2001-08-10

Tai Chi Characteristics

The movements of Tai Chi Chuan must be circular, relax, calm, continuous, with intent, and energy. Sifu often refers to these as the Tai Chi Ruler. You can judge how well you are doing Tai Chi by checking to see if you have these characteristics when you are performing a Tai Chi form.

In the beginning, one can focus on the first two characteristics, circular and relax. Reaching calm and continuous is another level. To be able to have all six characteristics at all times may take a lifetime to achieve!

Circular

yuen: Every movement in TCC is circular so that all parts of the body (shoulders, waist, hips, knees, elbows, etc.) travel along circular paths. For beginners, think about horizontal circles, of the arms and movements. There are actually horizontal and vertial circles, moving and static cycles everywhere. As Sifu always says: circular in all aspect.

Relax

Song: TCC stresses the concept of softness versus hardness. One must be relax at all time to do good Tai Chi. Relax does not mean falling asleep. One is relaxed but alert.

Calm

jing: Calm in movement and in your mind is more difficult than it sounds. Movement must not have eccess movement, florishes and features. The mind is clear, alert but not sleepy.

Continuous

lian: There should be a clear and continuous interchanging, or transitions between Yin and Yang. One movement flows into the next, but each steps is executed fully.

Intent

yi: The mind is brought into the characteristics with intent. There is a purpose of each movement, each part of a movement. Without truly understanding the intent one is not doing real tai chi. At the high level, the purpose of each movement can be felt and seen through the movements. The mind directs the movement.

Energy

jin: Move with energy.