Master Wang has
developed seven principles which govern his teaching of tai chi
form and search center. The principles
are interdependent and apply to any style of tai chi.
One's center is defined as
an imaginary line through the head, spine, dan tien,
going to the feet. All movement must originate from the center.
If you can imagine a brace and bit you can see how the
handle is straight above the drill bit. The center turns
allowing the bit to bite into wood. In a similar fashion
turning the body's center allows the feet to root into
the ground. In Master Wang's principles the center only
moves between 100/0% or 50/50% weight distribution. This
contrast to 70/30% taught by many tai chi schools. Also
the center turns first before any shift in weight. After
the center turns, the arms and legs follow.
Balance must be attained without leaning
away from the center. Also the tai chi form should be performed
without a lot of up and down movement. Balance allows fluid
movement from one position to the next. Often the optimum
balance point is at a 45 degree angle or multiple thereof.
Balance and center are closely related.
we walk, our body is naturally coordinated. When one's
left leg moves forward, one's right arm balances it.
Similarly in the tai chi form there can be no separation
of movement. Upper and lower body must move in unison,
left side must balance the right. When one's arms are
raised the knees descend. When pressure is applied
to the right leg, the left arm compensates. The body
must move as a unit.
One's tai chi posture should resemble a
globe shape with the dan tien as center. The right hand is
to the left foot. The right elbow is related to the left
knee. The right shoulder is related to the left hip. During
when weight is switched to one leg, the opposite arm responds
accordingly. They would be the "yang" leg and arm. One
way to test proper positioning is to have a partner push
an arm and see if the chi flow is connected to the opposite
The mind must focus
on what the body is planning to do. As in meditation the
mind must avoid wandering and continue to think about proper
movement according to the seven principles. The mind is
capable of amazing power if correctly channeled. The mind
directs the movements in the tai chi form as well as searching
a partner's center in search center.
All moves in tai chi are circular
and joints are always relaxed, never locked. Circles possess
immense power. The center turns in a spiral fashion. The
tighter the spiral the more force contained. In search
center the body acts like a large ball and incoming forces
will "bounce" off
it. This spiral energy assists the tai chi player to "connect" and
circulate incoming and outgoing chi.
The body learns to carry a lot of tension
in the muscles, especially in the shoulders.
Relaxation is not the same as sleeping
or lying on the beach. In tai chi one must use the mind and
concentrate on relaxing the muscles and tendons.
Also one must allow the
body's chi to "sink" towards the ground. Relaxing and sinking
the chi increases one's root. Relaxation allows one to "listen" to
incoming force and use soft energy to overcome hard.