Firstly I must clarify myself – I meant to type:
‘there is quite a strong case for the ‘Chi’ in Tai Chi sometimes being gravity - not only the Chi of TCM’
I do apologise for that possibly misleading error.
Glenn Blythe (Wee Kee Jin’s student)was the one who stated to me that he felt the word ‘chi’ had sometimes been mistranslated. He states that the word essentially means energy and as in English ‘Energy’ is a generic term.
Glenn has a great web site and a very nice article on the Chi of the earth – gravity.
This is his web site: http://www.taichischoolofgentleexercise.com/
This is his article: http://22.214.171.124:5631/html/tai_chi_defined.htm
(Particularly the last paragraph)
So my experience would suggest that there is both the use of gravity and the use of intrinsic energy.
The intrinsic energy is the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ that originates from the ‘centre’, which is where the ‘tantien’ and the central axis meet. The opening expands from the centre, and the closing contracts from there – both from the inside outwards.
This I would consider to be some of the many phrases you quoted: “The qi sinks to the dantian”, “the qi adheres to the back, then collects into the spine.” And the “qi” element of the Li I Yu 5 character Secret etc.
I already talked about the use of gravity in my previous post:
<I>Relaxation creates sinking, sinking creates movement. Relaxation is a
softening of the body.
When the body relaxes the weight / gravity can be led / directed by the mind
down through the body. The movement of the energy (gravity) down into the
ground is sinking.
It is very important to suspend the crown whilst doing this or you will merely be creating compression - ie the force will not be passing through you but compacting you like a spring.
This downwards internal movement creates a stretch in the body - this stretch is Jing.</I>
(The opening and closing needs to be synchronized with the relaxation, sinking, grounding, and issuing of the relaxed force.)
Anyway fter reading Glenn’s stuff I looked into Gravity a bit more and feel it can describe quite a few more thing - let me attempt to explain what I got. Please bear with me though I am no scientist!
<I>The weight of an object is the force exerted upon it due to gravity.
Weight (on Earth) is a force we feel from the ground, which is stopping us being pulled to the centre of the earth.</I>
As we know sinking (brought about through use of the mind and breath) lowers our weight – or centre of gravity.
We create relaxation that creates movement inside (and outside) the body. We relax and allow gravity to act upon us.
<I>When resting upon the ground the force on each bit of us is not uniform.
Because when a solid object is not accelerating there is an upward force that arises. Each horizontal cross section of the object experiences not only the force due to gravity on it, but also the weight of whatever portion of the object is above it.
Part of feeling weight, then, is actually experiencing a pressure gradient within one’s own body.</I>
So, we can use the Yi to relax the body (changing the pressure gradient) and allow/lead the weight/gravity through the body – creating movement. The movement of the energy (gravity) down into the ground is sinking. This would be our Yi leading the Chi and the body following.
Perhaps when the body stopped sinking, ie the internal movement ceased, the upward force would result? Perhaps this is the ‘return force’ following sinking – gravity effectively causing rising and falling.
I.e. as the sinking body was not solid it merely underwent compression* until a pressure gradient would be experienced. (* More on this to follow)
We can go further with this model though – as it has not so far considered the effect of gravity on a suspended object (such as suspending the head top)
<I>There is another aspect of weight that a pressure gradient does not account for, an example of which is the way that our arms are pulled downward with respect to our body.
This effect comes from the fact that something hanging is not supported directly via a pressure from the ground. In fact the effect is almost the exact opposite of a pressure gradient - it is a tension gradient.</I>
The suspended head-top places the body into the same circumstance. The relaxation of the body allows the force of gravity to act through it and the body experiences a tension gradient. Essentially the body is stretched downwards towards the ground.
When the stretch is complete, or exhausted, the suspended body effectively makes contact with the ground the body immediately experiences a pressure gradient. An upward force occurs via a pressure from the ground. The Stretch (Jing) can also be released.
In summary – all of this would appear to be an explanation of the drawing of the bow and its release, the sinking to one side and of force rising from the feet.
I don’t feel I have done it justice – but as I said I am no scientist.
The description also appears to be able to describe what occurs during push hands:
When pushing hands and giving emptiness to absorb the partners energy and break his root they experience a sense of weightlessnessIf we are in true free fall we feel no weight because there is no force to stop us accelerating under gravity. It has to do with whether there are force gradients across your body.
By giving emptiness to a push (relaxation), whilst suspending our crown, we effectively join to the other person’s mass. So their force passes through our sinking structure bringing their ‘weight’ with it.
Like one of those old slinky toys, they are raised up and drawn in. This movement creates the stretch (storage of Jing) and breaks their root.
I think this is one of those topics where I could go on and on – and of course no one may be interested
But hopefully I have said enough to add some veracity to the theory.
Please ask any questions that you want to or need you to help understand what I am saying.