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Some people think there are all these big training secrets in these internal martial arts business…. And there are, for some schools. But mostly, you just need to practice correctly. Incorrect practice would not move you closer to the goals, but in fact hurt since they reinforce bad habits. So how we do know a practice is correct? Well, it’s a secret (!) Seriously, the Tai Chi Classics do not lie. People may not understand them, and people may misinterpret them, but no one who has attained the highest level ever says, “gee, those Tai Chi Classics sure are wrong.” So do your practices according to the Principles would be a start. If someone shows you something, ask yourself: is this in accordance with the Principles?

Lets give two concrete examples. First in this clip:

Master Zhu Datong demonstrates Song shoulders. If someone has a stiff or tight shoulder, you can easily move them.

The second example which is on yielding. In this exercise, concentrate on rotating around your center axel: have someone gently push and follow (up to 90 degrees or so, for example) on one side of your body. They can push you anywhere on the shoulder, on the arm, on the side of your body, all the way down to your hip. The push should be even and gentle, to practice the feeling of rotating around your central axis freely and yet just barely maintaining contact with the person pushing. Practice with them pushing randomly on either side, and as you develop your sensitivity or Ting Jin (Listening Jin), the pusher may push at spots closer to the centerline.

My Sifu says, if you truly understand Yielding, that’s like 50% of Tai Chi already. To yield you need to be Song. I hope the above clarifies.

// richard

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