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(3 pages total)

Page 2 - Philosophy and Principles of Taijiquan


You start with [Yang's style] Grasp Swallow's Tail, the most important, always exercised at the right end of the itinerary. You go back and forth 4 times, call them subsets.

At the left end, you conclude the first two subsets with Cross Arms. The third with Golden Cock on Foot; the fourth with Reach High for Bridle. Within these subsets you do pushes, punches and kicks, etc., repeat moves and add fresh onesall executed slowly and serenely, loosely and saggedly. (In practical terms, compare hitting with a stick or a blackjack, weighing the same; the sagged blackjack can deliver a harder blow. How? Maximizing momentum (mv), does it, resulting from the greater velocity (v), of the blackjack by its loose swing). Finally, you perform some spectacular moves to finish.

To do taiji for what purpose? For maintaining health and martial arts and interest. Other disciplines being equal for the first two, but from the interest angle of reinforced learning and muscle-memory training, with the ultimate effect of increased bone density and loose body mass in martial art application, taiji fills the bill.

What can you surmise from seeing someone going thru taiji paces? The steps are wide, narrow, tiptoe, heel... quite unlike walking. In fact taiji paces are opposite to walking. Ah, the first distinction!

If you've ever watched the Japanese movie The Seven Samurai an arresting scene shows a samurai swaggering thru a doorway felled by a hidden club-wielding man. The next samurai and the next also fail the setup to pick the best samurai. Finally, this star samurai steps in, the club strikes, but he wrenches it away and reverses the attack. So, how did he do it? No explanation in the movie. But any martial artist should be able to tell you that martial stride is an unusual 'walk.' Pertaining to our topic call it a taiji-pace.

No mystery, a tq-pace is an uncommitted step at touchdown: land gingerly, then slide if necessary to a firm footing. In the process is avoided a chuckhole, a stumbling block, an opponent's swipe by foot or club, for your weight has not yet shifted forward and you can beat a fast retreat.

Besides being nimble, being stable is a must. Our horse's stance, trapezoidal, allows the widest base for mobile stability. When shifting from one leg to the other, while you push on one, bend the other. This way you always have energy reserve from leg-springs.

The human body has 5 springs. Five? Most people admit to only 4 from limbs, and that's how many they use. Observe the NBA player making a free throw, no doubt: 4 springs. Many a taijiquaner has merely 4 springs. Only those in the know use their spine as the 5th spring.

Make your tailbone (the sacrum) vertical by directing the coccyx forward; doing so requires you to sink your hip by bulging slightly the small of your back. Voil, your 5th spring! Stand on your left leg, sink your left hip; the right side likewise. By sinking your hip, besides setting your spinal spring, also helps you stable.

Now you do the tq routine with ease. That's exactly right, with ease. Even if you go thru the entire routine and sweat rolls down your brow, you won't feel exerted. (If you want to exert you can by lowering the stance). Mind you, the criterion: exercise relaxed. When you're relaxed isn't that with ease?


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