Yang Taijiquan at Medium Speed A Bridge to Understanding Jing Training
Contrary to what is commonly seen in parks or in pharmaceutical commercials, Taijiquan movements can be quick and used for combat. For martial proficiency, the natural progression is slow, medium, then fast. Medium speed is the bridge to understanding different types of jing (martial power 勁) and applying fa jing (manifesting explosive martial power 發勁) in future practice. Whether training for combat, health, or self-cultivation, students may deepen their knowledge of Taijiquan by practicing at different speeds. Skills learned at slower speeds are honed while new skills are developed.
The author studies the Yang-style 108 Form and the descriptions herein reflect her current understanding of the teachings of her instructor, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, and fellow students. These approaches may apply to other styles, but there is no absolute way to train Taijiquan.
Some students may prioritize relaxation and train breathing and leading qi (bio-energy 氣). Others may focus on martial skills. The following are tips to transition from slow to medium speed. Some of the feelings described should already be present in slow speed practice.
First Drill: Single Postures, Stationary
Choose one posture and focus on the lower and upper body separately. For example, consider ji (press or squeeze 擠). With hands at the waist, shift from four-six stance to mountain climbing stance. The intention of the movement begins below the navel at the dantian (elixir field, where qi is stored and/or produced 丹田), the body’s center. The motion begins at the feet, the root. Feel the ground as the back foot pushes the body forward. Straighten the back leg and turn the hips forward to mountain climbing stance. Likewise, feel the ground as the front foot pushes the body rearward to four-six stance. Stay the same height while shifting back and forth between stances. This is known as “rocking.” Repeat and gradually increase speed.
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