To have a stable structure, we begin learning a key principle in Tai Chi: we have to learn how to not use our muscles. That is, consciously train our own muscles not to contract. We experience this in our bodies through the Stationary State (靜態).
We have to experience this for ourselves (要体会), because only by applying these universal principles to our own body can we understand what Tai Chi is.
A scientific approach to understanding Tai Chi is one of the things severely lacking in this day and age, and this is precisely what we are going to explore. We are learning to have a Stable Body Structure, and this can be achieved when we apply the principles of physics and bio-mechanics to our bodies.
The center of mass is known as the Center of Gravity (重心) .
The center of gravity can shift, as shown here:
Image from: https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/chapter-6/deck/10356431
When we first learn about a Stable Body Structure, we maintain a fixed point for our Center of Gravity during our Stationary State. As we begin to move, our Center of Gravity will also begin to move.
The direction of the force of gravity travels through our Center of Gravity straight downwards is called the Line of Gravity (重力線 ).
As you can see, our Center of Gravity does not necessarily have to be inside our bodies.
Image from: http://www.sports-massage-services.com/docs/gravity.pdf
The area beneath us where we come in contact with the supporting surface is known as the Base of Support (支撐底).
Image from: https://cnx.org/contents/be842fb1-f9fc-48db-919b-b197c7a6ee8c@5
Yes, our body may subconsciously activates our skeletal muscles to try and stabilize ourselves, even when we are standing still.
We have to learn about the types of muscles in our body, and how to maintain a Stable Body Structure without contracting these muscles. This is our next lesson.
Yes. We do not use our muscles because we want our body to relax. We
use the Stationary State (靜態) to first experience
what it means to Relax. But this is merely the start. The Tai Chi
State can be better accessed when we are moving.
Once we learn to relax our muscles in the Stationary State, we begin to do the same when we are moving. We shift from the ‘Stationary’ State to the ‘Active’ State (靜中求動), so that we can enter the Tai Chi State when we are moving.