What I know about Taijiquan
As everyone knows, one says: "Life is movement - the source of health is the exercise." The problem is to decide what kind of sport to practice. You should first find out what benefit it offers to the health of body and mind. It should be like a good friend. You know about its particularities and trust it. By this one develops interest and affection. I myself love Taijiquan and got great benefit from it. This year I am 89 years old. My head is covered with silver hair, but the colour of my face is excellent, my steps are still firm, my waist is not crooked, my back is not hunched and I am not weak. I think, therefore, I can be a good example and want know now to explain a little of what I know about Taijiquan.
1) Taijiquan has a rich old martial art theory. It refers to Classical philosophy, statements from Chinese Medicine, Sunzi’s Art of War, physiology, physics, etc., and stresses: "The heart/mind (xin) is still and the imagination (yi) is used“, "One is aligned and the body is relaxed." etc. Outside and inside are united in the movements of the body. This is a feature of Taijiquan.
2) Taijiquan is an old Chinese health exercise. It blends together the essence of traditional martial arts. In the Taiji form one is aware of the movements, with the important principle of the waist as mid-axis of the movements. One makes movements into arcs and circles and strives to: "Find stillness in movement and movement in stillness" and to "Find the round in the straight and the straight in the round." That is moving the jin-power, as if one pulls silk. Never ending soft movements. Especially the Wu Taijiquan governed by the soft change. All of this is the second feature.
3) Taijiquan is an internal martial art. It emphasizes the connection of the outside and inside and that hard and soft support each other. Furthermore, its movements are slow, relaxed and soft, according to the natural laws of physiology. Thus the nervous system is trained, muscles and the bones strengthened and the joints remain flexible. Furthermore, one can breathe freely and regulate the function of the internal organs. Physical power is not exhausted and it reveals many positive effects. Anyone can practice it and you can do it anywhere. It fits not only young people but also for older. This is the third feature of Taijiquan.
4) Taijiquan also has another special feature. It has both depth and width and one also shows interest in the inner nature (xing). It is a lesson without end - a kind of art. If you exercise the form, you already have the effect of a relatively comprehensive health care. If you are then advanced, you can melt the foundation (ti) and the application (yong) together and learn Pushhands. So you can deepen your knowledge of the martial arts and its capabilities in self-defence. With strong interest you can now train the conscious feeling and a good balance. In addition, it is also exciting and gripping to learn forms with training equipment such as sabre, spear and sword. This will be a long-term practice and you can learn from your own experience. Taijiquan can truly develop will power and influence the development of a positive character.
The above is only a little, I know about Taijiquan. Because its theory is relatively deep, it must be studied very intensively. Also, its movements are complicated. Therefore, I believe that the process of learning takes a long time of practice. In this time the practice has to be blended with the theory. Only in this way and step by step one can examine it and day by day it will become stronger. It needs perseverance and a firm conviction. You unite with it inseparable. You rely on your own strength and so continuously investing in your own body. So it is not difficult to have a long life.
Jiang Feng Chang, Journal of the Jianquan Taijiquan Association Shanghai No. 9, 30.11.1983
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