I heard this interesting story about Yang Lu Chan, the creator of Yang Style Tai Chi. A bird landed on his palm one day. This bird tried very hard and flipped it’s wing, and it couldn’t fly away even Yang’s Palm was open. Yang’s friend observed this and found it’s very surprising.
Later, he found out that because Yang’s palm was really soft like cotton, it’s totally relaxed. When a bird try to fly away, it use it’s legs to push Yang’s palm in order to get Yang’s resistance force to push the bird away. Since Yang is so good at Tai Chi,
he soften it’s palm and follows the bird’s energy. The bird can’t get any resistance force to help it launch.
This story tells us how soft is so important in Tai Chi. Relaxation leads to softness.
When we talk about Tai Chi Push hands, we often mention the four important words, They are “ Relaxation, Flexibility, Bounce and Shake”. Relaxation is mentioned first but it’s so hard to archive. Many people practice so many years but still can’t relax. The most important reason is that they haven’t experienced what is the real relaxation, so they don’t know how it can’t be done.
A good teacher play an important role on getting this goal done. He/she can guide you to that but he/she can’t do it for you. In Chinese, we say “ Sifu bring you into the door, practice is up to yourself.” It’s up to you to get really relaxed and soft in Tai Chi.