ChiDragon

Yin-Yang Concept in Tai Chi Chuan

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Tai Chi is Yin-Yang. All Tai Chi practitioners should have some knowledge about the Yin-Yang concept to be more appreciative about the art of the practice. Just for sharing our common knowledge for discussion sake, how much do you know about this concept when it comes to Tai Chi Chuan...???

 

 

Edited to add:

Actually, I am really asking how was the Yin-Yang concept being applied to Tai Chi Chuan...??? This is not a question to be answered by a beginner per se.

 

One may be either doing Tai Chi or not at all. Just by going through the routine of the movements or the gestures may not be considered Tai Chi if one was not applying the Yin-Yang concept during the practice of the routines.

Edited by ChiDragon

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In our school, yin and yang are seen as the two leaves of the hinge as on a door. Yin is the side that is stable on the jamb, yang the moving hinge on the door itself. The yin side is the source and support for power which provides the root of power for movement. The intersection of yin and yang, the juncture where they meet has a different shape in the dan tien depending on the move in question. This is not so important, because the mind doesn't need to know or visualize this shape, but it is felt in the progression of the moves. There is a constant change of yin to yang and visa versa. Not only the weight bearing and empty legs are designated yin and yang, but the arms as well. In practice, any smaller segment of the body could be designated as yin and yang. In our approach momentum is discourage, but the form has the feeling of interlocking cogs producing power in small movements. This practice of the detailed sequence of yin yang exchange is internal discipline or nei gong in our school. From my experience it pulls the mind into quiet states of meditation without much effort which then is felt as a whole body quality of presence, sensitivity and awareness.

Bill

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Tai Chi is Yin-Yang. All Tai Chi practitioners should have some knowledge about the Yin-Yang concept to be more appreciative about the art of the practice. Just for sharing our common knowledge for discussion sake, how much do you know about this concept when it comes to Tai Chi Chuan...???

Rant on:

I'll preface any further discussion with the following simile:

Talking and thinking about Tai Ji is to practicing Tai Ji Quan as;

Talking and thinking about sex is to experiencing a sexual relationship.

 

I can spend my life studying Yin and Yang theory and have absolutely no Tai Ji Quan skill.

I cannot have any skill in Tai Ji Quan whatsoever without doing.

I assert that absolutely no knowledge of Yin-Yang is necessary - only practice with proper guidance.

As one gains skill and (non-intellectual) understanding, then we attempt to convey this to each other verbally.

We then convince ourselves that this verbalization/intellectual image is somehow a measure of the skill.

 

There's a great book called The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien Ying.

When I first started reading it, I hardly understood anything. I returned to it over a period of 3 or 4 years and each time I came back, after 6 months of training for example, I would understand more. Until finally, I don't need the book at all - I understand it.

And the understanding had nothing to do with reading the book. The book was simply validation after experience.

 

Tai Ji Quan is experiential, not verbal. But then the forum gets boring so...

Rant off

 

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

 

Tai Ji Quan is nothing more or less than the embodiment of living Tai Ji principles in the practice of combat.

You don't have to know anything about it intellectually, IMO, but if you are not expressing it through your practice, it is not Tai Ji Quan, it's just quan.

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Rant on:

I'll preface any further discussion with the following simile:

Talking and thinking about Tai Ji is to practicing Tai Ji Quan as;

Talking and thinking about sex is to experiencing a sexual relationship.

 

I can spend my life studying Yin and Yang theory and have absolutely no Tai Ji Quan skill.

I cannot have any skill in Tai Ji Quan whatsoever without doing.

I assert that absolutely no knowledge of Yin-Yang is necessary - only practice with proper guidance.

As one gains skill and (non-intellectual) understanding, then we attempt to convey this to each other verbally.

We then convince ourselves that this verbalization/intellectual image is somehow a measure of the skill.

 

There's a great book called The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien Ying.

When I first started reading it, I hardly understood anything. I returned to it over a period of 3 or 4 years and each time I came back, after 6 months of training for example, I would understand more. Until finally, I don't need the book at all - I understand it.

And the understanding had nothing to do with reading the book. The book was simply validation after experience.

 

Tai Ji Quan is experiential, not verbal. But then the forum gets boring so...

Rant off

 

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

 

Tai Ji Quan is nothing more or less than the embodiment of living Tai Ji principles in the practice of combat.

You don't have to know anything about it intellectually, IMO, but if you are not expressing it through your practice, it is not Tai Ji Quan, it's just quan.

steve f ,

i am trying to find a thread to participate in here lately :blink:

i agree with what you are saying and an example i can give is, and it

may or may not be used in tai chi chuan. but i bet it is.

i call it the tree exercise where i stand rooted in front of a tree ,

i place my palm on a tree and try to bring the energy up from my feet

into my hands to push the tree off its spot. of course this never happens.

but i do learn how to bring the energy up by doing this and not by reading it in a book.

i could have never learned proper palm changes except by many many

repitions.(in my baguazhang) it would be hard just from a book

to realize how to emit qi or fa jin. etc etc

i also find value in reading the books and hearing others ideas.

and i think there is a yin yang for taichi

like there is 5 elements for xingyi

and 8 trigrams for bagua but learning it thru experience is the way.

 

i do have a wing chun question , steve f, as i have seen you mention you have

experience with it and with xingyiquan as well.

in wing chun, is there a fa jin, and if so is it like the xingyi version?

edit> i had of i needed or

Edited by zerostao

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Great Rant Steve

 

Along similar lines and since Ba gua was mentioned, during a Ba gua class, a new student asked my teacher how the trigams relate to the palm changes, and the reply was, "I could it explain it, but you wouldn't understand, so just go practice instead."

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Rant on:

 

1. I can spend my life studying Yin and Yang theory and have absolutely no Tai Ji Quan skill.

2. I cannot have any skill in Tai Ji Quan whatsoever without doing.

3. I assert that absolutely no knowledge of Yin-Yang is necessary - only practice with proper guidance.

 

4. As one gains skill and (non-intellectual) understanding, then we attempt to convey this to each other verbally.

We then convince ourselves that this verbalization/intellectual image is somehow a measure of the skill.

 

There's a great book called The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien Ying.

 

5. When I first started reading it, I hardly understood anything. I returned to it over a period of 3 or 4 years and each time I came back, after 6 months of training for example, I would understand more. Until finally, I don't need the book at all - I understand it.

 

Tai Ji Quan is experiential, not verbal. But then the forum gets boring so...

Rant off

 

Back to the regularly scheduled program.

 

6. Tai Ji Quan is nothing more or less than the embodiment of living Tai Ji principles in the practice of combat.

You don't have to know anything about it intellectually, IMO, but if you are not expressing it through your practice, it is not Tai Ji Quan, it's just quan.

1. Yes, you don't need Tai Ji Quan skill to learn the Yin-Yang Theory. However, if you know the Yin-Yang theory, then you will understand more about Tai Ji Quan.

 

2. I agree, there is no question about that.

 

3. In that case, you are not learning or being taught properly.

 

4. If the "Tai Ji Quan" was being accepted with the improper name such as "Tai Ji Boxing", I wonder how much does the author knows about Tai Ji Quan.

 

5. By reading a book without really knowing the theory, you are only learning the limited portion of the author and nothing more.

 

6. Tai Ji Quan is nothing more or less than the embodiment of living Tai Ji principles in the practice of combat.

You don't have to know anything about it intellectually, IMO, but if you are not expressing it through your practice, it is not Tai Ji Quan, it's just quan.

6. If you don't know anything about it intellectually, but you are only expressing it through your practice. Then, it is not "Tai Ji Quan" NOR "quan".

 

Tai Ji Quan is experiential, not verbal. But then the forum gets boring so...

It maybe boring because one didn't know the answer to make it more interesting.

 

 

PS...

The issue was being questionable here, the intent was not to attack any person.

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Great Rant Steve

 

Along similar lines and since Ba gua was mentioned, during a Ba gua class, a new student asked my teacher how the trigams relate to the palm changes, and the reply was, "I could it explain it, but you wouldn't understand, so just go practice instead."

Does that mean that the teacher understood it or not...??? :)

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steve f ,

i do have a wing chun question , steve f, as i have seen you mention you have

experience with it and with xingyiquan as well.

in wing chun, is there a fa jin, and if so is it like the xingyi version?

edit> i had of i needed or

Please answer this carefully because I am listening... :)

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i do have a wing chun question , steve f, as i have seen you mention you have

experience with it and with xingyiquan as well.

in wing chun, is there a fa jin, and if so is it like the xingyi version?

edit> i had of i needed or

Yes, there is fajin in wing chun.

It's very similar to xingyiquan.

Fajin is just explosive force and refers to generating force over a short distance.

It's a little different in taijiquan because you are usually already in physical contact with your opponent.

Not as much in xingyi and wing chun. Both are close distance but not so much sticking and connecting and linking as in taiji.

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1. Yes, you don't need Tai Ji Quan skill to learn the Yin-Yang Theory. However, if you know the Yin-Yang theory, then you will understand more about Tai Ji Quan.

 

What does it mean to understand Tai Ji Quan?

 

3. In that case, you are not learning or being taught properly.

 

That's always a possibility. The only way to tell is to push hands together and then you could judge me.

I feel confident that I've been taught well (as have my students... ;) )

 

4. If the "Tai Ji Quan" was being accepted with the improper name such as "Tai Ji Boxing", I wonder how much does the author knows about Tai Ji Quan.

 

Read it and see what you think. What is your translation of 太 極 拳 ?

 

5. By reading a book without really knowing the theory, you are only learning the limited portion of the author and nothing more.

 

 

6. If you don't know anything about it intellectually, but you are only expressing it through your practice. Then, it is not "Tai Ji Quan" NOR "quan".

5. Knowing the theory is not the same as developing skill in the art.

I described how the authors words validated my direct experience gained through practicing the art.

 

Regarding #6, we have to agree to disagree. I maintain that Tai Ji Quan is a martial art, not an intellectual exercise.

Intellect doesn't help here. It is only a mental echo of the experience. The mind creates an image of the experience and goes through it's ruminations and comparisons and judgements. The mind then makes connections between a variety of images, Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Quan, and in making connections creates a false sense of security and "understanding" of the subject. None of that is Tai Ji Quan. One will learn Tai Ji principles and theory from the practice of Tai Ji Quan. It is inevitable. But one cannot develop any skill whatsoever in Tai Ji Quan through a theoretical study of Tai Ji or Tai Ji Quan. That is my major point.

 

It maybe boring because one didn't know the answer to make it more interesting.

 

Please be mindful of your sig line.

Tai Ji Quan is not in speech, thought, or theory, it's in doing.

Intellectually understanding something that is inherently experiential is very misleading.

It causes one to think they understand but they don't really, it creates artificial security and confidence - the same holds in meditation.

 

Then again you may be right, I may not know enough to make the discussion interesting.

I do think it would be more interesting to push hands. That would be a measure of Tai Ji Quan - not a theoretical discussion.

 

My meaning regarding boring was that if everyone practiced Tai Ji Quan rather than talked about it, there would be no posts on the topic - that would be boring (or maybe not, because then we'd be practicing instead of typing! :D )

 

PS...

The issue was being questionable here, the intent was not to attack any person.

No offense taken. You are welcome to question and challenge my statements - they were intentionally dogmatic.

 

 

In return, I would like to offer a criticism of your initial post.

You set yourself up as master and everyone else as student.

Rather than share your views on Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Quan then invite replies, you invited others to volunteer their ideas and poised yourself to judge their replies.

Whether or not this was your intention, that is how it came across, at least for me.

That's one of the reasons that I posted my reply in the manner that I did - highly critical of a theoretical approach to an experiential art.

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Please answer this carefully because I am listening... :)

:lol:

Yes master

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Great Rant Steve

 

Along similar lines and since Ba gua was mentioned, during a Ba gua class, a new student asked my teacher how the trigams relate to the palm changes, and the reply was, "I could it explain it, but you wouldn't understand, so just go practice instead."

Completely true - certain things only help when the student is ready through practice.

Otherwise, they get distracted by the intellect and don't devote adequate time to practice.

My teacher's primary message to us was to practice, don't bother reading and studying.

He knew, of course, that we would read and study but more importantly, he knew the importance of minimizing the intellectual distraction.

Very similar to learning meditation, IMO.

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1. What does it mean to understand Tai Ji Quan?

 

2. Read it and see what you think. What is your translation of 太 極 拳 ?

 

 

3. "5. Knowing the theory is not the same as developing skill in the art. "

 

4. One will learn Tai Ji principles and theory from the practice of Tai Ji Quan. It is inevitable. But one cannot develop any skill whatsoever in Tai Ji Quan through a theoretical study of Tai Ji or Tai Ji Quan. That is my major point.

 

 

5. Please be mindful of your sig line.

Tai Ji Quan is not in speech, thought, or theory, it's in doing.

Intellectually understanding something that is inherently experiential is very misleading.

It causes one to think they understand but they don't really, it creates artificial security and confidence - the same holds in meditation.

 

No offense taken. You are welcome to question and challenge my statements - they were intentionally dogmatic.

 

6. In return, I would like to offer a criticism of your initial post.

You set yourself up as master and everyone else as student.

Rather than share your views on Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Quan then invite replies, you invited others to volunteer their ideas and poised yourself to judge their replies.

Whether or not this was your intention, that is how it came across, at least for me.

That's one of the reasons that I posted my reply in the manner that I did - highly critical of a theoretical approach to an experiential art.

 

1. Is it fair to say understanding "Tai Chi Quan" is to know the BASIC theory behind it...???

 

2. 太 極 拳 in direct translation is "Tai Ji Fist" but it's better to stay with "Tai Chi Quan". In general, 拳(chuan) was meant to be a set of martial art movements. The term was added to the end of the title of any kind of martial arts. e.g. 少林拳(Shaolin Chuan); 詠春拳(Wing Chun Chuan).

 

3. Knowing the theory will be developing a better skill in the art.

 

4 & 5. IMO After an extensive practice of the art for a few years, then the theory will become more clear about Tai Chi Chuan.

 

6. My initial post was to share my views on Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Chuan by inviting replies to hear everyone's opinion. My judgments were assumed to be my appropriate responses. That was not my intention to poise myself to judge their replies; and it was just happened to be came across this way. I was waiting to go into it if no response.

 

Thank you for your patience and being a fine Tai Chi practitioner.... :)

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1. Is it fair to say understanding "Tai Chi Quan" is to know the BASIC theory behind it...???

 

2. 太 極 拳 in direct translation is "Tai Ji Fist" but it's better to stay with "Tai Chi Quan". In general, 拳(chuan) was meant to be a set of martial art movements. The term was added to the end of the title of any kind of martial arts. e.g. 少林拳(Shaolin Chuan); 詠春拳(Wing Chun Chuan).

 

3. Knowing the theory will be developing a better skill in the art.

 

4 & 5. IMO After an extensive practice of the art for a few years, then the theory will become more clear about Tai Chi Chuan.

 

6. My initial post was to share my views on Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Chuan by inviting replies to hear everyone's opinion. My judgments were assumed to be my appropriate responses. That was not my intention to poise myself to judge their replies; and it was just happened to be came across this way. I was waiting to go into it if no response.

 

Thank you for your patience and being a fine Tai Chi practitioner.... :)

1. Only if by "to know the BASIC theory behind it..." means to be skilled in martial Tai Ji Quan applications and training methods from a physical, not intellectual perspective. The intellectual "understanding" is just an image, a construct of thought, a memory.

 

2. Exactly - 太 極 means the theory but 拳 changes the meaning of the word to something like : The art and training system of combat based in Yin-Yang principle. But that's a clumsy way of saying it so Tai Ji Boxing is just as good as anything because traditionally the word "boxing" has been used in English Chinese translations of traditional Chinese martial art - eg The Boxer Rebellion

 

3. I disagree but it's just semantics, practical skill always comes with "knowing the theory" but the knowing is a side effect.

I'm just getting a bit metaphysical on you! B)

 

4.&5. Agreed, and it never stops becoming more clear if you practice!

 

6. Thanks for clearing that up, sorry I misunderstood, I guess I was being a bit defensive rather than yielding _/\_

 

- Thanks for the compliment but until we meet, you really won't know for sure!

 

;)

 

PS I recently had the idea that it would be cool to have a TTB Tai ji get together some time for folks that like Tai Ji Quan.

it could be a blast!

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There's a great book called The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien Ying.

 

Cool looking book (yes I am going to summarize your entire post into cool looking book :lol:)

although I just tried to buy it and it's out of print, not cool :(

 

Just read a bit of the preview on Amazon and it's talking about exactly this topic, the yin yang nature of Tai Chi and the futility of studying such theory until you are ready to balance (or express) it's ideas in the physical realization of your actions "it is not intended for the student to read once and understand"

 

Does that mean that the teacher understood it or not...??? :)

:) Well you could only know that by observing his actions. My Sifu would occasionally talk about "book fu" A new student would arrive and know LOTS about tai chi, energy moving here and there, how this esoteric concept relates to this concept... unfortunately more often than not these people had NO kung fu and while they could talk about concepts and ideas they could not display a single one physically.

 

oh as for your question

Just for sharing our common knowledge for discussion sake, how much do you know about this concept when it comes to Tai Chi Chuan...???

I know very little, but if you push me I can show you what little I have.

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Tai Chi is Yin-Yang. All Tai Chi practitioners should have some knowledge about the Yin-Yang concept to be more appreciative about the art of the practice. Just for sharing our common knowledge for discussion sake, how much do you know about this concept when it comes to Tai Chi Chuan...???

 

 

Edited to add:

Actually, I am really asking how was the Yin-Yang concept being applied to Tai Chi Chuan...??? This is not a question to be answered by a beginner per se.

 

One may be either doing Tai Chi or not at all. Just by going through the routine of the movements or the gestures may not be considered Tai Chi if one was not applying the Yin-Yang concept during the practice of the routines.

From the responses, I already know how much everybody knows. I have the impression that some do not wish to know or don't need to know or don't care at all. Anyway, that's what I wanted to find out to get a feel of the Tai Ji Chuan public.

 

I would like to go over the Yin-Yang concept as the way I understood it. For those who don't care maybe it will be a good amusement or don't bother with it. No body is putting a gun through your head to swallow it.... :)

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I would like to go over the Yin-Yang concept as the way I understood it. For those who don't care maybe it will be a good amusement or don't bother with it. No body is putting a gun through your head to swallow it.... :)

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and discuss theory.

I just wanted to put a discussion of Tai Ji theory in perspective relative to having skill in Tai Ji Quan.

It would be nice if we can try and limit our theoretical discussion to descriptions of what we experience directly in our practice.

Does anyone think that would be valuable? Or even possible?

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In return, I would like to offer a criticism of your initial post.

You set yourself up as master and everyone else as student.

Rather than share your views on Tai Ji theory and Tai Ji Quan then invite replies, you invited others to volunteer their ideas and poised yourself to judge their replies.

Whether or not this was your intention, that is how it came across, at least for me.

Steve F: I have agreed with most everything you have said so far I just don't want to get caught up in the OP's games. You have rightly read his schtick; to ask a question, pull in responses and then tell everyone why they are wrong; your intuition was right, so don't give it up yet. Such absolutism is almost trolling but I feel a worm moving here to wiggle out of the pressure you have presented. Keep it up. I already got very tired of it but now you can carry on with it.

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Greetings..

 

When i learned Chen Style Yi Lu (1994), the teacher spoke almost no English, mostly "yes, no, related hand gestures, and Ha Ha Ha".. no theory other than how the movements translated into effective application (demonstration, not words).. through excellent teaching, he showed how every retreat (yin) is balanced by an advance (yang), and every sinking balanced by lifting.. not that could be seen, but that could be experienced in application, direct real-time application.. Later discussions about Yin/Yang relationships made perfect sense..

 

Be well..

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What is Tai Ji Chuan(TJC) all about...??? What is Tai Ji...??? It means the "great ultimate", literally, but in Tai Ji Chuan it simply means Yin-Yang as a whole. Thus one cannot be detached from the other. If we look at the Tai Ji symbol, we see a white fish and a black fish with an eye in opposite color. The white fish designated as Yang and the black one as Yin. The black eye in the white fish signifies that there is a little Yin in Yang and vice versa.

 

The two fishes are in a circle signifies a perpetual circular motion. Here is where the Yin-Yang concept comes into play in TJC. At the beginning, a Tai Ji student knew nothing about Tai Ji; let's considered that the student was in the Yin level and the advanced level is at the Yang level. At the Yin level, the student just follow the basic movements and let the muscles adjust to the new stresses which being exerted to the body. The muscles will be sore in the next three months or so because the initial state of the body was in the weakest state or the Yin state. After six months or so, the muscles are getting stronger from the Yin state goes to the Yang state.

 

At the Yin state, the regular body strength was called li(力). At the Yang state, the muscles have more strength which called Jin(勁). Jin4 is many many times greater than the li. The ultimate goal of Tai Ji was to build up the Jin in the muscles. Hence, a Tai Ji practitioner can "fa jin". Fa Jin(發勁), literally, means exerting a tremendous force much greater than the regular strength(li).

 

Accuracy of the movements is insignificant at the beginning level. The main thing is learn the gestures and let the body parts adjust to the movements. As the practice goes along, the movements will become natural for the arms and legs. Hence, the body will correct the movements by itself. The more refine correction will be taken place at the higher level to reach perfection.

 

Note:

This is just an introduction; I will go into how the Yin-Yang concept was applied to the practice later.

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What is Tai Ji Chuan(TJC) all about...??? What is Tai Ji...??? It means the "great ultimate", literally, but in Tai Ji Chuan it simply means Yin-Yang as a whole. Thus one cannot be detached from the other. If we look at the Tai Ji symbol, we see a white fish and a black fish with an eye in opposite color. The white fish designated as Yang and the black one as Yin. The black eye in the white fish signifies that there is a little Yin in Yang and vice versa.

 

The two fishes are in a circle signifies a perpetual circular motion. Here is where the Yin-Yang concept comes into play in TJC. At the beginning, a Tai Ji student knew nothing about Tai Ji; let's considered that the student was in the Yin level and the advanced level is at the Yang level. At the Yin level, the student just follow the basic movements and let the muscles adjust to the new stresses which being exerted to the body. The muscles will be sore in the next three months or so because the initial state of the body was in the weakest state or the Yin state. After six months or so, the muscles are getting stronger from the Yin state goes to the Yang state.

 

At the Yin state, the regular body strength was called li(力). At the Yang state, the muscles have more strength which called Jin(勁). Jin4 is many many times greater than the li. The ultimate goal of Tai Ji was to build up the Jin in the muscles. Hence, a Tai Ji practitioner can "fa jin". Fa Jin(發勁), literally, means exerting a tremendous force much greater than the regular strength(li).

 

Accuracy of the movements is insignificant at the beginning level. The main thing is learn the gestures and let the body parts adjust to the movements. As the practice goes along, the movements will become natural for the arms and legs. Hence, the body will correct the movements by itself. The more refine correction will be taken place at the higher level to reach perfection.

 

Note:

This is just an introduction; I will go into how the Yin-Yang concept was applied to the practice later.

How about if we pause here and discuss what you've written so far.

This alone could be discussed for hours and practiced for years.

 

What does Tai Ji mean as it applies to martial arts?

It means balance. Everything is always in balance.

I must physically and mentally maintain my balance. I must take the balance from my opponent, physically and mentally.

Tai Ji Quan uses soft when soft is needed, and hard when hard is needed.

There is a misunderstanding that Tai Ji Quan is soft. It is not soft. It is in balance.

It can yield to a more powerful force. By yielding, the more powerful force is absorbed by void since void absorbs and gives rise to all things. That is how soft overcomes hard.

But you cannot generally win a fight being only soft, you might if you get very lucky. Sooner or later you need to counter attack.

Once the opponent's attack is neutralized, there must be counter attack to end the conflict.

Soft and hard must balance.

 

Fast and slow find balance. There is a Tai Ji Quan saying that goes: 后發先至 Hou Fa Xian Zhi Launch later but arrive before

It's like a gunfighter in the old west. The fastest doesn't necessarily triumph. It is the one who knows his speed, how to apply it, how to take advantage of opportunity and target and so on. So slow can defeat fast, like the tortoise and the hare. But slow isn't sluggish. It is prepared, it is careful, it is meticulous and mindful. It finds the weaknesses and exploits them.

 

Also, stillness and movement are in balance. There is a saying that goes: 以 靜制動 Yi Jin Zhi Dong meaning something like using stillness to control movement. There is a feeling of movement, continuous spiraling within the body that is always there even in the absence of movement. It's the potential for movement. It is the circulation of the Qi. There is another saying 氣宜鼓盪 QI Yi Gu Dang which means the Qi should be excited. This movement in stillness is the excitement and awareness of the Qi. And the same saying goes on to say 神宜內斂 Shen Yi Nei Lian, the spirit is gathered within. Even though the Qi is excited and active, the spirit is tranquil, this is the stillness in motion. There are no wasted movements, there is tranquility, poise, awareness, and control even during the most violent motion.

 

And there is much more to say about Tai Ji as it relates to martial arts but that's a start.

 

 

Now let's touch on force and strength:

Li is physical strength. When I lift, push, or pull something using power generated by my muscles, that is Li.

It is the force that we generally use in our daily activities. It can be very powerful if I am strong or fast.

And yet it is limited to the power of the muscles without the additional skill developed through specific Tai Ji Quan methods. Tai Ji Quan teaches us that more force can be generated by developing a number of skills. These skills include proper posture, proper breathing, proper body movement, proper footwork, whole body coordination, sensitivity, listening, timing, and breath (not an exhaustive list but a start).

 

When all that is put together we can develop what my teacher calls coordination strength. This is part of the magic.

This is what people try to replicate with silly parlor tricks. This is one of the things people refer to when they speak of the superhuman feats of Tai Ji Quan. When someone is skilled at this, it can be devastating.

 

Jin 勁 simply means energy or force. There can be many different kinds, such as spiraling, pushing revolving, wave, hidden, etc... and hopefully we'll get into that eventually.

 

Jin can be strong or weak. It is related to Li but not limited to Li. It can go beyond Li but only after proper instruction and training as described above. So Jin is simply energy. There are many types of energies developed by moving the body in different ways and manipulating the opponent in different ways. Let's start with Fa Jin 發勁 issuing force or explosive force, but first we need to think about long force and short force. Long force 長勁 or chang jin is generated over a distance of several inches or more. So when I wind up and punch, that's long force. It's a little slower and more obvious but can be quite powerful.

Short force, duan jin 短勁 is generated over a short distance, less than about 4 inches. This is how to create Fa Jin. Fa just means to emit or to issue but the implication is explosive because it is short, sharp, and fast. It is generated by integrating the entire body - all of the limbs, the torso, the Yi (intent), breath, and the most critical of all - timing. When this all comes together, a very damaging, short, explosive force can be generated depending on the skill of the practitioner.

 

The main differences between Fa Jin and Li can be seen through a simple analogy I like to use.

Imagine there is a very heavy piece of furniture - over a hundred pounds or more, and in one drawer is a wine glass.

If I use Li and hit that piece of furniture hard, I may dent or crack the surface or crack my hand, and the wine glass is undisturbed. If i put both hands on the furniture and use my entire body in a coordinated way to push it very violently using a short, sharp, shove - the surface will be undisturbed but the energy will penetrate the furniture and the wine glass will topple inside and shatter. That's one example of what Fa Jin is like. The force does not damage the surface so much but it penetrates and is very effective. It can be used outward (pushing, hitting, striking) and inward (plucking, roll back, Qin Na). This outward and inward aspect to force is yet another example of Tai Ji theory expressed through Tai Ji Quan.

 

So a question for anyone who wants to play, why use Fa Jin? If I'm skilled using Li and I can develop a lot of speed and strength, I can be VERY effective at kicking, blocking, punching, throwing, and so on. I can do a lot of damage to my opponent with nothing but Li. And using Li power, I can stay farther from my opponent and not put myself at risk. I can stay back, out of range, and periodically punch and kick. This is how most styles teach to fight.

Why is short force necessary and why is it the primary offensive tactic in Tai Ji Quan?

 

 

(Now I'm acting like the teacher ;) , plus forgive me! :lol: )

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(Now I'm acting like the teacher ;) , plus forgive me! :lol: )

 

Regarding to "acting like a teacher" reminds me of a conversation between LaoTze and Confucius.

Confucius paid a scholastic visit to LaoTze once in his lifetime and the conversation started with this dialog.

 

Confucius: "I come to be your student."

 

LaoTze: "I am not your teacher. We all can be a teacher or a student. It all depends if you know more than I do at the time, then you are the teacher and I'm the student. If I know more at the time, then I am the teacher and you're the student."

 

Anyway, I see that you are the teacher about the applications of the Tai Ji Chuan while I am a student into the practice.... :)

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How about if we pause here and discuss what you've written so far.

This alone could be discussed for hours and practiced for years.

 

What does Tai Ji mean as it applies to martial arts?

It means balance. Everything is always in balance.

I must physically and mentally maintain my balance. I must take the balance from my opponent, physically and mentally.

Tai Ji Quan uses soft when soft is needed, and hard when hard is needed.

There is a misunderstanding that Tai Ji Quan is soft. It is not soft. It is in balance.

It can yield to a more powerful force. By yielding, the more powerful force is absorbed by void since void absorbs and gives rise to all things. That is how soft overcomes hard.

But you cannot generally win a fight being only soft, you might if you get very lucky. Sooner or later you need to counter attack.

Once the opponent's attack is neutralized, there must be counter attack to end the conflict.

Soft and hard must balance.

 

Fast and slow find balance. There is a Tai Ji Quan saying that goes: 后發先至 Hou Fa Xian Zhi Launch later but arrive before

It's like a gunfighter in the old west. The fastest doesn't necessarily triumph. It is the one who knows his speed, how to apply it, how to take advantage of opportunity and target and so on. So slow can defeat fast, like the tortoise and the hare. But slow isn't sluggish. It is prepared, it is careful, it is meticulous and mindful. It finds the weaknesses and exploits them.

 

Also, stillness and movement are in balance. There is a saying that goes: 以 靜制動 Yi Jin Zhi Dong meaning something like using stillness to control movement. There is a feeling of movement, continuous spiraling within the body that is always there even in the absence of movement. It's the potential for movement. It is the circulation of the Qi. There is another saying 氣宜鼓盪 QI Yi Gu Dang which means the Qi should be excited. This movement in stillness is the excitement and awareness of the Qi. And the same saying goes on to say 神宜內斂 Shen Yi Nei Lian, the spirit is gathered within. Even though the Qi is excited and active, the spirit is tranquil, this is the stillness in motion. There are no wasted movements, there is tranquility, poise, awareness, and control even during the most violent motion.

 

And there is much more to say about Tai Ji as it relates to martial arts but that's a start.

 

 

Now let's touch on force and strength:

Li is physical strength. When I lift, push, or pull something using power generated by my muscles, that is Li.

It is the force that we generally use in our daily activities. It can be very powerful if I am strong or fast.

And yet it is limited to the power of the muscles without the additional skill developed through specific Tai Ji Quan methods. Tai Ji Quan teaches us that more force can be generated by developing a number of skills. These skills include proper posture, proper breathing, proper body movement, proper footwork, whole body coordination, sensitivity, listening, timing, and breath (not an exhaustive list but a start).

 

When all that is put together we can develop what my teacher calls coordination strength. This is part of the magic.

This is what people try to replicate with silly parlor tricks. This is one of the things people refer to when they speak of the superhuman feats of Tai Ji Quan. When someone is skilled at this, it can be devastating.

 

Jin 勁 simply means energy or force. There can be many different kinds, such as spiraling, pushing revolving, wave, hidden, etc... and hopefully we'll get into that eventually.

 

Jin can be strong or weak. It is related to Li but not limited to Li. It can go beyond Li but only after proper instruction and training as described above. So Jin is simply energy. There are many types of energies developed by moving the body in different ways and manipulating the opponent in different ways. Let's start with Fa Jin 發勁 issuing force or explosive force, but first we need to think about long force and short force. Long force 長勁 or chang jin is generated over a distance of several inches or more. So when I wind up and punch, that's long force. It's a little slower and more obvious but can be quite powerful.

Short force, duan jin 短勁 is generated over a short distance, less than about 4 inches. This is how to create Fa Jin. Fa just means to emit or to issue but the implication is explosive because it is short, sharp, and fast. It is generated by integrating the entire body - all of the limbs, the torso, the Yi (intent), breath, and the most critical of all - timing. When this all comes together, a very damaging, short, explosive force can be generated depending on the skill of the practitioner.

 

The main differences between Fa Jin and Li can be seen through a simple analogy I like to use.

Imagine there is a very heavy piece of furniture - over a hundred pounds or more, and in one drawer is a wine glass.

If I use Li and hit that piece of furniture hard, I may dent or crack the surface or crack my hand, and the wine glass is undisturbed. If i put both hands on the furniture and use my entire body in a coordinated way to push it very violently using a short, sharp, shove - the surface will be undisturbed but the energy will penetrate the furniture and the wine glass will topple inside and shatter. That's one example of what Fa Jin is like. The force does not damage the surface so much but it penetrates and is very effective. It can be used outward (pushing, hitting, striking) and inward (plucking, roll back, Qin Na). This outward and inward aspect to force is yet another example of Tai Ji theory expressed through Tai Ji Quan.

 

So a question for anyone who wants to play, why use Fa Jin? If I'm skilled using Li and I can develop a lot of speed and strength, I can be VERY effective at kicking, blocking, punching, throwing, and so on. I can do a lot of damage to my opponent with nothing but Li. And using Li power, I can stay farther from my opponent and not put myself at risk. I can stay back, out of range, and periodically punch and kick. This is how most styles teach to fight.

Why is short force necessary and why is it the primary offensive tactic in Tai Ji Quan?

 

 

(Now I'm acting like the teacher ;) , plus forgive me! :lol: )

Huzzah !!!!!

 

:D

 

Seriously Steve, we must catch up sometime. I am hoping to get over to the US in the next year or so, shall we call it a date?

 

;)

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Huzzah !!!!!

 

:D

 

Seriously Steve, we must catch up sometime. I am hoping to get over to the US in the next year or so, shall we call it a date?

 

;)

If you come across the pond and DON'T get in touch, I will be seriously hurt!

:lol:

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Hard and soft is the first one that comes to mind. Tai Chi is like a needle wrapped in cotton.

 

Change is next. When one thing moves everything moves. If something opens, another part of the body has to close. If you want to move back, you have to have energy pushing forward. If you want to move forward you have to have energy pushing back.

 

Structure. You have to have balanced structure when releasing force. If you want to release energy forwards, you have to have energy going back into the mingmen and back leg. In addition if you have energy sinking down to the dantien and legs, you also have to have energy rising to the top of the head.

 

So yes, understanding the relation between Yin and yang is important in practice.

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