Earth Dragon Canon Method

Of Mindfulness Martial Arts

The Earth Dragon Canon Method of mindfulness practice teaches the functional practices for the internal martial arts of circle walking, tai chi, five elements fist, and standing meditation.

You will learn the history of these arts, and how to apply them for meditation, mindfulness, and physical fitness.

Copernicus holding a model of his cosmology
Earth Method

Supplemental Exercises

In the traditional method of internal martial art teaching a master would choose a few individuals as indoor students. These students were supposedly given the secret transmission of the art that was missing from the public instruction.

In truth, these secret sessions were more about smoking and drinking than teaching. The Earth Method of Earth Dragon Canon shares supplemental exercises designed to enforce your understanding of internal martial art principles.

Recommended Practice

You now have all the tools you need for a lifetime of healthy practice. Taking advantage of these tools and using them regularly is a responsibility you must take seriously.

Baguazhang allows you to practice the most basic and beneficial of exercises, walking in a limited amount of space with a limitless potential for variety. If you find that your practice is becoming stale you can learn more changes or modify the ones you already know.

The American Heart Association recommends using a pedometer to count the steps you take in a day. From this measurement, you can determine how active or sedentary your lifestyle is. Armed with this information, you can develop a plan to improve your general health.

Internal Power Set

In classical internal martial art practice, there are several Qigong sets designed to teach internal power. They are composed of stretching, massage, and breathing exercises designed to develop or transport Qi throughout the body.

Lying Bear Posture

This posture is designed to let the stress of the day go, and I refer to it often. My grandfather was the first to introduce me to this posture. His doctor recommended it to alleviate his back pain. I found it many books promising pain relief since then. The idea is to release the tension in your lower back.

Horse Posture

Traditional martial art teaching includes a low and wide stance known as Ma Bu, or Horse Stance. This stance develops leg strength, or rootedness. I the Earth Dragon Canon method, we abandon wide and deep stances for proper alignment and function. This does not mean, however, that we can abandon leg strength. We need a posture that can engage our leg muscles in a functional manner without dedicating hours to just standing around. My version of the Horse Posture is similar to the Bear Posture, but against a wall and standing up.

Arm Circles

One exercise that helps to strengthen and improve the shoulder range of motion is the traditional Arm Circle exercise.

Push Ups

No exercise engages the scapula, quite like the push up. For strengthening the arms, shoulders, and body core, nothing beats this traditional exercise. The push up also engages the serratus anterior muscle along your rib cage, the same muscle targeted in traditional standing postures with extended arms.

Butterfly

There are some crazy exercises to open the hips and regain flexibility in the pelvic girdle. Some of them involve a partner pushing or pulling legs to ever wider angles. Those just seem painful to me, and I should know, because I have tried some of them in the past. Here is an exercise that you can do lying on your stomach that will open and relax the hip joints without having to become a contortionist.

Hip Lift

When I learned my left leg was one centimeter shorter than my right, the physical therapist recommended this exercise as one way to reengage the hip joint. In mindfulness martial arts, it reminds us that power is generated from the feet and transferred to to the torso, before it can be expressed in the hands. Lie on your back in proper Wuji Posture alignment, but extend your arms to the sides with your palms facing up. Pull the left foot up so it is opposite the right knee. Keep the sole of the left foot flat on the floor.

Deep Breathing

Until you can breathe deeply and slowly, it will be impossible for you to coordinate the internal and external harmonies into a unified practice. A good way to start breath practice is in the Bear Posture. Instead of holding your hands out to your sides, put the left hand on your lower abdomen and the right hand on your chest.

The Bellows

Breathing in is Yin, breathing out is Yang. When performing the martial forms, we associate breathing in with defensive movements, while we associate breathing out with offensive movements. In The Bellows, we coordinate breathing with movement while exercising the spine, shoulders, and hips.

Finger Exercise

You use our hands all day, yet pay little attention to what they are doing. Studies that map parts of the human body to brain function draw pictures of the body that represent the relative size of each body part to brain function. These pictures show the hands huge compared to the rest of the body, with one hand being larger than the other. Bringing your hands into your conscious awareness is the point of this exercise.

Bridge

The bridge is from a classic pose in Yoga.

Hurdler’s Stretch

This is one of my favorite stretches. Start on your hands and knees as in the Bridge, but put the left foot in front of the right knee, with the heel touching the knee.
A line drawing graphic of the Earth

Forward Bend

This one may make your hips pop; it is great after sitting too long, and essential before you start any physical activity.
A line drawing graphic of the Earth

Foot Circles

Walking heel-to-toe seems natural enough, but that old enemy of sitting too much can really interfere with your ability to put one foot in front of the other. What usually happens, is that one foot kicks out to the side and lands slightly on one side of the foot or the other. You will recognize this when one shoe wears excessively on one side. There are many exercise programs that will improve your gait, and I encourage you to explore those.

The Turtle

Walking heel-to-toe seems natural enough, but that old enemy of sitting too much, can really interfere with your ability to put one foot in front of the other. The Turtle is a supplemental exercise for your taijiquan practice. It focuses on the feet and reminds you that internal power is generated from the ground up.

Back Kick

Sitting disassociates the connection between the legs and the torso. The Back Kick is a powerful reminder that our legs need the torso to function well.

Floor Twist

The internal martial arts require a supple torso. As you progress through baguazhang or taijiquan postures, you will notice a difference in your overall agility and balance as your torso loosens.

The Frog

Related to the butterfly, The Frog is another exercise designed to open your hips for internal martial art practice.

Crunches

Here is another traditional exercise to strengthen your torso, and one of the most hated words in the English language, Crunches.

The River Steps

The River Steps (a.k.a. Ladder Stepping) provide a method to study the transition of your weight between the insubstantial and substantial legs.

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