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48 Form Tai Chi Chuan Teaching

IV. Steps for Practice

Make a clear distinction between emptiness and solidness, and combine softness with hardness.

In Kung Fu exercises the contradictory changes are often called the changes between the empty and the solid. In Tai Chi Chuan as a whole the end of a movement in the final position is solid and the process of changing the movement is empty. In the seP3rate exercises, the main supporting leg is the "solid" and the auxiliary supporting leg, or the moving and changing leg, is the "empty" one; and the arm Which demonstrates the main content of the exercise is the "solid," while the auxiliary and supporting hand is the "empty" one. When the empty and the solid are clearly defined, in applying the force there should be both tension and relaxation. The solid movements and parts call for heavy and substantial force, while the empty movements and parts call for gentle and implicit force. For example, when the exercise comes to the final position or is nearing the finish, the waist and joints should be relaxed and stable. When the exercises are changed, the joints of the whole body should be relaxed and invigorated. When the movements of the upper limbs change from empty to solid, the forearms should be' firm, and the palms should be fully extended, with the fingers relaxed and the wrists flat. The fists should be clenched first loosely and then tightly. When changing from empty to solid, the movement of the forearm should be gent1e with the fists loosely clenched. In conjunction with the changing movements between the empty and the solid, there is both softness and force and tension and relaxation, alternating one with the other. The exercises are light, gentle and firm, with the equal application of force for all movements.

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