Are Tai-ji Movements Slow and Gentle?
you ever wondered why Taijiquan is usually performed slowly and
gently? It is because of intrinsic chi training. If the movements
are fast and forced, energy will not flow smoothly. That is why
Taiji instructors keep reminding their students not to use strength.
The trouble is that they seldom explain how one can fight well without
using strength, or why doing so will hamper the development of internal
as in normal practice, the Taiji exponent does not use mechanical
strength; he uses internal force. If he uses mechanical strength,
he has to tense his muscles, which in turn will constrict his meridians
and interrupt the internal energy flow. A Taiji exponent aims to
be calm throughout even when someone is endangering his life or
those of his loved ones, so that chi flows endlessly inside him
and provides him with stamina and internal force.
In his practice, he coordinates his move- ments with his internal
chi flow. When he spreads his arms in the pattern Separating Horse's
Mane, for example, his bodily move- ment must be such that his internal
chi can reach his hands by the time they have reached the limit
of their spread. If he moves his arms too fast, his chi flow may
not follow quickly enough, with the result that his chi may only
have reached the elbows (and be locked there) when the hand is already
extended. And if he tenses his arm, or any part of his body, he
blocks his flow of chi.
slow, gentle movements are performed during practice. At an advanced
stage, when his chi flow is as quick as he directs it with his mind,
the Taiji exponent can be very fast. In fact, he has to be fast
and forceful when he spars or fights.