Dialogue with Master Liming Yue

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The most important issues for people practicing Chen Style Taiji

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6. The most important issues for people practicing Chen Style Taiji
Q26: What are the most important issues for people practicing Chen Style Taiji?
A:  In general, the following tips are highly recommended for Taiji practitioners:
1) Relaxation;
2) Softness balanced with hardness;
3) Circling movements;
4) Flexibility;
5) Quiet and calm;
6) Smooth and continuous movements;
7) Coordination;
8) Sensitivity of foot work - "Walk as a cat to catch the mouse";
9) Light body movements;
10) Flick movements with elastic and shaking energy release.

Q27: Does it matter when the arm and shoulder muscles feel sore?

A:  That is fine and it is a good sign. It means you have exercised well. You feel pain because the muscles you use in Taiji are different from those you use normally. For example, nobody will normally hang their arms in mid air for as long as you do when practicing Taiji exercises. Also, nobody will squat down that deep, shifting their weight between two legs. Therefore, different types of muscles are involved during the exercise. It is similar to when you are climbing a mountain and you feel sore muscles afterwards. All I can say is, "No pain, no gain." As long you can handle the pain, just go for it. The benefits come from hard training and it always comes with a little bit of pain or discomfort (sorry, no short cuts). But, the results are great after you keep practicing Chen Style Taiji exercises. Click to learn Depressive Syndrome in TCM.

Q28: Is it normal to have both legs shaking and vibrating during the Taiji stance when you are at beginner level?
A: Yes, it is normal and an excellent result to come out of your practice. I would like to say congratulations to you, because your internal energy is getting very strong and will start running throughout your body freely. The reason your legs are shaking and vibrating, according to Chinese medical terms, is similar to acupuncture needle treatment. People who have experienced acupuncture notice similar body reactions caused by the needles. This is the energy running through the channels of a relaxed body during Taiji practice. Once the energy flow gets strong enough to run through the acupuncture points and channels within your body, your body will shake less and less. All this will be achieved with just your body's internal energy. Click to learn Vertigo in TCM.

Q29: Do you need to practice the energy-releasing exercises even if you are just looking for the health benefits of Taiji and should you stamp your foot on the floor in the form during the practice?

A: Yes, it has great benefits for your health. Taiji is considered Yin and Yang. The balance and change between Yin and Yang are the key points of the philosophy of Taiji. Any exercises without Yang or missing Yin, are not a complete set of exercises and the benefits will be reduced. The energy-releasing movements, in particular, can help your body relax and free all the blockages remaining within your body, as well as making your body fitter. Of course, the intensity of the energy-releasing will be adjusted according to the individual's level of fitness. The stamping movements in the form help remove blockages and flushes the Qi energy running over the top of your head, the Baihui point. However, for the beginners and people who have weak knees, it is not always suitable at the beginning stages. Gradually build up to stronger energy releases. Click to learn Neurasthenia in TCM.

Q30: What are the key requirements for releasing energy?

A:  Energy release is a very important part of Taiji training in Chen Style. It has great benefits for your practice, however, there is the potential risk of damaging your body's joints and accidentally blocking your internal circulation if you do it incorrectly. So, the following are the requirements for practitioners to remember.

 1) Relax your body and start with soft and gentle movements.
 2) Root yourself on the ground properly.
 3) Use your waist as a central axis.
 4) Limbs are led by your waist and the strength starts from both feet, passes into both of your legs, then distributes to the shoulder and finally reaches both your fists for the strike.
 5) Free your breath and let it go with your energy release at the same time.
 6) Do not use stiff strength at all.

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