Home>>The Hand-shape, Eye-focus, Body-movement, Application method, and Footwork of Yang Chengfu's Taijiquan

III. Body  

Yang zhenji

The body movement plays a determining role in Yang style Taijiquan. The body here is refereed to the torso of the body, from the shoulder and upper back down to the hip.

Physiologically speaking, the body is the part including the shoulder, upper back, chest, abdomen, spine, lumbar region, and hip and is where the viscera are located inside. The requirements put forward in the traditional theory such as "holding the torso straight and the backbone and free end of sacrum vertical", "keeping the back spread and the chest slightly inward", "relaxing the waist and hip", "deep-breathing down to the lower abdomen (Dan Tian)", etc. are all indicated to the middle part of the body. Here are no redundant discussions on this point since there have been enough descriptions before.

What is going to stress is the use of waist in the body movement. The waist is considered as the axis in concerns with the theory of Yang style Taijiquan. The mind should be concentrated on the waist due to its dominating roles. The importance of waist is universally accepted in the circle of martial art in China, hence the saying of "The waist of Taijiquan and the palm of Bagua". In spite of this, it is not an easy job to make the waist to be well used in the martial art application.
It is required in Yang style Taijiquan to move the feet and hands by the motion of the waist, and usually the feet and hands are not casually moved but rather to be brought into action by the waist. In this way, it is not only beneficial to achieving the optimal health-care effect when practicing the set forms but also to obtaining the satisfactory advance in the level of martial art application.

It is required in Yang style Taijiquan that the hands are usually shifted up and down, while the turning of the waist could bring the hands into certain movements. The movement of "Wave Hands like Clouds" is the most typical form that the waist moves the hands in action. It is alike to move the legs by the waist, for example, the front foot in the empty-footwork stance usually does nothing but would be moved by the waist.

In general, the waist could move the feet, hands, the head, etc. Whenever the waist moves, the whole body will be moved; and whenever the waist turns around, the whole body would follow. For sure there is exceptional case that when the major moves to one direction following the waist while the other hand would move to the opposite direction. It is not quite common anyway.

Mr. Yang Chengfu said in his book "The Application of Taijiquan": "The waist is compared as the axletree while the limbs as the wheels. If the waist is not a good axletree, the limbs could not rotate. In order to make the axletree rotate well, oil should be filled up in the waist. If you can get the essence of this point, then you need no more teaching."

As the breathing is concerned in the body movement, it is required in Yang style Taijiquan that the breath should go naturally as deep as down to the Dan Tian (lower abdomen). The question whether the breath should be coordinated with the actions is illustrated with the idea that nothing special is required but the air should be inhaled and exhaled naturally. It is the idea understood in Yang style Taijiquan that when an idea comes to the mind, the Qi could follow immediately, then at the instant the force arrives automatically. From this sense the actions have nothing to do with the breath, it is possible to strike the opponent out on either the exhalation or the inhalation.                          >>next

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