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In short, the 5 aspects “composure, lightness, slowness, conscientious-ness, and perseverance” are closely related and complement each other. None of them is dispensable.

静(Jìng composure)

What we call composure has these aspects: The awareness is highly focused and the nerve centres are in a state of excitement. The respiration is regular, the Qi has sunken into Dan Tian. This is called the composure of the body. The movements are light, dexterous, supple, and flowing, without jerks. This is referred to as the composure of the heart/the soul. Both the body and the soul are relaxed. This is referred to as the composure of the spirit. The notion of finding composure in movement is described in a classic: “From composure comes move-ment but the movement maintains its composure. [...] The element of surprise is achieved through tuning in on the enemies”.

轻 (Qïng lightness):

Lightness is not to be understood exclusively as not using any force during Tai Chi Chuan. Lightness is complementary to weight. In the classic “Tai Chi Chuan Jing” it says: “Tai Chi comes from nothing (Wu Ji). It is the connection between movement and composure and the mother of Yin and Yang.” In particular: “The entire body should be light and supple in all movements as if its parts were beads on a string. Qi should be unfolded. The spirit should be contained inside.” Lightness means that you cannot use sudden force since this hinders the flowing from one movement into another. Furthermore, one should avoid the “double weight” since it hinders the distinction between empty and full (massive). Lightness can also be described with the term “suppleness”. And lightness and suppleness are not to be seen as limpness. Limpness and the use of force are the so-called “double weight” which is the greatest taboo in Tai Chi Chuan.

慢(Màn slowness)

Slowness does not mean immobility. It entails the flow of movements without inter-ruptions and demands proceeding methodically in accordance with the principles. Slowness means: “The answer to a rapid movement is rapid, a sedate movement is followed sedately.” Every movement must be precise and perfect. During training the movements should “flow by uninterrupted like the Yangtse and the Sea”.

切 (Qiè conscientiousness):

There are two aspects: Firstly one should perform each movement very con-scientiously and you should secondly try to be earnest and steady with your training, directing your effort to every single movement. Conscientiousness demands your study and scrutiny. As the forefathers said: “as if cut, as if filed, as if carved, as if polished”. During each exercise you should check the correctness of your own movements precisely and conscientiously. Only in this way can progress be made.

恒 (Héng perseverance)

This first and foremost means persistance. Whether or not the weather is cold or burning hot, you should train regularly. It is a process of testing the character and strength of mind of the student. Furthermore, perse-verance means a constant quantity, i.e. a certain intensity must be achieved. Only a person who trains under the motto “A pestle can be honed into a needle with an iron will” can learn the true essence of Tai Chi Chuan.

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