The concept and practice of the core element of classical Tai Chi, Internal Discipline, is discussed extensively throughout the Tai Chi DVD by Master Stephen Hwa. A brief discussion is presented here:
Internal Discipline enables you to initiate movements from the internal core of the body (the abdomen and back) rather than from the external parts of the body (the limbs), and cultivates and mobilizes your internal energy for health benefits and martial arts applications.
Example: Pushing the right hand forward with the arm and shoulder is an external movement. Internal movement uses the abdomen and the back moving the entire upper-quarter of the body, including the arm and hand, forward.
NOTE: Hover cursor over images to see movements.
Example: The arm and shoulder are relaxed with no movement relative to each other. The motion is entirely driven internally. In addition, other parts of the body are essentially not moving serving as the supporting structure for this movement. Another example of this upper-quarter body movement is the blocking motion.
Example: Turning of the upper body with the feet stationary is usually carried out by crossing the legs. This is a weak external move with little power, balance and stability. An internal move centers on the waist using the power of the abdomen and back while the pelvis and the legs essentially are not moving.
Classical Tai Chi, or Tai Ji utilizes the philosophy of yin and yang in every aspect of its practice. This philosophy asserts that every entity needs to coexist and interact with a counterpart of opposite nature in order to achieve balance and vitality. For every internal movement, a moving part of the body (yang) works against stationary part (yin) that provides support and power for the move. The junction between yin and yang is always located in the torso.
When you perform an internal movement correctly, you will feel the sensations of stretching and intense energy flowing across the junction in an otherwise relaxed body. Classical Tai Chi, or Tai Ji form teaches students how to use Internal Discipline in every move so internal energy circulates continuously throughout the body during form playing, tuning and cultivating internal energy in the body. From the martial arts point of view, the playing of the classical Tai Chi form is, among other things, practicing the mobilization and delivery of the internal power until it becomes instinctive, spontaneous, and instantaneous.
The appearance of internal movement is very deceptive. Most uninitiated observers will think it is a small, unremarkable, and simple movement and may opt for a more showy style. In fact, internal movement is demanding to learn, both mentally and physically. But, the results of the effort will be unparalleled in improving health and well-being and in martial arts applications.
Learn more about why Tai Chi with Internal Discipline has such profound benefits for your health.
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Classical Tai Chi offers a unique set of Tai Chi Video DVDs produced by Master Stephen Hwa, student of Grand Master Young Wabu. This set of DVDs and this website are part of an effort to bring the splendor of Internal Discipline back into focus.
Uncovering the Treasure
Classical Tai Chi's Path to Internal Energy & Health
The true health benefits and the foundation for martial arts application of Tai Chi can only be achieved when the practitioner incorporates "Internal Discipline". That is, using internal movements and internal power to direct and empower external movements into Tai Chi practice. This book outlines a methodology and training routine to achieve this goal.