Sifu's Training Insights

Tai Chi Form and Strength
Tai Chi Class

The Tai Chi Form should always be performed with a minimum of muscular exertion. However, this minimum will always vary from person to person and/or at different times, dependent upon the mental or physical state of the Tai Chi player.

Minimum effort should not be interpreted to mean "no effort". No effort would result in a limp and lifeless form where movements would not exhibit the characteristic smooth, flowing, graceful and powerful qualities usually associated with an excellent Tai Chi Form. Many Tai Chi players are fond of "wet noodle" Tai Chi which appears to have no energy, but may still have some elements of flow. this type of movement will actually interfere with proper and healthy Chi circulation.

Imagine a stringed instrument, such as a violin. To generate the desired sound, the strings on a violin must be tightened to a very specific tension. Either too much or too little tension results in an unpleasant sound.

The human body functions in a similar manner so that a certain amount of "tone", not excess tension, is required to promote an efficient flow of Chi through the meridians.

As the Tai chi student continues to evolve, and therefore become more deeply relaxed, the minimum muscular exertion will continue to decrease so that to a casual observer there appears to be "no effort" involved at all. A careful observer, someone with a trained eye, will be able to note the inherent power in a properly relaxed Tai Chi player. The correct perception would be as if seeing a tiger walking slowly through the brush or watching a wave building then striking the shore.