Page 4 - The Key to Practicing Taijiquan's Skill & Form
When your spirit and qi return inside and are reserved in your bones, the whole body will be full of empty and flexible qi. If you then want to be light, you will be light; if you want to be heavy, you will be heavy. For skilled people who feel light - it is as if there is nothing there. For skilled people who feel heavy - it is as if the weight would break a mountain.
This is how you should practice your essence and transform your qi; this is how you then practice your qi to transform your spirit. Upon reaching the spiritual, you can reach the level of emptiness. To reach the level of empty and flexible, you must start with being solid. If you want to be light and quick, you must start with being heavy and stable. After you practice the skill for quite a long time, you can then reach the level of extremely light, extremely quick, empty, and flexible.
In the very beginning, if you try too soon to acquire the empty and flexible, light and quick, then your whole body movement will be full of confusion. If at the very beginning, you talk too much of empty and flexibility you will then acquire floating and be of no use. In taiji these types of people are the so-called "those who do not go out of their house for ten days." Actually, if you do not have a true teacher, a truly good teacher, ten years, or even after all your life you will not be able to "go out of your house" with the skill.
Taijiquan is a skill of reaching a maximum result via a minimum movement. When they move the hand, there is no comparison. They are empty and wonderful. All phenomena are incorporated therein. Regardless of how the other attacks, I rely on my empty and flexible qi.
I can change according to any opportunity presented. I can follow the momentum and respond accordingly, appropriately. Each and every response is just right. People should not focus merely on just one gesture, just one hand. If they do that they will miss the larger picture. If you use the great Dao (Tao) to connect every movement, to learn just one thing really, really well then everything will be okay. If you only think of using one gesture, one momentum, one qi, then the 10,000 changes are always possible. The intelligent person will do that.
Teacher Li YaXuan was senior, early disciple of the profound master Yang Chengfu. Teacher Li later taught government and military officials frankly and was highly respected by all for his unselfish attitude, high martial ethic, and high level skills. When reading the late Teacher Li's descriptions, his excellent martial ethic, a critical key to receiving profound knowledge, soon becomes crystal clear. In fact, in one descriptive story to be shared later, his ethic and morality is both emotionally touching and nearly beyond normal comprehension.
Within the following explanation Teacher Li discusses the highest levels of achievement in taijiquan, namely, acquiring levels of awareness, achieving the light and flexible skills, and finally, acquiring the empty and flexible qi. In earlier times, taiji at these levels was also called "qi boxing" or "spirit or immortal boxing". Li YaXuan was born in 1894 and died in 1976. He was an ardent, devoted student of Yang Chengfu and, although much lesser known in the west, he was actually senior in all aspects to better-known non-family students established in the USA after 'liberation'. Teacher Li also knew and taught in association with Yang ShaoHao and was associated with and taught at the highest level of martial art in China.
Special gratitude is due and given Teacher Chen LongXiang and Teacher Li MinDi, son-in-law and daughter of Master Li, for their wonderful gift, on a recent visit, of Teacher Li's explanations and his stories, of which the following is merely a small part. Mr. Chen and Ms. Li, husband and wife, carry on Teacher Li YaXuan's excellent tradition of martial ethic and unselfish, noncommercial devotion to the original tradition of taijiquan.