Circularity: The Heart + Soul
of Tao Meditation + Energy Arts

Circularity in Tai Chi Circling Hands

Circularity in Tai Chi Circling Hands

Circularity is regarded as one of the primary training tenets of Tao energy arts because circular motion is the mechanism by which continuous rather than intermittent motion can be realised, giving birth to a myriad of positive health benefits. The massive gap that lies between understanding the concept of a circle or circularity as a mental construct as opposed to integrating circularity into the body’s motion is one of the main hurdles to overcome. As a result, many practitioners fall prey to visualisations and all sorts of mental gymnastics instead of actually developing and eventually embodying the true nature of circularity. For dedicated practitioners, the solution can be found by tuning into the kinesthetic of any neigong technique, that is to feel what your body does rather than what your mind thinks about it.

Three Planes, Two Directions + 12 Circles

Three-dimensional reality consists of motion on the following planes:

  • Transverse or horizontal.
  • Sagittal–vertical, which passes from front to back or vice-versa.
  • Coronal–vertical, which passes from left to right or vice-versa.

To fully embody circularity, you must practice making circles on all three planes in both directions with a shoulder’s width stance and an alternating leg forward. When you practice these six circles (both directions on all three planes) with each leg forward, you create 12 possible circles. These 12 circles are not just practised to loosen up the body, work out the tension from your tissues and joints, release the nervous system, deepen the mind-body connection and supercharge your qi, but also to work circularity deep into your flesh.

Circularity is precisely what reconditions your muscles, so you can build in fundamental circling actions germane to all qi gong, tai chi and bagua, including Tui Shou (Tai Chi Push Hands), Rou Shou or any fighting technique for that matter. Circularity also affects the relative speed any practitioner can achieve within internal martial arts and two-person application methods. So if one practitioner uses circularity (i.e. never stopping and starting), then he will be faster in his return than his opponent moving at the same speed using linear motion. In fact, if your opponent engages only in linear motion, it is possible to move slower than your opponent and arrive first because inertia is triggered. Inertia is integral to linear motion and eats up time.

Regardless of the application, qi development through circularity (as opposed to linear motion) is far superior, generating exponentially more power and making any application more effective.

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