Intelligently Yielding to Strength
In the photo above, Joseph holds a posture from the Yang Family Taijiquan Style called "Liu," meaning to roll back. This sequence of postures captures the quintessence of Taichi practice: the ability to step back and or to the side in order to avoid a head on confrontation with a much stronger force. By learning this Taichi principle of yielding to strength, one can eventually neutralize great power with minimal effort.
Ironically, to the untrained eye Taiji practice looks "easy" to do or even "weak," because its sequence of movements are primarily done in a slow-motion manner as if swimming softly in a lake. But, if taught by a good instructor that properly balances all of its aspects, the experience is quite the opposite.
The internal martial art of Tai Chi Chuan is deeply rooted in TAO philosophy. The art emphasizes balancing hard, fast and powerful movements with soft, slow more subtle movements, and also smoothly transitioning between the two. The look and quality of its internal and external movements resembles the ease by which water can effortlessly flow in and around harder surfaces and objects.
Taichichuan is simultaneously a self-defense art, an energy self regulation and healing art and a moving meditation art that develops and refines your spiritual energy. At first, practicing its rhythmic forms and supporting auxiliary exercises emphasizes smooth and continuous energy flow, then secondly at a later stage, the training progresses towards more rigorous methods and speeds as one learns the self-defense aspects and fighting applications.
Daily practice greatly strengthens the legs and feet, opens all the joints and energetically grounds your center. The over-all training also greatly increases Chi (life-force/bio-electric energy) flow inside the body, boosting your immune system and helping to stabilize your spirit as your body and mind become more integrated.
Chang San Feng
Taoist Sage/Immortal and Creator of the of Taijiquan system. Legend says he lived for over 250 years.
The legendary creator of the Taijiquan system, Chang San Feng, was said to have been inspired by the effortlessness of how water flows and by the naturally powerful movements of animals. His keen observations of Nature and robust athleticism, developed by his rigorous daily regimen of mountain climbing, herb gathering and Shaolin Temple Kung-Fu training, provided him the foundation necessary to innovate a new system of training the mind-body-spirit. He ingeniously applied TAO philosophy to his previously learned hard martial arts forms and combined them with Qigong (life-force cultivation) breathing practices. This unique combination of methods helped create a new powerful style of martial arts, now simply referred to as TAICHI.
Left & Right Sides Merge Into One Force
Above, Joseph holds another Taichi posture called "Ji," meaning to press. Once an attacker's stronger forces have been sufficiently neutralized, all of their absorbed energy can be redirected back out towards them with a compounded effect. This is accomplished by learning to use one's focused intent, alongside proper body alignment, and "borrowing" an aggressor's strength in order to lead their energy away.