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A Brief Introduction about Taijiquan(1)  

Sun Jianyun

Taijiquan is one of the unique events of military arts in China, which is a sport of building both the inside and outside (calming the mind and cultivating characters inside; exercising and building the body outside); it regards flexibility and softness as its essence, hardness and upright as its methods. Without the flexibility and softness, the power cannot be neutralized; without the hardness and upright, the power cannot be used. The combination of essence and methods will make the practitioner reach the achievement of "softness controlling hardness" and "overcoming a weight of 1,000 pounds with four ounces". When practicing Taijiquan, the practitioner should make the Qi go down to Dantian (an acupoint under the navel), keep balance, integrate the inside and outside, and never use clumsy force. One should guide the force by the will. Where is the will, there is the force.

About the phases of practicing, my father Sun Lutang used to say: " Hao Weizhen, a famous master of Wu's style Taijiqauan, had talked about it. He said there were three phases for practicing Taijiquan: At the beginning, the practitioner would be like being in the water, while his feet stepped on the ground, when he moved, the water resisted him. The second phase, as if in the water, while his feet were floated, he could swim freely in the water. The third phase, the body was flexible and light; the feet stepped on the surface of the water, as walking on a thin layer of ice; he could focus his mind without anything diverting his attention. We can say that his skills of boxing are perfect."

Every posture and action should follow the principle of Taijiquan, and each of them has its special requirement. Now, I give a brief introduction as the following:

The head: Making the head upright, without using force. Keeping the head upright and the lower chin in naturally, and the mind concentrated. While the whole body is relaxed, using the will instead of the clumsy force, whenever we prop up, kick, stretch or shrink, we should use the will instead of the clumsy force, then the mind will be empty and agile, which is called "keep the head upright and the mind empty and agile."

The mouth: The mouth should be closed virtually, breathing with the nose.

The chest: The practitioner should draw the chest in and do not make it out. If one makes the chest in, Qi will go down to Dantian; while the chest out, Qi will emerge up to the chest, as a result, the upper will be heavy and the lower light, which should be avoided. If the chest in, Qi will be on the back closely, and the force released from the back is the true power. That is so-called "Chest in and back straight".

The shoulders: Keeping the shoulders loosened and drooped, and never shrug them. Otherwise, Qi will emerge up to the upper.  >>next

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