Tai chi involves connecting all parts of the body with flowing, graceful movements, aligned with gentle focus while the mind is clear of distractions and intrusive thoughts.........
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a key aspect of both golf and meditation. In golf, you need to be fully present and focused on the shot at hand, paying attention to your body positioning, your breathing, and the surroundings. Similarly, in meditation, you need to be fully present and focused on the present moment, paying attention to your breath, your thoughts, and your surroundings.
Relaxation: Both golf and meditation can be relaxing practices that can help reduce stress and anxiety. In golf, taking a few deep breaths before a shot can help calm your nerves and focus your mind. Similarly, in meditation, taking a few deep breaths can help you relax and let go of any tension or worries.
Focus: Golf requires a great deal of mental focus and concentration. You need to be able to visualize the shot, maintain your focus throughout the swing, and stay present and focused even if the shot doesn't go as planned. Similarly, in meditation, you need to be able to focus your mind on the present moment, and let go of distractions and thoughts that may arise.
Flow: Golf can also be a flow state activity, where you are fully immersed in the moment and everything seems to flow effortlessly. This is similar to the flow state that can be achieved through meditation, where you are fully immersed in the present moment and experience a sense of timelessness and effortlessness.
Stability: In both tai chi and golf, stability is key. In tai chi, you use slow, deliberate movements and weight shifts to maintain a stable center of gravity and stay balanced. Similarly, in golf, you need to maintain a stable base of support in order to execute a good swing and hit the ball accurately.
Weight Shift: Both tai chi and golf require you to shift your weight from one foot to the other in order to generate power and momentum. In tai chi, you use weight shifts to create a sense of flow and continuity in your movements, while in golf, you use weight shifts to create a smooth, rhythmic swing.
Flexibility: Both tai chi and golf require a certain level of flexibility in the feet and ankles. In tai chi, you use a variety of footwork patterns to improve your flexibility and mobility, while in golf, you need to be able to move your feet and ankles freely in order to achieve a good swing and follow-through.
"We play golf with our feet"' - Jack Nicholas
Both tai chi and golf emphasize the importance of connecting with the ground. In tai chi, you use your feet to root yourself to the ground and connect with the energy of the earth, while in golf, you need to have a solid connection with the ground in order to generate power and control the direction of the ball.
Graceful synchronization of the upper and lower parts of the body is essential for a smooth and powerful golf swing. Hands connect with feet, arms connect with legs, and everything connects with the energy generated by the waist.
In Tai Chi we use calmness to overcome movement, and even in movement, still have calmness. So, when you practice, the slower the better! When you do it slowly your breath becomes deep and long, the chi sinks to the Dantean, and naturally there is no harmful constriction or enlargement of the blood vessels.
In Tai Chi, we use intent rather than force, and from beginning to end, smoothly and ceaselessly, complete a cycle and return to the beginning, circulating endlessly. That is what the Tai Chi Classics mean by “Like the Yangtze or Yellow River, endlessly flowing.” And again: “Moving strength is like unreeling silk threads.” These both refer to unifying into a single impulse. Strength in external martial arts is a kind of acquired, brute force, so it has a beginning and an end, times when it continues and times when it is cut off, such that when the old force is used up and new force hasn’t yet arisen.
Shifting of Weight: In the art of Tai Chi, separating full and empty is the number one rule.
Only after you are able to distinguish full and empty will turning movements be light, nimble and almost without effort; if you can’t distinguish them, then your steps will be heavy and sluggish. You won’t be able to stand stably, and it will be easy for an opponent to control you.
Yong Yi, Bu Yong Li (Yong means to do or use. Bu refers to “not”)
“Only by being extremely soft are you able to achieve extreme hardness.”
Allow the entire body relax and extend. Don’t employ even the tiniest amount of brute strength. Only then will you be able to lightly and nimbly change and transform, circling naturally. Some wonder: if I don’t use force, how can I generate force?
If you use intent rather than force, wherever the intent goes, so goes your chi. In this way, because the chi and blood are flowing and circulating every day throughout the entire body and never stagnating, you will get true internal strength after a lot of practice.
Somebody who is really adept at Tai Chi has arms, which seem like silk wrapped around iron, immensely heavy. Someone who practices external martial arts, when he is using his force, seems very strong. But when not using force, he is very light and floating.
In Taiji theory, movement should be rooted in the feet, stabilized through the legs, commanded by the waist and expressed through the hands. When the movement of the feet, legs, waist and hands are in unison then intention will follow in the eyes.
‘‘Synchronize upper and lower body” is expressed as: “With its root in the foot, emitting from the leg, governed by the waist, manifesting in the hands and fingers – from feet to legs to waist – complete everything in one impulse.” Literally “one chi.” This could also be rendered as “one breath.” When hands move, the waist moves and legs move, and the gaze moves along with them. Only then can we say the upper and the lower body are synchronized. If one part doesn’t move then it is not coordinated with the rest.
Sinking the shoulders is to let the shoulders be relaxed and drop downwards. If not, both shoulders will rise causing qi to rise in them. No strength can be exerted from the body if this happens. Weighting down the elbow is to direct the elbows downward and be relaxed. If the elbows rise up, the shoulders will have great difficulty in sinking, thus affecting the strength of your internal power. This is similar to what is known as ‘stifling the power’ in external martial arts. To say relax the shoulders is not to say don't use the shoulders. Relax does not mean lifeless.
The waist is the commander of the body. When one is able to song the waist, qi will increase in the legs and thus provide a stable base for firm rooting. Changes of movement from Empty (xu) to Full (shi) and vice versa are derived from movement of the waist. There is a saying that the source of qi is from the waist, therefore if one lacks strength, one should pay more attention to the waist and the lower limbs. Song is normally translated as relax or loosen. It must be understood that relax is does not mean collapse and certainly does not mean lack of use. Song means a natural, or authentic, state of being.
What we are practicing in Tai Chi depends on the spirit, hence the saying: “The spirit is the general, the body his troops.” If you can raise your spirit, your movements will naturally be light and nimble, the form nothing more than empty and full, open and closed. When we say ‘open,’ we don’t just mean open the arms or legs; the mental intent must open along with the limbs. When we say ‘close,’ we don’t just mean close the arms or legs; the mental intent must close along with the limbs. If you can combine inner and outer into a single impulse, then they become a seamless whole.
“Elevate the Crown” refers to emptying the thoughts and take a natural, relaxed stance. You may not use strength. To use strength makes the back of the neck stiff, whereupon the chi and blood cannot circulate freely. You must have an intention which is empty, lively (or free) and natural. Without intention that is empty, lively, pushing up and energetic, you won’t be able to raise your spirit and focus.
The phrase ‘hold in the chest’ means the chest is slightly reserved inward, which causes the chi to sink to the Dantean. The chest must not be puffed out; if you do so then the chi is blocked in the chest region. The upper body becomes heavy and the lower body light, and it will become easy for the heels to float upward. ‘Slightly round the back’ makes the chi stick to the back. If you are able to hold in the chest then you will naturally be able to slightly round the back. If you can slightly round the back, then you will be able to emit strength from the spine, which others cannot oppose.