I'm not entirely convinced that the word "arouse" isn't applicable to tai chi. I generally like Audi's interpretations of resonance...but think that there are some phrases in English that could provide a theoretical link between "arouse"/"vibrate" and "resonate." How about energies "humming?"
The discussion of the feminine brought to mind the number of connections between taoist, chan, zen literature and tantric texts (according to Daniel Odier).
Consider this passage from Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier, a French scholar, recounting an oral transmission from a female tantric master in the Himalayas.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
In Tantrism, the first thing is having the experience of touch, of profound contact with things, with the universe, without mental commotion.... When you touch deeply, you no longer need to let go, that occurs naturally. The world is to be be passed through in complete consciousness.... When you hold something with all your consciousness, like the newborn who grabs your finger, it is enough to open your hand. Why is it that the newborn has such strength? Because his whole being takes part in the movement that results in seizing your finger. In this instant he is so strong that you are in his power.
Tantrism is agreeing to live out this power. The woman possesses it naturally. For her, it's easy to experience... To be conscious of his power, a man must first come to recognize his femininity. In the same way, a woman who represses her natural power doesn't find equilibrium within herself or accept her own capacity for wonder. This is how we define the virile man in Tantrism: "He who retains the capacity for wonder."
Ecstasy, the continuous experience of the divine through knowledge of our own nature, is our natural state. The infant knows this state, enjoying it from the moment of conception. It is only under pressure from the outside, education, a bad family situation, that little by little the child loses inborm capabilities--strength, capacity for wonder, absolute self-confidence, openness to the world, the free blossoming of the heart, which it learns to fold up again and then to close tight. Returning to this childlike state is the door that reopens the heart. pp 59-60.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I was struck by the similarities between this passage and tai chi texts about regaining the capacity to breathe like a baby, the strength of an infant's grip, returning to the womb. Also, the necessity for balancing yin and yang in one's self.
I don't know how to interpret that bit about impotence, except to link it to hard and soft combined to defend against soft overcoming hard and hard overcoming soft.
Regarding the bit about ecstasy--I can't think of anything overt in the tai chi classics, but the tao de ching has more. Nonetheless, there do seem to be some correlations to my untrained eye. The admonition to smile internally when practicing. Raising up the spirit seems rather akin to raising the kundalini. The sword posture named "White tiger swings its tail" (White tigers are female daoist sexual adepts.) The general consensus that tai chi practice makes for a better sex life.
So when that passage is translated as "the qi should be aroused" or "drum up the qi," perhaps it is useful to think of it as "thrumming" or "humming" in the sense of the kind of qi arousal with which one approaches an exciting lover--senses open, alive, aware, more "awake" than normal humdrum days.
What happens when this is applied to forms practice?
Why should we create distinctions between qi as orgasmic, martially useful, or spiritually escstatic when they're all part of the jing-qi-shen continuum? What if drumming the qi alludes to combining them all?