In this training tip we will discuss the importance of the use of intention in tai chi, and how to cultivate this most important skill.
It is quite simple actually – every gesture, movement, and posture that we make starts with a thought in our mind. When we raise and lower our arms at the beginning of form practice, the “yi” or intention is what makes this motion possible.
So to cultivate intention comes first, always! For without it, there would be no movement!
This is also quite simple, just requires a lot of practice to make the connection.
Simply stand in shoulder wide parallel stance and relax. Then focus your intention – imagine/visualize with your mind fully concentrated that your arms raise up. Do not physically raise your ams and think you got it!
Keep practicing this way, until your arms “seem” to raise by themselves. Be patient with yourself! Continue to practice this way a little each day and it will happen that your arms will raise up from intention. You will be cultivating this mind body connection. It must be very concentrated effort!
When this happens, then move on to another movement. And gradually link the movements together…
Another method that is also strongly recommended is that you sit on a chair (back straight, palms resting on knees. elbows sunk, feet shoulder width and parallel…) and “imagine” raising your hands…
My teacher, Master Wang Xi’an, is known to have practiced this way a lot over the years. He would sit quietly and imagine a movement, and its application for self defense. He would sit this way for long periods of time. Then, when his training partners came, they would practice Push Hands and he would defeat every one with this one movement!
I challenge you to practice this every day for one month. Then I will appreciate that you please send me feedback and what you learned from this simple exercise!