Hopping The Taiji Path in the Year of the Rabbit
Thinking of a rabbit hopping around wildly, made me consider the importance of the steps we take in life, and how beneficial it can be to know where to hop next. As my teacher says, for outer life ‘live it as intelligently as possible’, and that takes quite a lot of ‘trial-error’ method. For inner life, trial-error can be really misleading, so it’s much better to follow a well tested system. I built up the TaijiStream Platform following the guidelines that our highly experienced teacher Patrick Kelly outlined for his teachings. It required some adjustments to fit into the ‘screen’ medium, but nevertheless each ‘hop’ has a clear purpose and benefit. Let me extend a bit about this subject, so you know where to start, where you are headed, and what to expect on the Path:
Hop #1: Standing Meditation
The most simple exercise that you can possibly find, but still containing all the basics to support the internal training.
It will help you to start developing the Body-Mind connection, while enhancing the functions of the Body-Energy-Mind system.
A free course to get started and see how the Inner Path feels
Hop #2: The Taiji Principles
The Song Shen Wu Fa – 5 Loosening Exercises are a set of basic training exercises based on the Taiji Principles created by master Huang Xing Xian (1910-1992).
The loosenings are also the introductory course for the Taiji Form training.
Training them accurately can bring “relaxed hip joints and relaxed shoulders, Body-Mind coordination and relaxation, Energy circulation and Inner Strength” that are the main points in taiji.
Hop #3: The Taiji Form
The 37 Move Taiji Short Form taught at TaijiStream was created by professor Cheng Man Ching (1902-1975). He who was also known as the “Master of 5 Excellences”, and was a disciple of Taiji master Yang Cheng Fu. Cheng Man Ching simplified the old taiji form to 37 moves to make it easier to teach and train. His form has come to be known as Cheng Man Ching Taiji.
For learning purposes, the Form has been divided into 5 Levels, each corresponding to 1 section of the Form. On each level I focus the teaching on 1 or 2 main principles, extending and deepening the ideas introduced on the 5 Loosening Exercises. It is the essential frame for you to develop and integrate all the benefits of the Taiji practice.
Hop #4: Tui Shou - Pushing Hands
This step adds the 8 fix pushing hands patterns to the previous hops. Once you have grasped the essential points of the pushing hands exercises, applications are also introduced (the ‘famous’ but hard to grasp ‘Fa Jin’ or Issuing Elastic Forces’ which for Taiji Masters were famous in the Martial Arts world).
Tui Shou trains sensitivity towards the partner Intention, Energy and Forces. You will become sensitive to the subtle process of connecting into another person, which is a really helpful skill for daily life interactions. That is why it mainly needs to be trained in real ‘live' practice.
Hop #5: Meditation
Meditation is where you can collect the benefits of the Taiji practice, and transform de base energy towards a more refined one.
This is the alchemy process that the Classics describe as the transformation of Jing – Qi – Shen, or Body’s Energy – Emotional Energy – Mental or Sipiritual Energy. It is, once more, a step by step process of Inner evolution.
Outcome and Future Hops
On completion of these ‘hops’, you will have a basic understanding of the traditional Daoist internal training system of Taiji and its natural relaxed movements. It will also open the doors to further levels of training and self-development. Through a modern approach, you will experience the Taiji principles of “Loosening the muscles, freeing the joints, calming the emotions and quietening the mind”
To maximize the experience, the TaijiStream site and courses are structured in the same way. You can use this guideline to navigate the course area, and follow the Rabbit hops to be sure you don’t get lost on the Path.