World Chen Xiaowang Taijiquan Association - Bulgaria

Theory


Basic concepts of Taijiquan



The Principle /In the original, the "Li" character is used - meaning "TRUTH", "REASONABLE BASIS" It concerns the universal, hence the reasonable is the basis of the fist's art/

All things dispersing are sure to join, and all things departing once will surely come to agreement. Everything in existence between Heaven and Earth in four sides and eight limits of the world, all myriad of phenomena share one source. The united root can be parted into ten thousand branches, but ten thousand things may be united in one root. The comprehension of the fist art also follows this common rule. Taijiquan has a multitude of external forms, but its every motion is filled with strength. Although Taijiquan's figures are permanently changing its power originates from one source. That, called here the united, is the unity which embraces all our body from crown to heels, four extremities and the skeleton. Its internal part consist of the internal organs, tendons and bones. Its external part consist of the muscles, flesh and skin. Try to split it and it would not give in. Beat it and it would not crumble. If the top is moving the bottom is following, if the bottom is moving the top is leading it. Top and bottom are moving and the middle responds to their movement. The middle is moving, therefore top and bottom move accordingly. Internal and external continue each other, front and back support each other. That is why it is said: "One thread transpierce it". /Which phrase dates back from Confucius and describes his teachings. In the daoist tradition it marks the united conversion of the world/. However everything must be carried effortlessly. When necessary move as a dragon or as a tiger, rushing forward as a thunderbolt. But if it is required be calm and do not reveal yourself, be firm as a mountain. While you are calm and empty let everything in yourself to the last fraction to calm. While you are moving, nothing within you is immovable. Resemble water rushing down uncontainable. Resemble fire impetuously spreading around and does nīt yield to extinguishing. Do not succumb to idle thoughts, do not burden yourself by troubles, act sincerely as the situation orders - that is all. The spiritual power accumulates gradually, day by day. The mastery may be acquired after extensive training. To achieve the science of the one thread, which is the foundation of our school, you must learn and reach the very limits of knowledge, only then the true mastery shall emerge. Despite of that, whether it is difficult or easy for you, work only toward improvement without being lazy, but also without rushing yourself. Learn everything in order and then all body parts will combine in one all transpierced unity by themselves. Top and bottom, internal and external will create one thread. Everything dispersed will join, everything parted will be in mutual accordance and the whole body will return to The United Breath.

The Breath /In the original, the character Qi is used, which often is translated as "ENERGY"/

Nothing exists between Heaven and Earth which would not return after leaving, and being straight would not crook. All things have their opposites, in every event there is movement back. Such is the inalterable truth. If the unity is unified, why it parts in two? That is called duality - inhale and exhale, but inhaling and exhaling are the Yin and Yang powers. The breath cannot be realized without inhalation and exhalation. Exhalation is Yang, inhalation is Yin, raising is Yang, sinking is Yin. This is the differentiation between Yin and Yang. What does it mean pure and impure? That, which is raising, is pure. That, which is sinking, is impure. Pure is Yang, impure is Yin. The breath can not be realized without Yin and Yang, just like a man can not exist without motion and immobility. Despite the breath parting in two, it comes back to the unity, you must not bind yourself to contradistinctions.

Three Sections /three knots, three parts/

The breath fills the whole body, but the body is divided into many parts. If we consider the separate parts of the body, we will divert from the true sense of the fist art. It is better to mark only three sections in the body. They correspond to the head, the torso and the legs. In the head - forehead is upper section, nose is middle section, mouth is down section. In the torso - breast are upper section, abdomen is middle section, dantien is down section. In the legs - thigh is upper, knee is middle, foot is down section. In the hand - shoulder is upper, elbow is middle, palm is down section. So there are three sections everywhere from crown to heels. Without realization for the upper section, the body will lack a head. Without realization for the middle section, the body will lack filling. Without realization of the down section, the legs will lack firmness. It is required, for that reason, to pay special attention to the three sections. When vital energy is set in motion, it raises from extreme sections, follows through middle section and finds exit in the root section. Such is the case if we examine the body partially. But if we examine it as an unity - all its parts from crown to heels are one section.

Four Tips

External limits of the body form the so called four tips. The vital energy, spreading inside the body finds exit trough these tips. What are the four tips? First among them is hair the tip of blood, and blood is an ocean of energy. Tongue is the tip of flesh, and flesh is a receptacle for energy. The energy will lack a place for accumulation, if it does not transpierce the flesh. Teeth are the tip of the skeleton and nails are the tip of the tendons. The energy is born in the bones, flows into tendons and in order to fill the body it must reach teeth and nails. If the four tips are filled, the vital power in the body will be enough.

Three Connections

Under three connections we understand: heart connects with the will, energy connects with physical strength and tendons are connected with the bones. These are the three internal connections. When palms act in accordance with the feet, elbows act in accordance with the knees and shoulders act in accordance with the thighs - these are called, the three external connections. When left palm is in accordance with right foot, left elbow with right knee and left shoulder with right thigh, it is called the three connections of right with left. When head is in accordance with palms, palms with body and body with the steps - these are also three external connections. And when heart is in accordance with eyes, gallbladder with tendons and kidneys with the bones - these are also called internal connections. Therefore, when something starts moving, nothing is left motionless. All three connections are present in one connection.

Six Leadings

What are the six leadings? Head is the crown of six Yang beginnings /According to Chinese understanding the head is a receptacle of the six main Yang meridians in the human body and therefore represents extreme Yang/ and a leader of the whole body, which is why one cannot, but recognize the head as a leading of the body. The palm is brought outward with the shoulder as its base. If the shoulder does not act, the palm would not be brought outward. Therefore the shoulder also must be considered as one of the leadings of the body. Energy is accumulated in an elbow, vital power acts trough the waist. If the waist does not act as a leading part, energy will scatter and lose pressure /direction/. Hence the waist is also a leading part. Will transpierces the whole body and acts through the steps. If the step is not a leading, the will loses its power, therefore special attention is required when consider it as a leading. Besides, right must be a leading for one to move up and left, and left must be a leading for one to move up and right. Combining these the six leadings will result. When something in the body becomes a leading, everything in the body begins moving. Which is the principle of six leadings.

Principle of Steps

Step - is the basis of the whole body, the focus of all movements. All actions in combat depend on the step! Without correct step is it possible to obtain the secrets of countless metamorphosis of the body's appearance? They say: Watching is in the eyes, conversions are in the heart. But the correctly carried and effortless movement along the ground depends entirely on the step. The movements come from the Inåxplicable /Incomprehensible/. Legs, unarbitrarily begin moving before all parts of the body. Which is called: The top is on the verge of movement, but the bottom already follows. Furthermore a clear distinction must be made between the steps of front and back leg. Each instant of movement, front and back leg must be in accordance. In general the vitality of all movements is dependable upon the step. The meaning of the step is of great importance!

Soft and Hard

The secret of applying the fist art is only in energy and strength. However the energy can be strong or weak and strength may be hard or soft. Strong energy corresponds to hard strength and the weak energy corresponds to soft strength. Distribution of hardness and softness depends on the knowledge to combine strength and dexterity. The effect of hard or soft energy results from the method of revealing the vital power. When extremities are moving and vital energy is directed outside, but you are calm and firm inside - the strength then is hard. When the energy is accumulated inside, but you are light and flexible - the strength then is soft. Application of hardness, however is impossible without softness. Because if softness is lacking, the movement's speed will not be great. Application of the softness also is impossible without hardness. Because, if hardness is lacking, the punch would not be pervasive. Hardness and softness complement one another and thanks to that all punches are natural. We must not apply hardness and softness separately - in the martial art, that is always to be remembered!

Principles of applying the martial art

In The Testaments of Bases is said: The punch comes from the heart, the fist is following the will. You should always know yourself, know the opponent and to change accordingly to the situation. The fist art resembles the general's art: attack without preparation, step back without thinking. One appears empty, but in reality he is filled. One appears filled, but in reality he is empty. Slip out of the filling, fill the emptiness. Do not accept any conditions of the combat, resemble a shifting dragon or a fierce tiger in appearance; attacking the opponents, charging into their ranks like a cannon-ball. Top, middle and bottom - all is filled with energy. Torso, hands and legs everything moves flawlessly along the rules: hands are not raising aimlessly while striking the emptiness and the spirit is always bright and cheerful. The ancients were saying: "The heart resembles gunpowder, the hands a crossbow. When the spiritual spring acts even a bird, will face difficulties avoiding the punch. The body resembles a tightened bow, the hands are like an arrow shot from the bow. The birds fall prey to the thunderous /loud, resonant/ cry - such is the influence of the wondrous power. Striking up, watch what is happening under your legs. The hands must move swiftly, the legs must be light, know the situation while moving with feline agility. The heart is concentrated, the eyes - clear. When hands and legs act in accordance to each other you will reach a natural movement. If a hand acts, but the body does not, the punch would not be successful. However when hand and body act in accordance to each other the opponent will be trampled /stamped/ like grass. When you practice alone, act as if there is an opponent in front of you. When engaged in combat, act as if there is nobody in front of you. The heart must overpace everybody, the will must overcome everyone, body must attack by itself, the steps must precede /overpace/ everyone. The head must be straight, the waist must be soundly fixed. Dantien must revolve from top to bottom - all is inspired with The United Breath. Foreseeing movement is a teacher, the following one is a pupil. Your mind should be occupied with how to attack, rather than how to step aside. The secret of mastery can be infered with uniting the heart and nothing more! The united truth is displayed /developed/ in two types of breath, it is accomplished through three sections, manifests in four tips and achieves fulfillment in the rotation of five elements. The fist art must be practiced tirelessly. At the beginning you should enforce yourself, but with time it will become natural. The science of the fist art consists only in that!

Song of the secret directions

Esoteric version:
The whole body is one emptiness. Without form or appearances. Responding to all, keeping the natural. Musical tablets are hanging on the west mountain, a tiger is roaring, a monkey is screaming, the water is clean, the river - calm. The river carries its water, the sea is spreading, the nature is achieved and the fate fulfilled.

Conventional Version:
Forgetting ones self and the others, internal and external are one. Following the heart's desires, you remain wide open towards the Heavens. Purify the Yin's seed within yourself, the heart dies, but the spirit lives on. Blood and energy flow freely, the whole body is filled with spirit.

Eight principles of Taijiquan

1. Being Centered - the organism's consciousness and energy are harmonized, the weight center is always situated on the waist's level
2. Steadyness - the body always keeps the balance, its weight center does not deviate from the central line
3. Calmness - movements are performed effortlessly, fluently and evenly, breathing is even
4. Overflowing - the whole body and the spirit, are entangled into a hidden musical rhythm of unfolding and folding, of opening and closing
5. Lightness - a state of inner weightlessness resembling free flight in midair /like walking under water/
6. Inspiredness - a specific type of enlightened sensitivity, implying the ability to impeccably follow the flow of life
7. Fulness or Completeness - completeness, inner self-sufficiency of every movement and every moment of practice
8. Livelyness - livelyness as a greater and summarizing quality of the movements, resulting from all other aspects of Taijiquan. The livid movement has the same effectiveness in all situations and methods for applying the strength

Written by Chen Changxing /prominent master of Tajiquan from Chen family, lived during the first half of the 19th century/