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In this article we will examine a phrase from the classics that describes a tactic that Tai chi employs to gain its favourable position in combat. It is a nuanced skill and one which links to a number of other qualities that Tai Chi trains, as well as the overarching strategy of the style.

The originators and developers of Tai Chi likely had the goal of creating good fighter in mind when creating the training practices of the art. But many soon realised that, not only were some the attributes created by Tai Chi useful for combat, they were also useful for health. Indeed, many of the methods of health and wellness were required before the fighter could truly utilize the arts combative side after all, what use is a sick or immobile fighter? The training methods of Tai Chi are design...

Continuing with our look the various texts known as the ‘Tai Chi Classics’, this month we look at what the Tai Chi Chuan Ching has to say about posture and movement. This section from the Tai Chi Classics describes the way the body should be trained, both in its posture and in its movement, and although just s few short lines it is a great signpost for our practice. Indeed when we think of this verse, we quickly can associate it with the graceful movement and body position of the Tai Chi Adept.

Many of the Tai chi classics refer to postural conditions, and will talk of the waist, the legs or the position of the head focusing on how this impacts the various internal processes of the body and our movement. In this month's edition of unpacking the classics we look at a verse that is more concerned with the mind and it's link to the body.

This verse describes a common problem when interacting with a strong partner. If we do not move at the correct time and take the correct position our own structure will suffer the consequences. We will have to distort our position and our body in order to cope with the superior structure and position of the partner. It is an extremely common occurrence in Martial Arts but in Tai Chi where there is a specific focus on our own body method to make our tactics effective, it is of larger importance. ...

In my opinion the concept of softness is perhaps the most misrepresented idea in all of Tai Chi. For many softness is to be floppy, it is to be soft in both musculature, structure and position. It is the idea to ‘yield’ to external forces and to be loose and slack when someone interacts with us. I have lost count of the amount of Tai Chi exponents that I have met who had embraced this idea, most of whom cannot maintain their structure or positional security when interacting with a partner. Con...

In this series of articles, I give my thoughts on various verses from the Tai Chi Classics. The classics are a series of poems, manuals and instructions left by famous masters of the past. They are heralded as the blueprint for correct Tai Chi instructions and for some, form the bedrock on which they practice their arts. They are, however, somewhat defuse in their meaning and as such, the ‘correct’ interpretation of these texts proves to be the heated subject of many a forum, discussion, and d...

One of the first questions that a teacher of a traditional art can expect to be asked from some circles is ‘Who was your teacher?’ or ‘What is your lineage’?

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