important of the Tai Chi Classics:
THE TEN ESSENTIAL POINTS OF YANG CHING-PU
Yang Ching-pu (1883-1936) is credited with finally stabilising the Yang style when he became the chief instructor of the Yang Form. Yang Ching-pu was the grandson of the founder of the Yang School, Yang Lu-ch'an.
1.Suspend Your Head from Above and Keep It Up Straight.
By so doing your inner strength will be able to reach the crown of your head and your spirit will be able to soar. But do not exert any force to attain this goal, for once you consciously or unconsciously apply force your neck will become stiff. A stiff neck, regardless of the degree of stiffness, is an obstacle to the free flowing of intrinsic energy and the smooth circulation of your blood.
2 Depress Your Chest and Raise Your Upper Back
This posture will allow the intrinsic energy to sink into your "tan-tien". Avoid pushing out your chest, for a "chest-out" position will cause your upper body to be heavy and your lower body to be light. Also, your feet will then be subject to floating and you will have a hard time maintaining your body balance. By raising your upper back you attach your intrinsic energy to your back enabling you to deliver your inner strength effectively from your vertebrae.
3 Loosen Your Waist
The waist is the key part of the body. Only when you are able to loosen your waist can you manage to keep your feet strong and your body secure and firm. Moreover, the change of steps from solid to empty or from empty to solid is all controlled by your waist. To execute this satisfactorily you must have a loosened waist. It was said, "The order for movement is issued from the waist", and "when your body appears scattered and lacks strength the remedy should be sought in your waist and legs".
4 Distinguish Between Solidness and Emptiness
In the art of Tai Chi Ch'uan the differentiation between solidness and emptiness is of primary importance. When you rest your whole body weight on the right leg, your right leg is regarded as solid and your left leg as empty. On the other hand, when you rest your whole body weight on the left leg your left leg is regarded as solid and your right leg as empty. Only when you are able to distinguish solidness and emptiness can your movement be light and nimble. By no means need you exert. However, should you fail to make such distinctions your steps will be heavy and sluggish, and you can easily lose your body balance. Eventually you will become the victim of your opponent.
5 Droop Your Shoulders and Sink Your Elbows
By loosening your shoulder joints you allow your shoulders to droop downward. If your shoulders are raised they will block the intrinsic energy. Without the free flowing of intrinsic energy your movements will show a deficiency of inner strength and lack of continuity.
6 Apply Your Will and Not Your Force
The Tai Chi Ch'uan Treatise said: "This is completely the use of your will and not your force". Therefore, while practicing you should totally relax your body and not permit the existence of any awkward force in your body to hinder your movement so that your movement can be light and nimble and you can act exactly as your mind directs. Someone may ask, "If one disregards the application of force, how can one develop strength?" It is because the system of veins and arteries in a human body is like the system of channels and streams on earth. Water runs smoothly when the channels and streams are not blocked; intrinsic energy flows freely when the veins and arteries are free from obstacles.
If the body is filled with force the result is stagnation of the intrinsic energy and sluggishness in movement. When a part of the body gets stuck, the entire body suffers. If one follows the rule to practice day after day for a long period of time, one will find that the use of will rather than force results in the cultivation of inner strength. The Tai Chi Ch,uan treatise observed "Extreme softness is conducive to extreme hardness". It is no surprise to find a Tai Chi expert with arms that are very soft in appearance but extemely hard inside - like two iron rods well wrapped with cotton. Thus, he can endure and withstand hardship in life.
7 Coordinate Your Upper and Lower Body Movements
The Tai Chi Chu'an Treatise said: "in all movement the inner strength is rooted in the feet, developed in the thighs, controlled by the waist and expressed through the fingers. From the feet to the thighs, waist, and fingers there must be complete coordination and the whole body should act as one integrated unit". Therefore, when the hands move, the waist and the feet as well as the focus of the eyes, must move accordingly. This is the meaning of the coordination of the upper and lower body movements. Whenever there is a disagreement among any parts of the body the movement will instantly appear scattered and will lack strength.
8 Unify Your Internal and External Movements
Tai Chi trains the spirit of the individual. It was said, "The spirit is the master and the body is its servant". Therefore, when one manages to lift one's spirit one's movement will be light and nimble. The nature of all movements consists of softness as well as hardness, and expansion as well as contraction. By expansion it does not mean expanding only the hands and the feet, but also the mind and the will. The same is true for contraction. Only when you can unify your internal and external movements can your body move as one integrated unit without interruption.
9 There Must Be Absolute Continuity in Your Movements
In "Wai Chia" (Outer Intrinsic School) pugilism, the strength that is developed is a kind of awkward strength.["Wai Chia" pugilism refers to the harder, more aggressive martial arts.] With this kind of strength there is a beginning and there is an end; there is discontinuity and there is interruption. It is not unusual under this system that when the old strength has been used up, new strength has not been developed. It is this "strength - gap" that gives one's opponent the advantage.
In Tai Chi (the "Nei Chia" or Inner Intrinsic
School) WILL rather than FORCE is applied to direct the body movements. From
beginning to end the movements are continuous, without interruption. The end of
one movement is the beginning of the next movement. In fact, there is no
beginning or end within the circular movements of Tai Chi. It was said that Tai
Chi Ch'uan acts in the manner of The Long River, the Yang Tze, which flows
ceaselessly. It was also said that the action of the inner strength resembles
the reeling of silk from a cocoon. All of these refer to the continuous nature
of Tai Chi movements.
10 Seek Serenity in Activity
In "Wai Chia" pugilism the delivery of strength appears merely as a sort of "showing off". The practitioner demonstrates his ability and skill by exerting all his energy to jump or to firmly hold his position. Consequently, after practice, he usually feels very exhausted and tends to breathe rapidly. Tai Chi Ch'uan, on the other hand, aims at seeking serenity in activity. Though the practitioner is active externally, he is calm internally. In Tai Chi, the slower one executes the movements the better. For slowness in movement is conducive to deep and long breathing, and it enables the intrinsic energy to sink into the "tan-tien". In this situation the practitioner will not suffer from rapid breathing or troubles involving the heart or circulation of blood.
If students of Tai Chi Ch'uan can carefully ponder these essential points they will be able to comprehend the true meaning of this exercise.