Slanted FlyingJournal of Tai Chi Chuan

Training

Language

The article “Language” is reprinted on Slanted Flying website with the permission of the author Sam Langley from his personal Blog.

The word ‘Relax’ is a pleasing one and I’ve yet to find a better word to replace it.
It is, perhaps though, problematic. We’re all it seems used to doing and not terribly adept at not doing.
When you tell someone to relax it implies that there is something to do.
How do you force relaxation? I don’t think you can.

Now you could accuse me of pedantry but I think that the language we use is very important
in shaping our reality.
The words we use habitually effect the way we think, feel and experience the world.
I used to work as a hypnotherapist and have seen how people’s use of language can have a powerful impact both on themselves and others.

In China they use the word ‘Song’ to describe the desirable body state required in Tai Chi.
Roughly translated it means loosened. The term ‘song’ is based on a character for ‘long hair that hangs down’.
To me this doesn’t seem to have the same meaning as relaxed.
When you’re slumped on the sofa watching TV you’re probably relaxed but that’s definitely
not the same feeling we’re trying to cultivate in Tai Chi.

Obviously you can’t think your way into getting the right feeling.
With practice you hopefully develop an awareness of tension and are increasingly able
to ‘Let go’ of it.

So maybe I should tell my students to ‘let go of tension’ instead of relax……but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well and isn’t quite so relaxing to the ear.

Fancy learning Tai Chi in Bristol? Sam teaches regular classes and courses suitable for everyone.

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Sam Langley

About Sam Langley

Sam has been practicing Tai Chi for 8 years and is a fully certified instructor with the Tai Chi union for Great Britain. Find out more about Sam on his Tai Chi website: taichichuanbristol.com

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