Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | September 6, 2009

The Bow in Tai Chi

When I find the time, I really should do this in video form for better explanation, but in the mean time I want to speak about the bows in the body, or the bows we create through proper posture that makes tai chi special. There is a bow(as in bow and arrow) that gets stretched from one arm to the other, stretching across the back. The arms are connected then, and a strength is created through this connection. Another bow is vertically along the spine. Another bow is the inside curvature of the legs. The bow is pulled bu stretching the ligaments and tendons, the internal work of tai chi that allows one to be “soft” as opposed to using muscle, that connects the body into one piece.

So, one example, with an incoming strike, the left arm will rise to meet it and deflect, not block, and rotate down and away, but that left arm is connected along the back and through to the other arm, so the deflection is carried out by that unified bow. There is an instant of stillness, the peng energy, then the rollback or yield, then the bow shoots the arrow after absorbing the incoming energy or at the least voiding it out. Those of you who practice know what I’m talking about. I’m sorry if it’s not as clear as it should be, but without experiencing it, it’s hard to explain. But, in the backstance, we pull or stretch the bow of the spine, and the dynamic energy of the legs, ready to spring into action, ready to let the arrow fly.



  1. Yeah, maybe you could revisit this. I’ve read it many times, gone away, come back and read it again, and I can’t quite grasp what you’re trying to tell us.

    • yes, I promise, there’s a book I have that explains it clearly, and I can’t remember which book it is so I’ll have to go though the shelf when I have time and I’ll give the source info, but I promise I’ll also do a video on it; I’ve been wanting to get something new up on youtube anyway.

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