I know that I have gone some ways towards achieving the top 1% performance when Paul messaged me and wrote :-
But the ad lib video was fascinating because haha, all in all I didn’t like it.
I would be very surprised if Paul can see everything that I am showing here. I did ask him to take a look again but this time to keep in mind say Yang Cheng Fu’s 10 essential points as follows :-
1. Elevate crown, lift spirit (虛靈頂勁)
2. Swallow chest, expand back (含胸拔背)
3. Relax waist (鬆腰)
4. Differentiate substantial insubstantial (分虛實)
5. Sink shoulders, drop elbows (沈肩墜肘)
6. Use intent, not strength (用意不用力)
7. Upper lower body coordinate (上下相隨)
8. Internal external to coordinate (內外相合)
9. Connect continuously with no break (相連不斷)
10. Within movement seek stillness (動中求靜)
In performing the form most practitioners meet the requirements on different levels of conformance :-
1) Total conformance – Points (1), (2), (3)
2) Near total conformance – Points (4), (5), (7), (9)
3) Harder to conform – Points (6), (8), (10)
To most practitioners Item 3 can be more difficult to justify conformance so its not surprising that teachers in general like to think they can meet these three requirements when they do not. There are tests that can be used to check understanding and actual (as opposed to perceived) conformance.
If you are attempting to meet the requirements be careful not to force your body to do it as some parts may cause you to add extra stress to your joints such as the knee. For example, when trying to meet Point (4) it is common to see the leg on which the weight is on shaking especially when changing to the next technique.
This is the result of misunderstanding what this point means and also confirms that the practitioner is trying to force the performance using physical motions instead of applying the proper intent to get there.
If Point (4) is difficult to achieve then Points (10) would be near impossible because it requires good control of one’s intent to govern the body’s movement. When you can achieve this then you will approach a level of simplicity that conceals the complexity within.
Its like how a tsunami is like a ripple out at sea but when it reaches the shore it becomes devastating. Similarly, when playing the form we should be like the tsunami gently rippling but when fajing become like the tsunami hitting the shore.
It is for this reason that Tai Chi is an exercise for the mind as much as for the body. Attaining the 10 essential points in your performance of the form is not impossible as long as you follow a proper plan for learning how to get there.