Today I leave you a set of suggestions of some articles of the Center for Taiji Studies (with activity in New York, Boston and Champaign IL.). The taiji principles of Dr. Yang Yang are very similar to the practice. He “established the CTS in Champaign, IL in the mid 1990’s while a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Scott Grubisich, Yang Laoshi’s most senior American student and co-author of his book Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power, currently leads the advanced groups in Champaign, while Dr. Yang now teaches in Manhattan. Yang Laoshi also maintains a busy schedule with lectures, presentations, and workshop/seminars across the country.” (in http://www.centerfortaiji.com/classes/)
Are are some excerpts of one of his website publications. At the end, I will leave you the connection to access to other articles of the same subject, that may interest you.
There’s one old saying from the classics: “Accumulation of softness will lead to hardness.” We do need both, soft and hard, but we cannot start with hard. We need to accumulate softness and then transfer the softness to hardness.
To make it simple, softness is being relaxed. And here I want to make it very clear the differences between softness and collapse. The two are completely different. A lot of people make the mistake of collapsing when they try to be soft. You have to feel it. You cannot learn it from a book, you cannot learn it from a video tape, or CD. Yes, you have to feel it.
(An Interview with Yang Yang, interview by Michael A. DeMarco, M.A., & A. Edwin Matthews Published Summer 2000 in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.)
(Kanji meaning: “Wa” – Has various meanings such as peace, harmony, softness and so on. Also it means Japan itself. It is often used as a symbol of Japanese spirit.)
“Actually, the power of the internal force is virtually unlimited and can be developed to much higher levels than external brute force.”
After the foundation practices are established over a period of time, he said, “the flower” of technique can be added.
“Attempting to employ technique without first establishing a solid foundation cannot truly be considered an art form. This mistake is often made by beginners overzealous to achieve martial ability.”
Gradually, you can transfer essence (jing) to qi (ch’i), transfer qi to spirit (shen), and then make the spirit light. When the spirit is light enough, you will experience ‘ling,’ which is the outward result or manifestation of a light and agile spirit.”
Examples of ling, he said, are when you intuitively perceive a situation, or when your body is so light and agile that you achieve instantaneously, instinctual reactions during push hands.
When the force becomes available, he said, the hard and soft aspects must be put together correctly.
“T’ai Chi is the interaction of Yin and Yang. You must have both. If you are too soft in your practice, you cannot increase your internal force. Similarly, if you are too hard, you will not accumulate internal energy.”
Yang said it is necessary to be aware of hard and soft in both the form and push hands.
“In the form, you should have the intention of hard and the intention of soft. Gradually, you will no longer have the intention, but will achieve the result. At this level, your ‘body will listen to your mind’ and you can explode energy in any direction at any time.”
In push hands, he said, it is also important to have hard as well as soft energy. “Gradually, the force between you and your partner should increase. It is at this time that you will steadily increased your internal force, and begin to understand the ‘sticking’ force. To only be in physical contact will not lead to understanding the T’ai Chi sticking/adhering force.”
Yang said that another aspect that Feng emphasized is not using tense force (shuo li). “If you use tense force, your internal energy cannot circulate and your body will be stiff. Eventually, you may experience health problems where the energy is stuck. In push hands, if you use the tense force, you will give your opponent the opportunity to push you.”
Tense force was also described as insisting on pushing the “difficult” part instead of changing to the “easiest” part. “You should strive to achieve maximum benefit from your force.”
If your body is tense, he said, you will feel uncomfortable, especially with your breathing and upper chest. He said this is called, “nu,” and added that high shoulders are an example of this error.
Correct posture, Yang said, is essential, otherwise internal energy may rise, cutting off the root and causing a person to float like a plant in the water. He said a lot has been written in the U.S. about correct posture and that the literature here on posture is even more abundant than that in China.
“To over-emphasize posture, however, is case of losing sight of the forest because the trees are in the way.
He said that if posture is correct, it will allow the following:
1. Rooting of the body.
2. The unimpeded flow of internal energy and transmittal of force.
(Based on information from an interview with Yang Yang by T’AI CHI Magazine, and material from Yang Yang and Bruce Ching, a Chen stylist in Ann Arbor, MI, who also conducted an extensive interview with Yang Yang. By Marvin Smalheiser. Originally published in the February 1995 issue of T’ai Chi Magazine. Reprinted here courtesy of Wayfarer Publications.)
More information at http://www.centerfortaiji.com/articles/