Deceptive Martial Art
Chi Chuan can be perceived as a deceptive martial art, especially when seen from the outside. A quantum field influenced by the psychological being experiencing a constant change. I was practicing my Tai Chi Form in New York City Central Park in the summer of 2015 when a martial art instructor said that my Tai Chi form looks good, but it was not fluidity enough. He said, “As I was looking at you while you were practicing, I notice that you were starting and stopping at every move”
I was annoyed then by his comments which pause me to reflect on a similar statement by a new student to Sifu Gim, of H Won Kim Institute. Paraphrasing, “Why that student over there stop after every pasture within the form.”
Sifu answer was, “you don’t know what he is working on the inside. Not because you cannot see what he is doing, doesn’t mean that he is stopping”.
Finding Tai Chi
After many years of practice, I can honestly say that I forgive myself for condemning the martial art teacher for his misunderstanding because no one can see my moving meditation but the observer within.
His statement was encouraging to say the least but it encourages me to dig deeper.
While I was still receiving Tai Chi Form transmission from Sifu, I purchase a Tai Chi magazine, curious to read the catchy headline title about knee injuries. A Chi Kung Instructor was explaining his experience with knee pain after years of Tai Chi Chuan studying. As a result, he came up with a preventive solution.
The 70 – 30 Rule
He suggested that practitioners should adopt the 70 – 30% rule. In a forward stance, 70% of the body weight should be in the front leg and 30% in the supported back leg. Here is the deception that might work to a certain degree, but is misleading as to who is supposing to be doing the observing. My question was, how in this third-dimensional world can a student know that he or she is 70- 30 or even close to it?
The dynamic stance at the very beginning of the form (Classical Yang Family Style ) I practice each day is the foundation to the (108 moves) original. It is like looking at a tree and assuming that the tree is not moving base on our view of the world. We have no idea what is happening within its structure or what is going on beneath its roots but consider the spiral elongated cylinder shape of any trees, and you have to wonder within your self what is going on in the world of the unseen.
Look from behind your eyes and nature will take you on a journey of self-exploration. Trees must be spiraling from its roots a certain way that form their shape. What is obvious is the upward cylinder spiraling shape reaching for the heavens, but what about the extension of many veins that spread from the root. There is a network of intelligent and power beyond measure happening beneath the earth. For example, a single thread from the heart of the source would burst through a rock obstructing its movement or make its way around it. Equally, the physical eyes cannot see what is happening inside of the practitioner physically body or subconscious mind in the practice of Tai Chi form.
Proper instruction by a master eliminates the illusion of weight shifting measurement. All of nature moves in a spiraling in and out dimensionally from its core. There are reasons to believe that the human body act on the same principle. A whirlwind runs across a plain, for example, vacuuming everything in its path. such as building materials, stones, sticks you name it, all get sucked into the center of it.
Here are four physical and psychological principals to consider that act as a frame to the form. There are Centering, Alignment, Relaxing and Balancing. Centering in my understanding is having one mind visualizing vertical and horizontal lines of energy, in alignment to heaven and earth. The practitioner stance must be in alignment hip-width apart with the bottom tip of the spine aiming to the center between both heels. The top of the head should have a feeling of been lifted by an imaginary string. Imagine your spine as a connected filament from the top of your head (cathedral) to the root of your feet placed evenly on the ground.
A relaxed body and mind are essential to experience balance within the form. Remember, the mental and psychological body is energy so whatever your attention goes energy flow.
To observe your movement within the form, you must maintain the principals as you spiral from substantial to insubstantial. Meaning that you are shifting from full to empty. Some would say that you are not empty, and there is no argument if you are looking from the outside at the changing from one position to another.
As an observer within one own practice a different insight in been experience.
Focusing your attention to shift from where you are, you will not know where you are going. In other words, if you are looking for a shift to occur outside of your body, you will not be able to implement the four principals I maintain earlier.
Patient and diligence in a practitioner work are critical to experience the feeling of stillness within the form. Imagine therefore that everything between heaven, earth and within is spiraling in the now.
Where ever you are within your daily practice, remember the Tai Chi form is a pathway providing an opportunity to observe the vastness of the Grand Ultimate within your body temple. For those on the outside trying to understand this fantastic spinning art, give yourself an opportunity to become the observer of your inner world of self-discovery.