Mr. Li Jingwu’s Treasured “Tai Chi Secrets” Functional Song

– **Seek to Understand Energy through Lightness and Agility:** Yin and Yang harmonize without stagnation.
– **If Four Ounces Can Move a Thousand Pounds, Master the Expansion and Contraction:**
– Maintain Centering, Flexibility in the Hips, and Understanding of Opening and Closing to Achieve Lightness, Agility, Freedom of Movement, and Comfort.

**Harmonizing Yin and Yang without Stagnation:**
– Most people start from not understanding Yin and Yang to understanding their separation. I believe practicing Tai Chi aims to integrate Yin and Yang into one. In Tai Chi, Yin is Yang and Yang is Yin. Yin and Yang are abstract representations of opposing elements like force, movement, etc., representing direction, existence, emptiness, and solidity. Harmonizing Yin and Yang means combining neutralization and issuing force into one. For example, when a movement goes up, there’s a downward force simultaneously, like a spring that stretches has a contracting force, and when compressed, it has an expanding force. These forces coexist in one movement, allowing one to maintain centering. Understanding energy is the prerequisite for harmonizing Yin and Yang.

**The Body’s Main Strengths:**
– The body’s main strengths come from two areas: the horizontal force of the hips and the vertical force of the spine. The intersection is the sacrum, connected by strong ligaments to the sacroiliac joint, which is difficult to relax. Most people are unaware of this area. Try using these joints when practicing Tai Chi. Only when these joints move can you achieve expansion and contraction.

**Expansion and Contraction:**
– Generally refers to paired body parts like shoulders, hips, and hands. Expansion and contraction also describe the Dantian, but not absolutely. The Dantian naturally expands and contracts with abdominal breathing. The limbs rotate and stretch relative to the Dantian and tailbone. This is called both expansion and contraction, with breathing and movement combined.

**Understanding “Mastery”:**
– To dominate or rule, mastery refers to controlling changes, being in a dominant position, or a leader. In Buddhism, it means “self.” Through the basic definition, in the song, mastery refers to the source of power for expansion and contraction. Expansion generally refers to the hips, and contraction generally to the Dantian. The spine’s extension and flexion, combined with breathing, create the Dantian’s expansion and contraction. In practice, expansion and contraction work together, so mastery means the spine and hips.

**Mr. Li Jingwu’s Treasured “Thirty-Seven Heart Understanding” in the “Tai Chi Secrets” states:**
– The waist and spine are the primary controllers, considering the hips as part of the waist. In ancient times, the waist often included the sacrum. If the waist only referred to the Mingmen area, it couldn’t be the master.

**Some argue only the spine is the master:**
– This is incomplete. Adding the hips is more suitable. The spine controls vertical force (upper body), and the hips control horizontal force (lower body), connecting at the waist and sacrum to form a spiral.

**Some say intent and energy are the masters:**
– While true, it’s too vague and impractical for guidance. Practice should involve unconscious, natural movements for true relaxation and energy cultivation. Over-focusing can cause issues. “Energy nourished directly without harm” means not over-controlling but letting things flow naturally. Avoid over-concentration in Tai Chi practice.

**The ability to control expansion and contraction in the body defines mastery:**
– It must guide practice practically. Most people should focus on mastering physical form first. Issues of intent and energy can be addressed later, as understanding energy comes after foundational practice. Knowing too much too soon can be distracting.

**Achieving Four Ounces Moving a Thousand Pounds:**
– This requires mastering expansion and contraction. Notably, many skilled Tai Chi masters have strong, muscular backs and waists, often with a robust physique. Few small, thin masters can effectively issue force, setting a standard for Tai Chi practice.

**Understanding the Heart:**
– This means seeing one’s true nature. After achieving this, further realization isn’t needed. Carrying the boat after crossing the river is unnecessary. Realization is also a distraction, showing an unsettled mind. A truly clear mind doesn’t rely on realization.

**If the heart is truly clear, why use realization?**
– Instead, it’s better to say, “Without understanding energy, true realization is difficult.” This is more appropriate.

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