I Liq Chuan And Tai Chi Chuan In Light Of Tai Chi Principles
As i read through student posts I get the sense that you all want to hear something more about the training process. In short, each of you are recognizing the difference between the Tai Chi Chuan mindset and the I Liq Chuan mindset. Although tai chi principles support both training methodologies, the training approaches are very different.
It is my understanding that Tai Chi Chuan in the early 1900's was only available to family members and those students who had already reached a high level in another art. These outside students also already understood obvious power and structure. Their yang qualities were well developed, what was missing were the yin qualities. So, in general, the initial training methodology for outsiders emphasized softness. Later, when some understanding of relaxation was present, a new kind of internal power could manifest. Notice that internal power at its foundation consists of softness and structure. Yin AND Yang.
When Tai Chi Chuan was opened up to the general public the emphasis was on health. The bitter structural training was reduced in favor of softness to make the art more accessible and easier for casual practitioners to receive benefit.
To follow Tai Chi principles, there must be yang hardness to balance softness. To understand Tai Chi energy, you must be able to recognize neutral, the place where yin and yang are present together. Softness is extreme yin, if you begin there, there's no way to get to neutral, no way to get to yang. No Tai Chi. Softness is only yin, no yang. Keep in mind that the obvious hardness of external training is the other extreme and, without yin quality, falls outside Tai Chi principles as well.
In ILC we begin by 'meeting' the force, meeting the conditions, in order to 'match'. You must match to harmonize. There can be no harmony without first 'meet'. In ILC, softness is an aspect of relaxation, nothing more, 'Song' results in 'the feet merely touching the floor'. Our training progression emphasis is on structure, then relaxation and then energy. The ILC mindset is firmly rooted in Tai Chi Principles, look closly at other training methods to see if they really follow these principles. Judge for yourself.