all tai chi enthusiasts welcome
The mind is something that moves between the bones and muscles. When practicing the solo set or playing hands, the experience feels captivating in a way that words are not quite adequate to explain. You must get the mind to course through the whole body. When the mind goes to the left, the body goes to the left, and when the mind goes to the right, the body goes to the right. These are the transformations of empty and full in Taiji. The alternations of the mind are like a flask half full of water: tip it to the left and it floods the left half, or tip it to the right and it floods the right half. If it can be like this, not only will you have obtained the qualities of roundness and liveliness, there will also be pleasure in the movements of your hands and feet. Once in such a condition, if someone were to try to prevent me from practicing, I doubt they would be able to, because I would be aware that my body is having so much fun.
The meaning of “gross movement” is to make the posture big and to loosen the muscles. When beginning to learn the solo set, first of all strive for the postures to be opened up quite big, which will loosen the sinews and enliven the blood, making it easier to transform weakness into strength.
Once you have become strengthened, examine your outward ability to integrate sinew, bone, and muscle, while inwardly gathering together essence, energy, and spirit. This phase of the process is the “finer details”. Cultivate the inside and outside simultaneously, adding also the alternations between movement and stillness. Going from gross movement to finer details, strengthening the body and perfecting the applications, you will be able to attain a refined level. If it is suggested the idea of this passage is that the postures of the solo set are to practiced big and then small, that is incorrect.
Louis Swaim wrote:Hi Audi,
For 因知身體受無限之幸福, I would probably cleave to a tighter, "because I know my body is receiving limitless happiness (or delight)," but I have to agree that "because I would be aware that my body is having so much fun" is a great rendering. There's really a lot to admire in Brennan's work, and a lot to learn from the original text.
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