A blog about the intersection of Tai Chi, Zen and Dao. I hope that you find something of value for your own practice.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Merging Zen, Tao and Tai Chi

It has been a long time since I put up a post in Reeling Silk's blog because I wasn't sure that I actually had anything to say that hadn't already said by others, and better than I could have said it.  And with what I was considering saying at the time, that was certainly true.

But I have finally discovered the place that I want to come from and talk about in this blog; the merging of Tai Chi practice with my Soto Zen Buddhist practice and my curiosity about how the Tao and Zen speak to one another through the medium of Tai Chi. So let's talk a little bit about my practice of both, so you know where I'm coming from.

Every morning before I begin my Tai Chi forms, I sit zazen.  Sometimes for as little as 25 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour.  Then after a stretch, I do a short bowing practice and then either begin my Tai Chi form practice or further warm up with a Qi-qong routine I learned from one of my former teachers, Master Xu Gong Wei (you learn a bit more about him here).  Then I practice 1-3 forms before beginning my regular morning routine.  They will either be chuan (hand/fist), jian (sword) or some of each, although lately I have been doing a chuan form and then Yang jian 51-form.

Sitting meditation before doing Tai Chi offers several benefits.  First, I get to wake up a bit more gradually, my zazen practice being to follow my breath.  Second, the slow awakening and the focus on breathing results in a very nice accumulation of energy, which I get to carry over into my form work.  And I can also carry my meditation breath work into my form work. Both aspects are especially helpful when doing my Chen forms, which require a bit more speed and oomph to them with the fa-jin moves than Yang or Wu styles.

Then it's on to the rest of day, whatever that may be; work, play, relaxing, etc.

That's a quick summary of how I physically approach Tai Chi from a Zen meditation point of reference.  Stay tuned for more regular posts in the future now that I know what I want to say.

Salute and Gassho,