The Mind Inside Tai Chi – Review 3

Continuing……..

2-2 Mind Approach in Practicing Taijiquan (page 90)

The author lists out 10 key factors for the mind approach. Some principles are left out such as :-

– How to prep the body using intent
– The armpits intent
– Wrist elongation
– Bell body
– 2-4 points
– Hand shapes intent
– Blending and permutations of the 8 forces

A very important thing that is not mentioned at this juncture is why learn the 10 key factors. The 10 key factors lead to something. What is it?

If you take a look at Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s book there is a chapter explaining what I term the 4 major objectives which are :-

i) Relax

ii) Disperse

iii) Breakthrough

iv) Emptiness

If you are able to achieve the 4 major objectives after practicing the 10 key factors then it means you have entered the gate of mastery. The only question begging now is how do we know if our realization of the 4 major objectives is correct.

Unfortunately, the only person who can verify if you have attained the 4 major objectives correctly is your own teacher. This is provided he was in turn confirmed by his teacher. Now you know the real reason for having a transmission of the art.

The usefulness of a lineage is not for you to market yourself and your school, boast of your status as a disciple, advertise secret techniques etc. The usefulness of a lineage is that the master takes it on himself to teach you properly. Your duty is to practice hard to do justice to the teachings.

The master will guide you, reining you in when you deviate away from the essential principles. He will answer questions and clarify doubts raised by your practice. When you think you have entered the gate of mastery but unsure if this is the case the master will confirm your finding. And so on, and so on until you know the art thoroughly.

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The Mind Inside Tai Chi – Review 2

I shall continue the review from Chapter 2 Essentials of Mind Approach in Practicing Taijiquan which begins on page 87. This is because the author has stated that this chapter covers the methods of Grandmaster Wang Yongquan and Grandmaster Wei Shuren; a topic that I am familiar with.

2-1 Origin of the Mind Approach (page 87)

The author began by asking how an interested student can enter the world of Tai Chi that uses the mind approach. He wrote that the mind approach is not easy to learn. This is indeed a good point.

From my teaching experience I have found that most students are incapable of following instructions. I can tell them one thing many times but they will keep doing what is habitual and comfortable even if it is wrong and not giving them the desired results.

Learning the mind approach requires a radical leap in faith and the student needs to have a certain amount of trust in the teacher otherwise the student will sabotage his own learning. Based on this I can conclude that one can lead a horse to water but not make it drink. Thus, whether one can master the mind approach really is a matter of fate as my teacher once said to me.

The author mentioned that he practiced the 22-Old Six Routines form for more than 10 years and has entered the world of Tai Chi. However, looking at his photos at the end of the book I have this disquiet feeling. The point I would make is that learning for more than 10 years has nothing to do with one’s ability to attain the skills of the mind approach.

Instead, it is how accurate one is able to master the principles that will make the difference. Thus, it is easy for me to show new students on their first lesson that they already have the skill of the mind approach. The begging question is how to retain the skill once the demonstration is over.

My answer is simple – learn and master the principles and the skill will come back. Some learners think of the mind approach as a skill to be developed. I see it as a skill that is already there waiting to be unlocked with the right key.

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The Mind Inside Tai Chi – Review

One night when I was surfing the internet I came across this book :-

mindtaichi

An excerpt was provided. It was interesting to discover that this book explored the teachings of Grandmaster Wei Shuren. Since the preview looked OK I ordered a copy and today it arrived in the mail. I should mention that I had some reservations when I saw the postures of the author in the preview but let’s see the entire book before I pass judgement.

A quick scan through. It is a 156-page book; lots of words; not that many pictures which is good because I cringed when I saw the pictures. Was I too quick to judge? Let’s take a look ……

Kao2

Though the author listed the principles of Grandmaster Wei’s art I cannot help but wonder when I looked at his posture of White Crane Spreads Wings if he knows that his photo shows that his understanding of the art is still mental rather than physical; what we call say one thing but do something else altogether. I think most readers can spot the difference right away when they see the author’s pose on the left and compare it with Grandmaster Wei’s on the right.

I’ll stop writing now. Once I start reading if I see something else worthy to write about I will mention it.

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Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? 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.