Questions on the Taoist Internal Chinese Chi Arts: T'ai
Taoist seeks to avoid understanding by reducing any method of artificiality
Ch'uan and the sister arts -Pakua and Hsing-I are often perceived
by the casual watcher as tranquillity and composure in motion.
The movements are related to the nature of "gentle wind
and fine rain". The movements of Yang style T'ai Chi are
slow, smooth, rounded, flowing and gentle, with no perceptible
hesitation between upper body movements and stances. The earlier
Chen style uses both slow and quick movements which sometimes
spring extremely vigorously.
The Yang style being
simplified and lighter is more suitable for the aged beginner whereas
the Chen is more vigorously athletic. All styles use rounded, spiralling
techniques. Ground contact is utilised to develop powerful leverage
for every technique and its transformation. If you move with the centre
of gravity well under the body a sense of strength and gracefulness
develops. See "typical" student progress rate here.
achieve of Tai Chi Chuan develop fluidity of free form from
constant stream of martial combinations, counters and movements are
easily linked to the other generic names for Tai Chi Chuan,
such as Long River boxing and Shadow boxing
Roots of the main schools of Tai Chi Chuan
earliest recorded School of Tai Chi Ch'uan or Shadow Boxing
is rooted in the Chen family through Chen Wanting a warrior
of the late Ming Dynasty. Most Chinese martial disciplines developed
naturally through family relationships and the knowledge passed
on by the lineages or clans. Two of the clearest recorded
historical treatises on Tai Chi Ch'uan are by Chen Wanting and
Wang Chung Yueh(1791-95). Chen Wanting of Chenjiagou village
Wen County is accredited as the founder of Tai Chi Chuans
fundamental document known as the Song of the Canon of Pugilism.
work extended to a degree the compilation of Qi Jiguang's(1528-1587)
techniques of 16 popular martial schools of the time. Chen's
document outlined a clear exposition of the working principles
of Chen style Taijiquan. Chen described all kinds of subtle
and varied energetic exercises to promote spirited health and
powerful boxing skills. After Five generations the Chen family
style was passed on by Chen Chanxing (1771-1853) who taught
Yang Luchan (1779-1872) of the Yongnian County, Hebi province.
Yang Luchan became highly skilled and developed a new school
of Tai Chi Chuan commonly known as Yang style, The
Yang School flourished. Later the Zhaoboa style of the Chen
school developed by Chen Qing-ping was modified into the Wu
School. Later the Sun school appeared. (Other schools also proliferated
which are beyond the scope of this article.)
is Tai Chi Chuan good for health and longevity?
Tai Chi Chuan is
renowned for strengthening the central nervous system, improving the
blood circulation, increasing nourishment to the heart and the viscera
and promoting better digestion, it encourages detoxification and elimination
and will prevent many kinds of diseases which are usually contracted
by the aging process.
is the Tai Chi form good for Relaxation and recooperation from
Tai Chi Chuan
is one of the best exercises for relaxation for all ages. Those who
practice it gain a healthy body as well as an attentive mind. With the
improvement to your health, you may find it easier to concentrate habitual
tasks and make decisions more realistically. The form of Tai Chi Chuan,
in performance, looks like a classical dance with graceful movements
and alert actions. It offers a balanced exercise to the muscles and
joints through sets of actions (techniques) which, in turn, are regulated
by natural diaphragmatic deep breathing. This will ensure that the central
nervous system is toned up with time as the exercise continues. It is
quite logical to say that the efficiency of the various organs of our
body depends largely on the soundness of the central nervous system.
In other words, a strong central nervous system is the basic condition
of a healthy body.
do I do T'ai Chi?
Well it takes
a while to become a free form Tai Chi bod - but you can make great
strides in a short time if you tailor your Tai Chi method to fit
your present general health after which your movements are an
art!! But seriously that is not so important.
please find a little fun with T'ai chi movements, please note
the cloud of chi is real! and chi is pink because of local pollution.
are the Intermediate core skills?
It is not without
significance that Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is translated
as The Great Ultimate Fist or more commonly referred as Shadow boxing.
In Shadow Boxing the skilled player develops creative movement skills
through visualisation and wu wei no-mind or open
states of mind. The wu wei mind leads to the first step of reactive
sensitivity and free form response used within pushing and sticking
hands. To develop a particular skill or kung fu level the intermediate
practitioner instills a balanced appreciation of stillness interacting
with dynamic motion. Moderation in movement is the key to early progress
. Movements can
be quiet or explosive, hidden or apparent, yielding or firm, all flowing
from within. These opposites provide the basics of Yin and Yang which
lie at the centre of internal martial arts. The skilled Shadow boxer
should therefore possess integrated actions which divide and reform
naturally to meet each situation, providing a range of techniques that
are both difficult to control or interpret. Yin and Yang combine, as
above so below.
is important !
the breathing naturally. Join it to the postures throughout
each technique. Be harmonious and learn to extend your breathing
towards a meditative focus, in part this is somewhat comparable
to Indian systems of yogic pursuit. See Qigong. Breathing promotes
the Relaxation of body with mind this is nourishing and motivating
to the Chi/Qi. The balanced postures of Tai Chi enable
the soft movements to gently release toxins and promote physical
freedom of movement for all ages (often beyond the normal capability
for ones age). Taoist breathing methodology is worth studying.
are balanced movements ?
movements are attained by moving as if pulling a silken thread.
Yin with Yang in harmony. Each movement is performed in an unbroken
and simple manner. At first the player must make simple interconnections.
Then increase the complexity of the waist torso use. Do not
twist the spine out of line. Keep joints pliant and soft throughout
all the movements. Bones must relate as whole. Energy develops
through the legs rooted into the ground. Beware of cumbersome
postures with poor leg structure there should be unity throughout.
Here is an example from the FirstGate Key Arts Poster Book.
Most people need
to develop more interconnection between the joints, from the feet to
the hands so you can pull, push and press with your whole body. Remember
you will be able to do this with small or large movements which can
very beneficial as exercise form. Do not be stiff, but practise the
appropriate use of strength in different parts of the body. Do not rock
the body but balance the leg strength to develop total body exercise
for strong health throughout.
Keep happy and calm.
Learn the stances
and key postures clearly.
is self defence practical in Tai Chi Chuan?
and avoiding the use of great strength is necessary for the improvement
of our health. This will make the actions more malleable and the
muscles of the whole body will relate in a balanced and relaxed
fashion. It also centres the nervous system, so that our emotions
will be more stable. The Tai Chi principle implies all movements
are connected. As are all things.
of Tai Chi Chuan cycle, they 'open and close'. The
arms and legs, should present both the 'void and substantiality'.
In stepping there is 'continuity' of all actions and the 'softness'
of postures should not be compromised following the maxim the
the unbending breaks while the yielding survives.
In yin-yang terms we may likewise view that the promotion of our
health belongs to Yin while our self-protection belongs to Yang.
of the self (yang) the principle of Tai Chi Chuan
meets the unbending force with the yielding force. The yielding
force belongs to Yin and the unbending force belongs to Yang.
When combative, we use the yielding force to counteract our opponent's
attack and the unbending force to counterattack our opponent.
The change of forces from unbending to yielding or vice versa
is achieved through some form of circularity. Combative
Tai Chi Chuan is like many circles spiralling continually
without closure. This circle is split in reversal.
One uses half of the circle as yielding force to counteract the
opponent's attack, and the other half circle as unbending force
to counterattack the opponent. When using such circles, we can
use one hand by itself or both hands together to act upon our
opponent directly or indirectly at angles horizontal, inclined
or vertical -- depending on the controlling factors.
out myself long ago
are the Energetic Skills of Advanced Tai Chi Chuan for
defence of the self ?
In the main one
must acomplish gradually the following skills
Learn to TO ADHERE
- Chan Energy
To join or adhere
with your opposite player so when they advance you retreat in harmony
and when they retreat/withdraw you similarly follow. The classics indicate
this is an experience where one is likely to notice that when retreating
the player feels there is little room for manoeuvre. And when they advance
there is too much openness in position to achieve joining effectively.
Successful exposition of depends on tactile skill, deft footwork and
centred discrimination of the opponents energy and position.
to STICK - Nien
To Stick to merge
to adhere, are facets of Nien Energy. Technically ones intent is to
guide and or arrest the energy of your opposite player in Taijiquan.
You compel and direct the opposite players movements in such a way that
they become caught in following your intent. This happens accidentally
at first for brief periods which later extended with correct practise.
& LEAD IN DEFLECTION - Hua, Neutralising Energy
practise this energy on must learn how to lose or sacrifice, but with
To learn to neutralise
the player must understand the saying that there is profit in loss.
This is the way to learn how to yield. Clear mind, still emotions, centred
wherever you are. You are able to know the opponent but they can never
know you. You are open into emptiness and close swiftly. Yielding skills
require structured flexibility before adhering energy can be developed.
Practise with considered creativity of your shadow opponent and in joint
hand exercises. Ones change ability is directed from the will. Focus
intent on Hua energy towards gaining a superior position by deft interpretation
of the energy of the opposite player through no resistance (in interpreting
the opponents energy) followed by no letting go where we use Hua energy
in projecting energy of the opposite player. Emptiness is used to extend
energy that must go further. The classic technique of Rolling Back frequently
occurs in the Taijiquan pattern. Careful testing of how well ones established
neutralising energy towards gaining an advantaged position makes pushing
hands exercises vital and stimulating to the senses.
to CAPTURE AND
DISSOLVE - Chin, Seizing Energy
One must use a variety
of techniques to capture and dissolve the opposite players movements.
Applied in the classic Taijiquan postures of the Hua, Peng, P'o techniques.
Remember, first neutralise where appropriate and then Seize Energy to
evolve an attack by use of intrinsic energy through the sinews and tendons
to ENTICE AND DISRUPT
- Yin, Exhausting opponents Energy
With meeting a superior
opponent in either in height, strength or speed an effective movement
requires some trick. With superior capabilities the opponents position
must be devalued. To exhaust the energy one can withdraw or rollback
energy until a inferior in position is established. Unbalanced, then
use of pull down or splitting energy can produce knock down technique.
The opponent must be enticed by attitude and feeling. Your position
must not betray your intent.
to DEVELOP AND
ISSUE ENERGY - Fa, Issuing Energy
To use the energy
developed holistically requires unity. The body must utilise sinews
and tendons by being relaxed, postured, and alert. Flowing as a whole
so intrinsic energy can be developed and expressed at any part of the
body. Natural limits are extended BY ONES ABILITY to develop spontaneity
and express actionable Chi.
Techniques are infinite
in form, this takes time and research.