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What Is Softness In Light Of Tai Chi Principles

As I read through student posts I get the sense that you all want to hear something more about the training process. In short, each of you from a Tai Chi Chuan background are beginning to recognize the difference between the Tai Chi Chuan mindset and the Xhong Xin Dao mindset. Although Tai Chi principles support both methodologies, the approaches are very different.

It is my understanding that Tai Chi Chuan in the early 1900's was only available to family members and those students who had already reached a high level in another art. These outside students already understood hard power and structure. The initial training approach for outsiders then emphasized softness. Later, when some understanding of relaxation was present, a different kind of power based on 'hard-soft' could manifest. Around this time Tai Chi Chuan was opened up to the general public and the emphasis was on health. The bitter hard-soft structural training was reduced in favor of softness to make the art more accessible and easier for casual practitioners to receive benefit.

To follow Tai Chi principles - to be able to change with the change with the present moment - there must be yang hardness to balance softness. To understand power that arises in accordance with Tai Chi princples, you must be able to recognize neutral. Neutral is the place where yin and yang are present together. In Xhong Xin Dao we endeavor to maintain neutral.

Softness is extreme yin, if you begin there, there's no way to get to neutral, no way to get to yang. No Tai Chi. Softness is only yin, no yang. Keep in mind that the hardness of external training is the other extreme and, without yin quality, falls outside Tai Chi principles as well.

In Xhong Xin Dao this power grows from the 'suchness' of the body or the 'Internal Feel'.

In ZXD we begin by 'meeting' the force, meeting the conditions, in order to 'match'. You must match to harmonize. There can be no harmony without first 'meet'. In ZXD, softness is an aspect of relaxation, nothing more, 'Song' results in 'the feet merely touching the floor'. Our training progression emphasis is on structure, then relaxation and then energy. The Xhong Xin Dao mindset is firmly rooted in Tai Chi principles, look closly at other training methods to see if they really follow these principles. Judge for yourself.