“Martial Virtue and Heroism”
In practicing any Martial Art, the aim is NOT to use the Art as an aggressor, but rather as a means to counter those who are aggressive. As such, the Chinese word/term “wude” embodies the basic characteristics of all Martial Arts.
Wude is a Mandarin Chinese word which combines four,(4) aspects of the “True Virtue” of the Martial Arts. Without understanding and practicing all four, a martial arts student is said to be lost. Thus, it is very important for students of the martial arts, including T’ai Chi Ch’uan, understand and use “wude” as a means of learning and in every day life. The principles are as follows..,
Gon - Everyday, without neglect, to always keep training.
Dan – Always be brave and remain calm in order to make the correct decision.
Jie – Judge yourself without conceit and do not show moves thoughtlessly.
Yi – To act without hesitation, always do what is right.
These principles should not only be followed and practiced in your martial arts studies, but also throughout life.
Now, let’s look at some Training and Techniques now that you understand what is expected in your learning, shall we?
The basic, or Core, training of T’ai Chi Ch’uan involves two features. The Taolu and the Tuishou.
Taolu, these are the “Solo” forms of studying which involves the use of slow sequences of movements emphasizing a straight spine, a natural and fluid range of motion and abdominal breathing.
Tuishou, this feature involves different styles of the “Pushing Hands” techniques for which T’ai Chi Ch’uan is known for and these practices involve using the Solo exercises with a partner and the use of T’ai Chi Ch’uan in a more practical manner.
Another form of the T’ai Chi Martial Arts form is what is known as Qigong. This is the style most people are familiar with as this is the practice of using the style and art of T’ai Chi Ch’uan but not as a defensive art, but rather as an exercise routine. Qigong is used primarily as a health and meditation practice and not as a martial art.
The “Solo” forms have two styles, Empty Hand and Weapons. For now we will only deal with the empty hand practice. The main thing to concentrate on in practicing your solo form is your center of gravity. In preforming the solo routines, through repeated practice, a student will learn to retain posture, maintain flexibility in their joints and encourage circulation through out the body. If a student is off balance they are more likely to practice the basic moves improperly and thus not be learning at all. Above all else, if one is learning T’ai Chi Ch’uan and not concentrating, or they are not committed to the art as it is meant to be studied, then all is for naught. This is a serious and skilled martial art and as such, it should not be taken lightly.
In my next posting, we will discuss, for a brief period, Qigong and breathing techniques but then we will look at the “Push Hand” partnered study and exercises a bit more in depth. J. Parker