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Taichi is a highly sophisticated strain of Chinese boxing.A crucial point in Taichipractice is to observe the significance

of"unity/coherence"It was said in <The theory of Taichi>that "Once in motion, the body must stay lithe. Especially, parts must be unified." This goes to show the importance of the unity in Taichi practice. The following points contain further explaination:



1.Moves: Taichi should be practiced in coherent movements without pause orstagnancy.It is very important for beginners to form a habit of unifying their movements.Unity means the moves are tightly linked in their action. No pause or stagnancy is allowed. When one move(or posture)is complete, the next must follow immediately, as in "one must move without vitium, without jounce, and without rupture". If faults, jounces or ruptures occur, Qi is wounded and the best timing is lost.

Consequently:"The roots being broken, quick destruction is sure to follow soon.""Breaks"usually result from movements that are too large, too quick or too slow.Bulky moves are bad for maintaining balance, and balance is a priority inTaichi Quan practice. For example, if you move too low it will be hard to get back into your original position, because you need constant"adjustments" to keep the balance or else you will not be able torestore your initial tension. That is how a"break" occurs. It is the same with moves that are too fast or too slow. The Taichi is centered on equilibiration, so force, speed and movementare expected to be uniformed. For beginners, a set of moves should be completed in around 20-25 minutes. As one's familiarity deepens and one's ability improves, one can adjust to make it last 30-40 minutes, but no more than 45.The principle is to keep going at an even speed, so time and pace should be fine-tuned to constant. Essentially, there must be no break.



2.Force: Taichi focuses on litheness. One cannot move with dull or stiff strength. Dull strength also leads to break because force expressed through dull strength is compromised in powerand speed. Take "Banlan Quan(Moving Waves)"as an example: if a punch is made with dull strength, the timing, power, and placement of the punch cannot be easily controlled. If you cannot control your own punch, you cannot keep your balance or recover it in time. Thus you lose your center of gravity and put yourself in a compromising situation regarding defences. Losing yourbalance, you are more easily placed under attacked.

The principle of excercising strength is to "relax without slackening and reach without stretching.''That is to say, the employment of strength should be both open and reserved at the same time. One has to keep Qi built, relaxed and steady, focusing in one direction, yet attentive in all.





3.Channeling Qi

Another crucial thing regarding unity is that it is related to the channelling of Qi.<Interpretation of 13 Taichi Forms> says:"Channel Qi from the heart.Take it steady to absorb it into bones. Use Qi to work the body. Take it smooth to ease the heart." Taichi can never feel heavy; to channel Qi smoothly means to keep it even, and thus, uniformed. Therefore, "Qi is sometimeslaid back and sometimes animated. Switching effortlessly is the point offlexibility."(It is translated in a stiff way. Please pay attention to your mentors when being taught. The words can't be simply understood by reading, not even in Chinese for Chinese people.)

ChannellingQi is a relatively more advanced stage of Taichi training, but its basis is what one gets from basic trainings. Qi works physically, not spiritually.Working Qi and dealing out strength are cause and effect. They are supplementary and complementary. We can't see Qi as something extremely mysterious. The real question is whether one puts hard work into practising.

Both beginners, and those with some or quite a bit of efficacy, should take care of unity and abide by its principles. I often see enthusiasts ignoring its importance. In fact, the Four Fundamentals of Taichi (Litheness, Unity, the echos of Qi and the introversion of your facial and inner expression)are very much interelated, and I hope they can be observed by everyone practising Taichi. Among the 4 fundamentals, ''The litheness and the coherence"are relatively more extroverted, and the latters are more focused on the inside. The external and the internal are linked, and need to be worked on through practice.



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