Cutting the circle

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Accelerate and then stop suddenly: inertia will carry you forward. This is a consequence of momentum.
In Yang style taijiquan we must master inertia and use it to fuel our strikes.
We never tense our hands and wrists in taijiquan because we don't need to.
Inertia closes the fist.
When you make an arc of movement then stop spontaneously, this causes inertia and is called 'cutting the circle'.


Consider the vertical centre as an axis...
When your arms spin out from the centre, this is 'centrifugal force'. When your arms spin back towards the centre, this is 'centripetal force'.
Power is generated by spinning the arms outward, then reversing direction abruptly.
This is part of cutting the circle.


Which is quicker:

  1. A twitch of the centre?

  2. Cocking the shoulder?

  3. Moving the arm independent of the torso?

In taijiquan, it was found to be the centre.
A centre movement takes a fraction of the time to perform and cannot be seen as easily by the opponent.
For this to work, you need to unite upper & lower.


If you turn the hips through 90
this is quite a commitment. We aim to turn only slightly, then stop.
Inertia will carry the delivery forward.

Rippling the spine

Use your entire body to project an energy wave up through the spine and forward.
The moment of impact causes inertia, carrying the energy wave into the opponent.

In ancient times skilful warriors first made themselves invincible
and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents.

(Sun Tzu)

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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 29 August 2019