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A Brief Introduction about Taijiquan(2)  

Sun Jianyun

The elbows: The elbows should be drooped, and the arm be bended naturally, which is so-called "seeking the straight in the curve, and reserving the power to strike the enemy".

The hands: Stretching the five fingers, and lowering the wrist, making Hukou (the part of the hand between the thumb and the index finger) round and the palm in slightly, as holding a ball in it.

The waist: It must be in the right posture, because it is the center of the action of the whole body, and the resource of the power. The circumrotations, going forward and backwards, the changes between emptiness and solidness of the body depend on the power of the waist.

The legs: Keeping the two legs bended, and differing emptiness from solidness, which means that one should always put his center of gravity on one. If you put the center of the gravity on the right leg, the right leg is solid, while the left is empty. On the contrary, the left is solid, while the right is empty. The differentiation of emptiness and solidness is one of the principles of Taijiquan. If one understands and does it well, his actions will be light and agile. Otherwise, his steps will be heavy and sluggish, being easily controlled by the others.

The breath: So-called "Qi flows to Dantian (three inches under the navel)" refers to deep and long abdominal breath. One, however, should never press Qi down; he should make his breath smooth and natural.

The will and force: One of the characters of Taijiquan is using the will instead of the force. When practicing Taijiquan, one should use flexible force, make the body relaxed, no any fraction of clumsy force being left between the tendons, bones and blood vessels. The body should be soft and strong, steady and agile. The force is guided by the will and is freely used. If one uses clumsy force, his actions will be slow, sluggish. If the force emerges up to outside, he does not follow the rules of Taijiquan. Someone may ask me what "using the will instead of force" means and where the force comes from then? The answer is that Qi follows the will, and the blood follows Qi. Under the condition that the blood and Qi circle in the body and delivery nutrition to the channels of the body, the true inner power will produce after long time practice.

Action and quietness: The sitting down posture in Qigong is seeking action from quietness, while boxing is seeking quietness from action. When practicing, the practitioner should try to keep his mind calm and concentrated. And in this case, his actions will be agile and round.

Hereinbefore, I have briefly dissertated the essentials of practicing Taijiquan. The learners, however, must notice that Taijiquan is a sport of the whole body, from head to foot. The key is at the mind. The mind is the commander in chief, and the body is its solders. If the mind is invigorated, the actions will naturally be agile and light. We should integrate the inside and outside through harmonizing the will and the actions of the body. Also we should pay attention to the coordination of the upper and lower parts of the body, keeping whole body harmony. If any part is out of order, the mind and Qi will be interrupted. Furthermore, when practicing, we should guide the force by the will, and make them continual, as "the huge river is running continuously". We often say: "the movements should be like drawing silk from a cocoon", which illuminates the importance of complement and continuation in practicing Taijiquan.(END)

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