ISAI The Martial Art of Formless Flow: Internal Motion, Internal Fish Play

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Internal Motion, Internal Fish Play

There are two commonly known traditions, Indian and Chinese, speaking about internal energy motion.

These two traditions have a lot in common and most probably they have a common origin, probably Indian. In China there are Microcosmic and Macrocosmic circular orbits of Taoist mystical tradition. In India there is tradition of Kundalini Tantra with prana (cosmic universal energy in Indian philosophy and Yoga) making full circular orbit. This orbit has strong resemblance to Microcosmic orbit of Chi (cosmic universal energy) in Chinese concept of Taoism.

From the book “The Subtle Energy Body: The Complete Guide” by Maureen Lockhart, Ph.D.

From the book “Taoist Secrets of Love” by Mantak Chia

From the book “Kundalini Tantra” by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

All these models are slightly different and there are also other models, Chinese and Indian, with some minute differences. These models actually has nothing with actual, physical motion of the body as our eye can catch it. These models mostly will not work for not-human body. Their existence is a result of education and guided imagination. I believe these models originally were created as a result of observation of real human motion, but during the time formalization changed the pictures and today these models lost their connection with observable physical world.

As I already mentioned in previous chapters that the model of ISAI, Fish Play, is based completely on observation. This model is a product of physical world. It can be felt internally and in the same time can be seen externally as a physical motion. This is a one of the most important differences between ISAI and other teachings.

The natural motion of the body has universal general form (often mentioned as morphology). Important thing is that this form is 3D form. It means that the form, extended more or less in different directions, will be seen from the front, from behind, from the sides, from the above, from the below and from all possible angles. The same principle motion will be seen in the same time from all directions. This is a very important quality of the motion. This is a “must” quality if we speak about natural, universal motion. We call it universal morphology. The perfect universal masterpiece of the Creator or Evolution can’t be seen and distinguished only from one special angle. Even more than that - if we see different forms from different angles the reason for that is that we still don’t understand what we see. The form of the motion of the object depends on the motion and orientation of the observer. In most cases we have to imagine how the motion will be seen from different directions by moving observer. To do it one needs special and rare quality called spatial imagination. Unfortunately only very few of us has highly developed spatial imagination.

Back to the Chinese and Indian models of the internal energy motion - obviously they have no universal morphology. Contrary to them model of ISAI, Fish Play, has it. I will discuss later the model of Fish Play as a model of the internal energy motion.

There are also another models of motion, which we can find spiritual traditions of different cultures.

One such commonly accepted model of motion is a spiral. Some Eastern traditions, like that of Aikido, speak about universal spiral motion. The spiral is a sequence of numerous Fish Play forms performed in pairs. Every pair consists of opposite directions (clockwise – counter clockwise directions). The form of spiral received if this sequence watched from some angles and looks different if watched from other directions. For example if we observe spiral from its axis facing to its starting point we will see a lot of connected circles. Obviously spiral is not a universal morphology.

Another model of spiritual motion is lemniscate, known as also as a symbol of eternity or infinity.

Infinity Euler Symbol
This is a special form of Fish Play. It has a universal morphology, but still it is not the general model of motion.
Another model is a swastika which has a very long history.  Swastika is a form derived or closely connected to lemniscate. It’s a symbolic form of motion.

Armenian eternity symbol - Makaravank 7th century AD. It can be considered as 3 Taiji clockwise symbols integrated in one circle. It can be also considered as integration of curved swastikas in one circle

The curved swastika

Ancient Civilization of Indus Valley - Swastika Seal

One of the most important model of the motion is Taiji or Yin-Yang. This is a closest “relative” of Fish Play model and actually can be considered as a special form of Fish Play. Contrary to what usually folks think this symbol was popular not only in China.

Chinese Taiji (Yin-Yang) symbol

Celtic Gold plated Disc, early 4 Century BC

Ornamental Bronze Plaque, Celtic Horse gear, 1C. AD


Celtic Bronze Disc. It can be considered as 6 Taiji clockwise symbols integrated in one circle
I believe all these symbols born out of the intuitive feeling of universal motion. It is still not generalized form as it represented by Fish Play model, but it is great artistic, philosophical and spiritual expression of phenomenon of universal natural motion as human eye can see it and as human being can feel it.
When we speak about internal issues like internal motion or internal energy we have to rely completely on our inner eye or our feeling of internal processes. There are specialized mechanisms in our bodies that make us possible to feel the motion and location in space of our body and its parts. We call them proprioception and vestibular mechanism. We also can feel our skin (derma) tension. The spinal nerve system innervates skin, producing on the skin belt-like areas, so that each belt corresponds to different vertebrae.
The dermatome innervation map
During the natural inhalation or exhalation the torso, neck and head perform gentle motions, which can be described by Fish Play model. These motions cause waves of tensions and relaxations of the skin covering the body. These tensions and relaxations send feedback innervation signals to the vertebra. These signals will produce in vertebra and skin ascending wave during the inhalation and descending wave during the exhalation. Some authors describe by means of this mechanism the Kundalini, the mystic serpent power of Yogis, ascending and descending along vertebra.   
Let’s investigate the diagram of Fish Play of the body. 

Fish Play of the body

Fish Play of the head
Consider please the pic. Fish play of the body. During the inhalation the air and external energy (red lines) follows the routes of low pressure and tension, produced inside the body and fill it. The areas of high tension (blue lines) starts with extension of the torso from point 2 to point 1 and flexion of the neck from point 1 to point 3. The inhalation ends with beginning of extension of the neck from point 1 to point 3 and flexion of the torso from point 1 to point 2. This process produces the feeling of ascending internal energy wave moving along the body.
During the exhalation expelled air and energy produce and follow the areas with high tension (red lines) within the body in its way out to the lower pressure. This will be felt as descending energy wave and starts with extension of the neck from point 1 to point 3 and flexion of the torso from point 1 to point 2  (blue lines). The exhalation ends with beginning of flexion of the neck from point 1 to point 3 and extension of the torso from point 1 to point 2. Therefore during the motion of the natural breathing the end of inhalation is a start of exhalation and the end of exhalation is a start of inhalation.
The energy circle within the head can be also detaled and represented as Fish Play – please see the pic. Fish play of the head.
This process in whole creates the feeling of circling energy within the body close to its surface and in the same some people can feel the stream of energy ascending and descending along the vertebra. This is internal energy motion and its feeling.
Proprioception, vestibular and vision mechanisms provide us with the feeling of external motion, its form and speed. This is external energy motion and its feeling.   
We have to remember that all processes I depictured and described here and in all other chapters are 3D processes. It means that even the pictures of Fish Play show us 2D model of internal energy flow only in midsagittal plane in the reality the motion can be simultaneously seen and internally felt in two additional planes – frontal and horizontal. If sit quietly these two planes will be undistinguishable. But every motion in the space includes rotations, flexions and extensions of the body, head and their parts also in these two planes.
There is the same theoretical and practical model for internal and external energy motion. Moving naturally we see and feel the same path. Both of them harmoniously blending in one inseparable entity, supporting and nourishing each other, making us
feeling wonderful ecstatic experience.

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