What is E-Chi? ( brief guide ):
The E-Chi concept was born when I was communicating with Willow( a linguistic lady in Connecticut who wants to have some physical exercise ), and Willow named it as the-Combination of Earth Language(EL) and Tai-Chi. It's a new way of whole body and soul exercise.
I think you might feel weird with this combination, because every Tai-Chi master says "MU-SHING: Don't think, Empty your mind!" and EL is a tool for THINKING. How it could work with Tai-Chi, you must wonder.
An EL sign symbolizes an image. When you repeat signing, the images and those signs are connected automatically in your body and internal vision. This exercise uses that system: instead of emptying your thought, filling up your body with a nature image. Signing a image with your whole body, you deeply get into the image and feel it through your whole body. When you perform a nature poem in this way, instead of expressing the poem to others, you become the poem and YOU enjoy the feeling. Where ever you are, you relax yourself and return into Nature.
You need practice at first. For just a simple relaxation, you can try some ways following the instruction of this site. But if you would like to try more variety, creating your own E-Chi, and enjoying E-Chi communication with others, you need to learn the EL sign ( Don't be afraid, your necessity of memorization is 70 + a few bases only, and the signs will cover all concepts later ).
** You can see each basic sign in the dictionary site.
Hints from Tai-Chi
Tai-Chi has been developed from ancient martial arts in China for balancing body and soul. So most movements relate to defending poses from attacking. The way works actually good for balancing any movements. Tai-Chi is deep, and you can learn endlessly through it listening from your own body. E-Chi is a little different: borrowing some basic ideas from Tai-Chi, using EL signs, you can have a self-study and develop your own style, enjoying creation instead of following traditions.I'm practicing Tai-Chi for several years, after learning from American and Cantonese teachers for different styles included a sword one. In the eastern culture, usually an traditional master doesn't teach how to do analyzing each part. Students just watch him carefully and find out how they do. So when one got it, it's his/her own thing influenced by the master. I enjoyed to learn in this way. But since it's impossible to show my movement through this web site, I'll use literal expression about basic Tai-Chi according to my body understanding. My impression might not be the same to other people's.
# What Tai-Chi do for you:
You communicate with your own body through Tai-Chi, listening to all parts. You become neutral between inside and outside of yourself, feeling the deep and wide nature in both sides. Your body and soul refresh, vibrating the whole cells in your body with Nature vibration.
Since you feel you are a part of infinite Nature, your selfishness and stress from narrow visions are released. Also you might feel some phenomena like full bloom cherry falls inside of yourself, or clear tears( not because of sadness ) wash up your body and soul from inside.
Continuing for years, you get better balanced physically, emotionally and for health. Maybe your total thoughts and visions change: if you can't understand Taoism by reading, your Tai-Chi body can understand it.
# Where and when to do:
At first a mirror can help to check your pose. But after you got the sense, out-doors is better, because the earth and the sky give you much energy. Also you can enjoy the season's expression daily. You may start with your friend checking each other, but basically Tai-Chi is with your own concentration/relaxation.
In the regular place, set your standard direction(; which way YOUR NORTH is), so you don't lose where you are facing in a flowing of movement. You move facing or heading to the four main directions( N.S.E.W.) and the middle directions of them. Changing your shift 45 or 90 degrees are easy and clear, also eight directions symbolizes whole Nature directions. When you learn a traditional Tai-Chi, the environmental views of the four main directions might help to keep your memories too.
To feel Tai-Chi, repeating to do is very important, everyday is the best. When you set a regular place and time for Tai-Chi, it would be easy to continue. Right after or before meal is not very good time for Tai-Chi, they say. Although I'm doing before lunch.
# Basic standing form
The shoulder width opened parallel feet, relaxed shoulder with heavily hanging arms, the head is hanging from the sky, the torso shapes a slightly ark from a side; do not stretch out the breast like when dancing. ( The straightened backbone is an unnatural form for any mammals included human)
Imagine a high stool of air and sit on it gently bending knees a little. The feet catches earth with the full bottom surfaces, and roots grow from there deeper and deeper into underground. Feel the earth energy deeply, and relax yourself.
Try to shift your weight on your right foot, and on the left foot keeping the roots of your feet in the same underground. What did you feel? How was your right sole, ankles, knees, legs, arms and Tantien? Try Not think, but listen to your all body parts.
# Tantien, torso and arms:
Chinese calls Tantien for the center of the body( Japanese calls Tanden): an inch below the navel. All movements, breathing and balancing starts from Tantien. Breathing in and out naturally and slowly using the muscles around Tantien and the power controls the movement of other parts, and the rhythm gives the balance of entire body.
The torso should always be kept rectangle without twisting or bending. When the balance is controlled by Tantien, the torso keeps rectangle naturally. Always shoulders are relaxing, not straining as well as arms and hands, even fingers in Tai-Chi. ( Although sometimes E-Chi need fingers strain for signing ) Arms are not fold less than the right angle usually. When Tantien power moves arms, it happens naturally and makes the imaginable world between arms larger and plentiful.
# Have an invisible seat:
From the standing pose above, try to sink a little more while raising your arms and hands to chest heigh in front: Arms are heavy and you lift them up with the power of an exhale by Tantien being taken in. Then open your fingers and arms gently to hold a large air globe with them and your front body above knees.
You do this all slowly and smoothly. You don't have a stop motion in the middle of a usual Tai-Chi. All the movements flow in one. Don't try to move gracefully. Grace is the result but not the purpose. Tai-Chi is not a show for others, it's Your world. You move and YOU feel. Nature is always moving in balance.
Here, try to stop your motion continuing the same rhythm breath. Please have an invisible seat, being relaxed but still keep holding the globe in your arms. Imagine the globe as the earth or the Galaxy, and feel it. Perhaps you must feel that very slow move is natural now.
Inhale and exhale match to the movement. When your movement is from Tantien, you'll know how to breath naturally. To make the breath slow, shutting mouth, pushing the hard palate with the tongue and narrowing the epiglottis may help. I've seen a famous Japanese Ki( Chi)-healer breathed in and out through the mouth with #65[s] tongue making large fricative sounds. The sound might help for healing, but is too noisy for relaxing yourself, I think.
# Weight, feet, knee and legs:
When your weight is on your one foot, be sure to bend the leg a little. It helps your backbone be natural. Perhaps you know that bending knees helps to carry a heavy thing through your experience. For sinking, the knees or the supporting knee should be bent more than usual. But don't let your knee pass your toes. If you do so, the knee have to be weighed upon to balance and you can hurt your knees. Most beginners hurt knees because of this reason.
Try to hold the air globe in the center front. Your both feet take your body weight into earth. Your legs are bending. From the pose, try to face down a little, and can you see your toes? If so, your pose is correct, and you can feel earth evenly from the surface of entire soles. Enjoy the touch of the souls. If your pose is incorrect, you can't keep the pose long: your toes and knees have to support your body with unnatural power.
From the standard standing situation, try to shift your weight on one side and lift up another foot gently leaving the roots in the ground and bring it a step forward. When the foot touches back on the ground, the roots come back to catch the foot again. This is a big different point from dancing which seeks to be free from gravity. You charge your energy from the earth.
Try to step around in various ways: ( abbreviations: L = the left foot, R = the right foot, W = weight of body ) e.g.
Standard standing -- W on L -- lift R, R step forward -- W on R -- return to W on L -- lift R, R step backward -- return to the standard standing -- In the opposite way, move L backward and returnCombining stepping, changing angles, and facing directions, try variety of foot works smoothly, but very slowly. Even this simple slow movement, if you use your Tantien power in the right way, you can be warm up. If your breath and movement don't match and changing direction too quick, you might feel dizzy.
Standing: the interval between feet is little wider than standard -- W on R -- change the angle of L 45 degree to the right -- W on L -- change the angle of R 45 degree to the right -- W on R -- change the angle of L 90 degree to the left -- W on L -- R turn to the original angle -- W on R -- both feet get back to the origin
When your feet lines or the extension lines are parallel, keep one fist width between both lines. When the extension lines make 45 or 90 degree, keep a foot not to cross the extension line of the other foot. It protect the knee which W is on from going over the toe, also makes balancing better.
Hold an invisible volleyball in front of your chest touching with your palms and fingers. Concentrate to see it, and pull it wider and push it narrower( maybe till a inch). Repeat this many times with slow inhale and exhale by the Tantien power. What did you feel? Didn't you feel some resistance against your hands from the space?
When you stand and push one direction through Tantien-- shoulder--arm(s)--hand(s), your feet push down to the opposite direction. At the same time of pushing, don't you feel other energy coming back from the feet--legs and the hand--arm--shoulder to the center? Your visual movement is so gentle and slow, but actually don't you feel big harmony inside, like (-)(+) electric vibration spreading from a cell to a cell of your internal world? Push and pull, (-) and (+) , Yin and Yan, those are the structure of nature. When you feel it with your whole body, perhaps Mother Nature will hug your spirit so gently.
# MU-SHING / empty mind ?
The-Chinese/Japanese word MU-SHING (ng: velar nasal) is shown by two characters: MU means "no" and SHING includes "heart, mind or thought" in the meaning. They say "MU-SHING" to do Tai-Chi or Zen and Yoga meditation. It's not easy thing to remove thoughts. Beginners have to think how and what next move is, then the movement can't be Tai-Chi yet. When the body automatically moves, Tai-Chi can be ready to start. Slow movements always brought me some feelings. When Tai-Chi was effective, I was filled with a feeling: It's very hard to express, but I'm sure it didn't include logical thoughts.
When concentrating an imagination with entire body, the image, the movement and the feeling become one. Filling with body-thought, you may keep logical thought away. Then movements of EL body-signs might work interestingly for it with your creative imaginations, I thought.
# Meditating phenomenon
Hold the large air globe in front again, and change your facing direction slowly without stepping, keeping the rectangle shape of your torso( without twisting torso); turn 45 degree to the right. At that time, your weight have to move onto your left foot. Return to the origin, and turn to the opposite, and return gently and slowly, feeling your weight sifts gradually, feeling the connection between your Tantien power and your legs and feet. Repeat the movement smoothly imagining like turning of the moon. You'll find that your breathing, movements, imaginations, body feelings are in a beautiful rhythm.
After many times repeating this, you might feel there is no boundary you and Nature. So natural and smooth emotion comes up. Once you experienced the phenomenon, you can try it with more variety of movements, or while just sitting, you can recall the phenomenon with only a little movement of hands and arms using Tantien power. Or just with inhale and exhale remembering this feeling, you may get a nice Zen meditation.
At the earlier stage, you might feel knee or muscle-aches, or some dizziness. Don't worry about it, it's common. If you continue to practice rememberng the above points, you'll get over it soon. Even a short time for each day, continuation is important for really enjoying Tai-Chi. Every day you can feel something new.
Traditional Tai-Chi has stable forms. Practicing some of them might be good to get the sense of the basic movements. To get the above phenomenon, actually you need not to memorize many poses and the sequences. Repeating the same movement deeply concentrating to feel your body and Nature is more important, I believe.
But since Nature has variety, I'm sure you'd like to get more variety to do. I think you can create your own style using these Tai-chi basic ways and E-Chi. Please try to make a short form to fit to your body and feelings, and repeat to practice it, then raise it gradually, taking years.
Try your E-Chi
E-Chi adds imagination power and individual creativity to Tai-Chi by using EL signs, also you can share your creation with others by writing expression.
I think the following applications are available to enjoy E-Chi.1): For daily exercise to your self using whole body# Imagination:
2): To have a break from your work in the sitting situation
3): As a group art ( I'd like to enjoy this with you through this web site )
Try deeply to imagine that you are a huge jelly-fish in the deep ocean, and then imagine that you are a dragon with long nails and flames, when you do a basic push and pull movement. How did your movement change? How did your internal orchestration change? Imagination reflects to your movement, doesn't it?
You can have a imagination fitting to the movement for Tai-Chi too. But in E-Chi, the movement is the sign and the symbol of an image. So, you become the symbol and the thing or the world which your sign shows. Your body falls in the imaginary world by the movement and the power of symbols. When the image is a kind of Nature which you like, you can be with it temporally, escaping from stress of your real life. Even a couple of minutes, you might be much lighter after E-Chi.
# To create your personal E-Chi:
First you sketch a poetical image which you would like to be in. Then choose EL characters to express the contents, and think about the sequence. Also think about how to sign. There are choices for showing compounded signs: each element separately or the combination of the hand shape + the hand move( or position), and which hand you take for what. Which ever natural way you can take. Then add foot steps fitting to the contents and the signing movements. Sometimes whole body sign or a gesture works better than just hand-signs. In that case you can take a gesture naturally.
Usually EL hand-movement-signs use only hand, arm or wrist, but in E-Chi, don't forget to move from Tantien. Tantien controls shoulder-- arms-- wrist and hand, so even your arm + hand movement is regular sign sizes, still it looks like big by the totality of the whole body movement.
Choices of expressions:
For E-Chi, you need not sign all the sentences. It's better that you get in the world simply and strongly. So try not to worry about grammatical expressions. Of course you can add those things too, if you think it's needed. For emphasizing a part, repeat and repeat the same sign sometimes facing to each four directions with strong foot works. Don't try to express by intensity with rapid motions like a western dance. Please make a poem like making a picture by EL characters.
Touch to Nature:
Your body forms a sign, and you become the thing which the sign symbolizes. If the thing is a flower, the symbol hand is moved with the flower spirit. If it's a gentle wind, you are wind with the slow waving sign. Since the movement is slow, your imagination can go into the details of the flower or the phenomena which the wind makes as deeply as you like. Signs are understandable for others if they knew the EL sign, but this performing is not an linguistic explanation. Your body and spirit goes to touching to Nature. When you get it, if others watch you, they perhaps feel that too through you.
EL Home . 地球語ホーム . Examples of E-Chi . [ After-Rain ] ( a short form of E-Chi )