Tai Chi And The Five Integrities
by Kenneth van Sickle
Axioms And Principles
—Tai Chi is process, the point of it, is the evolution of
the practitioner, not the acquisition of the art.
—Have no holes or breaks, no hollows or projection.
All moves are appropriate, no excesses or deficiencies.
—Don’t let your knee go farther forward than your toe,
in 70%—30% position, don’t sit all the way back onto your heel.
—Push the “opponent” from within your space, if they
enter into your space (all things equal) they are yours.
—The push is in a straight line, as when you try to find
the center of a Ping Pong ball and push it down into the water, the neutralization is circular, as when the Ping Pong ball slips away.
—Neither puff up nor collapse, do not brace
or run away from.
—It is not good to balance by gripping the floor with
the foot, or by shifting the weight, left and right side, like a tight rope walker. Balance in a vertical line like a plumb line, through the ground on the bottom, and through the top of the head to the sky.
—Excess of hardness (yang) brings softness (yin), just as
excess of sorrow brings joy, and excess of joy brings sorrow.
—“Appear like a hawk after a rabbit”, seek a perfectly
straight line of attack towards your quarry’s center…“With the spirit of a cat after a rat”,. When a push is neutralized, immediately realign on the opponent’s center.
—Be cohesive in the center and expansive on the outside.
—Discern the full from the empty,..Root in one leg at a time
while the torso revolves like a vertical cylinder on top of it.
—Feel the air around you so that it becomes heavy and begin to
notice its ebbs and flows.
—The body is rooted a the bottom, and light and flexible
on top like a tree.
—Don’t use force against force, borrow the imposing force
and return it
—Where there is tension, the life force (chi) is suppressed, when
tension leaves, chi returns
— The bull is a great strong beast, and can be handled by one
small person if they apply a small amount of energy to the right place (the ring in the nose).
—The head is held up as if a string is attached to the sky, like
a marionette,...the coccyx is held down as if there is a weight on it….the spine is stretched between the two.
—The arms do not move independently, they move with the body.
Tai Chi Ditch Digging
“Tai Chi” used in this way, to describe a way of doing something, means to use the principles of Tai Chi to accomplish something in the most efficient (ultimate) way.
One principle is to use the most economical, least energy draining energy available.
As applied to digging with a shovel, most of us who use a shovel, push and stomp on it to get it into the ground, then bend and shove it down to break the earth, use the strength of our backs to lift it and the muscles of our arms to throw it. This of course, makes it back breaking work.
If you use the principles of Tai Chi, it works like this: You place the shovel’s edge on the ground, step on it using your whole body weight on the handle (creating a lever), and break the earth out. You then reach down with the other hand and using your thighs (the largest muscle) lift straight up. Now take a step in the direction the shovel is pointing, the arms, if relaxed, will swing in that direction, then stop the shovel and the dirt will continue to it’s destination (momentum/inertia).
Here we have used gravity, leverage, inertia, momentum and the least amount of our muscular energy as possible.
Many people who dig a great deal, will end up doing it this way eventually through trial and error. We can save a great deal of time and energy if we apply the principles of Tai Chi to all of our activities, physical, social, professional, etc.