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Relax, Relax, and Relax!

Relax : The Most Important Element of Tai Chi

In this training tip, we will discuss how to relax when practicing Chen style tai chi, or any style of tai chi for that matter…

The term in Chinese is “fangsong“.  It means to “let go“.   This is a process that begins with the yi or intention.

FANGSONG!

When I am in Chen Village training with Master Wang Xi’an, every day I hear this word a thousand times!  It seems whenever I even think about moving, he is right there saying, “FANGSONG“!  Once I tried to count how many times I heard this term in class, but finally gave up…

So what does it mean to relax?  To “let go”?  To “fangsong”?

RELAX THREE TIMES

As the title suggests, when we practice, we need to relax three times:

  1. Before we begin to move, we must full relax our body and our mind.  Usually it is a good idea to practice Quiet Standing for a while before moving.  (This is a 2 part article within the articles section).
  2. As we move, it is necessary to pay attention not to allow the slightest bit of tension to build up in our body.  This is more challenging than when standing, because we are constantly changing our position and must adapt every moment to stay relaxed.  This requires a lot of awareness, which comes with time and effort (ie- PRACTICE!)
  3. After we move, we need to completely relax and sink down each part of the body, until we feel full body balance.

How to Practice FANGSONG

Take one movement from your tai chi form, maybe Raise and Lower Hands at the beginning of the form.

Think of the three places when you need to relax, and practice this over and over – relax before, during, and after the movement.

I know this sounds so easy right?  OK so try it!  You may be in for a surprise how difficult this actually is to do!

Wish you success in your training!

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