CHAPTER ONE – TAIJI BOXING REQUIREMENTS
武式太極拳要點 郝月如 著
ESSENTIALS OF WU YUXIANG STYLE TAIJI BOXING (by Hao Yueru)
- courtesy Brennan Translations
I. In Taiji Boxing, there are thirteen fundamental body standards: contain your chest, pluck up your back, wrap your crotch, shield your belly, lift your headtop, suspend your crotch, loosen your shoulders, sink your elbows, always be ready, get it over with in a flash, center your tailbone, sink energy to your elixir field, and distinguish between empty and full.
The chest is the area above the solar plexus. Your chest should not stick out, but should instead relax downward, your shoulders slightly closing forward. This is what is meant by containing your chest. If you can contain your chest, you will be able to use your mind to move energy.
The area of your spine between your shoulders seems to have an intention of rousing. Your shoulders should be enlivened and there must not be a lowering of your head. This is what is meant by plucking up your back.
Your knees put forth an effort with an intention of going inward. With both legs unified as if they are a single leg, you can distinguish which one is empty and which one is full. This
is what is meant by wrapping your crotch.
Both your flanks slightly contract. They have an energy of grabbing downward and closing together forward. Inside there is a feeling of being relaxed and full. This is what is meant by shielding your belly.
Your head and neck are upright, neither drooping nor hoisting. Energy passes through to your headtop, carrying your whole body. This is what is meant by lifting your headtop.
Your thighs apply strength and your buttocks are sent forward, so that your lower abdomen has a dynamic of tilting upward. This is what is meant by suspending your crotch.
Use intention to get your shoulders to loosen, sinking energy downward. Within the intention add a thought of tranquility. This is what is meant by loosening your shoulders.
Use intention to move energy, moving it to your elbows. Your wrists will then be able to be nimble. The tips of your elbows always have an intention of hanging down. This is what is meant by sinking your elbows.
When there is an intention to move but not yet movement, this is the energy of being ready to move. This is what is meant by always being ready.
Your body, hands, waist, and legs move together in a continuous flow, issuing power outward like the loosening of an arrow, fast as a thunderclap, to an unguarded area. This is what it means to get it over with in a flash.
There is strength in your thighs. Your buttocks gather forward. The base of your spine goes forward to prop up and lift your “elixir field” (i.e. your lower abdomen). This is what is meant by your tailbone being centered.
If you can get your tailbone centered, contain your chest, shield your belly, loosen your shoulders, and suspend your crotch, then you will be able to use intention to send energy to your abdomen and keep it from floating up. This is what is meant by energy sinking to your elixir field.
Which leg is empty and which is full must be distinguished. “Empty does not mean you are in that area completely weak.” When touching down, the key point is that there should be an energy of being ready to move. With a readiness to move, there is an intention of the empty foot and your chest drawing toward each other, and it is thereby easy to sink to one side. “Full does not mean you are in that area completely stuck.” Spirit concentrates in the full thigh to prop up your whole body. There should be an intention of carrying upward. If empty and full are not distinguished, you will easily end up using force against force.