Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 252
Making It Flow
Tai Chi is not a series of static positions. Yes, each movement has a specific intention, but does not stand alone. The beauty of Yang Tai Chi, and what attracts most people to the art, is the soft, flowing, continuous movements.
Most teachers, myself included, take this series of movements and dissect each move separately for understanding its deepest meaning. What am I doing at each and every moment? Where exactly
on my body am I attached to the partner? How can I do the most work with the least effort?
As I have stressed over and over, momentum builds power. Think of a landslide. It starts as something small and gains power as it rolls down the hillside. Or a wave, Or your Tai Chi form.
But as with most things, it is easier to say than do. I recently shared with you Yang’s Ten Essential Points, and #9 was “Continuity Without Interruption”. The continuing flow of Tai Chi builds power and energy. The problem for most players is how to link individual moves into one flowing whole. There is never a time in our Yang form where the body is still. Something is always moving. It might be so subtle that the untrained eye can’t pick it up, but it has to be there. It might just be the internal energy, mostly centered in the belly, that keeps the flow. Watch your breath carefully, and you should notice that it never stops – it builds up, has a transitional, subtle staying open, then it moves in the other direction.
One of the mistakes I observe in student’s forms is loss of intention on the linking. The move itself can be quite smooth and slow, and then when it gets to the link, it speeds up with loss of intention. Go through your form, very slowly, and notice if there are any moments where the movement stops – it usually stops at the end of the movement. Spend time working on linking this move and the next. Remember that the linking must have meaning and intention also. It helps to have an instructor to share his or her knowledge with you, but you can do it by yourself. If I could do it, you can do it.