10 Essential Points of Practice for T'ai Chi Chuan
by Sifu William C. Phillips
Approach: Approach T'ai Chi Ch'uan with no preconceptions. Experience it as meditation, physical culture, and as an exercise of ch'i. You may develop self-defense along the way, but you may also develop that which is truly supreme and ultimate.
Patience: Every person is an individual. Some things will come quickly, others slowly, and some, perhaps, not at all. Know that each person develops at his own pace. The student competes only with himself. Therefore, a student should not feel that he is falling behind if a fellow student develops a skill in a month that he cannot acquire in six. The student may develop more quickly in another area. But even if not, remember that progress in T'ai Chi Ch'uan, for most of us, is measured not in months, but in years.
Perseverance: While most students experience some benefit from T'ai Chi practice within the first few weeks, T'ai Chi is the practice of a lifetime. Ever increasing benefits of T'ai Chi Ch'uan accrue with the decades of one's practice. Practice should be morning and night all the days of one's life.
Straight Spine: This facilitates the flow of ch'i up the spine.
Breathe To the Tan T'ien: This develops ch'i.
Empty the Mind: T'ai Chi Ch'uan is meditation. This improves sensitivity to input, ability to react, to concentrate and to be sensitive to and to control ch'i.
Single Weight: This enhances internal sensitivity and improves balance in the form, push hands, and self-defense.
Feel Air as Substantial: If the air has substance, how much more substance will even your most supple opponent have? Also, this will aid in doing the form smoothly and at an even pace.
Softness Through Root: Develop your foothold so that five or six strong men together cannot push you. Also, develop your ability at neutralizing and softness so that you need never use that root. In this way, while having substantial root, you will always feel light and supple.
Benevolence: Never try to harm anyone in practice, teaching, or demonstration. In push hands and self-defense, as in form, you are competing with no one except yourself. If you feel a need to overpower your partner in practice, then your real need is to overpower your own ego. Your partner is there to help you develop your skills, and you, his. When you are pushed by your partner, it is not your partner who has pushed you, but rather your inability to neutralize the push that has pushed you. You will be "unpushed" when you have sufficiently overcome yourself in body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
Originally published in Tai Chi: Perspectives of the Way and Its Movement, July-August 1981, Vol. 5, No. 4
Sifu William C. Phillips began his study of the martial arts in 1965. He currently holds fifth degree black belts in Karate and Ju Jitsu. He began his studies of T'ai Chi in l967, studying with Prof. Cheng Man-Ching from '70-'75. Sifu Phillips became interested in the field of holistic health in the early 1970's, when a lifelong allergy problem was alleviated with herbal medicine. Since then, Sifu Phillips has studied widely and tried to bring experts in the field of holistic health to the public's attention, most recently through running annual holistic health weekends at the Fallsview Hotel in the Catskill Mountains of NY.
More Articles by Sifu William C. Phillips:
Acupuncture and Fitness
T'ai-Chi Ch'uan As Meditation
Some Thoughts on the Passing of Two Masters
Report on Tai Chi Essay
1171 Words5 Pages
Report on Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a major branch of Chinese martial arts that is primarily practiced for it's health benefits, including tension and stress, relaxation and as a form of self-defense. The name Tai Chi comes from the Chinese words meaning "great ultimate." It is also known as Tai Chi Chuan meaning, "great ultimate fist."
Among martial arts, there are two basic types, one is called hard martial arts and the other one is soft martial arts. Hard martial arts are like karate and martial arts. The soft martial arts are Ba Gua and Tai Chi.
The study of Tai Chi Chuan is unique in the sense that it marks the historical event of many centuries of Taoist study known as Chi Kung ("excellence of Energy"). It was primarily dedicated…show more content…
People who practiced tai chi believes that it can promote physical health because it enhances the flow of qi. As being both healing art and martial art, Tai Chi based on the internal condition of the study, which is main point. This shows that the true focus of the study is not only, nor even mainly, on the physical level, but places the importance of the practice more on the mental and energetic levels. The mental part is really the most important because the number one condition that limits an individual from achieving excellence in anything, including his of hers own health, is a state that tradition Chinese medicine refers to as being "weak-minded". This "weak-minded" state shows that the person is easily confused or distracted. So the first quality to be developed in Tai Chi is the strengthening of one's concentration, or better known as to martial artists as being centered. So basically to sum up the this paragraph, Tai Chi was created as a form of mediation and mental exercise in which students learn to center and focus their mental powers. The skill and purpose of centering the mind is to keep the mind interested and involved in what's happening at the present moment. This is understood to be the substructure of Tai Chi because from this state of attention comes the likelihood to change, correct, and heal. To promote this process, Tai Chi uses a physical location, the lower abdomen, which is called the Tan Tien in Chinese. This