Crawling training for the protection and safety of your body is designed for use when the opponent attacks. Chinese T'ai-chi philosophy has a classification of the cosmos into three large divisions: heaven, earth, and man. Taiki-ken applies this division to the human body, which it divides into the same heaven, earth, and man realms.
These are designated t'ien (heaven), ti (earth), and jen (man) in Chinese and ten (heaven), chi (earth), and jin (man) in Japanese. Of the three, jen is considered the most important. When an opponent attacks, it is sufficient if you defend the jen zone of the body. In order to do this, however, it is essential to develop the legs and hips (the ti, or earth, zone). Defense of the jen part of the body obviously entails knowledge of that part. And such knowledge must not be solely mental, but must arise from an unconscious awareness on the part of the entire body. Furthermore, the arms must act as the antennae of an insect in detecting the kind of attack the opponent intends to make.
Practice in the hai is designed to train the ti and jen parts of the body. Ti develops the strength of the feet and hips; and jen, that of the hands in the role as antennae. If these parts are not thoroughly trained and if they are not well balanced, weaknesses will inevitably emerge. For instance, when an opponent attacks the face of an insufficiently trained person, that person will exert all of his efforts in an attempt to escape from the attack by straightening his hips as far as possible. Or, if the individual lack flexibility in the hips, the motions of the ti part of his body will be so dull that he will be unable to react suitably to the opponent's attack.
The most important points in hai practice are to assume the position shown in Fig. 3, to maintain the hip position shown, and to advance so slowly that a person watching is unaware of the movement. At first, 3 move forward five meters. Then, with the same pace, move backward. Your gaze must not be concentrated on one point; instead it must be unrestricted enough to allow you to take in whatever movements the opponent may make. For the method of advancing in the hai, see the chart on p. 26.
Advancing method for the hai. Front view.
From the original position (Fig. 1), lower your hips and raise both arms (Fig. 2). Leaving your hips and abdominal region at the same level, put your weight on your right foot and take one step forward (Figs. 3 and 4).
Then, leaving your hips and abdominal region at the same level, switch your weight to your left foot and take another step forward (Figs. 5 through 8). Using the same stepping method, advance about five meters. Your eyes must be directed, without being fixed on any one point, at a distance of about three meters in front of you. Using the motions explained in the preceding section, step backward (Figs. 17 through 30). Return to the original position (Fig. 3 1). Do not forget that, though you are moving backward in this part of the exercise, your ki 26 must be directed forward.