Photo: Girl performing Ba Gua Palms at Wudang Mountain
Some people’s Tai Chi is full of grace, like dancing, however fragile, with shaky or floating legs. They look like the injured swan from the ballet. The Chinese would say: ”your form looks beautiful, but it is empty”, in other words: it lacks grounding, root and power. At the other extreme, you can see people who look forceful, aggressive, ego-driven and somehow un-refined. Tai Chi shows a person’s spirit. I would watch a person performing Tai Chi and have a feeling about the person from their form.
The beauty we can see in the Tai Chi form is the beauty of the spirit of the person performing it; a free, pure and concentrated mind radiates through the physical body; the mind and the body become unified. Tai Chi’s beauty is also in being “the way of nature”: it reminds me of the purity in nature, of simply being. Of clouds passing in the sky; of a great river flowing to the ocean. Such a sophisticated art in the simplest expression of form!