Why Practice Tai Chi Chuan Slow

There have been many answers to the question of why Tai Chi Chuan is practiced slowly. One answer says that because all Tai Chi Chuan movements are circular, it takes a longer path and therefore more time to travel from point A to point B. Another answer says that when it is slow, the practitioner can pay more attention to the movement. These answers are like the four blind men who wanted to find out what is an elephant.

Tai Chi Chuan is the physical interpretation of the philosophy of Tai Chi. It has Yin and Yang components. Tai Chi Chuan is composed of "Gong" or training and "Chee" technique. Gong refers to internal power and chee refers to martial art.

When one is training in an internal power, one is practice intent and chi. Therefore, there is concentration directed on individual movements. When one practices the technique, one focuses on the eight techniques of warding off, roll back, press, push, pull down, split, elbows strike, shoulders strike and the five elements of left, right, forward, retreat and center and the importance of their power, directions and techniques.

Although each of the individual eight techniques is different slightly, they are referring to the strike. Each one utilizes the hands, elbows, knees, feet, hips and head. Generally, because the power of these strikes is issued outward by the movement of the body, the eight techniques actually refer to the eight body movements. Advance and retreat refer to the movement of the feet or the body and feet techniques. Left and right refer to the eyes movement. Center refers to the body technique.

Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art and very efficient as such because it applies internal power to each technique. Therefore, when one is practicing Tai Chi Chuan, one is practicing the development of internal power or what is commonly called Qigong. It is a special kind of qigong that utilizes all movements for martial art. The skill and power of this qigong is different from most qigong that people practice today. This is why the practice of Tai Chi Chuan yields so many benefits. It has benefits from both martial art and qigong. Like other hard qigong, it can develop the facility for taking a powerful punch to the body. But Tai Chi Chuan practitioners can take punches not only from a stationary posture but while they are in motion, also.

Tai Chi Chuan can also develop the facility of issuing power outside the body to affect other people or bounce people off with a strike. This power is the result of a combination of yielding jing and fa jing (discharging) power. Therefore, it can be said that if one does not have this yielding jing and fa jing skill, one does not really practice Tai Chi Chuan correctly.

Intent is what's necessary. It is the commander of all movement. It is said in the six harmony theory that when the intent is there, the chi is there and the power is there. A movement without intent is nothing. An intent without movement is nothing too. An intent combined with movement that is not applied to an opponent is nothing. When intent combined with movement is applied on an opponent, then something is achieved.

A beginner who moves from movement to movement without paying attention to each movement's function is not considered to be practicing Tai Chi Chuan.

The fact is that, when one practices Tai Chi Chuan solo form with intent and power, the speed will be slow. Tai Chi Chuan does not mean slow, however, since other martial arts also have slow forms. Tai Chi Chuan can be practice fast.

When one is practicing Tai Chi Chuan slow, one focuses on the "Yin" or "Gong" component. When one practices Tai Chi Chuan fast, one focuses on the "Yang" or "Chee" component. The Tai Chi Chuan classics said that a practitioner can master the art of Tai Chi Chuan only when one has mastered both Yin and Yang.

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