Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Don’t Know, Don’t Know

I read a funny post on Facebook. A Tai Chi practitioner was asked where his power originated to which he replied dantian. His friend didn’t know what dantian was and the practitioner concluded that the friend didn’t know about Tai Chi.

When I read this I couldn’t help but think that this Tai Chi practitioner does not know that he does not know Tai Chi.

How do I know this? See if you can follow this simple argument :-

– Dantian is a shape; in many instances you can actually see this bunch of muscles moving on the Tai Chi practitioner’s body around the lower belly area

– However, if Tai Chi stresses internal and having no shape how does having shape fit into this?

– Further, if ground force is used how would having a shape between the ground and the opponent facilitate the flow of force from the ground to strike the opponent unless the model that is claimed to be used is not actually used!


So we don’t have to look really far to see why Tai Chi today is not as internal as claimed to be. I am not saying that using dantian, using muscles is impractical. Undoubtedly, it can be treated as another way up the mountain. However, does it really take one up to the same pinnacle? This is something to consider.

If both approaches lead to the same understanding then why it is that we do not get a satisfactory explanation of the Tai Chi Classics from such practitioners. Instead, we hear revisionist explanations and in some cases even claims that the principles are not practical. But then how would one know this until one knows how to put them into practice such that the truth of the classics can be revealed. Today’s practitioners unfortunately lack the patience and dedication to discovering the truth. They just want fast food type of answers even when on the other hand they are proclaiming how open minded they are.

We should not be too ready to dismiss that which we do not know. I was reading the book Wave and even prominent scientists when asked about what it is that they do not know about waves had to admit that they do not know what they do not know. Now that’s honesty. If only Tai Chi practitioners would stop thinking in terms of lineage, styles and master worshipping then perhaps they would start to know about things they do not even know they do not know.




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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