Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tai chi as personal art

A casual browse on the internet, a student of tai chi can access much information, many are free, like this blog, on the subject, in particular for those who can comprehend the Chinese language. Even those who do not understand the Chinese language, there are ample information available for any eager student. An over flow rather than an under flow. The problem with abundance is that it is almost impossible for a beginning student to judge which is right (and among the right which is appropriate to his own particular body and his level of progress), and which is wrong. Unfortunately there are indeed incorrect information available. Tai chi (and similar internal disciplines) being an unregulated industry, to avoid unnecessary debates, most learned practitioners tend to refrain from pointing out "not so correct" paths.

Seeing this bewildering offerings of help (some free), some students take the route of hiding behind his own lineage door. "This is not what my lineage master told me, therefore it must be wrong". Some, keep on reading and trying, hoping that one day he can enter the speedy door. Unfortunately, both approaches fail. Every master is limited by his own learning experience. A good master of tai chi, like a master in any profession, has to update his own professional knowledge. On the other hand, any new trick without the required learning progress, cannot deliver good results.

I will use the concept of Jing (internal power) as an example.

The muscular theory of Jing is very simple: you focus on your extension muscles to move your limbs (and other parts of your body in sync) rather than your contraction muscles. When you push your arm forward, you focus on your biceps, and gradually extend them. Likewise when you pull it back, you focus on your triceps. As simple as this. The result is that you will get a sluggish chi sensation. And as a student, your responsibility is to make this process smoother and smoother, with your internal chi (sluggish) feeling stronger and stronger, and your body is more and more in sync (i.e. not exercising your arm alone).

But wait, this is not my teacher told me about Jing!

Hei, I tried it, but no jing, therefore it didn't work for me. Are you sure you understand the concept? Should you yourself find a good teacher instead?

I have told you, haven't I?

Tai chi is a personal sculptural art. You can rationally learn to appreciate Zhu Ming's tai chi sculptures, but you have to create your own tai chi sculpture using your body as raw material. No other way!
Tai Chi - by world renown Taiwanese sculptor Zhu Ming

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