Within Chu Shong Tin’s lineage of Wing Chun there is a lot of debate about the idea of awareness and intention within the spine! That there should be a “rising”, let’s say, from the tailbone of the spine to the crown of the head is the idea in question and in particular the different ways to elicit this feeling.
Through Chu Shong Tin’s teachings we discovered the idea of ‘Tai Gung’, which leads to a deep relaxation and connection of the upper and lower halves of the body, and it’s this phenomena that separated master Chu’s internal stance and structure to others who practiced the same art of Wing Chun.
Tai Gung is a soft lifting from the anus area that releases the lower back stomach and legs, which in turn releases the tailbone of the spine toward the perineum and releases the hip joints and pelvis, enabling us to correctly straighten (through decompressing and relaxation rather than using force to pull it straight) the spine and engage our stance. When we say ‘straighten the spine, of course it doesn’t mean that we physically straighten it as the spine needs to maintain its natural curvatures; Straightening up is merely a feeling of uprightness and the path that our mind needs to continue travelling up.
By doing this we also give ourselves the ability to access and use the whole mass of our bodies, torso and legs, as usually they are separated through tension in the hips and back. In term of generating power, the more of our mass we can use, as the foundation of our movements, the less muscular effort is required to produce power (Force = Mass x Acceleration); This is why Chu Shong Tin even in his later years, could produce such immense power with such little effort.
When we think of rising up in this way (through Tai Gung and relaxation) we see that it is a natural progression of relaxation from the ground up or, to look at it differently, the structure of the body (the skeletal system) opens up internally with the letting go muscular tension.
This is a very important aspect of Wing Chun training as the foundation for nearly everything that we do, must start with a solid and open posture!
– Chris Tannous (Instructor at Mindful Wing Chun Hong Kong)