Is your Tai Chi areal deal or a slow-motioned dance?
Across China and other parts of the world, modern forms of Tai Chi are popularly practiced by hundreds and thousands of people. There are 24 , 42, 48, 88 forms in Yang style, other schools also have their revised forms. Let’s talk about Yang style here. In general, those revised forms borrow body movements and names from traditional practice, and follow the same principal in words. Nothing looks different. As a matter of fact, they are very different internally. Those revised forms are off the course of correct practice. They have a nick name: Tai Chi Dance at Parks.
The True Force of traditional Tai Chi practice is essentially different from the Habitual Force that everybody is so much used to. The latter is directly connected to muscles of a specific limb. For example, one wants to make right punch forward, he will then focus on muscles of right arm to accomplish his work. According to Tai Chi, the real source of power/force exists in lower back and area around. Limbs are driven only by spine and pelvis and lower back. Travelling through all related joints, the force starting from the source area, can go up to fingertips or reach down to toes. Limbs are passively manipulated by the source of power, light, soft, and lingering are characteristics of one’s arms. Arms should feel soft and heavy. This feeling creates power of penetration when coping with sparring practice.
One of the fundamental requirements in practicing Tai Chi is to emphasize notion internally rather than strength generated by muscles only. In other words, mind initiates work on spine and lower back, then lower back and pelvis generate the force and send through joints one by one, push from internal systems to reach out to limbs. Notion here is not just something abstract and intangible, it generates amazing attainable bursting power: internal power.
Traditional training and practice will lead one to the right track of obtaining the internal power while the deformation of modern Tai Chi, that is driven by limbs and muscles, brings about various sickness and physical concerns like a sunken chest and hunched back; health degeneration, constant backache, permanent knee injury, etc.
The great forerunners discovered internal power, and they developed and enriched their great findings both in theory and practice. So Tai Chi practice is not simply a kind of martial art. Instead, correct practice of Tai Chi will benefit people not only on health but also martial applications of self-defense. It also helps people become full aware of the relation between human body and heaven.
Steve Z Wang is the practitioner of the 7th generation of Lineage Yang Style Tai Chi. He started to learn Yang Style Traditional Tai Chi Forms many years ago from Lin Mogen, the Grand Master from the 5th generation, and later Steve has become the disciple of Master Lin Wen tao and received systematic training ever since.