Coordinating Body Mechanics and Chi (Qi) as a Martial Art

In the practical fighting situation explosive compression of energy Chi is required to accelerate a quick speed for action. The energy or Chi in the fingers or feet will energize to the level of the strikes as it is needed. Body mechanics will provide adequate compression of the energy to meet the demand for the impact force. Experience and practice enables the desired amount of power and accuracy. The ability to judge distance and depth of a blow and the energy needed to deliver it is analogous to someone whose legs adjust automatically when someone jumps off a step. If they jump off a step that is three inches of the ground, the legs absorbs the jump automatically; if someone jumps off a step that is one foot high the legs also adjust accordingly and automatically adjust to the landing. In the same manner the impact of the force of a blow is delivered automatically; it is driven by first compressing and releasing of the power or chi.

For professional martial artists or athletes in the competition there is a need for the compression of the energy or Chi to be delivered utilizing stronger muscles for the impact to be stronger. Additional conditioning and training are needed for increased power and stronger compression of the energy or Chi; to attain this extra strength would require lifting weights, practicing push-ups, running, punching heavy bags or using some advanced equipment. The ability to accommodate a larger force that is the Chi is much like a hose accommodating water flow: if the hose is thin highly pressure and strong water flow could not be contained and the hose would burst. Analogously, if muscles are not developed or trained they could not accommodate stronger compression and a more forceful release of Chi or the pressure of the energy being released. The power behind the blow could be damaging.

We relax the vastus medialis muscles all the time in the course of our normal activities; before we jump we relax the muscles; when we swing the golf club or tennis racket to strike the ball, or the basketball player as he is preparing to leap also relax the muscles. We relax the muscles when step up the sidewalk. We refer to “Sung Kwa” which depicts the releasing the crotch while relaxing the vastus medialis that prepares for the body’s activities.

We all experience situations that require the vastus medialis to relax in order to prepare for an action move. We relax the vastus medialis to release the inner thigh muscles that flexes hips, creases the torso, bends the knees and encourages compression that causes the energy or Chi to descend to the base of the feet. It is a natural way to prepare for body action, as exemplified by many athletes getting into the position that readies them for an action: from the tennis player waiting for the ball, a golfer is getting ready to hit the ball; as a Tai Chi player is going to form a posture. Releasing vastus medialis is getting ready for an action.

As noted above, the slow motion of Tai Chi Chuan begins with a gentle release of the vastus medialis muscles. It flexes the hips, creases the torso, bends the knees and descends energy Chi into the base of the feet. When the muscles are slowly contracted it gradually vitalizes energy or Chi flow upward into the fingers; and the fingers move the palms and fists to form a posture.

The movements practiced by most beginners of Tai Chi Chuan are usually at first limited to physical moves. They are not able to focus the energy as more the more experienced practitioners experience the genuine internal system of Tai Chi Chuan which is created by the inner energy Chi flow. Beginners must learn to relax their muscles so that the energy or Chi can flow; they must be able to relax the muscles enough to allow the compression of the energy. The muscles cannot be tense yet not limp.

Over time the body must become accustomed to the movements; they must be able to all the energy flow without hesitation. Only then can the mind focus to compress the energy, or Chi, as muscles tension is released. The crotch relaxes as energy is released, rib cages will be loose while the armpits remain lightly open. As energy or Chi begins to flow, the fingers are energized while the palms or fists move to complete the posture.

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