Mittwoch, 12. November 2014

Article: Learning from Experience: Relax (song) and Lightness (qing)

By Wang Pinzheng

From the club magazine No. 2, p. 8 of the Jianquan Taijiquan Association in Shanghai, 30.4.1981

One of the main goals when practicing Taijiquan is relaxation (song). In Pushhands relaxation is even more important. This is a fact that all know and it seems to be very easy to reach. In fact, it is not so:

Although it is known that beginners do not relax easily, even a long-time friend of Taijiquan who gets involved with someone in a ‘little fight’ and is beaten by the other, will often hear:

"You're not relaxed enough!"

You have to achieve relaxation in the entire body. Starting with lightness (qing) one can gradually achieve relaxation. When practicing the movements the following is important:

The mouth is lightly closed.
You breathe lightly through the nose.
The teeth touch each other very lightly.
The tip of the tongue supports very lightly the palate.
You swallow the saliva very lightly.
The head is erect, as if one carries a bowl
and the apex is very lightly stretched.
The eyes look without effort very lightly forward.
For the outward movements of the hands lightness is needed,
for the inward as well.
In steps the leg is lifted only lightly
and very lightly down again.

The Treatise on Taijiquan (Taijiquan lun) states:

"In every movement, the entire body should be light and agile (ling)."

This is just what is written above. A picture of this is:

"Step, like a cat walking".

In Pushhands: If the other attacks with force, one is in any case not allowed to resist with hard force. You must stick very lightly at the hands of other, follow his movements and guide them forward. Then suddenly one increases the power of the other following the motto:

"If a movement is fast, I respond fast"

And thus the force of the other will have no chance to reach you. Only if you have lightness, you can "know the other". If you use hardness, you "let the other know" and you will be for sure beaten by him.

If lightness is achieved, relaxation develops. The Gongfu improves and the whole body becomes light. The 77-year-old teacher Wu Yinghua has while exercising delicate and graceful postures. The already 81 year old teacher Ma Yueliang swings easily a 3 meter long lance.

This old couple, the lightness of their bodies resembles that of swallows. They walk like a breeze. These 70- and 80-years old, one can not really keep pace with them.

Of course, the lightness of which I spoke has the meaning of lightness of relaxation, softness and agility, but for sure not the meaning of taking things lightly. The meaning of taking things lightly is composed of two main elements: In the form one should not practice unconcentrated. In Pushhands you should not be careless or reckless.

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