Wednesday, July 14, 2010

4 Methods and 4 Skills of Tai Chi

Photo: Just Grumpy

Today I’m going to teach you the 4 methods and 4 skills of Tai Chi. You may have already be familiar with them, in which case this will be a good reminder of how to incorporate them into your own Tai Chi.

The 4 Methods are Hand, Eye, Body, and Step.

As you practice each Tai Chi movement, you must practice not only the hand form, but also make sure that your eyesight is focused and your eyes follow the movements, that your whole body is involved, and that you have both correct and stable steps. You need to put the 4 Methods into practice as you first start each movement, and then as you go through each movement, and finally as you end each movement.

The 4 Skills are Mind, Energy, Concentration and Thinking.

The 4 Skills are a bit more complicated to understand because you can’t really see them. In Chinese, we say “Originate from the mind, reach to your energy, move with concentration and remember with thinking.” “Originate from your mind” means every move starts in your mind. That’s why we need to quiet our minds when we practice Tai Chi. When we don’t have a quiet mind then we can’t concentrate well. “Reach to your energy” means you need to move your energy around. When you bring up enough energy, then your Tai Chi looks peaceful, settled but also lively. “Move with concentration” means use concentration but don’t use force. When you use concentration to lead your structure, then you can use your structure to lead energy and bring energy to the whole body. “Remember with thinking” means you need to remember every move you are doing and remind yourself of the correct technique throughout the movement. As you do your movements, think about them and pay extra attention to them. Carefully finish each movement with a mental reminder to yourself of the correct form.

In short, the 4 Methods strengthen the outer part of your Tai Chi and the 4 Skills strengthen the inner part of your Tai Chi. With the right understanding and the correct application into your Tai Chi, the 4 Methods and 4 Skills allow you to train both your outer body and inner mind.

2010 Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi

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