Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip #327
The Path
The internal arts have always been a path to enlightenment, a path to the full knowing of ourselves. This path is not without its ups and downs, detours, and obstacles.
When we decide to start learning Tai Chi, we keep in mind the final goal, which is usually personal growth, and this goal is placed in the upper Dantien. This goal is of a spiritual nature, and our upper Dantien is concerned with spiritual endeavors.
When we start working learning the movements, our energy shifts to our lower Dantien, as this is our physical center and we will need all the physical strength possible to carry through the hard times.
As we move along the path, we meet the obstacles, and this is where the middle Dantien’s energy is called upon, for the heart’s energy is concerned with love and understanding. All obstacles must first be approached with these qualities before the physical is applied.
So if we decide to walk this life long path, we must develop and balance all our energy centers, not just the upper Dantien.

Structural Alignment

Most students lose structural alignment when using Lu or Roll Back (withdrawing). They tend to run away. Against an opponent who is hard, this will often work. The opponent pushes with force and when the body is removed or revolved (like a swinging door), the opponent loses his balance.

Against someone with Tai Chi (or soft martial arts) skills, this running away will only be followed by the opponent’s press(Ji), which causes big problems. What we need to do when withdrawing is to seek out structural alignment the entire time we are moving back. With practice, we should be able to remain in control of the situation even when withdrawing.

In the internal arts we say there is really no such thing as a retreat, only a withdrawing to another strategic position.