Lower Center of Gravity
One of the essential points to all the internal arts is to lower our center of gravity in order to become more stable and to enable us to get under our partner, so as to cause him or her to lose balance. Hormones have something to do with this.
Men produce androgen, which causes the bones of the shoulders and ribs to develop; whereas women produce estrogen, which stimulates fat to accumulate in the hips and thighs. Nature wants women to have lots of stored energy for rearing children and the best place to store extra weight is around the center of the body. Men were designed, or have evolved, into fighters and hunters, which requires large muscles and the bones to support them in the upper body. Women naturally have a lower center of gravity, giving them advantage in judo and Tai Chi push hands, where low centers are most important. Men have an advantage in boxing, Kung Fu and other arts that require distance and strength.
Of course, people will say that they know of men and women who are an exception to this rule, but most people of the world, if left to a natural state, will conform to this physical principle.
New Years Day Practice
As I write this, a large portion of the US is dealing with intense winter weather. On New Years day, I went to the wharf for early morning practice. It was a cold, but clear morning. As I started out on the wharf, I discovered the entire surface was covered with frost!
An icy surface is not the best surface to practice on, but it was so beautiful a morning with snow covered mountains in all directions, that I decided to go for it. Well as always, there are lessons to be learned in different situations.
I had to be so careful of stepping, to be sure to have a firm root on one foot while the other made its step. The stance needed to be a bit smaller, since a larger and longer one would possibly lead to slipping. I did fine, and the spinning turn around at the end of the form was so easy and fun.
So take every opportunity to learn and play. Tai Chi is such a great tool to do just that.