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(9 pages total)

Page 9 - The Key to Practicing Taijiquan's Skill & Form

Emptiness and flexibility are the first key to the skill. Understand this theory like a genius then in one or two years full awareness may be reached. An unintelligent person may spend their whole life in practice and study but will still not be able to reach this level. Thus, a person's achievement, deep or shallow, is also a function of a person's innate talent and intelligence. Not everyone can be placed in the same category. Practice the skill in the early morning or in the quiet of the night without disturbance from others practicing. Do not show off in front of other people. A poem entitled, "Poem of Movement" explains, "The Great Dao (Tao) cannot be removed from even the smallest, lowliest piece of ground."

Do not have intention. Do not have the mind. Do not rely on your chest to move the energy and qi. Your mind should completely relax and follow nature. Allow all parts of the body to naturally rely on one-another. Once you are without intention, once you are without mind, the true mind is then in the place where there is no mind. Once you do not have mind in the middle, you will not have a shape. At that time, emptiness will produce the true empty and flexible. Feel the connection with the universe. Everything comes from nature.

In a discussion on boxing, while there are many different schools, it is noteworthy that they also have many similarities. Externally they practice the hard and quick and use force; they attempt to make qi strong, leave the spirit and talk about severity. For those people, however, who place emphasis on the quick, hard, their mind can hardly be still, can hardly be quiet. For those who use qi to try to inflate their qi, their breathing cannot be comfortable. For those who emphasize severity, they cannot cultivate a harmonious qi. These methods really will harm the tendon, harm the flesh, and will exhaust the spirit and qi. These practices will harm the empty and flexible skills and prevent their acquisition. That kind of boxing cannot cultivate longevity.

When practicing be stable and quiet, comfortable and relaxed, in order to cultivate the empty and flexible qi. Thus, when you use this qi, it is cold, it jumps, it is sudden, it is quick, as if you spit out the energy from your dantien. Always sense the empty and flexible qi and momentum. Then, during combat you can be fully aware of the other's force. With this, the road to victory is already half traveled. Without the empty and flexible qi and momentum, if someone attacks, you will have no awareness of his situation. In this case, in the confrontation your movement will create confusion and you will attempt to hit the other without any plan. This is not taiji skill.

If you have the empty and flexible qi, momentum; if your waist and legs are light and wonderful; if you have spirit and qi, if they are full; then externally you will be able to show the qi gesture. Then, if your movement is also cold and quick; then, if you then use this qi to cultivate the body, you will have longevity. If, on the other hand, you use these internal skills to defend yourself, you will be able to do so. With this awareness and these high skills, challenges in both your personal life and business life may be handled easily./p>

Li YaXuan, From a speech on February 6, 1956. Translated by Key Sun, Ph.D., private student of Master Yang SongQuan born and raised in Chen Village. Edited by LeRoy Clark, private student of Master Fu ShengYuan.

©2001 Qi Journal

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