Taiji is actually a martial art that dates back some 1500 years. Its is based on the Taoist principles of Yin Yang from the I Ching – The Book Of Changes from which the wisdom of Chinese Medicine and Philosophy is derived. he knowledge of how the Universe works and how we can best fit in harmony with it. Ancient observations that are now being confirmed with our modern Quantum Physics.
It is designed so that over time through specific methods of training the practitioner can embody and unify the opposing forces of nature and learn to move in a way that contains both Yin and Yang harmonised simultaneously.
The effect of harmonising these energies in our body has wonderful health benefits. Our natural fight or flight response causes our muscles to tense and contract when we’re under pressure putting stress on our system. So in the training of Taiji we focus on developing the Yin aspect to counteract our natural tendency towards hardness. Thus eventually balancing both the hard and the soft within us. At this point a special kind of power can emerge; one that becomes as the classics say ‘Light as a feather and heavy as a mountain’.
We achieve this by firstly practicing fundamental standing postures that align the spine and body correctly so the muscles can truly relax and all our tension call fall away. This process is called sinking the Qi. Being loose and open allows us to move freely which in martial arts is very important as we need to be able to change direction or position at any given moment without being tense or over committed in any one direction.
Throughout this process we develop Ting – awareness within our body that eventually allows us to have an awareness of the tension within an opponents body. From sinking the Qi and developing Ting arises a special kind of power called Jin. This power can be transmitted through the body without the need for hard force or resistance.
Professor Chen Man-ching circa 1960.
By training the Taiji form we create the shape for our body to stay calm regardless of what pressure we are against externally. And through each movement we are circulating internal energy that over time slowly open up the channels and meridians in our body. This creates nourishment for our internal organs, promotes blood flow, increases flexibility and strengthens us from the inside.
Thighs are the biggest muscles in our body and as we relax all the tension we usually carry in our upper body downward the thighs do a lot of the work. This increases our circulation and diminishes the workload on our heart by 3 which is why doctors prescribe Taiji to people that are showing symptoms of heart condition. It is also very restful for the rest of our body allowing a lot of healing to occur.
Its an internal art. Meaning we focus on the inside of our body. This also has calming effects on the mind and increases our ability to focus and concentrate. I fin Taiji to be a fascinating deep at form that the more I discover the more grateful for it I become and the more I want to develop it. I also feel honoured to be able to share and teach such a profound and beautiful art form contributes so much to those who add it to their lifestyle. And proud to keep a valuable ancient art form alive and well.
So why Taij? Well there’s a few good reasons.
Julius Lutero, Taiji Centre Perth, 2019.