“The external martial arts view leaping and stumbling as ability. They employ exertion of qi and strength, so that after training they are invariably gasping for breath. Taijiquan uses stillness to manage movement. Even when there is movement there is stillness. Therefore, in practicing the form, the slower the better. When practicing slowly, the breathing deepens and lengthens, the qi sinks to the dan tian. One avoids the harm of straining the blood circulation. Students should carefully contemplate this so as to attain its meaning.”
I held an introductory lesson at the studio and I was explaining how the Taiji classics say to “become the hub of the wheel”. We live in a world where “more” is the goal. We have to sell more, buy more, accumulate more, give away more, etc. Just look at our economic model, it is all based on growth. Consumerism and materialism = MORE! This societal concept leads to a relentless pace and eventual burnout.
So to follow the Taiji way, we learn to slow down and center. We become the hub of the wheel. We stay centered and still and watch as the world spins around faster and faster. This doesn’t mean we do nothing. We can work and play just like everyone else but what does change is our perspective and therefore our actions. We are no longer interested in how much or how fast, we instead savor the exquisiteness of each moment. We gain the ability to see the chaos all around us, as soccer moms pull and tug their kids into the van to get to dance class. We take the time to taste the flavour of each conversation instead of seeking to talk the most but say the least.
Stillness in motion as it relates to the forms or sparring means the exact same thing. It matters not if kicks and punches are being rained down upon us, we stay centered and calm. We remain in the moment, in the eye of the storm and react nimbly and effortlessly using the Taiji principles.
Seek stillness, find stillness, know stillness and then consciously watch the rest of the world spin faster and faster, as you remain centered and calm. A knowing and content smile upon your face.