I-Ching Hexagrams in Tai Chi Chuan book- deciphered

Softly, softly: Tai chi chuan (Taijiquan), book by Robert W. Smith has several Hexagrams on opening page, that I felt like Cheng Man Ching and Robert W. Smith were trying to communicate to folks, maybe something to do about their Taijiquan philosophy and style,
I investigated what they were, giving my personal commentary to reflect in terms of tai chi chuan.

1. Hexagram 28: Greatness in Excess. I-Ching: superior man stands up alone and fearless.
Image is of a house in danger if the foundation and frame is weak. Withdrawal to unnatural weight and force.
bend like a reed in gale force winds and heavy flooding. bend but do not break.

Taiji commentary: Withdrawal and push, accept a heavy incoming force from opponent,
try not to resist but use pliable strength. Taijiquan must also have a proper foundation from the base at feet and legs
into the framework of the body’s structure. The alignment must be efficient enough that when a strong force is applied
to the body, the structure can drive and sink that force into the ground.
Wu De is perseverance.

2. Hexagram 61: Understanding. I-ching: The superior man weighs all options and carefully executes.
Strength lies in clear vision. View without prejudice to maintain a healthy mind.

Taiji commentary: the mind of the practitioner must be clear without thought in the practice of Taiji and tui shou.
You must not pre-think of what technique you will use, but calmly respond to how your opponent tries a technique.
Understanding jin is this way: from listening jin, is about how you will
deal with the method when your opponent uses a technique.
Wu De is the empty mind of humility.

3. Hexagram 31: Tension. I-Ching: Superior man feels calm and chivalrous. Be active for those who can not.
Mutual subjugation to a common idea.

Taiji commentary: Martial arts masters always emphasis using the fighting systems as ways to help those weaker, defend the self,
do not start fights, or hurt others.
Taiji is no different, it is there to raise your spirit, make the weak stronger, and help the sick get healthy.
In regards to tension, we must release it to allow qi to circulate properly.
Wu De is bravery, the action of courage.

4. Hexagram 30: Fire. I-Ching: The superior man refines his brilliance.
Yin/Yang-
Yang: give, be active, outgoing.
Yin: hold on to the passive sustenance.
Light requires dark.

Taiji commentary: The Taijquan masters speak of everything about taijiquan must have Yin/yang action:
Open and Close, Left and Right, Up and Down,
Inner and Outer, Upper and Lower, Top and Bottom, movement and stillness, rounded and straight,
big and small, high and low, slow and fast, strength and relaxation, insubstantial and substantial,
Kan and Li, yi and Chi, hard and soft, square and circle, attack and defense, offensive and defensive, masculine and feminine,
passive and aggressive, fight or flight, gentle and explosive, the list goes on and on…
Wu De: Patience.
Form: Press/squeeze.

5. Hexagram 2: Yin. I-Ching: the man does not take initiative, but follow the initiative of others.
Creative force. Feminine, Earth, Receptive.

Taiji commentary: In the oral tradition of two person tui shou, listening comprises of 4 parts: stick, adhere, neutralize and follow.
Following: try not to separate, stay connected.
wu de: loyalty.
Form: Lu or “roll back”.

6. Hexagram 41: Decrease. I-Ching: the man restrain anger, represses desires.
diminishing pleasures and social interactions. Retreat.

Taiji commentary: the bridge between the mind and body is the nervous system which connects brain to organs.
Chinese medicine teaches the relationship
between the internal organs, and the wisdom mind and the emotion mind in its 5 element theory:
1. Heart/Small Intestines: is fire element, with positive emotion is compassion, and negative is cruelty,
2. Kidney/Bladder; is water, between positive courage, and negative, fear.
3. Liver/Gall Bladder: is wood, positive emotion is Kindness, and negative is anger.
4. Lungs/Large Intestines: metal element, positive is joy, negative is sadness,
5. Stomach/Spleen: element earth, positive is centeredness, negative emotion is worry.
Taijiquan is a system that requires diligence to understand the moment where you can start to cultivate qi.
Taijiquan is a qigong, but qigong is not Taijiquan. When qi harmonizes in form practice with the body and mind,
it transforms our moods, purifies and strengthens the body, all the while training martial techniques “slow and exact”.
One must also have faith in decreasing strength, everything in life is about gain, have faith in loss.
In Taijiquan we want to lose ego and tension and not gain stress.
Wu De: diligence. Do the gong! Time is a requirement for good gong fu, so do the work!

7. Hexagram 1: Yang. I-Ching: Heaven in motion, strength of a dragon, man nerves himself for ceaseless activity.
Yang- strong, spiritual, Heaven.

Taiji commentary: Yang is the other “fish” in the Taiji symbol. Form: “An” or Push. Yin and yang are the Taiji forces, you have to have both.
Wu De: Will. What the mind believes the body achieves. Yi (mind) guides qi (vital energy) and the body (Li). Sets body into action.

8. Hexagram 63: Completion. The superior man considers the potential evils and guards against it.
The moment something is complete, is the same moment it starts to decay and fall apart. The peak of yin, transforms to yang,
the peak of yang transforms to yin. change. Yang changes to yin, yin changes to yang, within yin is yang, and within yang is yin.
Seek Perfection. Find Peace.

Taiji commentary: Ward off also called Fend off, is to protect and “guard” your center.
Wu De: Benevolence.

About Administrator

Coach Matt Stampe is a Database Administrator and I.T. professional. In the world of Bodywork, he has been a Massage Therapist, and is currently a student at Virginia University of Oriental Medicine (VUOM.edu). He has taught hundreds of people Authentic Tai Chi Kung fu for over 25 years at places including: Kung fu schools, Parks and Recreation centers, Chinese schools, Martial arts clubs, MMA/Boxing gyms, and Acupuncture Universities. He has positively impacted peoples lives whether for health, sport, strength, and spirit. As a true combat athlete and fighter, he teaches realistic methods so people can be confident to defend themselves. (without all the woo-woo mystical BS.)
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