Michael Winn

Can an 8-Month-old Infant Master Tai Chi?

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Hope you enjoy this story of Tai Chi master and Marshmallow Immortal Emerald's leap down 13 steps.....


Dear Lovers of Learning the FUNdamentals of Grounding Qi,


The question of whether an 8 month old infant can master "Tai Chi" is not facetious. Tai chi is a cosmological term, not a martial term. It is the word "chuan" (as in "tai chi chuan" or "taijiquan") that describes a martial art. Chuan means 'fist".


The whole point of Tai Chi as a cosmological term is to awaken the harmonious flow of True Yin and True Yang, as they first emanate from Source. Are babies more awakened to this Tai Chi (literally "Supreme Ultimate") flow than adults? That is really the question being asked.


Here's what the ancient Tao master Lao Tzu had to say about infants in his classic "The Way and its Highest Integrity". Composite Translation by Michael Winn (after reading 15 others). Note: ancient Chinese did not use pronouns with fixed male or female gender.


The spiritual One who cultivates virtue (de)
has the radiant Qi of a newborn child.

Hornets will not sting, nor snakes bite,

wild animals and bird of prey will not attack an infant

free of any resistance to life.

Her bones are flexible
and his muscles are supple
yet her grip is firm.

He is oblivious to the sexual union of woman and man,
yet her Qi is aroused to fullness,
his penis can stand erect in full potency.

She screams and he cries his heart out all day -
yet her voice does not grow hoarse,
so complete is his natural harmony

To perceive this harmony is common sense,
applyng common sense is our natural destiny (ming).

.....What is not the Natural Way (Tao) always comes to an untimely end.

-- verse 55, Tao Te Ching


My experience as a first-time parent is that infants are naturally awakened to this flow of life, and play with it constantly in their present moment. Yesterday morning I did a Tai Chi training exercise with Emerald known as "push-hands". We did a variation of it I call "push whole-body/mind".

He was wiggling like an excited worm. I went into total yin, yielding to his every move, following his energy for nearly half an hour, until his impulse to wiggle was exhausted. Then he fell asleep in my arms. But that was just the start. We were in such deep resonance that my Energy Body easily merged into his. I received a deep transmission of his core Yuan Qi, or Original Breath, which I noted was far stronger than my own - a sign of a true Qi master.


His purity and iinnocence arose fresh, due to his closeness to source. Yes, he lacked the wisdom that life offers on how to apply his Qi to aspects of the outer world. But in this moment, it was irrelevant. I was his contact with the outer world, he was doing his iyter spiritual work through me. The apparent struggles of the outer world were far away, and their essence all held within our embrace.


His Original Breath (a kind of neutral Qi) flowed into my body and sought out areas of resistance, old stuck patterns of false yin (holding on) or false yang (over expressed) Qi. We both dissolved into a beautiful pool of loving bliss. I can still feel its effects the next day in those parts of my body that are still resonating with his "Push Hands Whole Body/Mind" transmission.


One of the key elements of Tai Chi training is to learn to yield. You don't attack your opponent; you wait and receive his aggressive energy and then guide it elsewhere. Learning how to fall is also an application of yielding. If you are soft and relaxed, there is no resistance to the fall and bones are not broken. Your personal Qi meets the Qi of the earth and flows into it, which energetically allows for a flowing movement as you land. If you are tense, there is impact and injury.


A few weeks ago, Emerald had not yet learned to crawl. He sat on the kitchen floor and played as I turned my back to wash some dishes. He was six feet away from a stairwell (that we tried to mount a gate on, but some parts were missing and couldn't).


Suddenly, the worst nightmare a parent can have materialized. I heard a repeated THUMP THUMP THUMP that never seemed to end. I turned around to see Emerald had disappeared and knew from the sound that he was rolling down the long stairwell - all13 steps.


Emerald could not crawl, but he knew how to flip and roll. Apparently, he had done about three side rolls with flips, sat up, turned, and then rolled down the stairs - a rather incredible acrobatic feat for him.


Emerald's 13-step initiation into Tai Chi mastery of Yielding. 13 is a number used in many esoteric initiations, likely a reference to the 13 moons in each solar year (the l3th is five days), or a reflection of the famous sacred geometry of "13 Kissing Spheres". Any sphere can be surrounded by 12 identical-sized spheres touching it - a model for all 12-phase zodiacs and their 13th center/source.


Horrified, I raced down to the bottom of stairs to pick up his limp body. My heart panicked at the thought of serious brain, bone, and bruise injuries he might sustain. Jem and I held him gingerly in our arms, fearing the worst as he came out of shock and bawled his heart out. In a few minutes, he stopped crying, and started laughing.


There was never a bruise on his body, and no joint or limb injury. His body was so fat and soft and he was so relaxed that he simply yielded to the experience. Amazingly, he continued yielding -- 13 steps in a row -- without tightening up. Most adults would have instinctively frozen their body and increased their resistance and thus their injury.


This surely proved his Tai Chi mastery of yielding, and proved Lao Tzu's prophetic words about how an infant is protected from injury. Emerald has earned a new nickname - the Marshmellow Immortal. And his parents gratefully continue receiving lessons from the young Tai Chi master.

I invite you to consider learning how to develop a flexible Energy Body next weekend in Asheville - Medical and Spiritual Qigong Fundamentals 1 & 2 (see details below). At the end of the training, as the graduation requirement, we push each student down 13 stairs to test their level of flexibility.... :)


Seriously folks, life is full of unexpected bumps and falls and collisions - emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Your energetic flexibilitiy and groundedness is what will keep you young and springing back into love of life and pursuit of your highest destiny. This training gives you those energetic skills to stay grounded on your feet and centered in your Energy Body. At the same time you learn to continuously circulate Qi between yourself and your environment, both inner and outer.


What many people would describe as a rare "mystical peak experience", students who train in my combination of qigong and Taoist internal alchemy find themselves enjoying as their continuous everyday life.


Learn more here

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I think that the 8 month old did not master Taiji. In fact, the 8 month old did nothing at all - he is the embodiment of Wu Wei. In non-doing, he is unable to interfere with the the Nature flowing through him. So in connecting with the infant, you are connecting to the Nature, as with a tree or a cat. Unfortunately, that will change soon enough. Welcome to one of the most beautiful and challenging chapters of your life!

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I dunno, Lin's boy has got some pretty good taiji last I saw him :lol: He's got a great model to learn from, that's for sure ^_^

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