|The beauty of taijiquan|
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The aesthetic beauty of taijiquan lies in the way in which it emulates nature. It is soft, fragile, flowing and gentle. There is no discord or disharmony.
Elegance can be seen in the grace of the movements, the flow of the rhythm. Tai chi is best compared to water. For there is stillness, smoothness and power.
The undulations are natural, effortless and comfortable.
There is a Zen-like simplicity to taijiquan when it reaches the higher levels. The movements are incredibly subtle. They look to happen by themselves and lack any semblance of flamboyance.
The more obvious movements of the beginner are now folded within and the art is almost formless in character. Tai chi is quiet and calm. The practitioner is composed at all times.
Each seamless movement is an expression of unity and wholeness. The student is in accord with themselves and with the world surrounding us.
Tai chi has the potential to transform the individual. It blunts the sharp edges and softens the ego. Only the most stubborn and egotistical student is left unchanged by the practice.
Humility is inevitable. Yielding is unavoidable. Composure is certain.
Behind taijiquan there is Taoism. Taoism embraces all and rejects nothing. Even the most unfeeling, insensitive student finds their defences softening and their fear diminishing.
The art is broad enough to accept all students and narrow enough to ensure that only those who understand the Tao will ever truly possess its secrets.
Taijiquan is unlike other martial arts. It possesses a strange kind of serenity, a detachment from the event. This is accomplished conversely by being utterly immersed in the moment, in the happening.
An attack is launched and the student is one with that movement - joining and neutralising, flowing and countering. There is no effort. No resistance or struggle.
Conventional strength is unnecessary, for we do not challenge strength or allow no strength to be exerted upon us.
Taijiquan fighting method
Every movement and every nuance is a whole-body action. No part leads and no part is left behind. Even the smallest step is integrated and soft, agile and alive.
The student is alert and sensitive to everything.
Two methods enable us to rectify our hearts:
first is study,
enriching our mind through practice and discipline;
training, studying until an inner light begins to grow within.
This seed of consciousness, the sages teach, should be nourished and kept in silence.
second is the cultivation of virtue.
A sincere student discovers the working of Tao by overcoming all manner of temptation.
Hordes of riches are outweighed in merit by a single word, virtue.
All art aspires to formlessness. The skilled artist transcends the structures of their discipline and attains their freedom.
Every person in human history who has become one with their art has reached a state of formlessness. The art and the individual are one. Seamless. Egoless. Selfless. It is the ultimate expression.
The final neigong is freeform. The student no longer needs to think about form, drill, qigong, neigong, application or combat. Every movement of every day contains taijiquan.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 29 April 2021