SM Baguio recently staged a program attended by the Mayor to celebrate the City’s ties with its sister cities in China and Korea (I still have to understand the actual economic and social benefits of sister city tie-ups though). Young people presented the song and dances of these foreign cultures. One was Wushu which reminded me of Shibashi.
In Baguio, Shibashi is exercised by the elderly, on early mornings at Burnham Park. Knowing the exercise myself, I’ve to say that the place is not the most conducive as it lacks good sources of regenerative energies. One can’t source healthy energy from old and dying pine trees or from parched earth and withering grass. Shibashi is essentially about communing and being regenerated by nature through specific body movements.
I learned to do the exercise during my convent days. We did it after the morning Mass which coincided with sunrise. We did it outdoors on the terrace which overlooked Enchanted Kingdom in the distance.
Chinese martial art movies have protagonists chanting phrases and making poses to imitate “dragon-drinking up-the-sun” or “snake-curling up-the-tree” which seem nonsensical, but they’re not. Shibashi has such positions. (Brothers from the seminary at the bottom of our hill had unbeknownst to us watched our exercise. At a meet up, they asked “so sisters what do you call that thing you’re doing?” and proceeded to demonstrate a snaky posture. That’s the basic difference between female and male religious, the former being more well-rounded and the latter in mental and intellectual training. While nuns-in-training are out and about the world – doing Shibashi, gardening, learning alternative musical instruments and healing practices, visiting homes along the train tracks and holding Bible studies with families there – priests-in-training were for the most part of the days glued to their books.)
The aim of Shibashi is to open up the body’s energy points so that negative energies can be released and regenerative energies let in. I haven’t attained that level of consciousness wherein I’m aware of energies flowing through and in and out of my body. As with pranic healing, I can’t seem to develop that skill. Perhaps I’m not really into these things. All I know was I felt energized after Shibashi. Throw in witnessing the rising of the sun and the burst of colors across the horizon, the world waking up sensing it is day, hearing the squawks of early birds, the feel of the first rays of daylight on your face. These are the good energies waiting to be welcomed inside ourselves.