There are 2 major categories that 'thangs' fall under, 'more better' and 'less better'.

The majority of the world falls under (1) 'more better', you want to go faster, you put a bigger motor in your car, 1 aspirin does not make your headache go way, take 2, if you want to learn MA, get bigger muscles and train until you are faster than your opponent, and so on and so forth.

The balance of the world falls under (2) 'less better' paradoxical phenomena; case in point is homeopathy, where in order to increase the potency of a remedy, one dilutes it further and further, and Tai Chi Chuan where one 'never opposes' and one 'never uses force'.

Actually, life processes fall under (2) since they are mediated and facilitated by enzymes and happen at much lower temperatures and require less energy to happen than plain chemical reactions.

Category 2 is what Taoism talks about when they talk about Wu Wei , when you look at the page see 'There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort". In this instance, Wu means "without" and Wei means "effort". The concept of "effortless action" is a part of Taoist Internal martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi.'

So, do less, accomplish more, live longer, better ;-}

The question arises, is there any practical benefit to be had from following the path of ascent? (2)

Yang family small frame practice of Tai Chi Chuan, and Wu family practice of quanjit makes a case of lowering internal resistance as the main path for gaining strength (jin).

Is there a any indication that 'the worlds as it is' allows for gaining by letting go? Does Cheng Manching's 'invest in loss' actually mean something is is it just a cute saying?

When one lowers the temperature of a conductor gradually, the resistance lowers gradually as well, until, at a 'magical' point the resistance goes down to ZERO, and one gets a 'super conductor' in which current will flow for ever, no losses.

When one lowers the load on actine fiber (the actual engine of muscle tissue) it's efficiency grows, at very low load levels, the 'magic' happens again, and a huge peak in efficiency manifests.

So, the white eye of the black fish (tai-chi tu is a 'reality' there is a family of phenomena that follows a different path.

The commonality is that these manifest near or at zero, just like there is a whole family of phenomena that manifest near or at infinity (black holes etc.)

And, Taoist yin practices that assume birth from the abyss are a good way of exploring these territories.

Learning Tai Chi Chuan is layered process.

Each layer of self change, when acquired, makes approaching the next subject matter possible, so, traditionally each one is called a gate.

The first gate IMO is that of regaining the potential to be empty; the approaches vary, but the technology of learning sung is based on dissolving blocks and letting go of the mental and emotional constructs that express themselves in these.

It matters not if the framework is that of muscle tendon change, body armor removal, dissolving ... any and all systems will deliver results.

But, if the student does not get the goods on this gate, IMO they'll never be able to progress past the externals.

Wokay... so you got a fair level of sung manifesting in your body, movement & actions, i.e. you've passed the first gate, now what?

The next chore is rebuilding the body so that it exhibits central equilibrium.

This bit of TLC (tender loving care, the 'little white lie' of real estate agents when they try to sell you a hovel, you know it'll only take a bit of TLC and it'll be GREAT) is a must. I have yet to meet a person over 5 that's not messed up in one way or another.

Whatever is wrong, physically, emotionally or by way of chi and whatever else you consider part of what and who you are, needs to be addressed, and *fixed*.

Most will have to do with posture, carriage, balance, range of motion in the joints, fascia that's too tight, or too loose, over or under developed muscles, movement primitives that are off, reflexes that are off (this is just a partial list of the most common issues). The list is personal, and each of us is off in different ways, so there is no one 'fix' that'll do it.

You notice that all that I have enumerated above are physical, however, fix the physical and the subtle will be fixed as well. You could (and some people do) come at it from the emotional, mental or chi angle and be successful.

The 'howto' here is vast, and spans all the we consider 'medical' or health related, bodywork, nutrition, habits etc. Some people will be able to make it work on their own, but most will need some outside help.

The end result is a healthy, happy body, that at rest exhibits central equilibrium.

So, you have acquired an open pelvis, good connection to the ground, a free standing & aligned spine, an open torso and an open head / neck / shoulder assembly (gates(2)), now what?

Well, you have to learn Tai Chi Chuan ;-}

I know, most will balk at this point, what were they doing for the few years when they studied forms and PH and ... while working on passing through the first 2 gates?

Q: what did they do in the old time? A: spent a few years working on *basic* training, what's sometime referred to by TCMA books as getting kung fu. THEN, after rectifying the body, they started learning individual elements. THEN linkages, THEN form work, THEN PH etc.

What's the point in getting a choreography of empty movements?

What the point of 'waving one's hands' without root, or core, or sung or ting?


You need a teacher that can weave the prerequisites into the teaching process while making some inroads into form-work, that's why teaching progression is so important.

If you check the rant of Yang Chengfu about how easy it is to teach right, and how hard to correct later on, you'll see that this is not a new issue, just a revisit of the old.

Most of the stuff picked up with a messed up body has to be reworked, redone, relearned.

David Lenkovitzki.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, my name is David, I have been practicing Tai Chi Chuan for over 30 years. I learned Tung Style from Marvin Smallhouser student of Tung Kai Ying, Yang Style from Terry Dunn at the Taoist Institute of Los Angeles under instruction from Bill Helm from the Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego, Wu style from Rock Ng, student of Wu Kung-Yi, Yangjia Michuan & Weapons from Terry Wisniewski the owner of the Integrated Sino-Tibetan Martial Arts in Siloam Springs.

I have been actively involved in teaching Tai Chi Chuan for over 25 years in private and in public parks promoting the Wu family small frame, public classes have been offered at studio from it's inception.