Friday, July 20, 2012

Are You Really Prepared for Tai Chi?

The martial art form, Hsing-I, has a core standing posture called “santi.” In Tai Chi, the equivalent is Wu Chi, the preparing stance. In Chinese, Wu Chi means “void” or “emptiness.” It is the beginning, the void from which everything evolves. The universe is said to have evolved from Wu Chi, and it is the mother of yin and yang, the harmonious polar opposites. (To understand more about the origins of Tai Chi, read my article on How to Understand the Tai Chi Diagram.)

Why is the Wu Chi stance so important in Tai Chi? After we begin a regular day, we begin moving around. Since 80 percent of our body is water, we can think of it as a big fish tank. The water is not always clear because we have been walking, and moving around. Our qi (energy) is like the sand at the bottom of the fish tank. It has been floating around as we move through our daily activities.

The Wu Chi stance allows this sand to sink to the bottom of the fish tank and clear the water. In other words, sink and relax your body. As I tell my students, “if you start your Tai Chi with tension in your muscles,  you can’t be relaxed during the whole form.”

In addition, the Wu Chi stance helps you quiet your mind, so you are able to concentrate on all the movements that come after. Since often we have so many thoughts on our minds, it’s good to set aside a few minutes to clear our minds before beginning.

What else does the Wu Chi stance help you with?  A good Wu Chi stance will give you balanced form, which comes from having a powerful and rooted stance at the beginning, followed by well-circled qi to maintain the whole form.

To get your Wu Chi stance right, read my article on 13 Points to Relax Your Body

To further relax your body after you’ve achieved a proper Wu Chi stance, read Relax your body, Understand 8 Sections and 9 Joints

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2012

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