Student Notes – Beginning Tai Chi

Its much harder than I imagined it to be” said Mr X after learning and trying to grasp the intricacies of Beginning Posture halfway into the lesson.

Mr X is no stranger to martial arts nor Tai Chi since he has been doing it since his teens which would have been at least 20 years ago. What he wasn’t prepared for was the requirement to power his movements with intention as opposed to just moving.

If you just move your body without differentiating the mind from the body then this is not doing Tai Chi. This is fine if you are going for a normal physical exercise. However, to do Tai Chi in accordance to the principles of the Tai Chi Classics would require a process in which you are clearly using the intention to drive the body. This is the part that is difficult.

I worked with Mr X to divide the learning of Beginning Posture into different parts :-

i) How to use intention to relax the body

ii) How to concentrate the mind to control balance

iii) How to differentiate substantial and insubstantial when moving

iv) How to use intention to raise the arms whilst keeping them relaxed and differentiating the mind from the body shape

v) How to spiral without losing energy and projecting power

vi) How to lower the arms to learn the basics of whipping power

vii) How to unify the body and mind to connect to the ground

I observed that Mr X’s previous background is keeping the energy locked in his body, distorting it, preventing him from relaxing to let the energy flow throughout and out through his hands as power. It was difficult to lift up the hands with what some masters called the Chi flow; his arms felt stiff, heavy and unable to lift beyond a certain height. With some adjustment he could move a bit higher. Fortunately, he didn’t try to learn more but focused instead of what was at hand; so bit by bit, slowly but surely we worked till his arms could come up to the required height.

Mr X kept working on raising, spiraling and lowering the hands. With each repeat of the cycle I can see that the Chi was beginning to flow better. Twitches and trembling of the hands would occur at random but soon stopped. Now and then I would test his energy flow and power; and yes, once the focus was there the power came out with little effort. This is exactly what I said about everyone having the internal power and its not so much about developing it but taking away the obstacles that was hindering it from coming out.

To Master Tai Chi Today is not a herculean task. All it takes is the right learning and anyone can learn to release their own internal power.

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Want to learn Tai Chi? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.

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