Page 2 - The Key to Practicing Taijiquan's Skill & Form
Your upper body should have an empty and flexible spirit. Your middle body should have the energy of the waist and spine. Your lower part should have the qi of the dantien. These three parts are combined. The external and internal are connected. With these your movement will be appropriate. Everything should be natural. Do not pay attention to any single, particular part of your body. If you think only of sinking your qi then your qi will hesitate. If you think only of making your spirit higher, of lifting up your spirit, your spirit will be restricted. That is not a Taoist natural quality.
What do we mean by empty, flexible, top of head energy? This means when your body gesture is comfortable and straight, settled, your empty, flexible qi will automatically reach the top. This is not something you can simply, intentionally cause by thinking a force to the top. If you intentionally use force to reach your top, you will have the characteristic of being straight and hard but without the empty and flexible. Intentionally, trying to force a quality is something that must be avoided in acquiring tai qi skill.
To practice taiji skill, you should first rely on a good teacher to show the use of these skills. Secondly, you should understand the theory of the great Teacher Chang San Feng and Wang T'sungYueh. You should have no distraction during the practice, otherwise, you will go the wrong way. In addition, when you do taijiquan you should not practice external skill boxing, otherwise, your effort will be without achievement.
This skill is called "relaxed and flexible energy". Therefore, when you use this energy there is no sound. When a person is hit, externally there is no sign but internally, the penetration has already been made. The external skill is a so-called tense and hard energy. When this is used, you hear a "thump", "tung", "whap" sound. When a person is hit, externally they show a red welt, or a red and blue wound but internally there may be no penetration. Some say that the taijiquan skill must be combined with other skills in order to be useful. This really shows their lack of true teaching, of true learning of taijiquan. This person does not understand taijiquan theory and really is showing ignorance.
When people first learning the boxing frame, within a few days they will feel muscle pain in their legs. After a month, they may feel knee pain. After that they may feel some shoulder soreness. Learners should not be surprised with this. This is a natural process. This also is how a good teacher gives correct guidance. Continue the practice and the soreness and pain will heal. Later, your skill will be much improved. If people fear soreness and pain and then stop practicing, only to re-start after the pain goes away, thus are only doing a sporadic, start and stop practice, they are really wasting their time. If you learn taiji boxing but never feel any leg pain, knee pain, or shoulder soreness, then the teacher is not giving correct guidance. You must select another teacher, a good teacher.
When you relax, first relax your mind. This is most important because the mind is the host of the entire body. After the mind is relaxed, the whole body then also is relaxed. If you use your mind to influence the body after awhile you will automatically achieve real relaxation. This will allow production of your internal energy.
The whole body, the qi, and momentum should be relaxed and open. With this the empty and flexible can reach the top. Every movement is like that of a river and the sea. Every step is like that of a cat. The lower and upper should follow each other. Inside and outside should cooperate completely with one another. With this, internal energy will be produced.