On sight alone, it may seem that taiji (Tai Chi) is a graceful dance across the floor. However, the movements of taiji were designed within a context of resistance generated by an opponent/partner. Taiji movements flow through the partner’s body tissues like a swimmer flowing through water. The internal experience of physical resistance and consequent muscle engagements make clear the fact that each set of movements in taiji are pointedly intended to create ripples of response in both one’s own body and that of the opponent, transforming the experience altogether.
This video features is Matt Branstetter studying joint locks (qin na) with Master Ding Ming Ye. Joint locks are a traditional part of taiji training and are represented in nearly every move of traditional taiji forms.