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How do I use SOFTNESS to overcome hardness?

How do I use SOFTNESS to overcome hardness?

This last Sunday the 8th of August, I had an epiphany during my tai chi practice with my senior. My Shifu was busy meditating while Jeronimo my Shirxiong and me were busy practising soft touch.

Executing and he was correcting me where I was doing mistakes. At one moment I got it to write, using my mind, I recognised where I had tension namely my right shoulder and anywhere else in the body and then kept my mind on my dantien (acupoint below the navel).

The epiphany was, “Why is there is an emphasis on moving slowly in Tai Chi?”

 There are other reasons and I have written about them. Such as that moving slowly improves your “ting jin.”

However, to further expand on this, the “softness” facilitates the movement of the intent. And as per Tai Chi classics, where the intent moves, qi moves. Most students of internal arts focus on Qi (pronounced chee). But it is the mental force that is important, the intent or Yi.

Tension, blocks or locks the flow. So, by “softness” what is meant is a pliable, flexible, or supple quality of the body. This is what is known as 柔 jū in Japanese and róu in Mandarin (Chinese).

Another term used often in Tai Chi is “sung” and once a solid foundation is built. Then the fighting aspects can be better trained. A foundation I still lack, and I am working on.

How do I use SOFTNESS to overcome hardness?

Once you begin to understand this quality of “softness” then you can use it to overcome hardness. An opponent that is tense or relying only on physical strength, increases the chances of losing their balance or “root.”

By “using sinking” letting go of tension when moving, this is how you use softness to overcome hardness. 

With this quality comes the mental aspect of having a calm and empty mind. And building this quality or softness acquired with practices like Zhan Zhuang.

This helps in making the upper body light and sensitive. This sensitivity allows one to be able to detect an opponent’s hardness, tension, and centreline. While hiding yours and with this uproot or defeat them.

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Written by Narcisse Sadi, Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan, certified (by the International Health Qigong Federation) 1stDuan Health Qi Gong and certified (by Dr Jeff Lan) 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor.

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