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(3 pages total)

Page 3 - Philosophy and Principles of Taijiquan

Certain aspects of taiji don't seem easy to understand. Esoteric teachings may still exist and remain with some inner circles as long as people at large don't accept taiji, even ridicule it. For a flavor of such teachings, a heuristic piece coaxes you: 'To move body & spirit as one; to push out a hand like pushing a door so gently, nary a creak; to stand or to step out like treading cotton carefully, lest it compact. By and by, as occasion demands, you can throw a punch like lightning, step so solidly and crack a lain brick.'

A proverb handed down by the most celebrated Master Wang Zongyue to disciple Jiang Fa (b. 1574):

"Loosen your muscles and joints;
Pervade your fighting spirit to skin and hair.
Articulate all members, move in unison;
Light, lubricous moves derive from centering.

A classic excerpt from Zhuangzi, tr. by JYZ:
To-and-fro on a ring, tend toward its centre;
Whereby you manage myriad changes."

From a book by Master Liu Rui (b.1939), a dictum, "Maintain the three verticals":

(i) Pull in the chin for the head vertical;
(ii) suck in the belly to lessen spinal curvature for the trunk vertical;
(iii) to take a step make the lower leg vertical, favorable for balance, for centering.


Master Liu Rui's dictum complements the proverb and excerpt above. For you want to move freely with balance, dynamic stability. The three verticals precondition you to rotate without wobbling or upsetting. Imagine yourself performing tq on a ring, a waist-cord, like the mountaineer's, tenuously tied to ring-center. (Each stance defines a ring, its radius perpendicular to your ventral surface; a one foot stand implies an infinite radius). About a 130 degree sector, arm to arm, gives you range for maneuver. Either corner of this sector is tipsy and untoward. Rather, tend toward this ring-center.

© Qi Journal, Summer 2004

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