Relax, soften, drop tension. Balanced and stable, moving like a cloud in the sky. Deepen the breath, feel the energy! Natural steps, easy on the knees. Be in the present moment, stillness, movement, ebb and flow.
Taijiquan has many benefits. They come with regular practise. All you need to do is start Taijiquan and continue.
Won't you join me?
I started Tai Ji Quan in 1981, with Danny Connor in Manchester. In 1982 I moved back to London and studied with John Kells at the British T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association.
In 2005 a friend, Bob Fermor, suggested I explore Sun style Tai Ji Quan. I was fortunate to find Dave Martin, 2nd Generation Disciple of the late Sun Jian Yun, who agreed to teach me and with whom I am still studying.
This unique form of Tai Ji Quan was created by the famed master Sun Lu Tang (1836 - 1933), and draws on the fundamental principles of Xing Yi Quan, Ba Gua Zhang and Tai Ji Quan. Sun Lu Tang was a student of some of the greatest internal martial arts teachers of the nineteenth century - a time of immense creativity for the Chinese martial arts - and produced seminal works on all three internal styles, famously describing them as "one family".
Sun style Tai Ji Quan incorporates footwork from Xing Yi and Ba Gua, the striking of Xing Yi and the softness and roundness of Tai Ji Quan. The stepping is natural and lively. When stepping forwards the back foot follows up and vice versa when stepping backwards. The postures are higher than in other forms of Tai Ji Quan, putting less stress on the knees. The form consists of 97 postures which are performed like clouds floating through the sky. A unique feature of Sun style Tai Ji Quan is the Kai/He ( Open/Close ) posture to gather and concentrate the energy. This is not found in any other style of Tai Ji Quan.
The syllabus consists of the 97 posture form, sword form and push Hands. The sword form can be broken down into a two-person practise.
Relax - this does not mean to let the body collapse. Rather, it means to let go of unnecessary tension and maintain tone.
Sink - soften around the joints so the body can settle downwards naturally and be supported by the ground.
Intrinsic Energy - the natural connectivity of the body from the ground up, allowing force to be delivered like the crack of a whip, short or long. The tendons in the body have an elastic quality.
Roundness - the body structure should consist of curves in the legs, arms and torso. This is also called the Five Bows. It allows force to be stored and released through a toned and connected structure.
Waist - this is the lumbar spine. Imagine this is a steel bar, which rotates on its axis to channel and direct force.
Looseness - when force is applied to the body it is absorbed and redirected through a structure, which is neither limp nor rigid, with natural rotations in the joints. The rotations will always contain ovals, circles or spirals.
Mind Even / Mind Continuous - the speed of the form is directed by the Mind, as if pulling a silken thread from a cocoon. The individual postures are linked smoothly together by the Mind. Each posture has a beginning and an end. It is important that there is a smooth continuation between postures at the correct point. This type of focus and movement generates energy.
Mind Intent - use the intention to lead your movements. You don't generally think about how to walk or drink from a cup. Your body carries out the intention. Obviously you need some training in the specifics of your Tai Ji Quan to adopt the right shapes.
Spirit - don't fall asleep when doing Tai Ji Quan or any other activity. Remain awake and aware.
The essence of destiny is yielding,
The essence of yielding is softness,
The essence of softness is entering,
The essence of entering is welcoming openness,
The essence of openness is heart.