Warm-up preparation According to the sequence of practicing boxing, warm-up is essential for relaxation. Before punching, stretch your muscles, move your joints, and gently move your whole body, which helps to relax both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, many practitioners neglect these simple warm-up exercises because they don’t value their importance. Even if they do warm up, it’s often done half-heartedly. Little do they know that without proper warm-up, the effectiveness of boxing will be compromised, and it may even lead to injuries.
Cultivate a tranquil mind A calm mind leads to a relaxed body, and a relaxed body facilitates a tranquil mind. They are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, forming a dialectical relationship. If you talk while practicing boxing, it will not only disrupt your movements and disperse your internal energy (“qi”) but also make it challenging to relax your body properly. This way, you cannot achieve the purpose of health preservation or improve your martial skills. Practicing this exercise contributes to the nourishment and maintenance of the internal organs. Therefore, before practicing boxing, you must prepare well. From the beginning of the ready stance, abandon all distracting thoughts and forget yourself, focusing all your thoughts on the routine you are practicing. Stay composed, concentrate, and practice with a tranquil mind.
Guide actions with consciousness – the operating principle of Tai Chi Boxing theory says, “The mind commands the body; the body obeys.” It means that the mind is the commander of the whole body. Seniors also say, “Without the mind, there is only form, not the essence of boxing.” Hence, every movement in the form should be controlled by your thoughts. Lead with your mind, guide the breath with your mind, use the breath to move your body, so that all the muscles, bones, skin, flesh, tendons, and ligaments can be thoroughly relaxed and stretched.
Conform to Yin and Yang, follow the laws of nature, and harmonize Yin and Yang All movements should arise naturally as an automatic response from your body, rather than being forced or contrived. Embrace both stillness and movement, combining emptiness and fullness, flexibility and firmness. Let the movements follow a structured pattern, neither being inadequate nor exceeding their limits. Master the right measure, refrain from excess, and avoid acting arbitrarily or disorderly. Strive to make your movements ordinary, natural, light, relaxed, pleasant, round, and harmonious.
Light and agile movements “Listen to the utmost, act to the utmost,” rise and fall lightly, move slowly, and connect points gently. Truly achieve steps like a cat and energy like pulling silk. The body should not be stiff, and footsteps should not make loud noises.
Seek progress through slowness This is a significant difference between Tai Chi and other martial arts. During practice, it’s essential to perform the movements slowly, without haste or impatience, without pursuing speed or forcefulness. Not only should you not seek victory through speed, but you should also “use slowness to control speed.” Only in this way can you easily relax your body and avoid tension, allowing your body to move smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly.
Exercise in moderation, follow a scientific and reasonable approach, prioritize safety and effectiveness, and avoid excessive training Excessive exercise will not make your body feel relaxed; instead, it can lead to unnecessary injuries. It’s essential to tailor the exercise to the individual, according to their abilities, gradually progressing from simple to complex, step by step, without being too eager for quick results. Older people or those with weaker physical conditions should not force themselves into high-difficulty movements or compete with younger individuals. Only by doing so can the exercise be beneficial to both the body and mind, promoting longevity. Additional benefits of relaxation for the body:
Long-term practice of Tai Chi can improve metabolism, regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood lipids effectively, preventing or delaying the occurrence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.
Consistent practice of Tai Chi involves adjusting breathing, which enhances the function of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, maintaining the elasticity of lung tissue, and increasing lung capacity and gas exchange.
Regular Tai Chi exercise can work out all muscles and joints in the body, slowing down muscle deterioration and maintaining joint flexibility, as well as reducing or postponing degenerative changes such as osteoporosis and calcification of ligaments.