The Baseline

In engineering we have the concept of a baseline measurement. The purpose is to allow for comparison “before” and “after”.

For example, how do you know if a vendor has performed a repair on a machine properly? How do you assess his work?

By taking a set of measurement before the repair you can establish a baseline reading. Then after the repair you can take another set of reading to check if the repair has been performed satisfactorily.

This week I had the opportunity to take a baseline video of a new student. That he has learned the same form will allow for meaningful comparison.

This video shows the second time he performed the form the way he learned it. The first time he demonstrated it I did not video it.

I only made a recording when I wondered if he knew what he looked like when playing the form. The video below just showed him doing the Beginning Posture.

Thereafter, we spent most of the lesson working on how we do Beginning Posture. As you can see below, in terms of physical movement it is exactly the same! Yet there is a difference!!! See for yourself…..


The difference lies in the use of intent on mobilizing the arms. If you perform a Tai Chi movement without intent the coordination may look acceptable but the connection will look off.

It is only by using intent that the entire body’s coordination will be together even when you are not moving a lot.

At this point, I would say that saying that it is so does not make it so. We should test out the connection and coordination with a load test to check if he can apply the principle of leverage to move the load with minimal effort. Unfortunately, I did not video this so you will just have to take my word for it.

I posted this for the following reasons :-

1) To show that it is possible to improve your skill in coordination even after one lesson

2) You can learn how to use leverage and power to move a person by following step-by-step procedure. It is not a mysterious energy that take decades or demand that you become a disciple before you can learn it

3) Tai Chi is not a difficult nor impossible art to master. It can be taught via a logical, step-by-step procedure

4) Anyone of average intelligence and coordination can learn it as long as you are willing to put in the effort and be open to change

5) Tai Chi is not a mysterious art. It is grounded in physics. If you know where to look you will find the same (or similar correlation) as I did in science

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