It is still very surprising to me that even today there are still many practitioners of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan who do not even utilise the Eight Energies of Taijiquan into their form practice and there are some that don’t even know that the eight energies even exists or employed in the practice of taijiquan. I must honestly say that simply practicing a set of movements like the Li/Lee Style Taiji form without any change of energy to each particular movement makes the over-al form empty, hollow without any internal connection at all to the movements, just a bunch of physical actions performed slowly in a very relaxed manner does not make any individual a high skilled Taijiquan practitioner, but rather the opposite.
Learning and understanding each of the Taijiquan Eight Energies within the practice of the form gives each particular movement, posture more substance, strength and quality. For example the accompanying photo of Laoshi Keith Ewers performing the “Ward Off” (Peng Jin) movement of “Play the Guitar or Lute Posture” at the beginning of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan Short Form. Should involve a gradual feeling of expanding forwards and outwards to the front with the bottom and top of the body connecting together to add strength and fullness to the “Ward Off Method”. As it says “You must first expand before you shrink” which obviously follows, as the next movement is to “Rollback” yield and shrink to Play the Guitar or Lute.
Expanding outwards as if to meet some thing is what the Ward Off Method is all about. It’s the ability to meet and connect to the incoming force, to listen to its strength and then be able to redirect its force by yielding using the Rollback Methods (Lu Jin Fa). This feeling of expanding into the Ward Off Method should not just be a physical action it should also include the minds intention (Yi) to guide and lead the Qi forwards into this expanding, rising Ward Off technique. tThe practitioner should experience the sensation of their both arms becoming full or heavy as their Qi and blood arrives into their Ward Off technique of their leading arm, as it is their intent (Yi) that guides and leads the Qi to were its is needed. Hence it is a balance between internal and external that makes the shape of the Ward Off Method.
Just learning to apply the eight energies of taijiquan to the Li/Lee Style Taiji form practice will greatly enhance each person development and progress. Rather than just simply performing actions that are over relaxed, empty and devoid of any internal strength or any change of energy quality. Simply performing slow movements without understanding the energy of each action is really not good taijiquan practice. But sadly today more and more individuals of the Li/Lee Style Taijiquan seem to take this root as it is easier to practice, but it lacks true substance and quality.