ESSENTIALS OF PLAYING HANDS – PART 3
In addition: First in your mind, then in your body. With your abdomen relaxed, energy collects into your bones. Spirit comfortable, body calm – at every moment be mindful of this. Always remember: if one part moves, every part moves, and if one part is still, every part is still. Regard stillness as movement and movement as stillness. As the movement leads back and forth, energy sticks to your back, gathers in your spine, and there should be stillness. Inwardly bolster spirit. Outwardly show ease. Step like a cat. Move energy as if drawing silk. Throughout your body, your mind should be on the spirit rather than on the energy, for if you are fixated on the energy, your movement will become sluggish. Whenever your mind is on the energy, there will be no power, whereas if you ignore the energy and let it take care of itself, there will be pure strength. The energy is like a wheel. The waist is like an axle.
I have underlines the sentences we need to look at, so what does, “As the movement leads back and forth, energy sticks to your back, gathers in your spine, and there should be stillness” mean?
Here is my take: We are bipedal animals, so the spinal column forms the central axis of all our movements standing on two legs. The qi in Taijiquan is the vital force that keeps us alive and it is everywhere in our body. To align the qi along the central axis would mean we are in alignment with the gravitational force as well and that will allow us to move freely and effortlessly in all directions.
But the disc in our spinal column cannot sit on each other fully, that would stop us from rotating our body properly, they need to be slightly apart at all times, so we have to lengthen our spine upward with a conscious effort (先在心。後在身。First in your mind, then in your body.) so the discs are free to rotate along the central axis and the nerves in the spine don’t pinch each other. We would do this with the muscles along our back, hence it is said, “The qi sticks to our back”.
To be still is to concentrate, to be mindful of the verticality of the spine in tune with the gravitational force so the qi can be focused to keep us in balance and to allow us to move freely and effortless in all direction (内固精神。外示安逸。Inwardly bolster spirit. Outwardly show ease).
What is your thought on this?