Saturday, 10 June 2017

Learning to "harmonise"...

Taijiquan postures are often complex in nature and require the mind-intention to be focused on more than one area, such as on the coordination of the upper and lower limbs with the waist; on the coordination of the hands, eyes, body and footwork; on the physical form and structure being in their intended positions; on the functionalities of each action and each non-action; on keeping the whole body relaxed and supple; on the coordination of every movement with the breath and energetic feeling and many more.

In practice the different aspects cannot be considered separately and the mind-intention should not focus on one area at a time. If the mind-intention were to direct each one separately it is not possible to integrate the whole body whereby action, breath, relaxation, energetic manifestation, power, etc are at one. A new learner does not yet know how to work in concert and tends to focus on one aspect and lose another - e.g. concentrate on the hands and forget the feet, thinking of relaxing and forget to move freely...

Therefore training the intention is to train the ability to "harmonise", to be able to bring different requirements into play at the same time. The key is in the slow practice method of Taijiquan. From the simple to the complex. First train intention-breath, so that the mind becomes focused and until breathing becomes natural. Then intention-breath-relaxation, as now the intention is able to focus on the relaxation aspect, and the breath is able to synchronise with the relaxation processes; then intention-breath-relaxation-movement. Built upon the previous training of coordinating intention with the breath and relaxation, the focus is now on coordinating movements with the other aspects. In this way step by step train the six harmonies i.e. intention-breath-relaxation-shape-energy-spirit. Shape encompasses the correct movement coordinations of the hands, eyes, body and footwork. All that are visible and invisible will completely come under the control of mind intention (xin yi).

In practical learning and training, find out the meaning of each action, what the key points of an action are, its specifications, its Yin -Yang (complementary opposites) principles, so that proper intention is used. Continuously correct and adjust as skills improve.

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