Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 245
Yang’s 10 Essential Points 
Yang’s Essential Points #6 – Use the Mind and Not Strength
This one is mysterious and miraculous. One of those ideas that is easy to say and difficult to really understand. I will share my feelings about this, and if you don’t agree, wonderful. Means you have some thoughts of your own on the topic.
There are many ways to think of strength, but the definition that most closely aligns with my thinking in relation to Tai Chi is: The potency, intensity, or speed of a natural agency: “the wind had markedly increased in strength.”
We know that the natural forces affect this earth and everything on it, and most have to do with the differences between things, the yin and the yang. Wind is caused by the difference between high pressure and low pressure. The rivers flow because of the difference in altitude. Gravity is the difference in mass. The greater the difference, the greater the intensity. So when talking about strength, we are referring to yin and yang.
In Tai Chi we say the mind is the commander of the body. In fact, the mind is the body, not separate. The mind is the commanding general, while the universe is the president. The universe gives the order, the mind transfers that order to the body, which carries out the order. Sometimes the troops act alone, without orders from above, as in reflex actions. No time to consult with the higher ups.
Things go the most smoothly when all the pieces in the chain of command are in agreement and act together. When the commander gives an order, the troops can relax, knowing that the plans have been well thought out in advance. When the troops are confused, they can make poor decisions and act recklessly.
I hope you can understand my line of thinking on this. The universe has certain laws. It is up to the mind to understand what they are and send the message to the body to act accordingly. When the mind understands what needs to be done, the body can relax, and as a result, the meridians will be open so that the chi can flow with increased strength. The flow of chi (it’s direction and intensity), is determined by the focus of the mind
Hardness can only stand up and resist for so long and eventually will lose to softness. A dam will only hold back a certain amount of water. A river will wear down the hardest rocks. Wind will blow down the tallest buildings. Concentrated light will cut diamonds. By aligning our selves with nature, we can overcome great obstacles.
When Tai Chi players talk about not using strength, we mean “li”- clumsy, hard, stiff, pure yang energy. Like closing a drawer with a baseball bat. We need to keep in mind how important it is to use the proper tool for the job, and in Tai Chi, we recognize the power of the flow, as in the wind, the water, ideas, and love.
Upright and Do Right Make All Right
I was reading a novel, and came across this sentence: “Upright and Do Right Make All Right.” It took me a moment to put it in my mind and let it ferment. It hit me as so true. I thought it can easily relate to Tai Chi. Don’t you think it would make a great Tee Shirt? I’ll buy one.
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