Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The ultimate tai-chi experience

What is the ultimate tai-chi experience?  According to a famous contemporary Wu-style master in Mainland China, master Zhu DaTong 祝大彤, it is Kong (空) or Emptiness.  One doesn't feel the presence of oneself.  In pushing hand practice, your party feels like pushing into Emptiness, all forces are evenly dissipated.  The Master wrote quite a number of books, but I find them more philosophical than practical.

On the other hand, Yang-style master Wei ShuRen (魏书人) shares the same view towards the ultimate tai-chi experience, he does put forward more concrete concepts (and methods) for achieving this ultimate objective.  He put down his concepts clearly at the end of his little book The theory of Nei-Gong (内功理法).

He put forwards four concepts (or steps) for achieving the ultimate experience.  They are Song (松, relaxed), San (散, separate outwards) , Tong (通, going through), and Kong (空, Emptiness).  The last one is actually the ultimate experience to be achieved.

These are all difficult concepts to comprehend even for people who have a good understanding of Chinese!  The gist of the concepts is however not too difficult to understand.  The requirements is for ALL our joints to be "opened" outwards with forces from all directions.  And it would take quite a while to achieve that, assuming that a practitioner finds it worthwhile to put in the time and efforts of doing so!

What is this ultimate experience?

Master Wei wrote at the end of his little book (my translation):

"Finally, the whole body is like an empty building,  my tendons, bones, skin and flesh are seemingly non-existent, during such time,  my hands don't feel they are moving, my feet can't feel anything too, slowing I enter into a state where there is no ME and no ACTION, a state in which my whole body is transparent and empty."

This is the meditative experience par excellence.  For these masters, tai-chi is the ultimate form of moving meditation.

Tai chi

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