Tai Chi Chuan (Glasgow)

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Yang Cheng-fu's important points

YangChenFuyang chen fu3

Yang’s important points

1. Suspend the head top
Stand straight, relax your neck and suspend the head naturally erect from the crown point without strain or tension. As if "hanging by a string from the top of one's head" such that the head and neck align. In this way the Shen (spirit) can reach the head top.
It is necessary to have natural and lively feeling. If the spirit cannot reach the head top, it cannot raise” - Chen Wei-ming

2. Correct position of chest and back.
The chest is kept slightly depressed inward which helps to sink the breath to the lower belly (dantien). The upper back is slightly bowed outward - “
the chi sticks to the back “. This position is not forced, but as a result of relaxed posture and correct breathing.
Failure to depress the chest (ie projecting the chest) results in the upper body being ‘top heavy’, leading to uprooting.
Correct attention to this allows jin (power) to be released through the spine.

3. Remain relaxed with no tension.
Relax and loosen all the joints, particularly the shoulders and elbows. Relaxed does not mean limp, and structure must be maintained, with a minimum of muscular exertion with gravity providing the downward stacking, providing power from the root into the ground.
If you cannot relax (sung) and sink, the chi (breath) will follow them up and the whole body cannot get power.” - Chen Wei-ming
Dropped shoulders and elbows allows the issue of power, and raised leads to a ‘powerless’ state.

4. All movement comes from the centre - Relax the waist
All movement come from the waist. The movement of the waist determines the expression of the whole body from legs to finger tips, and governs technique, power, and form.
If the timing and position are not correct, the body becomes disordered, and the defect must be sought in the legs and waist.” - Tai Chi Chuan Ching

5. Harmonise the upper and lower parts of the body.
Tai Chi movement roots at the feet, releases from the legs, is controlled by the waist, moving through the back and arms and expressed by the hands/fingers.
Everything is the same. If one part doesn’t follow, the whole body is disordered.” - Chen Wei-ming

6.The body moves as a single unit, continuity without breakage
The entire body should move as one complete unit, not just a hand, leg or arm. Once one part of your body moves, every other part of your body should also be in motion; when you are still, everything should be in stillness. The body is like ‘a string of pearls’ and acts as one, hands, body/waist and feet. Movement is continuous and unbroken, circular without gaps.
Be still as a mountain, move like a great river." - Wu Yu-hsiang

7. Seek stillness in movement
Movement of the body and then the extremities results from movement of the waist. In performing the form there is no independent movement of the extremities, a stillness. While the body moves, whether in form or application, the mind is still. A spinning wheel has a still centre.

8. Maintain a clear distinction between substantial and insubstantial
When standing with the weight of your body on the right leg, then it is ‘substantial’, and the left leg is then insubstantial, and vice versa. This principle of body weight movement applies in all directions and to all parts of the body, governed by the waist. The constant change in Tai Chi Chuan movement may be well understood by considering the phasing of yin and yang (Tai Chi Symbol).
Grasping this concept leads to light movement and turning without tension, and failure to grasp leads to heavy stepping and imbalance.

9. Inside and outside co-ordinate
The classics refer to the ability to raise spirit (shen) being necessary to raise the mind (Yi) and thus maintain lightness/agility of movement. Both the mind and body must remain relaxed, regardless of the pressure applied from outside. This relates to maintaining focus of body and mind.

10. The mind leads the body.
The Tai Chi Classics point to focusing the attention on Yi (mind), instead of on Li (force). Use your mind to direct your movements, and let the body follow. Relax the body.

Based on Yang’s ten important points by Yang Cheng-fu

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