I’ve been reading a book recently. Well, I just started reading this book. It purports that the mechanistic, structural, body-alignment paradigm to explain the benefits and power of a consistent Tai Chi practice doesn’t go deep enough into what the truth is. The author explains that the truth is much richer, deeper, and more subtle.
The truth, according to the author is that the subtle energies are what shape the structure, and body alignment, not the other way around. Of much greater importance is the focus on the subtle energies that will increase, and permeate the body with regular, focused Tai Chi practice.
Now, I’m not going to get into the different distinctions that the author makes, and detailed methodology…mainly because I’ve only begun the book. What I am going to do is discuss my opinion on the matter thus far.
I can see the author’s point, but find that an awareness of structure and mechanical body alignment is useful at the beginning of any martial arts practice, even if one’s ultimate goal is energy cultivation. The reason I believe that at least a cursory awareness of structure is important is that even if energy is of primacy, we still live within the confines of our physical body. If we can achieve more efficient use of our physical being, it can only serve to benefit us in our day-to-day life. Why not get the physical benefits as well as the energetic rush that energy cultivation can lead to? Have your cake, and eat it.
The author’s proclamation to relax, relax, relax, is also of great importance in achieving a structural alignment of the body naturally. Thus, the focus on the physical structure of the body and its energetic makeup are not mutually exclusive. We are water, a wonderful conductor of energy, but we still have a framework composed of bone, sinew, etc. that functions better when relaxed, and tension-free.
That is just my two cents.