If the body is clumsy, then in advancing or retreating it cannot be free; therefore it most be agile. Once you raise your arm, you cannot appear clumsy. The moment the force of the opponent touches my skin and hair, my mind is already penetrating his bones. When holding up the arms, the chi (breath) is threaded together continuously. When the left side is heavy, it empties, and the right side is already countering. The chi is like a wheel, and the whole body must naturally coordinate. If there is any uncoordinated place, the body becomes disordered and weak. The defect is to be found in the waist and legs. First the mind is used to order the body. Follow the opponent and not your self (your own inclination). Later your body can follow your mind, and you can control your self and still follow the opponent. When you can follow your opponent, then your hands can distinguish and weigh accurately the amount of his force, and measure the distance of his approach with no mistake. Advancing and retreating, everywhere (the coordination) is perfect. After studying for a long time, your technique will become skillful.
Red.: from Five Character Secret (Calm, Agility, Breath – to gather the chi, The internal force – the complete chin, Spirit – Shen concentrated).
Reference: T’Ai Chi Ch’Uan Ta Wen, Questions and Answers on T’Ai Chi Boxing Chen Wei-Ming ( Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo & Robert W. Smith ) North Atlantic Books 1985
Master T.T. Liang on Agility
Agile (ingenious) means active and intelligent. From lightness comes relaxation and firmness. From relaxation and firmness the ability to adhere and attach will be developed. When you can adhere and attach you will be able to connect and follow. Only when you can connect and follow will your movement be ingenious and active, so that finally you can apprehend the technique of not letting go and not resisting.
Tai Chi Chuan for Health and Self-Defense: Philosophy and Practice T. T Liang, Random House USA 1977
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching from Chapter 78 (Trans. Feng & English)
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