Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Lower Dantian ( Your Center )

The lower Dantian is considered to be the foundation of rooted standing, breathing, and body awareness in Tai Chi, Chi Kung and the Internal Martial Arts. The Dantian has been described to be "like the root of the tree of life". It is said to be located 3 finger widths below the navel and 2 inches inside the body.

Taoist and Buddhist teachers often instruct their students to center the mind in the navel or lower Dantian. This is believed to aid control of thoughts and emotions. Acting from the Dantian is considered to be related to higher states of awareness.

compiled by Empire Tai Chi Inc.

Three Aspects of Studying Tai Chi

The study of Tai Chi' Chuan primarily involves three aspects:

  • Health: An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use Tai Chi as a martial art. Tai Chi's health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on Tai Chi's martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
  • Meditation: The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of Tai Chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the Tai Chi forms as a soft style martial art.
  • Martial art: The ability to use Tai Chi as a form of self-defense in combat is the test of a student's understanding of the art. Tai Chi Chuan is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces, the study of yielding and "sticking" to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The use of Tai Chi as a martial art is quite challenging and requires a great deal of training.

compiled by Empire Tai Chi Inc.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Moves First ?

Two ( of many ) Important Principles to keep in mind:

Keeping these two principles in mind when doing / practicing will help minimize the gross memorization Challenge.

1. All movements start from a movement from your center. Either an expansion, fold, bend, rotation ( with hips stable and front ). Your arms and legs have no motor of their own.

2. When your center moves .. whatever is not rooted will move. ( one thing moves, everything moves )

Example: In the Wu Chi - Tai Chi ( simplified introductory form ), when in Wave Hands Like Clouds Right, going into Roll Back. If you are weighted ( substantial ) on your Right, because you have turned and shifted Right … when you turn Left, keeping substantial Right, and with Hips front, your Left leg will be moved back and the virtual ball you are holding will be carried across your body and down to your side and a shift will take place as the Left foot touches the ground (under control).
This has all happened because you rotated your upper body left with your Right leg rooted

Example: From Grasp the Sparrows Tail, Ward of Left in the Traditional Yang Style, going into Grasp the Sparrows Tail, Ward of Right; the upper body turn to the Left creates a root ( 100% Left ) and creates the Holding Ball position ( a combination of turning and sinking ( with hips front ). The turn Right creates a step by the empty Right leg / foot and the empty arms and hands follow through 50 /50. The continued turn right transfers weight to 70% right ( a shift ) and the empty arms and hands follow. Keeping the Hips front allows for the Rotation of the center to create movement.

So … if you remember these principles it will help over come inertia and answer the MOST COMMON question asks by students… what moves first. Rotate and Shift / Rotate and Step. If you remain rooted ( substantial ), movements will / can be made under control while protecting the knee of the root leg.