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Wuji, the beginning of Taiji kungfu

by Vu Khac Kien, NUS Taiji club under instruction of Master Rennie Chong

Many people come to practise Taiji for health reason or martial arts ability or stress relief, etc. However, many of them start with the form and expect them can complete the form and start to practise on their own after few weeks or several months. It is not that straightforward. In my opinion, Taiji is a journey and on the way you will realize something, instead of gaining something. The improvement in health or martial art ability are only side effects. Let me explain my point by introducing what I have realized from the first stance of Taiji that many beginners usually do not have much interest in. The stance is called Wuji.

What is Wuji stance? You stand with your weight shared equally between two legs. Hands are downward. There seems to be no martial art application nor health benefit from that stance. Everybody can stand on two legs. That’s why I also did not pay much attention to Wuji for the first few months, though I did practise it about 10 minutes a day. However, things started to change when I had a football injury.

I usually play football every weekend since I was a small boy and thus am very used to injuries. This time, it was pretty bad. I ran on a rough field and felt a sudden pain inside my knee during a hard run. I just collapsed and leant on my hands. Certainly, my wrist also got injured. I could not play football nor practise Taiji for several weeks until an Internet friend suggested to try to practise Wuji stance for longer time to relax my muscles. He said it might speed up the recovery. Well, why not I thought. At least, I have something to practise.

After the first few weeks of Wuji practise, 2 hours a day, I realized something. I started to understand what our Master meant by “sitting back” when the thigh and waist muscles are loosen. I felt that the upper bone of the leg drops on the lower bone and they formed something like a solid structure. I did not have to use too much muscle strength to hold my legs upright. I also felt that my body got softer and started to realize how much redundant force I had used before. People are used to using extra force and thus they cannot realize it until they can calm down their mind like when you practise Wuji. Of course, due to relaxation of mind and body, my muscle injury recovered quickly right after the first week, not fully but up to 80%. 

So with Wuji stance practice only, you can realize how much force you need to use even in normal daily actions. Saving energy (for health purpose), effective movement (for martial art purpose), injury recovery (for healing purpose) are just the results of a simple realization what do they mean by "calm down and relax". It can be achieved even from the first stance of Taiji, the Wuji stance. I believe the benefit will be a lot more when you keep practising. 

Well, I talked too much already. It is time to go and practise. 

Vu Khac Kien



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