YeokGeun, Unique method of GiCheon
What makes GiCheon unique, however, is the principle of YeokGeun (Yeok: to change, Geun: muscle), or locking of the joints which can’t be found anywhere. YeokGeun targets every joint of the body: wrists, waist, knees, ankles, and more. Joints are like passages to let Gi flow into all areas of the body. They are also believed to be junctions where Eum (negative) & Yang (positive) Gi channels come together. By working the trigger points, however, and releasing the Gi, many injuries can be overcome in time. Meanwhile, it would take at least 3 years to learn how to do YeokGeun and it will be almost impossible for one to learn it through indirect resources like videos, texts, etc without personal instruction from who have already attained it as this is a very unusual way of conditioning muscles and joints and most of people in this world don't practice that way. Therefore, it's also very difficult to express it in words or texts.
One of the effects of YeokGeun is greater immediate strength. When the joints are locked in this position, for example, the hand becomes elastic and flexible, and therefore much more effective against an opponent. But the long-term effects of practicing YeokGeun are even more impressive. Another purpose of YeokGeun is to generate the free-flow of Gi. And then bring the following benefits especially.
Lowered-blood pressure, Muscle relaxation, Arthritis, Rheumatism, Joint pains and Spinal problems (Scoliosis, Slipped discs, etc), Sports injuries, Obesity, Heart diseases, Diabetes, Asthma, Rheumatism, Paralysis, Chronic aches and pains, Skin ailments, Increase in flexibility and tenderness of the muscles and joints, etc.
Stronger focus and concentration, Reduced tension, anxiety, and stress, Clearer thinking, Greater creativity and enhanced performance in work and play, More joy, love, Spontaneity, Deeper sense of meaning and purpose: a glimpse of the spiritual dimension of being, etc
The Will to Learn
According to GiCheon forklore, Bodhidharma (the 18th generation heir of Mohakasyapa, the founder of Zen and the developer of Shaolin kungfu) learned YeokGeun from the female GiCheon grand master named “CheonSeonYeo (a woman of the Heavens).” Here’s more detailed story as follow:
Bodhidharma heard about the great strength and wisdom of the female GiCheon grand master known as “CheonSeonYeo (woman of the Heavens)”. He sought her out in the northern mountains of Korea and asked her to spar with him. It didn't take Bodhidharma much time to realize how formidable CheonSeonYeo was. He begged her to teach him the art of GiCheon. She offered him one lesson in GiCheon, but only if he could show her something: a bouquet of red flowers in a pure red sky.
And so, one snowy day in the mountains, Bodhidharma cut off his left arm to prove his sincere desire to learn GiCheon. When he threw the arm in the air, the snow all around him became soaked with blood, forming a crimson bouquet. The grand master was appeased. She saw that Bodhidharma possessed a passionate will to learn, and so she taught him the great secret of GiCheon: YeokGeun.
The Purposes of YeokGeun
The process of developing internal force requires regular training for many years. Because internal force is not outwardly visible, it is often thought of us a mystical force or power. In GiCheon, we develop internal force by doing static postures for many years.
The water in a container is the analogy to explain how Ki or energy works. In this analogy, internal force or energy is the water, and the container is the human body. We fortify the container/the body through GiCheon, making it bigger (however, invisible to the eyes of most of people) and stronger. This will allow us to “contain”, save and purify more energy, which we also build the container/the body simultaneously through the practice of GiCheon static postures.
Diamond Body (GeumGang Che)", is the ideal state of bodily and spiritual perfection, which is achieved through years of strenuous training. Like the name implies, the Diamond Body is the perfect, untarnished container, capable of holding such tremendous amounts of water/energy, that it provides a powerful energy source in martial arts, healing, meditation, etc. We can share that water/energy, with others for healing purposes. However, if we do not have the perfect state of body and energy, we can be in danger of “draining” our vital life energy. YeokGeun will help develop diamond body.
It goes without saying that GiCheon static postures are essential in the internal development for any purpose that one may aim to achieve.
Why YeokGeun is Difficult
Beginners may feel very difficult in learning how to do YeokGeun due to below reasons:
Unusual way of conditioning muscles & ligaments around the joints
YeokGeun is a very unusual way of conditioning muscles and ligaments with power around the joints. Most of people in this world don't practice this way although we can find traces in similarity from Eastern traditional dances, martial arts and other physical forms.
Targeting at neglected & unused muscles in daily life
Yeokgeun targets at conditioning muscles & ligaments which are commonly neglected and "almost unused in our daily life". Through aging process, most people have their spines crooked, shoulders shrunken and closed and legs open wide. This is exactly the opposite of what YeokGeun is for.
When keeping YeokGeun, most of beginners may feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and tense at extreme level, most probably arising from hidden/unconscious physiological or emotional or psychological tension or pre-existing/potential injuries or blocked energy channels, etc that have been accumulated and underestimated for many years.
So without strong commitment and self-motivation, one may easily give up before getting to know how to do it.
Principles of YeokGeun
YeokGeun - conditioning muscles and ligaments around the joints - shares the same principle with a Korean traditional bow, called "Gakgung".
The Korean traditional bow is bent & strung in the opposite direction of shooting to create more elastic potential and kinetic energy, and transfer it to the arrow shot a far distance.
Our muscles are much like the bow before it is strung. For YeokGeun, when our muscles and ligaments around the joints are flexed in the opposite direction, elastic potential and kinetic energy will be created in the involved muscles around the joints. Then an extreme level of stretch can be also applied to those, much like the string to the Korean traditional bow.
Also, as with the bow once strung in the opposite direction, these energy will be increased in the muscles and channels around the joints to get the muscles moving back to the initial condition.
Kinked Garden Hose
A kinked garden hose is also a good analogy to explain the principle of YeokGeun.
In this analogy, internal force or energy is the water, and the hose is our muscles & energy channels. When a garden hose is kinked (our muscles/energy channels are flexed or twisted into the opposite direction for YeokGeun), water pressure will be increased around the kinked hose (energy pressure will be increased in the muscles of YeokGeun and related energy channels).
As increased water pressure can be used for hydraulic power, increased energy will unblock channels and acupuncture points, circulate energy better, help stretch tense muscles, ligaments and joints and also strengthen them.
As we can easily notice a water leaking point in the kinked water hose, we can easily recognize the same leaking point in the body through YeokGeun, a leaking point referring to "healthy problems" - generally speaking, pre-existing injuries, potential injuries, blocked acupuncture points & energy channels, level of emotional, psychological & spiritual blockages -, level of agility, professional & social backgrounds, and so on.
How to Do
Although it is very difficult to express how to do YeokGeun in words or texts without personal guidance, here's how to do it:
Philosophical Implications of YeokGeun
YeokGeun also has philosophical implications which embody the notion of "The Middle Path (JungDoh)," the detached or neutral state-of-mind that precedes enlightenment. The tension between the two opposing muscle groups -- the inner and outer -- embodies the notion of "The Middle Path." The tension on the surrounding muscles groups represents the difficulties of life, or turmoil, imposed upon human beings from the outside, while on the inside there is stability and calm -- represented by the locking of the joints.
Without a doubt, the person who practices YeokGeun feels more composed and serene. And only when the human mind is free from all bondage can realize the cosmic reality.