Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | April 27, 2009

Empty/full in tai chi

One of the important aspects of tai chi is distinguishing empty and full when moving through the form. For example, when we sit back into a back stance, the back leg is full and the front leg is empty; the weight is on the back foot, very little, if any weight is on the front foot. As we move forward into the bow and arrow stance, we have a sensation that energy is coming up the back leg, routing through the dan tien, and flowing down into the front leg to make that the substantial leg. The advanced nuance in this is that you want to keep this hidden, so that the opponent doesn’t know which is empty and which is full. This applies to sides of the body, which arm is full, which is empty. But it’s good to experiment with. Try to posture your front arm, say in a ward off posture, but then, without moving it, empty the energy into the lowered arm. Isn’t that cool? It’s harder with the legs because you’re standing on them, but try it…take note of what’s going on inside your body as you empty and fill.

On the philosophical side, there seems to be an overemphasis in eastern practitioners with the concept of empty, empty the mind. Of course this is important, even in western christian thought, empty yourself so that you can be filled with the holy spirit, in eastern thought, empty yourself so you can be filled with chi, the tao, whatever…but don’t forget to spend some time on the filling! Fill yourself with the good stuff, the positive energy, the chi, the holy spirit, pull into a zen gas station and hand him your zen credit card, and say, fillerup!

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