2018年8月13日 星期一


太極拳的經濟學
The Economy of Tai Chi Chuan
吳榮輝 撰文湯耀洋 先生英譯By Wu RH, Compiled and Translated by Tang YY

In Tai Chi Chuan practice, the hand never goes higher than the top of the head, and the elbow stays below the shoulder. The body is loosened, the back rounded, and the tailbone tucked in. This is a posture of self restraint, self effacing, and functionally self preservation. By purposely not exert yourself, you can remain energetic for the long haul—you remain the last one standing, long after your push hands partner has fallen from exhaustion that inevitably follows his overexertion.

How do you achieve such energy economy?
You use two specific strategies: You borrow (utilize external forces) and you relax. Tai Chi Chuan push hands is a game of planning ahead, using strategies thoughtfully to achieve energy economy and the goals that the TCC Classics exalt: “the small and weak trumps the big and powerful”, and “four ounces move a thousand pounds”.

Strategy one: You borrow.

Instead of using your own energy, you borrow from and use external energy, such as gravity, ground reaction force, inertia, and, by all means, the force of your push hands partner. Some examples of borrowing from external energy:
  1. relax so that gravity may take your weight down toward the ground [conversely, by not relaxing, you are expending energy to hold your weight up against gravity.]
  2. relax so that the ground may exert upward a GRF identical to the downward force of your weight [conversely, by not relaxing, you arrest the GRF process and deprive yourself of the desirable effects of the GRF, such as bouncing him off.]
  3. relax so that you become sensitive and capable of "hearing" the intention of your push hands partner. Once you hear his intention, you go with, not go against, his intention [when two trains travel in the same direction at the same speed, they do not collide], so you have the ability to avoid forceful confrontations with him. [conversely, by not relaxing, you will entangle with him in a contest of force against force, and then the more forceful person wins—in violation of the Tai Chi doctrine of the wise person wins].
  4. In order to truly relax, you must first completely get rid of all intentions, such as a desire to use your hand to deflect the attacking hands of your push hands partner—a move that Cheng Man-Ching called “moving your hands (by your own intention)”, which he strongly advised against. Without intention, you move with your push hands partner so as not to alter the path of his motion in any way—you move with his every move and you go wherever he wants to go. (You will not become entangled with him.) When you can do that, you can really borrow his forceintending to attack youand use it against him.

Pointer two: You relax.

As you can see from the above, relaxation is the common trait in all examples. There are two aspects of relaxation: physical and mental.
  1. The physical relaxation of muscles, tendoms, and joints can be cultivated through
·       stretching exercises,
·       stepping exercises,
·       body loosening exercises,
·       the practice of the TCC form
·       push hands practices that adhere to the principle of “alway staying in physical contact, but never resisting.”
·       keeping body weight 100% on one leg. This strengthens the legs generally, and if done correctly (a crucial topic for another time), especially the quadriceps.
* When your legs are strong, your foundation is solid. This helps your upper body relax.
* Stand correctly on one leg for a little while or for a long while before shifting to stand correctly on the other leg for another while. When you switch legs, the energy compressed and accumulated in the weighted leg flows—gushes—to the other leg, creating a big swirl of energy flow in the body. When you switch legs again, the energy flows anew. This unceasing swirling of energy helps cultivate your agility.

  1. Mental relaxation refers to the mindset of humility, yielding, deferring, or even losing to your push hands partner. When you thoroughly give up the desire to defeat him, you begin to lose brute force, and when your brute force decreases, your suppleness increases.

When you can relax and utilize external sources of force, you can practice TCC using little of your own energy, and you are well on your way to becoming Tai Chi energy efficient.

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