Circulating the Chi
|T'ai Chi Chih® Principles|
Basic principles apply to practicing all movements of TCC. We become more aware of and open to these principles as we practice and explore TCC. Like any learning, when you think you have learned something, you may find that yourself off course, needing to re-touch the basics, the underlying principles. That experience applies as much to TCC as it does to golf, cooking, selling, plumbing, healing, or any practice worth effort. A quick summary is shown below. Your TCC teacher will discuss these with you.
Move with continuity – Our body flows in continuous motion as we practice each movement. We move slowly, lightly, smoothly, and continuously until we have completed the repetitions for a set. Then, pause to allow Chi to balance before the next set of continuous movement.
Tension, Posture, Flexibility – Our physical posture and method of moving affects what we receive from practice. Move at ease, without tension, slowly, softly, and continuously within each movement, pausing between movements to allow the Chi to balance.
Hands should be held loosely, without tension, fingers spread, lightly cupped.
Wrists are held loosely, without stiffness, able to flex easily. The wrists, hands, and fingers are more involved in TCC than the arms.
Elbows are generally close to the side of the body, though not rigidly so. There is no need to fully extend arms in any TCC movement.
Maintain an upright posture from the waist upward. There is no leaning at the waist in any direction. Students feeling lower back pain should check posture to insure they are not leaning either backward, forward, or to either side during TCC movements.
Body and arms move through only the slightest of resistance, as if moving through heavy air. See how loose, how tension-less and soft you can move. Remain flexible, fluid in movement.
Pause between movements in the resting position, allowing Chi to balance. Knees are bent, hands rest lightly at our sides, eyes are open, and breathe with no special effort.
Forward and backward weight shifts move body weight from one substantial leg to the unsubstantial, and back. Knees are bent, never stiff. When moving forward, the heel of the trailing foot will rise until the leg is grounded on the ball of the foot, but not as far as on the toes.
The arms and body move at the same time so, the body does not strongly lead the arms, and the arms do not lead the body. Shift the weight slowly to allow for coordinated movement.
While it is great to learn all, practicing even some of the movements on a regular basis is what is important. If you find a movement is difficult to master, work with your teacher to assess your movement. If physically unable to execute, don't worry with it, move on to the other movements that bring you benefit. As a TCC student, practice movements within your range of ability.
Applying the principles -- Applying the principles listed above helps us benefit the most from practice. Below are five steps I remind my students at each class to help embody these principles in our practice.