A Simple Explanation of T’ai Chi Terminology And Principles

Posted by on Dec 5, 2007 in Tai Chi | One Comment

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There are many different kinds of schools of T’ai Chi Chu’an. Every school has its unique merits in its movements, forms and style. However the background theory and principles are the same regardless of the school.
Body posture aspect:
1. Xuen Ding, Shoun Shang: Straightening the head and neck. Imagine that your head is hanging by a string from the centre top of your head.
2. HanXong BaBei: The chest must keep slightly introverted; also keep the spine straight.
3. ChenJen ChueyZuo: During all movements shoulders and elbows must be kept relaxed and slightly sunken so they are flexible.
4. SongYao ShurFu: Relax your waist and breathe into the abdomen (Dantien).
5. Lee’enTuin TsuoKuar: Contract your hips and sit your groin (when practicing T’ai chi many people tilt their hips forward, curving their lower back instead of straightening it: this is incorrect).
Movements’ aspect: Your whole forms must be curved. Your whole body, starting from the feet through the ankle, knee, groin, shoulder, elbow and wrist must string or thread together. It’s very important that with every movement you move your whole body together, not just a hand, leg or arm. Once one part of your body moves, every other part of your body should also be in motion.
Mind aspect: The mind leads the body. In Chinese we call it “YonYi, BuYonLi” (Use mind, not use strength). It means that during T’ai Chi practice you must use your mind to direct your movements and let the body follow. Don’t use any strength; instead keep your body soft.

In T’ai Chi Chu’an we also talk about “Fa Jing”. It describes T’ai Chi’s power. When you want to use power to attack people most martial arts usually need distance and speed (using the power of muscles). But “Fa Jing” is a very special power unique to T’ai Chi Chu’an. If you know how to utilize “Fa Jing” you don’t need distance and speed. You can still hurt others using only very small movements. The secret of “Fa Jing” is it’s source; you borrow the power from the ground shifting it through all the joints in the body from ankle, knee, groin, shoulder, elbow and wrist to your hand. That’s why all of your joints must thread together. When you use “Fa Jing” to attack people you will break your adversary bones very easily and not just push the person away. Furthermore you can still move nimbly. While using “Fa Jing” you are not required to stand still. In a fight, if you can’t use “Fa Jing” in motion, who will stand still waiting for you to attack them?

T’ai Chi Chu’an is getting popular in the West. Many people practice it just for it’s health benefits, but if you don’t practice the forms within the requirements of T’ai Chi theory and principles, then you will receive fewer benefits. It’s like you are only stretching and warming up your body then stopping before really receiving what T’ai Chi Chu’an is designed to give.

–Danny

1 Comment

  1. David
    December 10, 2007

    Nice article. Thanks!

    Reply

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