Fight or Flight

Cheng Man Ching Push Hands

Fight or Flight: Tai Chi’s general attitudeNotes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System I

When we are at ease, relaxed in a normal everyday mental and physical condition, we are said to be in a ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ mode; or, a ‘Walk or Talk’ mode. If we are attacked or for whatever reason are afraid or insecure, we will probably assume another mode, in which we will breathe in the chest, our adrenaline will increase, our blood will prepare to clot and our large muscles will tense up in preparation for violence. This is a ‘sympathetic nervous system’ mode, referred to as ‘Fight or Flight’.

Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System
Notes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System

…and Tai Chi

If we are ‘doing’ Tai Chi (the forms, push hands or fencing) in the fight or flight mode, we are NOT ‘doing’ Cheng Man Cheng Tai Chi.
Tai Chi only works when we are in a tranquil mode. Any angst or stress, any effort or struggle obviates it. If we are relaxed and calm, we have the ‘time’ to respond.

*nervous system* – note to self!

Author: Ken van Sickle
Images: Ken van Sickle

German version of the article series

Notes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System

Fight or Flight