It is very important throughout the form/fundamentals we keep our hip-joints relaxed but level at all times, Do not collapse your hip joints. Often when we are in transition we collapse into the Kwa we are going into rather than maintaining the integrity of level hips and turning cleanly into it.
The Central Axis-Line is situated and begins above the Ni-Wan at the crown of the head and extends downward through the centre of the body through the perineum extending further downward between the centre of the two feet and into the floor/ground. The development and refinement of the central axis-line produces both sound health and martial outcomes. For this article, I will refer to it as CAL. In Chinese it is termed Zhong Ding. I have also read articles were it likened the CAL to an “axle and a wheel”, the axle being the CAL and the wheel being the waist.
The following are personal observations and experiences in relation to learning Taichichuan framed within a traditionally based teaching methodology specifically.
I must say from the out- set I am “guilty” but remain guiltless of the very things I’m writing about, that is, wanting to learn too much too soon, I mean who doesn’t? Looking back it was probably due to thinking that Taichichuan is easy to learn, and thinking, I can pick this stuff up pretty quick, I mean it looks easy doesn’t it? I soon learnt nothing could have been further from the truth.
I was recently talking with an old friend of mine now living in Perth who tracked me down and rang me out-of-the-blue. I had taught my friend Taichichuan many years ago. I never thought this person would survive into their elder years but there you go wrong again thankfully, not that I would condone my friends early life-experience. You know as a young person my friend would have no qualms about loading a shotgun and robbing someone or business, would have no concern for inflicting hurt upon others with steel pipes, glasses, knives, bottles or bricks and was handy with his fist to boot. Violence was his first and last resort, he was on occasions a stand over merchant acting on behalf of unsavoury collection agencies. I think it fair to say my friend was a "little messed up" back in the day...
When a good student and their teacher have a falling-out and stop discussing, questioning and playing Taichichuan together, each becoming slowly more isolated from the other, the creative cycle of learning/teaching has ceased for both of them, growth is impaired and stagnation imminent. We do not know tomorrow, hurts need to dissolve, stubbornness forgone, and equilibrium restored. The Ching-Shen “spirit of vitality” must be raised? It is precisely in the space of healing and regeneration where the function of Taichichuan is most effective and best served, it is also where the true depth of one’s art, practice and character is better developed and ultimately revealed.
- John Hartley 2015
John Hartley, Founder and Principal Instructor of Inner Health School of Taijiquan, Adelaide