Tung Ying Chieh (1898-1961) was a well known master of the traditional Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan. He was a top student of the famous 3rd generation Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan master Yang Cheng Fu (1883–1936). Tung Ying Chieh trained with Yang Cheng Fu for more than 17 years, and assisted with Yang with teaching when he went on travels through China
Tung Ying Chieh wrote this essay on important points of the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. Although Tung was a master of the Yang style and the Wu/Hao styles of Tai Chi Chuan, this work is valuable to all students of Tai Chi Chuan no matter the style which they might practice.
This is one of several essays which Tung Ying Chieh wrote and included in his “Red Book”, on Tai Chi Chuan called “Tai Chi Chuan Explained”
Below is an excerpt from the book on the section called “Words of Experience”.
1. Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art exercise. Strength is produced in the bones. Power is reserved at the muscles. It does not require one to have tough skin or thick muscles, but sunken “chi” and strong bones are required. Therefore, learners have no suffering of broken bones and hurt muscles, and the tiredness of jumping, but just move naturally to find the potential of power of origin. It is an exercise to develop the your original power.
2. The three main points: spirit, intention, and posture (likeness of the movement’s names) have to be there.If the posture is correct, then the spirit and intention are there, and you will have good progression. Also, you will feel differently every day. Learners should try to feel the differences intentionally.
3. If the posture is not correct, then spirit and intention are not there. The result will be just like cooking an empty pot, even after many years of practice you will not be successful. There is a tease saying that ten years of Tai Chi Chuan practice is not as good as three years of kung fu. Therefore, for good Tai Chi Chuan practice: first you have to practice diligently; and secondly you need to have good understanding. Also, the result is dependent on your intelligence, but hard practice can help stupidity. So you should always encourage yourself to practice harder.
4. Breathing during practice – to breathe naturally. Do not force your breath deeply. After many times of practice, your Tai Chi Chuan will reach the natural point. By that time, the breath will be balanced automatically.