What are the soft movements?
At the base of a large percentage of 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s techniques, there are soft movements (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch), their fundamental characteristics are:
- Relaxation – It has to be interpreted as an absence of stiffness, not a weak setting
- Harmony – The flow never ends, the energy never stops to circulate (read The 10 principles of Tai Chi)
- Precision – These motion always follow the right trajectories
- Be in power – Always be ready to easily change speed, direction and state (elastic, etc.) in relation to our needs
To learn how to move without stopping the flow of energy we must first familiarize with body and mental relaxation to free our Qi channels (read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning).
Tension and relaxation
As is well known to anyone, tension is the first cause of:
- Physical damages (muscle strains, etc.)
- Poor performance (both physically and mentally)
Instead, when we are relaxed:
- We think better
- We move better
- We fight better
Although we do not realize it, most of our day is characterized by constant tensions and stiffeners inside and outside our body (eg. back, neck, legs, fingers, wrists, abdomen, etc.). The reasons that push us to take these unnatural and harmful attitudes can be found on:
- Mental stress
- Incorrect postures
- Incorrect habits
- Poor contact with our body
- Poor hydration
- Bad diet (read Qi and proper nutrition)
How to prepare the path to soft movements
Once we became aware of the stiffness of our body it is possible to begin to work actively to increase our state of relaxation. To check and to start taking control of our body is important to practice:
- Stretching (read Basic soft stretching)
- Meditation (read Meditation method 1)
- Daily training (read How to start practicing 6DKF)
Doing this we have to:
- Concentrate on the improvement of single body elements – One by one, we have to focus on each individual internal and external element of our body (organs, muscles, etc.)
- Check the relationship of our body elements – Understand in what condition is each part of our system, what is influenced by what and what is affected by what
- Connect everything using our breathing as a guide – Use breathing to give a volunteer rythm / pace to our entire system, syncing all of our body’s mechanics with our intentions
How to start to acquire the soft movement: an exercise
A good exercise to start to familiarize with the soft movements is to emulate the sequences of Tai Chi (Taiji), not so much with the idea of performing the technique in a specific way but rather with the aim of seizing the essential benefits useful to us.
A note by Master Kongling – In Tai Chi there are so many details to know that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to learn a so ancient and complex martial art without a (high-level) master but, this time, this is not our goal.
Doing this let’s concentrate on:
- Softness (but not weakness)
- No tensions
- Roundness curvilinear
- Exchanges of weight
The passage that we will face in the next article of this series is to allow our flexibility and resistance to grow, so as not to be damaged and especially not to disperse the power.
- How to combine softness and power – How to release the maximum power that we can express
- Dragon Motion: the swirling movements – The practical and natural use of soft movements
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- What is the bigger difficulty in performing the soft movements of Tai Chi?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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