classes taijiquan baguazhang self defence qigong about us reviews a-z
Qi is the energy that animates the body. Our power supply. Like a battery.
We obtain this energy through food and breathing.
We are also born with qi (life energy).
The health aspects of taijiquan are concerned with cultivating qi.
A lot of taijiquan people like to talk about qi.
In fact, most of their focus seems to be upon qi.
This is fine if you are a tai chi for health teacher; after all, improved qi flow results in a healthier body.
However, if you are training taijiquan, qi (life energy) is not really the energy you should be speaking about.
The other kind of energy used in taijiquan is more to do with physics.
It involves the storage and release of 'kinetic' energy - movement energy.
Like a rock launched from a catapult or an arrow launched from a bow...
We use kinetic energy in combat.
torrential water tosses boulders,
it is because of its momentum;
when the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey;
it is because of timing.
Kinetic energy can be seen by a simple demonstration.
Strike a focus mitt but do not push upon impact.
As soon as you hit the mitt, stop and withdraw the hand.
The effect of your strike should cause the mitt and the arm holding it to continue moving.
This is different to an external strike, where your aim is to punch through the target.
Whole-body strength is different to external strength.
You never tense the muscles or lock the joints.
Your limbs feel mobile and relaxed at all times. They are imbued with inherent strength.
Neigong is cultivated by paying attention to how an action is undertaken.
Rather than move the body in a 'normal' manner, a whole-body action must be trained.
Once the new way of moving is familiar, you no longer realise that you are moving in a contrived manner.
The taijiquan movements serve to supply a pathway for the transmission of kinetic energy.
Energy travels from the ground into your hand.
Your body simply provides the means by which the energy can be transferred.
If you are stiff and unyielding, disconnected or flaccid - this transmission will be unsuccessful.
Once you regard your body as being a channel for the transmission of energy, you can start to understand what taijiquan striking involves.
You do not punch or kick using local muscle groups.
The energy is transferred from the ground, passing through your frame and out into the opponent.
Your limb is simply the part that makes contact with the opponent.
A student learns how to generate an undulation wave.
This is passed throughout your entire structure, storing and releasing kinetic energy.
We develop this wave by learning whole-body movement.
Every strike involves every body part moving as one.
It is this rippling action that performs the delivery, rather than local muscle strength.
Coiling & releasing energy
Imagine twisting a towel as tightly as you can and then letting go?
The towel will unfurl by itself.
Why? Your twisting action stores energy.
This is what opens the towel again.
Taijiquan twists and turns the body in order to store and release energy using the soft tissues of the body.
If your body is connected and has peng, you will be capable of greater release.
With awareness it becomes possible to feel when the kinetic energy is flowing and when it is impeded.
Certain movements performed incorrectly will create 'dead' movements - these are actual stopping points where the kinetic energy flow is lost.
It is quite easy to maintain the energy flow, just avoid the impediments:
Collapsed muscles; usually thighs and front of body
Over-commitment, pushing and exertion
Hands too close to the body or too far away
Disconnected movement; arms and legs moving independent of the body
Awareness alone should prevent any of these mistakes from occurring; it is
essential to feel the blockage.
All styles of taijiquan employ 13 expressions of power.
These 13 energies were detailed in The Tai Chi Classics.
Every taijiquan movement is essentially a combination of the 13 kinetic energy expressions.
Our energy is more precious
than all the gold in the world. It is a more powerful anti-aging tool than
Energy regenerates our liver and other tissue cells, flushes toxic waste from the body, helps maintain our ideal weight, keeps our skin smooth and our hair healthy.
The more energy we have, the better we feel and the more beautiful we become.
12 January 1995
Last updated 15 December 2016