Moving Chi the Tai Chi Way
Many years ago I developed an exercise designed to help people who are interested in increasing chi, and learning how to consciously move this chi through the body. I called the exercise “Guan Gong Frolics”. Guan Gong was a great military man who helped unify what is now China. I don’t know why I called the exercise that, but I liked the name. When I posted this video to YouTube, I changed the name to “Moving Chi the Tai Chi Way”.
This exercise is very simple, but don’t let that fool you. It is very effective in linking the whole body together and coordinating the Jin, Chi and Shen. The Shen, or mind/intention/spirit energy, is the most important end product of Tai Chi practice. First, one develops the Jin (lower Dantien) or gross body energy, then one moves to focusing on the Chi (middle Dantien) or more refined human energy, and finally to Shen (upper Dantien), or awareness of the higher self.
This video, and so many of the ones I have produced, introduces and works with the concept of join, lead, and release, or as you who are musically inclined, the Tai Chi Waltz. All movements contain this one, two, three cadence. One join, two follow and lead, three release the energy back. For a successful form, or push hands skills, one must understand these specific moments:
Where is my opponent (partner) in relation to my body? Front, diagonal, side?
What form of energy is he using? Punch, push, kick, etc?
Where exactly am I encountering (joining) with this energy? With what part of my body – arm, hand, leg, etc?
- How am I neutralizing this energy? Warding off, pulling, squatting down, etc?
At what point do I start to return the energy – when does yin change to yang?
- What is the outcome of my response?
So to summarize. There are three phases of each movement. Join, lead, return the energy. Or gather (yin), control (neutral), release (yang). Study your form until you understand where and how these changes occur and you will go a long way towards Tai Chi mastery.
I hope you view this exercise on YouTube and give it a try in your practice.