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The sinking in Tai Chi as written about many times here in, simply the letting of tension held by the upper body to the ground. Allowing for the sinews to become flexible, so that the blood can better flow throughout the body or the qi (pronounced “chee”) can flow more smoothly. Qi/Chi can be said to be energy here. And the more flexible the sinews are, the more the mind or mental force that initiates the release of tension from the upper body, can then relax.

So that one can start to be “empty”, empty of the tension. Think of it like an electric circuit, less resistance, better current flow.

So why do you sink in tai chi?

Just like when you use a screwdriver to screw in a screw or screw it out. There is a downward force that presses the screwdriver down. Spiralling either clockwise or anticlockwise whether you are screwing in the screw or screwing it out. The point is that the downward force is the reason why you sink in tai chi. The “sinking” generates the motion. Like my Shifu says, “sinking is spiralling, spiralling is sinking”.

I am still a novice and the more I focus, and practice fundamentals the more tai chi “secrets” reveal themselves to me. Practising standing meditation, stance work and basic leg exercises and all other fundamentals are crucial to understanding any martial arts.

One also notices that spiralling force that is generated from sinking, consists of two forces. One that is clockwise or yang and another that is anti-clockwise yin. Two circles or spirals. And this is not unique to Tai Chi alone, it can apply to any martial arts or everyday things. Understanding sinking and the spirals generated will assist one in better understanding of Tai Chi/Taiji Quan. I am still learning and plan to practice more and may revise this in the future.

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