Transitions: Linking Movements
into Fluid Forms

Paul Cavel Training Wu Style Tai Chi

Paul Cavel Training Wu Style Tai Chi

From gross to subtle and big to small, transitions link form and content into cotinuous, fluid motion. Most practitioners focus on the broad strokes of the forms they practice and pay little attention to the seemingly less significant transitions that link them together. However, transitions are precisely what carries forward any momentum and qi development, making possible more profound levels of practice and supercharging power and health benefits.

On the other hand, when not executed properly, transitions can sever the momentum you build and thereby diminish and limit training results. Therefore, the wise and dedicated student hones in on the all-important linking components as a means of generating efficiency from move to move and advancing their practice.

What Is a Transition?

There are two basic types of transitions:

  • Those that link together form movements and maintain flow.
  • Those that link one half of a cycle to another while developing internal content,
    such as an open to a close or a bend to a stretch.

In some cases, both types unify into one, smooth and continuous stream. On the surface, this can seem quite easy to do, but the changing phases can become very complex, especially when incorporating multiple layers of nei gong simultaneously.

Developing Quality through Transitions

Transitions encompass much more than only changing from one posture to another, but that range and depth relies entirely upon quality: quality of motion, quality of mind, quality of depth and quality of complexity.

  • Quality of Motion–How smooth, fluid, relaxed and connected can you become through any transition?
  • Quality of Mind–How present, aware, constant and soft can you remain through any transition?
  • Quality of Depth–How deep is any particular neigong component embodied in your being during any transition?
  • Quality of Complexity–How many nei gong components are integrated into any given form during any transition?

With a high level of quality in all of the above, transitions come into their own and amplify all the positive attributes of training the nei gong system—not only taking your practice to new heights, but manifesting positive change on many levels of your being. Whatever you practice, from the simple to complex, beginning to advanced, quality is the name of the game and what allows any potential to manifest. Old Taoism’s masters have been fond of saying, “Less is more”: less forms, more content; less force, more relaxation; less tension more flow; less stress, more integration.


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