Tai Chi: The Special Energy Movements
By Erle Montaigue: June 2008

By now, most people know that the Tai Chi form activates Qi in the 12 main channels as it would be activated in a 24 hour period. This activation keeps the body in perfect balance both internally and physically and gives the body a better chance of healing itself. This has been evident to me on many occasions such as two days ago when I could hardly walk due to my old "war injury" coming back to haunt me with a vengeance. But I persisted in my morning training doing the Old Yang Style very slowly and easily plus the Bagua circular form, also taking it easy. Half way through the Tai Chi form, I noticed that the pain had gone from my right knee and when I had finished the Bagua form, there was no sign of any pain or weakness in that knee. I could walk, jump and run again perfectly. Such are the healing powers of the Internal Systems.

However, there is another energy healing system inherent in the Tai Chi form which is just as potent and often even more pertinent to one's health as it strikes are particular illnesses and conditions via the "Extra Meridians" as we do the form.

This "Special Energy Movement" also gives us a way to see how we are going with reference to our internalising of the form. You will only feel these energy flows when you are really getting there and everything that you are supposed to be doing is working. Like being in a state of "Sung" and each part of the body moving in complete harmony, beginning and finishing at exactly the same time, moving like a perfect sine wave, being at one with the world around you, taking it all in as you move etc. Only then will you actually feel the energy moving through the "Extra" meridians thus giving you more power for the fighting art as well as more power for healing of self and for healing of others.

It's difficult to try to explain what that feeling is like as everyone is different in their perception of energy flow. The old masters simply said that the "Qi Rises Up The Back", as that was the only way they could describe it.

It is these special qi flows that keep us wanting to do Tai Chi as it feels great and mornings do not become a drudge, having to do your workout. It become a joy and something that you can't wait to get out and do each morning with the birds and other animals as they wake up from the night. And once you are aware of these energy qi flows, it really teaches you how exactly to perform the postures of the form as it is the energy that causes your arms to move this or that way. For instance from the movement after the "Lower Chee" in the Old style, the Double Spear Hands, and into "Arn", once you are aware of the special energy flow for that movement, your arms will not simply come straight forward after the two elbow strikes, but rather they will open out slightly thus opening up the both arm Kwas and spiralling the arms out and down into "Arn".

Not all of the Tai Chi energy movements have these special qi flows. Only those special postures and energy movements from those postures have the Qi Flow through the "Extra Meridians". For instance, the first Special Qi Flow that you will become aware of as you progress, will be from the posture of Sit Back (after the 2nd Chee Posture" into Arn during the series of energy movements called " Grasping Swallow's Tail". You will feel a huge build up of energy in the tantien area which then raises up the back, over the head and into the arms. This energy qi flow is excellent for the brain and for gaining internal power in the arms and upper body.

Other Special Qi Flows go from the ground, into the right K1 point (for males, reverse for females) and up the right side of the body, then over the head and down the left side and into the ground via the Left K1 point. This is the case in the "Preparation" posture right at the beginning of the form and this flow grounds the body causing it to be in complete harmony with the ground or earth ready for the next energy movements. This initial preparation prepares us for the form practice and represents basically, the whole body which is why I always pay particular attention to getting this movement correct as it is the foundation of the whole form. Other energy flows will work with special postures to send energy through the "Girdle Meridian" which passes through a whole bunch of points on important meridians and joins them up around the waist. This one is probably the most difficult to detect. However, it does become apparent when you are able to just do the form! When I say, "Just do it", this is probably the most important aspect of one's training as we as humans all think too much and theorize about what we are doing. Once you have the movement and can do the whole form without any conscious thought, you just DO IT. Do not try to be doing Tai Chi, do not try to look good, you are on your own. Don't try to hold your balance, just move in accordance with what the energy is telling you. This will cause your form to take on a different aspect, you will notice that the "Kwa" will open more and often, your palms will be activating the Qi and manifesting it automatically and most importantly, you will begin to FEEL the Energy flows through the extra meridians.

I have begun many times to do a video about these special flows of energy, however, I have found it quite difficult as conscious thought must not be a part of Tai Chi movement! So I am trying to simply do my own form practice and after, then write down what I was and where I was feeling the energy flows so that others will be able to get there a little quicker than my some 35 years!