Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 253
Internal Combustion
Much of Tai Chi, like many other esoteric arts, is hidden in mumbo-jumbo, mostly to make it seem too difficult for the average person to comprehend by them self. Much like religion. The individuals who started the major religions – Moses, Jesus, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed – had a simple message said in a simple way. It was the followers that later elaborated these teaching, adding flowery touches. It is my mission to attempt to explain the basics of Tai Chi so that all of you may be able to experience this life changing practice. I think the following example will help you to understand.
Life is dependent on absorbing energy in the form of light. The Universe sends energy expanding in all directions, and objects (plants and animals) in its path take in this energy and use it to sustain life.
There are so many miracles that happen to us and around us, and we usually don’t give them a second thought. Playing Tai Chi is certainly one of these. We take the yin of the earth and combine it with the yang of the universe, then purify it with intention, and we use the result to find greater enjoyment in our life. Let me explain this miracle to you. I will use an analogy that should make it easy to understand.
The process is much like running an automobile with an internal combustion engine. The engine runs on gasoline which is extracted from the earth. The crude oil is made from light that was captured by plants, that later died, and then decayed under pressure in the earth. This is the yin phase. This crude oil is then refined to become useable for the engine. This is the “control” phase. Finally, this refined gasoline is combined with air, then lite by a spark causing an explosion which releases the stored energy – the yang phase.
In Tai Chi, we store extra “oil” to be used for our internal engine in several ways, the most common is by recognizing that the body is a series of springs that are compressed, storing energy, and then releasing this stored energy when needed or desired, to do work. In Tai Chi, the energy is mostly stored in a series of springs located mostly in the joints. The spring is compressed most effectively by placing weight on it, then when the weight is released, the energy expands outward. The springs are: the feet, the ankles, the knees, the hips, the spine, the shoulders, the elbows, and the hands. As the springs release into the next spring in line (almost but not quite simultaneously from the feet to the hands), it gains strength and intensity. That is why the feet and legs are so important. Can you imagine moving a heavy weight with just your arms?
Our body is much the same. It takes the “crude oil” from plants and animals, which is usually broken down by cooking (refining) into a form we can then digest. This is combined with cosmic chi in the form of air by breathing, which is then lite by the spark of our intention. This resulting energy is then used to compress the springs to be used immediately, or stored in the body for later use. Most actions, including Tai Chi, uses compression and intention to gather energy into the springs, and when desired, we can release it where the mind directs. Every sport or activity I can think of uses this system of store and release. Even the simple act of walking requires the gather and release of energy into springs for every step.
Having depressive, angry, and other negative thoughts clog up our engine so our life does not “run” as smoothly as possible. Keep a smile on your face and love in your heart, and enjoy winning the Daytona 500!
Class Update
Starting in March, Stephanie will be sharing her extensive knowledge with partner sensitivity training, from 5 to 5:30 on Thursday evenings, followed by continuing study of the second section of the long form from 5:30 to 6:30. It will be an enlightening experience, I’m sure.
Also in March, John will be accepting new senior students into his Monday 9:15 AM and Wednesday 10:15 Short Form classes.
First Saturday Workshop on March 7 will continue working on the Sword form.