Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Defining the Internal 6

I start off this post with an excerpt from the  article Jin training in Baguazhang :-

Many famous masters had strong hidden power, such as the bagua master Liu Fengchun, and the xingyi master Guo Yunshen. It was as if both of these masters had ‘electricity’ in their arms, the opponent would be launched away regardless of whether they were attacking the opponent or whether the opponent was attacking them. Stationary palms [ding shi zhang] are the main method used in bagua to train hidden power. Each posture, if combined with specific visualisations and practiced correctly, can produce hidden power. For example, in the first posture, ‘pressing down palm’ [xia an zhang], both hands ‘press’ downwards as if on a ball , with the arms rounded as if holding a large balloon. Posturally, the requirements are: relax the shoulder, press the elbows out [song jian cheng zhou]; hollow the chest and round the back [han xiong ba bei], hold the head as if suspended [xu ling ding jin] and the upper body should be slightly turned towards the centre of the circle while you walk using mud-wading step [tang ni bu].

When teaching about using the internal method to my intermediate level students I also told them about the use of the intention to imagine that his arms are holding something round like a sphere. So you see, in a true internal art the use of visualizations do exist. I am not inventing stories here.

If your Tai Chi Chuan style claims to be internal but do not teach how to do something similar you have to ask why if you are serious about picking up internal skills. Just doing the common things like leaning forward, lowering your level, pushing the rear leg off the ground do not really an internal art make. A true internal art is much more precise and sophisticated than that.

In a previous post I put up the drawing below.

2014-01-13 19.37.20


You can that its not just a matter of holding a small sphere in your hand in your mind. There is a level of precision associated with how to use the small sphere to attack the opponent. Its not just about issuing the power and it will work. If anything, issuing power is only part of the story. The other part is about how to use your intention in tandem with the Small Chi Sphere to attack the opponent. This is what the internal is really about.




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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