In taijiquan, we have a saying “Both hands and the heart are forgotten”, and “The body and mind are harmonized as one”. To be more direct, we say that the learning and the using are the same. Both Grandmasters Chen Fake and Hong Junsheng said, “Practice the way you would use it”. One who can achieve this level of ability is certainly a skilled person. It is unfortunately too difficult to reach this level.
Let us first of all, take a look at what “Body and the mind are harmonized as one”. There are two parallel processes in our learning of taijiquan. One happens in our mind and the other in our body. What the mind does is to “think”; what the body does is to “do”. If these two processes can be synchronized, it is a case ofharmonized as one (our own body and mind, not that with other people). It is a higher level skill.
Under normal circumstances we can achieve this level with a few actions in our lives, such as breathing, blinking, the usage of mouth, tongue, teeth in eating, the whole body coordination while walking. We all know that even these few activities we cannot achieve that desired level under duress such as breathing while sprinting.
There are also some activities that require learning to reach the level of the. For example, the first time, we pick up a pen, we do not automatically know who to write. We can not draw a vertical or horizontal line. After some training, our hand, pen and mind will reach a level of harmony that enables us to write.
There are no moves or technical requirements in the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system that are naturally harmonized in the above sense. Everything requires training. The entry level training is called “Enter the Door”. In today’s scientific terminology, “Enter the Door” simply mean “recalibration”.
A rifle that just came out of the plant cannot be used. It’s sight system must be calibrated first. This is a must. It is a life and death issue to have the rifle calibrated. It is the same in the learning of taijiquan. Withoutof our body parts, we are not ready to learn taijiquan. This is not any less than “life and death”.
Those who know music will know that musicians will tune their instruments before the performance. This is sometimes done right in front of the audience and there is nothing wrong with that.
To be more precise in the learning of taijiquan, this process is called “Enter the door”. Therefore we have the saying, “It is up to the master to accept you into the door, but up to yourself to gain gongfu. The master’s responsibility is to recalibrate your body for readiness. After that, it is totally up to yourself.
The entry level knowledge of Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method is the ten character adage by GM Hong Junsheng, “Out with hand, no elbow;, no hand”. We must recalibrate our hand-elbow relationship according to the requirements of these ten words. Once this is done, the skill will permeate the rest of the body and you have entered the door.
No matter what kind of fighting system, what school of martial art, enter the door is a must. In this article I only introduced the entrance knowledge of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system. It is not meant for other schools of taijiquan. It is my hope that taiji enthusiasts consider these points, so that they will not fall into the trap of “spending a life time, ending up empty handed”.