutely no tension in the arms as they swing to and fro, up and down, in and out. Moving because the waist causes them to move. You will feel a rush of blood into the arms because that is where the Qi is gathering. The arms will roll and fall in accordance with 'Rolling Thunder' and you will be moving like a 'rock'. Sounds strange, but that is how my main teacher put it as we have the stillness of the rock but also the movement of the rock when it is thrown into the great flowing river. You will feel the Qi rising and falling as you move. However, if you think upon this, you will lose it instantly.
How do you know when you have this internal tai chi connectivity?
It's not just a relaxed feeling as relax is NOT internal Tai Chi or Bagua! It is a feeling of wellbeing and energy, life! You will feel like you have just had a cup of the strongest Turkish coffee and will be firing, getting on with things that need to be done. People around you will notice something different, some 'glow' or magnetism etc. This is the result of having internal/external connection.
This of course takes some time, however, once you have it, you no longer need any forms as your body will be moving exactly as it should be; in harmony with your internal flow of Qi. The only problem with doing the internal movement this way (the only way) is that it is addictive! And the more you take, the more you want. You will find yourself doing some small amount of movement in the kitchen or in the bathroom, on the train, or bus etc.
The Qi moves at a constant rate until it is needed for situations that call for instant energy such as when attacked, or when doing something that often causes tension. So our external movement, that which we do in order to get this connectivity, should be something that moves like Qi! And this is where Tai Chi and Bagua come in. Invented my people of great genius who knew all about this connection of inner and outer, they tried to make movements that were in harmony with the internal flow of Qi so that the external body could eventually adhere to and move in harmony with that internal force because the external BECOMES the internal and the internal BECOMES the internal.
You must of course actually see someone doing internal Tai Chi or Bagua in this way. Which is why I always give a demonstration of this when I teach especially at workshops where I may not see the attendees for the next several months. It's not a matter of seeing and then trying to remember how it was done! It is simply that you WATCH and if the teacher "HAS IT", that generated Qi will go in and will grow and teach you from within. All you have to do is to watch! However, having said that, you must of course have tuition in how to move correctly which is what learning is all about. First, you learn how, then if your teacher is of high enough quality, then you begin to learn from within. You teach yourself after the basics and some general tuition on how to do those advanced moves is given.
The Baguazhang Linear Form is the ideal way to learn about connectivity as it is such perfect movement that the body wants to move in accordance with the internal movement of Qi. Everything is there in the Bagua linear form, the internal/external movement coordination, the activation and manifestation of Qi for fighting and healing. However, only when you get to the stage where you are able to perform this form at it's highest level do you understand and manifest automatically the activation and manifestation of Qi. You will discover that automatically, your hands will move in the correct places over and around the Tantien as the other hand is manifesting that Qi activation. When we are learning the form, we must have somewhere to put the hands etc., otherwise we would never be able to learn the movements. However, doing it in this beginner's phase, we never get to realise the advanced Qi movements as we are still DOING what we were taught!
Only when you move in your own manner by allowing the movement of Qi to dictate to you the external movement, do you begin to understand the concept and experience of moving in accordance with the Qi. And only then will your self defence system as well as your internal healing system and your medical system begin to work correctly. And the beauty of this way of moving is that if you are for instance a tui-na (Chinese Massage) doctor or an acupuncturist, or some other type of therapist, will you be able to manifest your own Qi in order to heal yourself and others.
There are only 5 ways to use Qi in the healing and medical area:
1/. To put your own Qi into the patient. (This will also cause the Qi to go lower into the body)
2/. To pull Qi out of the patient/ (This will also cause the Qi to raise up higher in the body if that needs to be done.)
3/. To cause the patient's own Qi to balance from left to right or Yin to Yang in a male or Yang to Yin in a female. This is like a barometer where the liquid is balanced out as one side lowers or raises.
4/. To cause the patient's own Qi to balance from right to left, (as above)
5/. To cause the patient's Qi to be grounded in central equilibrium thus causing great internal balance and grounding.
I am beginning to teach this kind of movement and activation in my own internal tai chi Instructor's classes and I began teaching this method at our annual Summer camp in Germany. I had such a great response to it that I decided to carry on and make a DVD series about it. Even if it is too advanced for most people, at least you will know what it is all about when you begin to reach levels where your own Qi is starting to become balanced.