The practice of Tai Chi
by Michael C.
Tai chi is essentially a martial art, the forms are thought out for attack and defend. So in order to execute the forms correctly, I felt that it is very important to be conscious of the "意". Having said that, the spirit behind learning the martial art is not about aggression but exercise for health. At every lesson, Shifu elaborated repeatedly the finer points of the form. It is not easy to remember or even understand the details. I tried to visualize the moves in normal speed and it does help to understand the movement of the kua, legs and hand. But understanding is one thing, execution is another. It needs lots of practice and patience. Many times, we ended up looking into YOUTUBE for referral and it can be quite confusing. If there is some reading or visual material for constant reference and not depending on memory to recall the moves, it will be very helpful.
To learn "鬆” is quite a challenge as "鬆" must not be taken as being soft or loose. Relaxing the gua and feel the relaxation of thigh muscle needs regular practice. I felt that 站莊 is one good practice as it trains oneself to manage the conflicts of the mind, breathing and the muscles to achieve 鬆。I have been training regularly at the gym to develop core muscles to hold up the skeleton frame at the advice of physiotherapist. And I believed strongly because it had proven beneficial. But there appeared to be some conflicts in core muscle strengthening and 鬆 in tai chi if my progress in tai chi is any indication. Nevertheless, both training have been beneficial. Tai chi brings about the awareness of the body motion and stability of stance which is very beneficial in our daily life.