Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Defining the Internal 3

To be internal means much of the art of Tai Chi Chuan exists in the mind of the practitioner. The nuances of the art is not readily observable in solo practice though the intention phenomenon can be felt through expressions of usage and fajing. I suspect this is why many practitioners are so obsessed and fascinated with the topic of fajing.

To the majority of practitioners they tend to settle the wrist when issuing power because they feel that this can focus the power. However, the result is more like trying to smash or ram the wrist / palm against the opponent. This is why many advocate tensing the wrist to avoid injuring it. Whilst many call this the internal way, I view this more as an external method of fajing.

To be internal means that one must conform to the relaxation principle even when issuing power. With the right principle you don’t have to tense your wrist because the objective is not to ram your wrist / palm against the opponent. Instead, the internal method of our Tai Chi Chuan calls for us to impart a force impulse that travels into and through the opponent.

However, if you read this and wish it to be so it won’t be so. You must use intention to train your body before it can be so. This is a difficult training because it is largely in your mind. Take a look at the picture below. This is a sequence from Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s 22-Form’s Beginning Posture. What do you see? Just some hand / arm movements right? Nothing much that is internal here or so it seems.

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Until Grandmaster Wei revealed the hidden art of the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan to the world no one would have guessed that in the training of Beginning Posture his intention has both his palms holding a Small Chi Sphere. The thing about the Small Chi Sphere is that they are not there for Chi Kung purposes but for fajing usage!!!

I have read of other styles of Tai Chi Chuan talking about spheres, circles and so on but little explanation that borders on the internal. So your hands are holding Small Chi Spheres. So what? Anyone can imagine they are doing so. Even if they don’t know about it previously now that they do they can copy this practice too.

Yes, so they can. But until they can actualize the Small Chi Sphere such that it can be used then they are bluffing themselves by thinking that in copying us they are being internal. There is a method behind the madness of the Small Chi Spheres which Grandmaster Wei revealed to the world as shown in the drawing below.

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Even then knowing how the Small Chi Sphere is to be used does not mean you can use it. You have to transform yourself through the internal method, rid yourself of the external, then your body will be able to use the Small Chi Spheres. This is the part that is difficult, not only in the practice but in that the typical learner resists the information, refuses to believe its possible and in doing so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and the art truly becomes impossible to master.

The internal method of Tai Chi Chuan is real. But to disbelievers it might as well be fake. Man can have unbelievable talent and skills but knowing everything that is possible or impossible is not one of them. There is still much that we do not know of ourselves in spite of the advancement of science and how the mind shapes the body in motion to fajing is one of them. I know proprioception is another popular buzzword but it is inadequate to truly describe the wonders that defines the art of Tai Chi Chuan. Let us not lose this treasure of mankind through our own shortcomings and smart alecky know it all attitude.


Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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