Gearing Up the Joints

weecheng Post in Uncategorized

A fellow Taiji practitioner likened the physical body to a set of gears in a pulley system. When we use only one joint, say the shoulder joint, to do a work of 10 kilograms, we would need to expend at least 10 kilograms of effort on one single joint in order to get the work done.

If we were able to spread the work evenly over all the joints in our arm, that is, over our shoulder joint, elbow, wrist, palm and fingers, ideally we only need to 2 kilograms of effort on each joint to get the work done. This has reduced the effort on each joint from 10 kilograms to 2 kilograms, thus only requiring a fifth of the original effort in the earlier example.

Bearing in mind how the Taiji principles require the practitioner to start from the feet, passing through the body and finally reaching the fingers, the amount of effort on each joint further reduces as we move from the toes, ball of the feet, the ankles, knees, hip joints, waist, upper torso, shoulders, elbows, wrists, palm and finally the fingers.

In order to use as many joints as possible in our Taiji movements, we need to “relax” these joints. Thus it is no wonder why there is such an important emphasis on “松” throughout the whole Taiji practice.

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