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T'ai Chi Trunk

Sport DictionaryTai Chi Dictionary
The postural principle of the T'ai Chi trunk is understood to be the basis of understanding the position and function of the upper body unit. It presents us with a description of the pelvis, shoulders, and head as being a single, integrated unit rather than three separate pieces (the image being that the trunk of our body is like the trunk of a tree).

The understanding of this principle is that when these three upper body parts are used independently, the result is the poor movement patterns of bending, leaning, and twisting, which literally break the body apart. These poor movement patterns, understood as repetitive actions performed hundreds of times a day, have a tremendously stressful cumulative effect on the body. Wherever the trunk breaks
becomes a place of stress and tension, the two most common locations being the lower back and the
neck. Poor trunk position also has a detrimental affect on the performance and health of the organs.

As one develops a feeling for the T'ai Chi trunk, one eliminates the old pattern of breaking into
pieces. The new sense of the trunk movement is that one moves from the pelvis (Tan T'ien ), and as
the pelvis moves, so do the shoulders and head. When the pelvis stops or reaches its fullest range of
movement, the shoulders and head also stop.

The complete understanding of the T'ai Chi trunk incorporates a sense of moving from center (the
Tan T'ien) , integration of the upper body (hips, shoulders, and head), and a feeling for a vertival
trunk which in T'ai Chi is always understood to mean the body's position in respect to gravity.

 

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