#7 – Synchronize Upper and Lower Body &
#9 – Continuous, without Interruption
The 10 essentials are as follows:
1 – Empty, lively, pushing up and energetic
2 – Hold in the chest, pull up the back
3 – Relax the waist
4 – Separate empty and full
5 – Sink the shoulders and droop the elbows
6 – Use intent rather than force
7 – Synchronize upper and lower body
8 – Match up inner and outer
9 – Continuous, without interruption
10 – Seek the stillness in motion
#7 – Synchronize upper and lower body &
#9 – Continuous, without interruption
One of the most difficult things to accomplish in taiji is zheng jin or whole body power. While on the surface it might seem that one can connect the foot, leg, hips, shoulders and arms…. To truly accomplish this takes a great deal of practice, perseverance and ting jin (listening).
The taiji circle or yin/yang symbol has been a visual symbol of these two essentials for centuries. You’ll notice that there is neither beginning, nor end and the energy represented in the circle builds and dissipates smoothly and continuously. This is what we strive for in all our practices and applications. It is not enough to win a confrontation; instead we strive to utilize a level of skill where the opponent doesn’t even know what just happened because our technique was so smooth, neutralizing and connected. I teach our student to try to be ghost that mirrors every technique. So no matter what an opponent throws at us we join, neutralize, control and advance (follow) as lightly as possible so that the opponent never has a chance “to know us”.
The absolute best way to train these two essentials in my opinion are push hands and song shen wu fa developed by Master Huang Xingxian (Huang sheng Shuan).
Push hands exercises are much, much more than trying to seal or uproot an opponent, they are the very foundation of interpersonal energy practice for the taiji player. After one has learned the basic techniques and patterns of single and double push hands practice then the real training begins where you learn to connect every ligament and tendon as well as the nine pearls when playing.
Think of the body as a linked chain. A chain can be used as an extremely strong single device to tow a car, yet at rest every link can be moved a little on its own and moved to an even greater degree if you add the links on either side of it. The greatest amount of movement can only be accomplished if there is no tension on the chain (thus the mind and body MUST be relaxed and even better… “song”).
To train and connect the flow of energy along the path of the nine pearls (bubbling spring, ankle, knee, hip, sacrum, mingmen, shoulder, elbow, wrist) I use song shen wu fa and then to gauge the effectiveness of my training a candle. I cannot write the words to properly teach the connection of the nine pearls so I will not attempt to do so. Suffice it to say that once the player has achieved “song” the whole body has become a single chain of silk that can be felt to be as soft as a gentle breeze yet strong enough to accomplish great tasks.