Friday, May 16, 2014

The Arts Of Taiji (太极拳学)

Taiji is more than just martial arts.
Many people practise Taiji boxing as a form of slow exercise; only a handful few learnt Taiji sparing techniques for self defence purpose. The former has now evolved towards performing arts or dance (舞蹈) while the later is not too impressive (无看头) to look at and slowly forgotten in time.


I am not going to touch on Taiji as a performance art; but the other lesser known aspects of this uniquely Taoist art. There are many branches to Taoist Taiji:


·         The practice of human to human

·         The practice of human to plants, spirits, animals

·         The practice of human to heaven and earth


The practice of human to human is the man to man combat or otherwise known as “push hands” (推手). The basic idea behind it is very simple: to make the opponent lose balance and hence to capture (擒拿手) or to harm him/she. Hence in actual situation, Taiji is quite a deadly art and it involves the training of fingers strengths. The basic idea is simple: one must be able to feel the source of an opponent’s strength (听劲), lock it and use his/her own power against him/her.


The fundamental principle of Taiji is neither let go nor opposes (不丢不顶); so when the opponent made a mistake, he/she will be thrown off balance. Now, let’s move on as it is getting too technical and boring.


Everyone knows that Taiji is based on Yin () and Yang (). So, one must understand where he/she stands against his/her opponent. A stronger opponent is Yang, and a weaker one is Yin. Similarly, a plant and spirit belong to Yin. Some animals are Yin while others are Yang type. The celestial bodies such as the sun, moon and stars are Yang while the earth is Yin. Only after we know where we stand that we may start sending energy to, or receive energy from the target.


For example, if we want to feel the energy of a tree, then we can first send our energy and then retrieve the energy from the tree hence making a complete energy exchange. We may choose to stop the energy or collect it and then release back to the tree. Likewise we may go to a tomb and perform the same exercise, but the danger in doing these exercises is that if the opponent is stronger, it may steal our energy instead. So, please don’t venture into the woods or cemetery first without permission; and second, without any supervision.


If you feel sad or down for some reason, then you can perform the congregation of energy exercise as above. Imagine that you are holding an invisible ball and turn it clockwise and in circular motion. The energy ball may grow and when you feel you have had enough, let the energy ball go with a shout. I guarantee that you will feel lighter as if unloading a heavy burden. O, do the exercise in an open area such as a garden please.


  1. Am I supposed to make the ball spin with my mind, or should I move it with my hand? And also, am I supposed to hold it with one or two hands?

    1. Move and spin the ball with your hands, not your mind. Otherwise your mind will go nuts! Hold it with both hands and feel the energy. Just relax your mind and you'll feel the energy.

    2. Alright, thanks. One more question, am I supposed to imagine the ball being stationary in the air so that I can move it by moving my hands, or am I supposed to hold it and spin it with my thumb?