Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 240
Yang’s Ten Essential Points of Tai Chi Chuan
These are ten essential principles or points that make Tai Chi unique among meditative/martial exercises. You must study and contemplate these ideas until your mind has integrated them into your body. Each week, for the next 10 weeks, I will discuss one of these points. Study until you understand.
1. The energy at the top of the head should be light and sensitive.
Most all meditative arts advise that the head be gently lifted from within. The idea is that the internal energy will follow this intention and reach the crown, making the body sensitive and light. In Tai Chi, this internal lifting is usually done in one of two ways. One is called the “sky hook” where one images the top of the head is attached to a cord hanging down from above. The body just hangs from this sky hook. That lengthens out the spine from above. Let the spine hang. The knees can be quite soft.
The other idea is that the spine lengthens from below. Imagine you have a basket (has some weight in it) on the top of the head and you are carrying it while walking or moving. Do you feel as if you are pressing the head up by pressing the feet down?
When playing with either of these images, don’t constrict the neck and tighten it. Don’t force it up. This cuts off some of the circulation of blood and chi. Always work for naturalness – light and free.
Glass Half Full
A glass that has nothing in it looks empty, yet it is full. Full of potential. That is true power – the power of emptiness turning into fullness. Fullness has nowhere to go but towards emptiness – yet even this is power, as any movement is a source of power ( a hydro dam is a good example).
When I start a Tai Chi form, I stand like an empty glass waiting for the right moment to begin to fill. The first movement of my Tai Chi Chuan form is Commencement. The movement is like starting with an empty glass, then slowly filling it until it is as full as possible, then emptying it again – only not all the way. I keep energy in my lower body from the waist down. Half empty, half full – ready to go either way. I can expand and fill into Ward Off, or empty into Roll Back. This special moment is precious. Savor the moment with all its possibilities.
Schedule Update
Several changes for the next few weeks.
Thursday 4 to 5 PM Chi Kung – finished for now. Start back up Feb. or March.
Thursday 5:15 to 6:30 PM- First section – No class on Thanksgiving. Class continues.
No classes Christmas eve or Christmas day.
No classes New Years eve or New Years day.
First Saturday Workshop – Sword continues on Dec. 7, 1 to 4 PM.