In tonight’s class, Sigung Richard Clear demonstrated how to connect the upper and lower body. Every Tai Chi style has a unique method for making that connection, and Clear’s Tai Chi is no exception. This is one of keys to developing high-level skills like Fa Jin.
The main Tai Chi styles use different strategies to get their students connected. Chen style takes very low stances, while Yang family styles tend to use a bit of a lean in the upper body and a tuck in the hips. Wu style takes a longer and wider stance while curving the back. All of these methods accomplish the same thing, which is a strong connection between the upper and lower body.
Sigung Richard Clear is a Grandmaster of Tai Chi. He has trained with and learned from masters of many Tai Chi styles. Through his work, he has developed a method of making the power connection that allows average people to keep a healthy shape without need of incredible leg strength or funny postures.
With the Clear’s method, the connection is made by very slightly rounding the back and tucking the hips. This is sometimes called “Turtle Back,” and as you can see in the video above, it is one of the keys to generating tremendous power without muscular strain (which, after all, is what Tai Chi is supposed to be about).
This is considered a very high-level secret among Tai Chi Masters, but once you understand the mechanics it is fairly simple to grasp. Like everything else in the Clear’s Tai Chi program, it just requires a little patience and practice. Using the Turtle Back method, a dedicated student can make this connection completely natural. With practice, this becomes the natural way that the body is held, so that you have access to this power all the time.
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