Unfolding the Eight Energies of
Tai Chi & Bagua

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bagua-yin-yangAlthough many books on tai chi assign the eight internal energies of peng, ji, lu, an, lieh, tsai, kao and jou to the eight trigrams, they are not manifestations of the trigrams themselves, otherwise bagua—the art form of the I Ching—would employ that methodology. In bagua’s palm changes, all eight internal energies are used in each palm and yet each palm develops the energy of a single trigram.

Likewise, in tai chi, you stream through the eight internal energies as you practise your
form and yet your focus remains on developing the energy of a single trigram. When
practising a form or any section that is highly familiar to you, your focus is placed on the trigram of your choice, the energy behind the symbol. You then attempt to make the jump
and contact that particular primordial energy.

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The Eight-fold Patterns
of Tai Chi & Bagua

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Paul Cavel Teaches Tai Chi Classes in North London

Paul Cavel Teaches Tai Chi + Bagua Classes in Islington, London

The very fabric of Tao arts is weaved from nei gong threads that intertwine to create the internal structures and external forms of qi gong, tai chi and bagua. The exact same nei gong threads can be weaved in very different ways to generate radically different arts and training results.

However, the nei gong system itself is split into two categories, which yields eight yang and eight yin methods. That is to say each nei gong component naturally develops either the yang or yin qi of the body and, as a whole, every thread contributes to an intimate and delicately balanced lattice.

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

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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.

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Transitions: Linking Movements
into Fluid Forms

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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.

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Two Balancing Exercises
for a Healthy Body + Mind

Paul Cavel + Pete Jenkins Practising Bagua Dragon Arm Exercises

Balancing the body is a continuous process as that which is more or less closed now may become more or less open later. This is especially true when you actively engage in the process of unbinding your body. As you focus on any bound place or part of your body and become successful in opening it up, you’ll notice how it becomes looser and relatively more flexible than other body parts.
In qi gong, tai chi and bagua there are many postures where one hand/arm is on top of or in front of the other; for example, Cross Hands in tai chi, several moves in Gods Playing in the Clouds Qi Gong and the Bagua Single Palm Change. These postures are good for establishing balance in your body.

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