Intrinsic Chi Training in Taijiguan

Intrinsic chi training refers to developing internal force while performing a Taiji set or a series of Taiji movements. The pattern Grasping Sparrow's Tail is used as an example to illustrate the principles and method involved. It is assumed that the reader can perform the physical movements of the pattern competently; so explanation is only given for the breathing and visualization aspects.

1. Stand upright and relax, with your mind clear of all irrelevant thoughts.
2. As you move your feet apart and raise your arms, breathe in gently through your nose. You may use chest breathings or Abdominal Breathing for this exercise.
3. As you lower your arms, breathe out gently through your mouth (or nose). Visualize chi flowing down your arms.
4. Breathe in at .
5. As you move to, visualize your chi flowing from your abdomen through your right shoulder and right elbow to your right hand, breathing out simultaneously.
6. Breathe in as you move through and visualize that you are charged with cosmic energy.
7. Breathe out as you move and focus your energy at your right arm.
8. ' As you lower your stance and move your body back slightly, breathe in, focusing your chi at both elbows (or at your wrists, if you are at an advanced level), feel that you are firmly rooted on to the ground, although there should be more weight on your left foot.
9. Let your internal force explode (but do not use any strength) as you strike out,' starting from your left heel, going through your waist, focused at your elbows(or wrists), and out of your palms into your opponent.

If you have accumulated cosmic energy. at your abdomen to start with, your result will be faster and better. It is therefore recommended that you practice Abdominal Breathing for at least three months before you begin this intrinsic chi training in Taijiquan, if you have not already done so. A foundation of Abdominal Breathing to store cosmic energy is always an asset, irrespective of the style of martial arts you practice.

Vibrating with Internal Force

Abdominal Breathing is an extrinsic method. Another useful extrinsic method to develop internal force in Taijiquan is the Three-Circle Stance, sometimes called the Taiji Stance because it is so popular in Taijiquan. It is the Taiji counterpart of the Golden Bridge in Shaolin kungfu, and is used for training powerful arms and solid stances. It is softer than the Golden Bridge, and not as demanding, and the emphasis is more on the training of chi whereas the Golden Bridge e emphasizes jing (essence) more.

1. Stand with your feet about one and a half times your shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly.
2. Hold your arms at chest level in front of you, with your elbows and wrists slightly bent to form a circle. Your fingers should be held loosely apart, with thumbs and Index fingers forming a small second circle.
3. Pull in your abdomen slightly and hook in your knees as if you were holding a ball with your thighs, thus forming the third `circle', although it may not look much like one.
4. Clear your mind of all thoughts. Your eyes can be open or closed.
5. Stand motionless in this Three-Circle Stance for as long as you can. The minimum requirement is one thousand counts or about twenty minutes.

Do not worry if, after practicing , parts or the whole of your body vibrate or shake vigorously. This is a manifestation of the kungfu principle that extreme stillness generates motion. It is caused by the vigorous internal flow of energy, and is a sign that you have developed internal force. Many people find it hard to believe that such a simple technique can develop force, or that the body can vibrate involuntarily, until they try it out themselves.

When you have acquired internal force you can use it in many different ways. You can use it to improve your Taijiquan performance or sparring. You can also channel it out of your body, as in chi channeling therapy, where the therapist transmits chi to a patient to help him relieve pain or cure illness. And of course you will use it unconsciously in your daily work and play.


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