Tai Chi’s Role – Notes on Cheng Man Ching’s Tai Chi System VI
“Doctors heal the sick with Medicine and Surgery. —
Tai Chi, when practiced regularly and within its principles, will keep us tranquil and healthy.”
Once during a lecture, Cheng Man Ching was asked which of the five Excellencies was most important and he replied, ‘Tai Chi’. The audience was shocked that he would choose Tai Chi when three high art forms and the prominent healing system would take a back seat to what is seen as a martial art/exercise discipline.
He replied, and I paraphrase, “Doctors heal the sick with Medicine and Surgery. — Tai Chi, when practiced regularly and within its principles, will keep us tranquil and healthy.”
- Tai Chi’s general attitude (fight or flight),
- the serious effort to make Chinese visual language practically meaningful (swimming in the air),
- the interpretation of relaxation as something requiring hard work (On (mis)alignment),
- the intense study of single postures (Roll back),
- the need to practically reconnect one’s own form to the original meaning of Taiji (The Cheng Man Ching 37 Form),
- the ultimate art in life (Tai Chi’s Role),
- the relation to the Other (Push Hands),
- the principle of going with the flow (Ride the horse),
- and – ultimately – the artful combination of energy and direction (momentum).