Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Light Touch in Tai Chi Chuan

Below is an excerpt from a short post written by Nigel Sutton for Tambuli Media, on the qualities of a "light touch" in Tai Chi Chuan. The full post may be read here.

In this age of a horde of internet taijiquan "experts" it is common to hear the statement, this or that is not taijiquan. To which my usual response is that since taijiquan is based on the taiji (yin/yang symbol), which is a universal philosophy, that is it encompasses everything, anything that is not taiji must similarly be taiji. This is basic Daoism. Many of these same "experts" will tell you that when pushing hands (they seldom talk about application because that might involve force and therefore be a bit too dirty for the pure art of taijiquan)... your touch must be butterfly/feather/ "very soft thing" light. If not, you are just using force and that is not taijiquan, or so their lament goes.

Well here is some news for you, such "very soft" touching is not taijiquan… unless, wait for it, unless…it contains or allows the ability to put into action four extremely important taijiquan teachings. These four words, all very similar in English, are Stick, Connect, Adhere and Follow. The original four Chinese characters have shades of meaning which convey slight
differences. I remember Master Tan Ching Ngee explaining these to me as follows: 

Zhan – sticks very close so that you can't get it off, or get away from it.

Nian  continuous, can't be cut off or separated.

Tie – lightly adhering, on the surface (shares a connection with zhan).

Sui – follow closely (connected to nian).

Now, for all of these four to be present you have to have a connection to your partner/opponent that allows, facilitates and creates this stickiness, so that he is not able to escape nor move closer without feeling that you are still in control. This necessitates a degree of pressure – you have to be extending your ting jing (tactile sensitivity) beyond the external skin and right to the heart of the other person, ideally right to their center of gravity.

1 comment:

Compass Architect said...

Good post on beginning TJQ. ...