When we swing our arms as part of a strike there is a method behind the madness.
You don’t anyhow swing your arms because you risk hitting yourself if you swing it wrongly as Paul did when he hit himself in the groin.
We have a way to prevent accidental hits to the groin as explained in Clip 15. That’s why its important to pay attention to the basic processes of each strike so that we don’t hit ourselves especially when the hands are swinging fast.
Another interesting info from “The Power of Not Thinking” :-….. imagining an action without executing it activates the same neural pathways.
Simply put, thinking of performing an action shows up in the brain as if the action had actually been performed.
I first read about this in a book, I think it was called Mind Gym. This explains why sometimes a good way to train arts such as Tai Chi is by sitting there and going through the movements mentally.
By constraining your outer physical movements you are forced to feel your inner physical movements. For example, the concept of Jing Yuen (劲源) is not easy to understand mentally but by stilling your body and using your imagination to do the movement process you can easily feel the Jing Yuen move and voila! suddenly a few more insights will come to mind.
I carefully observed Tuhon when I first learned iKali because certain things are different from what I had learned in CMA. I could ask questions but it would be more interesting not to ask and tried to learn by observing.
This book validated this learning approach in the story of how apprentices learn to build a minaret in Yemen without formal instructions or allowed to ask questions freely. One anthropologist called this “stealing knowledge with their eyes”. Tuhon Apolo said something similar about his learning from Grand-Tuhon.
Here is a book that explains very well the method of learning via 10,000 repetitions that Tuhon Apolo advocates.
In the chapter “Experiencing the World” the author wrote :-Typing out a text message is not explicit or even conscious – it’s a skill that is embodied and arises from a familiarity so deep that no thought is required for the successful completion of the task.
In everyday life we have much such knowledge in our hands. It emerges from the repeated practice of a ‘skill’, a prime example of what I am calling ‘embodied knowledge’.
In the practice of Tai Chi we say that the mind comes first.
In this context the mind refers to the use of intent. Intent is our desire to do something, in this context, the wish to move in compliance with the principles of Tai Chi.
In Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Yang style Tai Chi we use the intent to practice the process that he wrote about in his book on the 22 form.
The demo above is a segment from the 22-form showing Cloud Hands, Single Whip, Separate Hands to Kick and Strike Ears with Both Fists.
Grandmaster Wei Shuren is demonstrating this segment from 8:16 to 9:59 in the video below :-
The form does not look impressive nor powerful. However, if you try to do it yourself by copying the movements you will realize that it is a lot more difficult than it seems to constantly issue power in a concealed manner while moving calmly as if pulling silk continuously in a movement efficient way.
For example, in the movement of Single Whip the whip hand itself is issuing power 4 ways before moving into the left palm strike to complete the movement. In practicing the form we define the four movements clearly but we can also perform the movements with barely perceptible outward movements once we have grasped the essence of the movement.
At this stage you would need to be in command of your ability to use intent otherwise you will not be able to reduce the outer movements to the bare minimum required.
It kept on raining throughout the day. I woke up to a dark, cold and gloomy day.
Practicing Tai Chi is a good day to get the blood circulating. Some say to circulate the Chi.
Playing the Tai Chi form is a good way to train your ability to concentrate, develop awareness of how your body is moving in response to your mind.
When you can quiet down your mind you can focus so much better. In this way you can reduce the outer movements, concealing the movements that are happening inside your body. This is what we mean by being internal.
Good control of the body allows you to tread like a cat. At the same time your body is moving like a series of gears to rotate and spiral to connect to the ground to generate power.
While it does not seem like it but within the slow, seemingly gentle movements we are working the power generation process.