Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's not magic, it's taiji

Those who have been around taiji masters (or viewed videos on You Tube) are often amazed at seemingly impossible moves. An aura of mystique surrounds taiji/qigong. Some teachers play up to the mystique and have their followers in awe. At Master Jesse's summer training he insisted a number of times that there is nothing "magic" about taiji. Taiji is practice—long term gongfu.
Recently, I tried an experiment to see how my rooting and peng (ward off) postures are coming along. Leaving the university sports center I met one of the football coaches. (Big guy, much taller than me, at a guess 300+ pounds of solid linebacker.) We chatted for a while and I asked him if he would push me. (Bit foolish you might say!) I assumed a peng position, bow stance, asked him to push my wrist and elbow, slowly adding more pressure. I relaxed (song) into my structure. After a while I asked him to stop. How much strength was he using? He told me about forty percent. I remained relaxed, no tension in the muscles and simply stood. I was pleased the root held.
A few days later I discovered one of my students is a college champion wrestler (number two in the country). Another experiment. After a chat, he agreed to push me and try to find my center and unbalance me. We pushed for ten minutes or so. I relaxed into my stance again. Each of seven times he was unable to unbalance me. Seven times he lost balance. He repeated a number of times, "How did you do that?" I simply smiled.
It's not magic, it's taiji.