LFIAA Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan “There is only turning and no twisting”

As the practitioner begins to develop their Li Style (Lishi) Taijiquan form movements, gradually refining, correcting and connecting the whole body’s movements together in a slow, even and continuous motion. They will become aware that through the turning (Zhuan) of the legs, torso and arms that they should remain soft (Rou) and relaxed (Song) at all times. Whereas, some individuals will try and over rotate the movement of the legs, torso and arms using more of a twisting (Ning) action that can cause tension to accumulate within the whole body which can then hinder the circulation of the Qi to flow smoothly.

The Li Style Taijiquan involves a lot of changing of direction by turning the whole body in a 180% degree circle, which can place a lot of exertion on the legs making it very difficult to maintain a feeling of relaxation within the muscles, tendons and ligaments and especially the joints as the whole body turns. Again some individuals can some times over rotate their body using more of a twisting action which can bring tension and stiffness into the lower extremities. This can also be caused by trapping the bodyweight between both legs (Shuang Zhong) for which many practitioners of the Li Style Taijiquan sadly do a lot. Rather than learning to skilfully shift their bodyweight from one leg to another maintaining that the bodyweight is placed solely on one leg at a time. This will then allow the non-Weighted leg muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue to fully relax, so that one leg is full (Shi) of Qi and the weight of the body, while the other leg is empty (Xu) as the bodyweight and Qi is released.

As for the turning (Zhuan) of the torso it is especially important that the individual only turns until the waist (Yao) stops turning naturally. Which allows the muscles of the lower back and hips to remain soft and relaxed, while at the same time a gentle stretching of the spine is applied. Whereas, to many individuals try and over exert using more of a twisting (Ning) action of the torso as in the practice of Yoga, trying to increase their flexibility, which in-turn can cause to much tension to gather in the muscles of the lower back, and stiffen the spine.

In the practice of the Li Style Taijiquan the arms and hands must be kept as soft, loose and relaxed at all times making sure that the joints are never fully straightened or locked. When having to rotate the arms and hands around, make sure to softly turn them around and not to use any force like twisting or wringing them as again it will gather tension within the arms and restrict the flow of Qi.

Turning (Zhuan) is considered to be (Yin), while twisting (Ning) is considered to be (Yang). As turning uses softness and twisting uses strength, turning fills (Shi) and twisting flushes (Xu).

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