Wednesday 18 April 2012

Structural engineering

If I were to choose the most optimal scientific discipline for a tai chi practitioner to come from, I would most likely choose structural engineering. Just like when building bridges and towers, structure is crucial in tai chi and understanding and manipulation of forces is the key essence.

As an analogy, when we are learning tai chi, it is human nature to focus on the hands and try to copy that. Just as if we imagine being tourists looking at Big Ben, we are naturally drawn to staring at the ornamental spires and turrets at the top. What is actually important in tai chi however is the connection with the ground, controlled primarily by correct foot placement. Our structural engineer when faced with big ben will therefore naturally be curious about the bottom of the tower, as they have been trained to understand that the foundations control the structure.

Everything we doing tai chi must come from the feet, as it is the only connection we have anything other than a potential opponent. When you are learning tai chi therefore, try to copy what your instructor's feet to the rest will follow.

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