недеља, 15. април 2018.


 A major trend gaining momentum in our eclectic Western society—the rise of interest in yoga? The word yoga means “yoke or union.” It speaks of being yoked with God or in union with God. Yoga, on the surface, appears to be nothing more than a highly developed low-impact exercise regimen. What could be wrong with stretching, twisting, bending, breathing, sweating it out and getting the body in shape, regardless of the method used? Absolutely nothing—if that’s all there was to it.
 Yoga is much more than a series of stretches! It is actually an ancient religion with its own god, practices, and doctrine. The poses and breathing are only one aspect of the religion. These components have only recently become popularized, but the religion of yoga has been practiced for thousands of years.
Yoga means “to yoke.” It is often explained that this means the goal of yoga is to yoke together mind, spirit, and body. But that is not the true meaning of the term. "Yoga" actually refers to the goal of the practice: to attain "ultimate knowledge" by losing one's sense of self and uniting with the Divine (or Supreme Consciousness, Godhead, or other names depending upon the tradition) in much the same way a drop of water loses itself and becomes one with a body of water, like an ocean or a puddle.
The term “yoke” also explains the yoking of energies, or spirits, that are invoked to aid in the deepening of practice. These energies are invited into the practitioner and their practice in multiple ways: by the practice of worshiping deities and energies with poses of the body (for example, the sun salutation is a series of movements that pays homage to the sun god), by repeating mantras (each sound, word, and phrase invokes its corresponding spirit), of specific breathing exercises (Ujai breathing is one example, also called “Serpent Breath” or “Breath of Fire”), or by setting the intention to invite the spirit of a specific teacher, loved one, or deity to yoke with the practitioner and help deepen the practice
. Yoga is actually an ancient spiritual pagan practice. Yoga was thought to have been practiced for some time before its religious text, called the Yoga Sutras, was recorded around two thousand years ago. This text explains paths of practices with the final goal of ultimate "freedom" from all attachments and sense of self--of becoming one with god and reaching "ultimate knowledge. "The pagan god of yoga, called Ishvara, is claimed by the Yoga Sutras to be the source of all knowledge. This god Ishvara is represented by the symbol and sound of "Om" . Practitioners are instructed to repeat this name (mantra repetition) to deepen their practice. This means that chanting "Om" is not a meaningless practice of sound vibrations calming the body. It is an invocation of the spirit associated with Ishvara. Practicing the movements of yoga paired with breathing techniques and meditation are also said to deepen the practice. I was taught across varying New Age paths that meditation was necessary to develop in order to "open" oneself and to "progress" on the spiritual path. Yoga is one of these paths. The Yoga Sutras expands on reaching the goal of ultimate knowledge by practicing meditative exercises. The yoga we know in yoga studios and gyms is one of the practices along this path outlined in the Yoga Sutras. The path encourages meditation to quiet and open oneself to the spiritual, esoteric realm. Yoga is a movement meditation.
Technically speaking Yoga is based on a Far Eastern view of both the physical and spiritual aspects of a human being. These exercises are not just meant for practitioners physical well-being. They have been specifically created to supposedly “open up the chakras. ”According to yogic lore, seven “chakras,” or spiritual energy centers, exist in the body. The first five are located along the spine. The sixth is the “third eye,” and the seventh is the crown chakra, located at the top of the head.
Adherents believe something called the kundalini (the latent “serpent power” supposedly coiled at the base of the spine) rises up through the chakras especially during deep meditation. This “awakening of the kundalini” is considered essential in bringing a person to “God consciousness.” Each chakra is also associated with a certain Hindu deity. These deities are all mythical beings, full of humanlike frailties and faults .A yoga practitioner is believed to be able to exit his body through these chakras, especially the third eye or the crown chakra, and experience higher, spiritual realms. Yoga is created to prepares the body and mind for these kinds of experiences.
Practitioners of yoga may have no knowledge of these things when participating in this form of exercise, but ignorance does not sanctify or purify the system from its attachment to Hindu religion spirituality  Furthermore, no promises of body transcendence or elevated consciousness are attached to aerobics, isometrics, weightlifting, jogging or other methods of exercising. It should be mentioned that in order to be a certified yoga teacher by the standards of that industry, a teacher must spend a certain number of hours studying Vedic philosophy and the teachings of certain yoga masters from the East. If Yoga is just a set of purely physical exercises why such a thing would be required ?
In the words of a Yoga teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar :” The definition for ‘asana‘ is a posture that is stable and pleasant. You should feel comfortable when doing yoga asanas. What is the definition of comfort? When you don’t feel the body. If you are sitting in some odd positions then you feel those parts of the body, painfully. Your focus is more on the discomfort there. When you do any asana, what you feel first is discomfort. But if you take your mind through it, you will find that in just a few minutes the discomfort has disappeared and you don’t feel the body. You feel an expansion or infinity in the postures. How should a posture be done? Get into a position and let go of the effort. What happens then? Infinity abides in you. So each asana should be done keeping in mind that the goal of this is not just the correctness of the posture, but to feel an expansion within. This is the most important thing in yoga asanas. The purpose of yoga is not to keep a good physical shape but  to experience infinity and timeless expansion within. And that starts happening to you with some practice.
People practice Yoga for many reasons and indeed this practice can help with some problems and improve practitioners health.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Increased Flexibility
Increased Strength
Improved Balance
Increased Stamina
Improved Body Alignment (reduces joint pain)

Mental Benefits of Yoga
Stress Reduction
Body Awareness
Better Sleep
Improve self-confidence
On the other hand we can see that Yoga practice benefits are no different from benefits that come from other sports activities like martial arts, aerobic, running … the difference these practices unlike Yoga have no religious foundation and are completely free of any religious aspects.
While in the mind of the vast majority of people Yoga is a synonym for light stretching exercises in reality Yoga practice is entirely something else.
Those stretching exercises everyone know are of Hata Yoga, the simplest and most widely spread Yoga system. These exercises are in fact equivalent of Christian mass or Muslim prayer. Engaging the Yoga practice ,a person knowingly or ,which mostly the case, unknowingly engages Hindu religious practice.
Many types of Yoga , actually most of them uses meditation or some other consciousness altering method . More about effect of meditation can be found here
Meditation is in fact created in India as a part of Yoga( Hindu) religious practice. The goal of meditation techniques used in various Yoga schools is not to make people better physically or mentally but to achieve the ultimate goal of Hindu religious practice. While there some benefits from meditation, these benefits are side effects, not the main purpose of that practice.
Yoga is legitimate religious practice as much as any other. If the person is fully aware of what Yoga is and engage this practice then it is perfectly OK. On the other hand, in most of the cases people are not aware what they are actually getting into because Yoga is advertised as everything else except what really is.
While Yoga, just as it is the case with Buddhist based meditation techniques, is advertised as ultimate method which cures almost everything the truth is actually quite different. There are serious danger in this practice that influence body and mind in negative manner.
In a small survey of 110 Finnish Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practitioners, published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy in 2008, 62 percent reported a musculoskeletal injury that lasted longer than one month. But, a 2012 large survey of 2,500 Australian yoga participants published in the International Journal of Yoga, reported that almost 79 percent of yogis experienced no injury.
As with any exercise program, it is extremely important to consult with a physician before structuring a yoga practice .In addition to discussing the potential yoga workout program with a physician, it is also recommended that beginners work with an instructor or take a class to become fully knowledgeable of the different poses and proper movements.  The most common negative side effect from practicing yoga is physical injury, these injuries can include, but are not limited to wrist pain, neck pain, back pain, tearing of ligaments and tendons, pulling muscles, ankle pain, knee pain, and vertigo.Aggravation of high blood pressure is another negative side effect of Yoga practice. Forceful breathing and inversion poses can also increase your blood pressure. Another possible negative side effect is complications with glaucoma. Gastric problems may also occur from practicing yoga including  nausea, sour stomach and vomiting.
The negative side effects of yoga are not always physical.  Mental instability can also be a side effect of practicing too much yoga or practicing it incorrectly.  Some negative, and severe, side effects can include pseudo death, pseudo psychosis, confusion, increased anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal patterns, depression, homicidal urges, and feelings to self-mutilate.  Headaches, temporary blindness, sexual pains, and social issues may also arise.
Someone may ask why there is an article about Yoga on martial arts blog. The reason is simple, many martial arts instructors are mixing Yoga spiritual practice with their martial styles and encourage their students to practice Yoga in order to improve their fighting training without really knowing or deliberately not telling the whole story. Spirituality of any kind will not improve anyone’s fighting abilities and martial styles have already developed their own systems of stretching, building power and speed so there is no need for additional Yoga practice.

уторак, 03. април 2018.

Origin of Wing Chun Long Pole

Wing Chun long pole origin is a matter of debate as well as everything else regarding art’s history and development. There are as many theories of the pole origin as there are styles but widely accepted theory, with of course many variation, is that long pole originated in Shaolin Monastery.  Depends of the source either Southern or Northern Shaolin is considered as a source of the weapon’s technique.  Again depending of the source long pole was either incorporated into the system directly by the founders or it was added later through exchange. The most popular story is that Chi Sim taught Leung Yee Tai the pole technique and he later exchanged it for Wing Chun empty hand skills with Wong Wah Bo.
To make things more interesting, not only Wing Chun but many other styles from Guangdong trace the origin of their long pole techniques to same source, Shaolin monastery and Chi Sim.
                                                   Shaolin pole 

Today it is proven that Northern Shaolin never existed as well as Chi Sim who is purely fictional character. Is it possible that despite there is no clear line of succession from Shaolin to Red Boats, Wing Chun long pole really originated from the famous monastery? Northern Shaolin was indeed famous for its long pole techniques.
It is highly unlikely that Wing Chun long pole has any Shaolin influence. Shaolin long pole and Wing Chun long pole are two totally different weapons with completely different purpose, strategy, techniques and origin. Shaolin long pole is a weapon originated from army spear, it is 180-200 cm long and although original techniques were lost over time and today only remained highly stylized, competitive, visually pleasing techniques it is easy to notice that many of these techniques are actually derived from spear fighting and many movements are meant to be used not by a single fighter but in a organized infantry group.
Wing Chun long pole is much longer, 240-260 cm, and much heavier weapon. Originally it was not a weapon but a sailing tool used to pilot the boats in shallow waters of Pearl River delta. That tool became a weapon out of necessity of the situation but was never developed in detail and never had elaborated technique like Shaolin pole. It was and remained mainly a sailing tool and was used as weapon sporadically. Being extremely long and pretty heavy limited number of ways in which this weapon could be used.
                                                Wing Chun Long Pole

The fact that this kind of weapon can be found exclusively in Guangdong area suggest that its origin is connected to the boats which were not only the main but for the most part the only mean of transport in the area in the past. People used boats, either as a passengers or as the sailors and were exposed to the long pole usage one way or another. Being forced to use the boats frequently knowing the basic long pole fighting techniques was necessary and that is the most probable cause why this weapon found its way in most of Kung Fu styles form Guangdong area and was used extensively there but cannot be found in other parts of China.

субота, 24. март 2018.

Origin od Wing Chun knives

There is a popular theory that Wing Chun knives originated from “Small Knives Society” a secret organization believed to be a part of “Heaven and Earth” society. It is wildly believed that members of “Small Knives Society” were freedom fighters organized to fight Qing dynasty and restore long gone Ming dynasty rule. It is also believed that they were all armed with “Butterfly swords” or “Eight cutting knives” which later became a signature weapon of Wing Chun style.

Even a superficial analysis of historical documents finds this claim completely without foundation in real events that happened at the time of Wing Chun creation. Let’s examine some facts about “Small Knives Society”.

First mention of “Small Knives Society” can be found in official records in Taiwan. In 1772 in Zanghua county, local small shop owner Lin Da, having been bulled and insulted by local soldiers rounded 17 people who made agreement to form a society and help each other in a time of need. Since caring military grade weapons was forbidden members were caring small knives, so that is where the name came from. Over next decade society grew in number and in 1782 violence escalated and several solders ended up dead. Authorities reacted quickly and arrested several leaders of the society. Nine of them were sentenced to dead penalty while fourteen were exiled and became military slaves. This was the end of first “Small Knives Society”. In official records it can’t be found what kind of weapons they all used but if they were all armed with same kind of weapons that detail would certainly be recorded. Also, these people were all captured and had no connection to Gunagdong or Red Boats or Opera trope.

                            Small Sword (Xiao Dao) used by Small Knives Society in Shanghai

In summer of 1798 in Jayji county in Taiwan, Xu Zhang with two other friends formed a society in order to commit robbery. Since “Heaven And Earth” society name was wildly known and attracted too much attention they chose name “Small Knives Society” as each member carried a small knife(singular) for self protection. At the end, society gathered 18 members but they were all caught by authorities before they manage to commit any crime. Captured members were executed in a public square as a warning to the people. Some were executed by decapitation and some by strangulation. Again there is no record that society members used swords later known as “Eight cutting knives” or “Butterfly swords”. Some maybe did but that has no significance nor connection to Wing Chun history as this was the end of second “Small Knives Society”.

Third “Small Swords Society”  believed to be a branch of the Heaven and Earth Society was established in 1849 in Xiamen of Fujian Province, and spread to Shanghai in 1851. The members of the Society include mainly Fujian and some Cantonese laborers living in Shanghai and part of proprietors of industry and commerce. The name ("Small Swords") refers to daggers used by society members for self defense  in close combat.
In Shanghai the society rose up to be a “protector” of small merchants and laborers and were even payed by the government for its “service”.

In 1853, the Society occupied the Chinese city of Shanghai without invading the foreign concessions. Large numbers of Chinese refugees from surrounding areas flooded into the foreign concessions in this period, dramatically increasing the population there. The Society's headquarters were in the Yu Garden of Shanghai, at the heart of the old city. Rebellion turned into pure robbery and soon conflict broke out between the Fujian and Guangdong factions, over whether they should leave with the loot they had acquired.  
Foreign forces sided with Qing government and they surrounded rebels cutting off supplies. Isolated and under attack, the rebels evacuated on February 17, 1855, having occupied the city for 17 months. The imperial trops spent three days looting, almost entirely destroyed the eastern half of the city with fire, while any remaining rebels captured were executed on the spot.

Again, it is obvious that this society has no direct connection to creation of Wing Chun. Small Sword society used a specific type of weapon that resembles Wing Chun swords in some features, but key word here is resembles. Wing Chun swords or knives are completely different weapon from  a “Small Sword”  used by rebels. Even the name is different , in Shanghai the swords used by rebells were "Xiao Dao" or literary "small sword", Wing Chun knives have several different names but non of these names is "Xiao Dao".

Making a connection between Wing Chun and “Small Swords society” is just one more attempt to give greater historical significance to style based solely on one artifact which only remotely resemble Wing Chun weapon. There is no evidence what so ever that would even remotely establish connection between “Small Sword Society” and Gunadong Red Boat opera Trope. Even more, 'Small Knives Society" was not a revolutionary group but rather an orgnaized crime group later romanticized by nationalist government to boost national pride and present Manchus as cruel and hated rulers. Maybe some of the rebels escaped to Guangdong, maybe even to the Red Boats but it is highly unlikely that these people influenced Wing Chun in any way. At the time of the Small Knives Society rebellion Leung Jan was already learning Wing Chun for more than five years and double knives were used on the Red Boats for a quite longer period, much before Small Knives Society was even formed.

What we today know as Wing Chun knives are actually a weapon wildly spread all over China for centuries before Wing Chun was created and can be found in most Kung Fu styles from Guangdong and Fujian provinces as well as in some styles from northern China. Double knives were not standadized in shape and lenght, there were a number of different weapons used all over China for centuries. Shape and lenght of the weapon is defined by its tactical purpose, Wing Chun knives were perfect to be used on the narrow assages and confiend spaces of the boats and people simply chose the weapon which was perfectly fit for that. 

Here are some examples of 19th century or older double swords, non of these are Wing Chun swords although some look like it much more than Xiao Dao used by Small Knives Society.

четвртак, 01. март 2018.

Meditation - side effects

Aaron Alexis was looking for something. He started attending a Buddhist temple in Washington and learned to meditate; he hoped it would bring him wisdom and peace. "I want to be a Buddhist monk," he once told a friend from the temple. His friend advised him to keep studying, and Alexis did. He learned Thai and kept going to the temple – chanting, meditating. But other things got in the way.
On 16 September 2013, Alexis drove into Washington's Navy Yard. It was 8am. He'd been working there not long before, and security let him in. Minutes later, the security cameras caught him holding a shotgun, and by 9am, 12 people were dead. Alexis killed randomly, first using his shotgun and, after running out of ammunition, the handgun belonging to a guard he'd just killed. He died after an exchange of gunfire with the police.
It took only 24 hours for a journalist to notice Alexis had been a Buddhist, prompting her to ask: "Can there be a less positive side to meditation?" Western Buddhists immediately reacted: "This man represented the Dharma teachings no more than 9/11 terrorists represented the teachings of Islam," wrote one. Others explained that Alexis had a history of mental illness. However, some noted that meditation, for all its de-stressing and self-development potential, can take you deeper into the recesses of your mind than you may have wished for.

The West is experiencing a rapid growing interest in meditation and the eastern traditions that developed these methods. The rising interest has mainly focused on the Buddhist and Yoga traditions which, although quite distinctive, share much in common. Both originated in the Indian subcontinent over two thousand years ago. Buddhism began with the life of Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of a Hindu tribe in what is now Nepal, who lived around 500 BCE. He gave up his royalty in favor of a contemplative life which led him to be eventually called the “Buddha” or the “one who is awake”. The origin of Yoga is much more difficult to trace. Yoga’s origin lays in Hinduism, but was arguably first systematized in a series of Satras by the Hindu Philosopher Patanjali who lived around 150BCE.
After the Second World War, Allied soldiers returned home after serving in the Pacific theatre. Many had close contact with local cultures. Elements of Japanese culture held appeal for many servicemen and women, particularly Zen Buddhism and the practice of meditation. Some stayed in Japan and entered monasteries to learn the unique Zen way of. Those who subsequently returned home brought Buddhist meditation with them.
Influences from India, China, Tibet and Japan found their way to the west in late 1950’s. It was the time of the beat generation whose members initiated the cultural revolutions of the 1960’s. In 1962, a little known Indian sage named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi published his books on “The Science of Being” and “The Art of Living”. In these, he introduced the method he called Transcendental Meditation. By the end of the 1960’s, his followers included the Beatles and other public figures. This helped raise the profile and acceptance of meditation to new heights as it entered popular culture. After this, eastern philosophies and practices spread widely. People like Bruce Lee captivated the public imagination with displays of skill founded on meditation combined with rigorous physical training.
After a while meditation has entered the mainstream of western culture. In academic circles, meditation is now a legitimate object of investigation by psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and other health professionals. This intellectual interest runs in parallel with pragmatic concerns. There are many kinds of therapies which use meditation and have been found to be effective treatments for depression, anxiety, stress, and disease-related emotional distress.
Either within or outside a religious context, meditation in general can be understood as methods for understanding our self, emotions, motivations, behavior and our relationships to others. Meditation provides a person with tools for investigating the whole range of their experience so that they may, ultimately, better understand why things are the way they are. Of course, each kind of meditation has its own specific purpose for which has been created.

Research about the benefits of meditation has grown in tandem with its popularity in the mainstream culture. Thousands of studies, most of them conducted over the past decade, have associated the practice of meditation with a variety of substantial health benefits. Through this research, meditation is credited with numerous forms of psychological and physiological benefits, including long-term reductions in anxiety and depression, pain reduction, anger management, curbing addictions, and emotional well-being.
There is an obvious hype in media and it is almost impossible to find complete and realistic description of meditation. Scholarly and popular media discussions of meditation  tend to be far too unbalanced. Negative findings in research studies and potential detriments of meditation are often swept under the rug. Simply put, meditation is depicted as omnipotent tool for wide range of problem with miraculous positive effects. If anything goes wrong, blame falls on the practitioner not on the method. Let’s see what science has to say about meditation as well as some long term meditators and teachers.
Studies on meditation have documented clear changes in the EEG that are distinct from sleep and typical wake, as well as a variety of other physiological changes . The most dramatic and immediate change in the EEG is the dominance of alpha waves (8-12 Hz) across much of the cortex . Although this ordinarily occurs with simple eyes-closed resting behavior, the magnitude of this change is greater during meditation. Furthermore, theta bursts appear more commonly during meditation. While meditation and eyes closed resting are not a state of sleep, the dominance of alpha waves has some superficial similarities to the dominance of delta waves (0.5-4 Hz) that occurs during deep non-REM sleep (relatively high voltage, synchronous waves). While a dominance of alpha or delta waves are generated by very different neural systems, they both reflect, ultimately, an increased synchronous firing pattern in cortical neurons as measured by the EEG . The state effects of meditation appear to include decreased electrocortical arousal. There is also evidence that meditators more readily demonstrate alpha and theta activity than non meditators, even when not meditating. It is not clear whether prospective meditators as a group already possessed this characteristic, or whether the state effects of meditation practice eventually generalize to become traits. However, certain individuals, namely the psychologically "healthy" and those with a capacity for relaxed absorbed attention, appear to be more favorably disposed to meditation. Meditators appear to show both stronger orienting and recovery responses to stressors while meditating than controls. Meditation practice may begin with left hemisphere type activity, which gives way to functioning more characteristic of the right hemisphere. However, it appears that during advanced meditation ("no thought") both left and right hemisphere activity are largely inhibited or suspended. Depending on the individual, inexperienced meditators may report sleep, hypnogogic reverie, trance or abreaction during practice. The evidence to date does not support the notion of unique state effects associated with the practice of meditation.
In a survey of the EEG characteristics of persons practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, 21 of 78 people demonstrated intermittent prominent bursts of frontally dominant theta activity. On the average across subjects, the theta bursts occurred about every 2 min, had an average duration of 1.8 sec, and an average maximal amplitude of 135 muV. Typically, the bursts were preceded and followed by alpha rhythm. Subject reports elicited during theta bursts indicated pleasant states with intact situational orientation and no subjective experiences related to sleep. Fifty-four non-meditating controls showed no theta bursts during relaxation and sleep onset. It is hypothesized that theta burst may be the manifestation of a state adjustment mechanism which comes into play during prolonged low-arousal states, and which may be related to EEG patterns of relaxation in certain behavioral conditions.
In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings
 As we can see, medical research clearly show that meditation has influence and cause changes in endocrine system, neurological changes and psychological changes.
Before we continue it is important to note that meditation has strong bond with religion no matter whether it is practiced with or without religious content. Meditation is not invented to resolve people’s problems, make them happy or healthy. These benefits are secondary effects of meditation. Main purpose of meditation depends of the source ( Hindu, Buddhist or Taoist) . It is also important to say that until very recent times, people on the East didn’t practice meditation widely, that practice was confined to monasteries and even today, people on the East practice meditation in significantly smaller number comparing the West .It is still mostly part of religious practice reserved for dedicated believers, mostly monks, while general population do not engage meditation practice in significant number and there is a good reason for that.  On the east, meditation still kept its religious purpose and it is reserved for specific group of people
Having in mind that main purpose of meditation is not to make people better and that health benefits are only a secondary effects of that practice while main goal is to radically change our sense of self and perception of the world in order to achieve specific religious goals it is to be expected that some side effects will appear. These side effects are the reason why meditation is reserved only for specific  group of people on the east.
A 1992 study by David Shapiro, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, found that 63% of the group studied, who had varying degrees of experience in meditation and had each tried mindfulness, had suffered at least one negative effect from meditation retreats, while 7% reported profoundly adverse effects.
Another study from 2009 conducted by the team led by psychologist Kathleen Lustyk provided an in-depth review of meditation practice studies that reported adverse side effects to participants. There is a whole list of psychological and physical effects in the paper. These included reports of depersonalization (feeling detached from one’s mental processes or body), psychosis (loss of contact with reality) with delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech, feelings of anxiety, an increased risk of seizures, loss of appetite, and insomnia. The authors especially cautioned vulnerable people such as those with PTSD to be particularly careful when undertaking any kind of meditation  practice. Their main point was that participants should be screened carefully for their suitability before undertaking this practice, and its teachers should be properly trained and supervised.
Kate Williams, a PhD researcher in psychiatry at the University of Manchester and a mindfulness teacher, says negative experiences generally fall into one of two categories. The first is seen as a natural emotional reaction to self-exploration. “What we learn through meditation is to explore our experiences with an open and nonjudgmental attitude, whether the experience that arises is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral,” she says.
The second, Williams says, is more severe and disconcerting: “Experiences can be quite extreme, to the extent of inducing paranoia, delusions, confusion, mania or depression.” Also there are danger of forming false memories  After years of training, research and practice, her own personal meditation has included some of these negative experiences. “Longer periods of meditation have at times led me to feel a loss of identity and left me feeling extremely vulnerable, almost like an open wound,” Williams says.
The negative effects of meditation happen  because  memories, images, or emotional responses from prior abuse, and/or trauma can surface with meditation. These can be disturbing and seemingly unbearable—not only in the meditation but while one is living their life.  For those at risk of psychiatric disease, meditation can increase the issues, and for those already mentally ill, meditation can create psychosis. Genetically based potentials of anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc can be increased tremendously with meditation and people who under normal circumstances would never have any problems can become seriously ill. Unfortunately it is difficult to evaluate in advance who will or will not suffer these side effects, since those factors might often have drawn the person to learn to meditate in the first place.
Negative effects does not stop on psychological level, there are a vast array of somatic changes refer to meditation-related changes in observable bodily sensations. Commonly reported changes were alterations in sleep patterns, parasomnia (resulting in vivid dreaming, lucid dreaming, or nightmares), changes in appetite, and thermal changes. Some respondents spoke of feeling pressure, tension, or pain. These feelings would sometimes be described as growing more acute and releasing in session, a sensation that was oftentimes experienced pleasantly, yet other times alongside a re-experiencing of traumatic memories associated with negative affect.
Also, meditation can cause perceptual experiences include changes to the five senses. A common change reported was hypersensitivity to light, sound, or sensation. In some cases, cessation of visual perception was reported in addition to instances involving the general dissolution of perceptual objects. Vision-related distortions of time and space, and a general “derealization” were described, in addition to experiences of illusions and hallucinations that occurred both independently from and in conjunction with “delusional beliefs.”
At the end meditation can cause social changes, which included changes in interpersonal activities and functioning also ranged in terms of diversity of experiences. While some reported estrangement, others reported increased extraversion and valuing of relationships. At times, respondents experienced a social destabilization, especially if they were transitioning between a practice context and a non-practice context. Participants also spoke about the widespread changes they experienced regarding their relationship to their meditation community. Taken together, the researchers found that “The vast majority (88%) of participants reported that challenging or difficult meditation experiences bled over into daily life or had an impact on their life beyond a meditation retreat or beyond a formal practice session. The term “symptoms” is used here to denote the subset of experiences that were experienced as challenging, difficult or functionally impairing.”



уторак, 20. фебруар 2018.

True path of mastery

When the training starts student learns the basics, stances, hand positions, kicks and punches, proper body structure and power generation. At the very beginning things cannot be more complicated. To adjust all these little details in order to perform even a seemingly simple movement, even very slowly, looks impossible. Kung fu in general and especially Southern styles are notorious for the amount of small anatomical details that should be kept in correct position and executed in particular sequence in order to perform “something” correctly. This can cause a lot of stress for newcomers. After a while, students get better control of their body and are able to perform basic movements correctly and in full speed. Along the way, practitioners learn why they perform all those in particular way, what are practical (fighting) and bio-mechanical reasons, what principles and tactics are behind them and often some other factors are included like Qi Gong.
Next phase in training brings drills with a partner which brings new level of skill and understanding of practitioners own body. These drills brings better understanding and reinforce concepts of the art already introduced to students.
As the training progresses new skills are introduced and students gain more knowledge and understanding of their chosen art. Footwork, combat drills, light sparring bring deeper understanding of the concepts and principles of the art and how to develop them in fighting.
At the end of the training or along the way, depends of the style practitioners learn how to use traditional weapons which give them wider understanding and deeper insight in their chosen style.
Different styles have different curriculums and different approach to training. Every student has its own goals and expectation from training and these goals draw students to different arts and different teachers. To learn complete curriculum of the style, to complete the art requires a lot of hard work. Of course every style has its own characteristics which make him distinctively different from all others. These characteristics are shown not only in physical form, the way how the movements are performed but also in combat tactics and basic concepts of body mechanics. Every style has its specific vocabulary, customs, background, history and culture. All these things are inseparable parts of every art and they influence practitioners in various ways, not only physical but also psychologically, culturally …
This influence is in its core neither good nor bad, it is simply necessary for completion of the style. Learn and practice all the content of the style, not only physically but follow the patterns of thinking and resolving the problems drawn from the fighting principles of the art will greatly influence the practitioner. Usually, this influence is quite positive, at least for the better part of the training. The problem may occur after the completion of
the style. Just knowing the curriculum, even have a great physical skill and even knowing and understanding the art’s concepts deeply is not enough for true mastery.
To pass the knowledge, teachers need methodology and teaching tools. Using these tools and methodology teachers explain how the systems works, why it is used in certain way and when to use a particular part of the system. Also they are used to develop necessary physical attributes for mastering the art.
Like it was said before all this is necessary to teach and train the practitioner to a certain level of skill and knowledge. When that level is finally reached the true journey of the martial artist has begun. We have to aware of the fact that traditional martial arts stopped to be purely fighting orientated and for the last 100 years or more they have grown into something more and surpassed their original purpose. Today, traditional martial arts are also a way of self-development, some concentrate of sports and competition, some are used as a system of healing and maintaining good health, some even have religious or spiritual elements, some are purely concentrated on movement’s esthetic and many other things. All this different paths are equally important and valid.

When the practitioner reach the “master” level he has to choose which way he wants to go. Many practitioners decide to preserve the art in the form they learned it from their teacher and do not want to change it even a bit. While this is a valid choice as any other it may not be the best one. Times changes as well as people, society and environment , martial arts either follow this changes and adapt or disappear like many traditional arts were lost when big shift in society and technology took over China after Taiping rebellion , or many old styles are on the brink of extinction on Taiwan because teachers cannot adjust to modern times. All these training methods and approaches established by previous generations at some point can become an obstruction, a limiting factor in personal growth and development. True mastery, at least according to some teachers, is when accomplished student uses the art in his distinctive way to express him self completely and differently from all other. Exploring and discovering , not just preserving and transmitting  that a true mastery. Finding new ways to use the art, expanding the boundaries and eliminating the limiting factors of the system, following the path of research, trials, experiments that is what true mastery means. Sometimes masters will come with completely new art, sometimes they will change the art so much that it will look totally different from the original art they have learned and sometimes they will make a full circle and return to the original system with completely different understanding and explanations. There are many different paths in traditional martial arts, each and every one of them is correct if chosen with full understanding of the system and clear goal in mind . 

уторак, 06. фебруар 2018.

Qi Gong in Wing Chun step

Qi is in everything …in a breath, voice, movement…Qi is life its self. But what is Qi actually? This term is very difficult to explain, especially to the people from the western cultural background. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and more, one of the most important tools which helped ancient Chinese to understand and explain how the world function. Qi is energy in the very broadest sense possible. Qi is universal .Qi embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects of energy (such as the earth beneath your feet, your computer, and flesh and blood) to the most immaterial aspects (light, movement, heat, nerve impulses, thought, and emotion).Life, it is said in the Chinese medical classics, is a gathering of Qi. A healthy (and happy) human being is a dynamic but harmonious mixture of all the aspects of Qi that make up who we are. Qi is in a state of continuous flux, transforming endlessly from one aspect of Qi into another. It is neither created nor is it ever destroyed; it simply changes in its manifestation.
 In some sense Qi was integral part of martial arts since the beginning , because movement does not exist without  Qi. On the other hand, Qi Gong became integral part of Chinese martial arts in second half of 19th century. The social role of Kung Fu changed at that time and its development took very different path from any martial training before that time. Qi Gong became part of martial systems and some styles transformed in more or less completely Qi Gong based arts while losing martial component almost entirely.
Wing Chun was no exception. Created among “Red Boats” as a perfect system of fighting for closed quarters environment, Wing Chun left the Opera troupe and came into possession of highly educated people who were also a masters of traditional Chinese medicine like Dr. Leung Jan , Law Tiu Wen and others … While there were attempts to put Qi Gong back in history of the style much further, there are no evidence that Qi Gong was a part of the system before 1860’s or even later.

Not all Wing Chun styles and lineages have Qi Gong as a part of the system. Some styles have separate Qi Gong sets which are not part of any Wing Chun form, some styles refer to the first section of the first form as a Qi Gong set and some have no Qi Gong at all.  
While first section of the first form certainly can be done as a Qi Gong exercise that is definitely not all that Wing Chun has to offer to the serious practitioner. All forms are in essence Qi Gong exercises if done properly. Of course, there are slight differences in doing forms for purely martial purposes and doing it as Qi Gong exercises. These differences are undetectable for untrained eye but there are slight adjustments in tempo, breathing, body structure ect. These small details are crucial for developing a proper flow of Qi through the body. What is the most interesting part , these small adjustments have also martial purposes and can make punches and blocks stronger, improve balance especially during stepping and many others.

For example, second section of Chum Kiu form is also a part of Qi Gong system introduced through entire second form. Step in second form is not simply a step it is a precisely defined sequence of constant fine adjustment of the body structure and breathing. These fine muscle movements done in particular sequence which follows breathing and doing fine tuning of the skeleton making particular type of the bones alignment in specific moment activate QI flow . The part of the body known as Qwa in Chinese, during this exercise has not only a purpose to keep structure in order, but with fine adjustment of the Qwa practitioner can change the direction of Qi while stepping. Advanced practitioners can control the amount of the Qi and which part of the body it will be accumulated in particular moment.

Like I said before, all forms taught and done properly are Qi Gong exercises. Of course, proper and very precise adjustments in body structure and the sequence of activating and deactivating specific muscle groups must be made. In Wing Chun , at least in one that I am practicing , Qi Gong and Nei Gong exercises are very close and in few occasions identical and although they have completely different goals and developmental path can support each other in some unusual ways which I am not in liberty to publically explain because if done without direct supervision of qualified instructor can endanger health of the practitioner. Every section of every form can be done as a separate Qi Gong exercise or each form can be done as a complete Qi Gong exercise.

At the beginning practitioner can feel some sudden and I rare cases slightly uncomfortable sensations but in time they stop. While practicing Wing Chun forms as Qi Gong can be very beneficial , doing them without proper and direct guidance of someone who already mastered the forms can give totally opposite results. 

петак, 02. фебруар 2018.


History of Jade in China

"Jade" is a term used for a very durable ornamental green rock that has been fashioned into tools, sculptures, jewelry, gemstones, and other objects for over 8,000 years. It was first used to manufacture ax heads, weapons, and tools for scraping and hammering because of its toughness. At later time, because some specimens had a beautiful color and could be polished to a brilliant luster, people started to use jade for gemstones, talismans, and ornamental objects.

The name is derived from the Spanish” piedra de la ijada”, which means "stone of the colic." There was a belief that when jade was placed on the stomach, it could cure colic in babies.
Originally, all jade objects were thought to be made from the same material. However, in 1863 , Augustin Alexis Damour (19 July 1808, in Paris – 22 September 1902, in Paris) a French mineralogist who was also interested in prehistory, discovered that the material known as "jade" could be divided into two different minerals: jadeite and nephrite. Because these two materials can be difficult to distinguish, and because the word "jade" is so entrenched in common language, the name "jade" is still widely used across many societies, industries, and academic disciplines.

Nephrite deposits have been found in China, New Zealand, Russia, Guatemala and the Swiss Alps. Dark green jade, so-called Canada jade, is also found in Western Canada. Jadeite is found in China, Russia and Guatemala, but the best stones come from Burma, now known as Myanmar.

Nephrite consists of a microcrystalline interlocking fibrous matrix of the calcium, magnesium-iron rich amphibole mineral series tremolite (calcium-magnesium)-ferroactinolite (calcium-magnesium-iron). The middle member of this series with an intermediate composition is called . The higher the iron content, the greener the colour. Usually ranges in color between white, cream, and dark green.

Jadeite is a sodium- and aluminium-rich pyroxene. The precious form of jadeite jade is a microcrystalline interlocking growth of jadeite crystals. Usually it can be found in various shades of white to dark green, sometimes gray, pink, lilac, red, blue, yellow, orange, black, colored by impurities.

People have used jade for at least 100,000 years. The earliest objects made from jade were tools. Jade is a very hard material and is used as a tool because it is extremely tough and breaks to form sharp edges. "Toughness" is the ability of a material to resist fracturing when subjected to stress. "Hardness" is the ability of a material to resist abrasion. Early toolmakers took advantage of these properties of jade and formed it into cutting tools and weapons. It was used to make axes, projectile points, knives, scrapers, and other sharp objects for cutting. Most jade does not have a color and translucence that is expected in a gemstone. However, when early people found these special pieces of jade, they were often inspired to craft them into a special objects.

Neolitic China

The Neolithic period began in China around 10,000 B.C. and concluded with the introduction of metallurgy about 2,000 B.C. In China, as in other areas of the world, Neolithic settlements grew up along the main river systems. Those that dominate the geography of China are the Yellow river (central and northern China) and the Yangzi river (southern and eastern China).
In Neolithic Age people no longer lived only on collecting foods directly from nature. Instead they began to take up agriculture production and raise livestock: Seeds were used to plant new vegetables; Wild animals were domesticated and their meat cooked for food. The appearance of agriculture and stockbreeding is one of the three features of the Neolithic Age. The other two are that grinding stone implements were started to be made as necessity in the daily life and pottery was invented then.
Ceremonial cong of jade (calcined nephrite), 3rd millennium BCE, Neolithic Liangzhu culture; in the Seattle Art Museum,

 Social development at that time is reflected by the development of pottery craft. In the very beginning, the pottery was simple in craft and patterns without any decoration. Most wares then featured in round and flat bases. Later the pottery was mainly made into red and brown wares with relatively delicate craft. After that, the painted pottery gradually, popular around the area of Yellow River, became the mainstream, among which red pottery and black-grey pottery took a large percent. Another aspect that delineates this age is the appearance of handcraft such as wares made from jade and weaving skills.

At the beginning , the Neolithic cultures developed pretty much independently , in the middle period cultures which were geographically close started to connect and exchange which gradually led to the formation of the first states .
Ceremonial ax 3000 BC

Of all aspects of the Neolithic cultures in China, the use of jade made the most lasting contribution to Chinese civilization. Polished stone implements were common to all Neolithic settlements. Stones to be fashioned into tools, weapons  and ornaments were chosen for their harness and strength to withstand impact and for their appearance. Nephrite, or true jade, is a tough and attractive stone. In the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, particularly in the areas near Lake Tai, where the stone occurs naturally, jade was worked extensively, especially during the last Neolithic phase, the Liangzhu, which flourished in the second half of the third millennium B.C. Liangzhu jade artifacts are made with astonishing precision and care, especially as jade is too hard to “carve” with a knife but must be abraded with coarse sands in a laborious process. The extraordinarily fine lines of the incised decoration and the high gloss of the polished surfaces were technical feats requiring the highest level of skill and patience. Few of the jades in archaeological excavations show signs of wear. They are generally found in burials of privileged persons carefully arranged around the body. Jade axes and other tools transcended their original function and became objects of great social and aesthetic significance.

The Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE)

In the Shang dynasty and particularly at Anyang, the craft of jade carving made a notable advance. Ceremonial weapons and fittings for bronze weapons were carved from jade; ritual jades included the bi, cong, and symbols of rank. Plaques and dress ornaments were carved from thin slabs of jade, but there are also small figurines, masks, and birds and animals carved in the round, some of these perhaps representing the earliest examples of spirit vessels”, artistic figures substituted for live victims buried in order to serve the deceased.

Zhou Dynasty. (ca. 1050–256 B.C.)

In the Zhou, production of jade Shang ritual forms was continued and their use systematized. Differently shaped sceptres were used for the ranks of the nobility and as authority for mobilizing troops, settling disputes, declaring peace, and so on. At burial, the seven orifices of the body were sealed with jade plugs and plaques.  The introduction of iron tools and harder abrasives in the Dong (Eastern) Zhou led to a new freedom in carving in the round. Ornamental jades, chiefly in the form of sword and scabbard fittings, pendants, and adornment for clothing, were fashioned into a great variety of animals and birds, chiefly from flat plaques no more than a few millimetres thick.

Qin Dynasty. (221–206 B.C.)

Although short lived, the Qin Dynasty will always be celebrated in Chinese art for at least one achievement - its role in creating the multi-figure terracotta sculpture known as The Terracotta Army, an extraordinary set of military warriors designed to protect the Qin emperor in the afterlife. In general, therefore, Qin cultural activities followed traditions initiated during the time of Shang Dynasty art (1600-1050 BCE) and or the Zhou era (1050-256 BCE). Jade objects were becoming increasingly embellished with animal and other decorative designs. Continuing the work of Zhou carvers who became highly skilled in the creation of detailed relief work  Qin artists push that skill one step further and put that precise work on items like belt-hooks, clasps and plaques that were part of the typical aristocrat's wardrobe.

Han Dynasty. (206 B.C.–220 A.D.)

The most extraordinary jade artworks of the Han Dynasty were the "jade suits" made for deceased nobles to ward off evil spirits in the afterlife. These amazing ensembles, include those for Prince Liu Shen and his wife Princess Dou Wan, made from over 2,000 jade plaques sewn together with as much as almost threequarters of a kilo of gold thread. Another jade suit, fashioned from more than 4,000 plaques, was discovered in the royal tomb of Zhao Mo.

Han dynasty (2nd century BCE - 2 century CE). Made from hundreds of small rectangles of jade stitched together using gold and silver wire, they were used to completely encase the body of deceased royalty.

Six Dynasties. (220–589)

Following the era of Han Dynasty art, China experienced nearly four centuries of upheaval and dislocation between north and south, known as the Six Dynasties Period. During this time, Chinese art was permeated by a number of outside ideas, and the characteristics of traditional Chinese art were influenced by new cultural practices

Sui Dynasty. (581–618)

There are a few important characteristics associated with jade carvings from this period. The most prevalent change of the time is lifelike realism, as exhibited in the increasing adoption of natural elements such as flora, fauna, and human figures for aesthetic expressions.

Tang Dynasty. (618–906)

An important contributor to Chinese art, and a high point in Chinese civilization, the Tang Dynasty provided the first real stability since the collapse of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE. Building on the political and administrative structures put in place by its predecessor the Sui dynasty (589–618), and making full use of its growing population to dominate central Asia and the kingdoms along the Silk Road, the Tangs presided over a period of growth and prosperity, marked by successful military and diplomatic campaigns, intensified commerce along overland trade routes (to Syria and Rome) as well as increased maritime trade with countries from around the world. This prosperity - combined with increased cultural contacts with its Asian neighbours (notably Korea, Japan, and Vietnam), as well as Middle-Eastern and European peoples - helped to revitalize the former practices of Sui Dynasty art, and instigated a renaissance in many different types of art, including music and poetry as well as Chinese painting and ceramic art. Ruled from its capital Changan (present-day Xian) - then the most populous and culturally diverse city in the world - Tang China rapidly became one of the greatest empires of the medieval epoch. Foreign influences arrived and impacted the Chinese jade art significantly. Stones similar to jade but not jade itself were used in ceremonies. The only jade artifacts from this period that have survived are items like combs, belt plaques, hairpins and pendants.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. (907–960)

Five Dynasties was a period of time between the fall of the Tang dynasty  and the founding of the Song dynasty , when five would-be dynasties followed one another in quick succession in North China. The era is also known as the period of the Ten Kingdoms  because 10 regimes dominated separate regions of South China during the same period. The confused state of northern China under the Five Dynasties was not conducive to development of the jade carving.

Song Dynasty. (960–1279)

Given the archaizing fashion of the Song, jades of this period are often difficult to detect. As the technique of jade carving had changed little over time , these are hard to distinguish from genuine archaic jades except by a somewhat playful elegance and a tendency to combine shapes and decoration not found together on ancient pieces

Yuan Dynasty

The era of Song Dynasty art was brought to an end by nomads from Mongolia, whose agenda did not include the promotion of Chinese art in any form. Jade carving techniques did not advanced during this period although objects made from jade were very popular.

Ming Dynasty

Ming dynasty may be considered as one of the most intriguing and complicated times in Chinese history. Under a totalitarian rule which was extremely conservative, a merchandise economy emerged to loosen up the traditional, rigid social hierarchy. In art and culture, the duality expressed itself through highly changeable, even contradictory styles. Jade of the period was no exception and developed into brand new looks combining humanistic and secular tastes.
Flower Brooche , Ming dynasy period

Ching Dynasty

The finest Qing dynasty jade carving is often assigned to the reign of Qianlong. Typical of what is considered of Qianlong date are vases with lids and chains carved from a single block, vessels in antique bronze shapes with pseudo-archaic decoration, fairy mountains, and brush pots for the scholar’s desk.
Ching dynasty urn

Jade in Chinese culture

Chinese people love jade not only because of its aesthetic beauty, but also because of what it represents in terms of social value. Confucius said that there are 11 De, or virtues, represented in jade. The following is the translation:
"The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music.
Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth.

To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'

Thus, beyond monetary worth and materiality, jade is greatly prized as it stands for beauty, grace, and purity. As the Chinese saying goes: "gold has a value; jade is invaluable."

Jade in Chinese language

Because jade represents desirable virtues, the word for jade is incorporated into many Chinese idioms and proverbs to denote beautiful things or people.
For example, 冰清玉洁 (bingqing yujie) , which directly translates to "clear as ice and clean as jade" is a Chinese saying that means to be pure and noble. 亭亭玉立 (tingting yuli) is a phrase used to describe something or someone that is fair, slim, and graceful. Additionally, 玉女 (yùnǚ), which literally means jade woman, is a term for a lady or beautiful girl.
A popular thing to do in China is to use the Chinese character for jade in Chinese names. It is interesting to note that the Supreme Deity of Taoism has the name, Yuhuang Dadi (the Jade Emperor).

Chinese stories about jade

Jade is so engrained in Chinese culture that there are famous stories about jade. The two most famous tales are "He Shi Zhi Bi" (Mr. He and His Jade) and "Wan Bi Gui Zhao" (Jade Returned Intact to Zhao). As a side note, "bi" also means jade.

"He Shi Zhi Bi" is a story about the suffering of Mr. He and how he presented his raw jade to the kings again and again. The raw jade was eventually recognized as an invaluable kind of jade and was named after Mr. He by Wenwang, the king of the Chu State around 689 BCE.
"Wan Bi Gui Zhao" is the follow-up story of this famous jade. The king of the Qin State, the most powerful state during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), attempted to exchange the jade from the Zhao State using his 15 cities. However, he failed. The jade was returned to the Zhao State safely. Thus jade was also a symbol of power in ancient times.
Jade in religious use

Because of this and the belief in its indestructibility, jade from early times was lavishly used ritual objects, both Confucian and Daoist, and for the protection of the dead in the tomb.
Jade in people’s believes.
Beside the thing that jade is used in crafting many sacramental objects in all  main religions in Asia there are a lot believes in magical and healing properties of Jade. A legend claiming Buddha’s tears are pure jade may be behind the theory that jade can treat eye disorders. Healers say the gemstone also benefits the hips, heart, spleen and thymus gland as well as aid poor digestion, relieve constipation and promote healthy hair. Jade should be worn so it rests on the skin over the troubled part of the body.
The much-vaunted substance appeared everywhere, from the mouths of opium pipes (to prolong the longevity of the smoker) to dining implements (to transfer energy to the food) and the palms of politicians (jade talismans were said to help the holder through tricky negotiations). While jade liquor is no longer in fashion and few people cram jade pieces into the mouths of corpses any more, a healthy respect for the stone remains. Jade bracelets, which are believed to be effective in combatting rheumatism, are worn by many people to this day.

Jade is considered a gemstone of good fortune, bringing its wearer or owner wealth, stability and love. Lovers exchange jade gifts to confirm their love and devotion to each other. Jade helps open the heart chakra while attracting love, enhancing sexuality and fertility. It is also a protective stone, guarding against misfortunes and accidents.
Jade is associated with the planets Jupiter and Pluto, and is the zodiac stone for Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Libra and Pisces. It is the birthstone for May and the gemstone commemorating the 12th wedding anniversary

The Colors of Jade

According to gemstone therapy jade "stimulates creativity and mental agility on the one hand, while also having a balancing and harmonizing effect”. Green jade is calming when held. Lavender jade helps ease emotional and mental problems because it radiates love, beauty and security. Blue jade encourages the mind’s thought processes and imagination, and mauve jade’s gentle vibration helps the wearer’s spiritual needs.
Orange jade gives its wearer energy. Red jade vibrates at a higher energy level, helping bring anger to the surface so the wearer can deal with it and move on to more positive occupations.

As we can see , Jade is one of the verz important elements of Chinese culture and has great significance in many aspects of life , as well in the past as it has it now.