The unity of spirit, energy and concentration
Spirit, energy and concentration, three essentials of life, are highly valued in Chinese health-care culture. Like the yin and yang theory and the five-element theory ? , it is directly associated with ancient Chinese philosophy, holding that all material phenomena take the form of spirit, energy and concentration. According to Laozi and Zhuangzi tao is the source of nature and energy is an alternate representation of tao . Zhangzi claims in his book , “Life is an accumulation of energy. Accumulation of energy leads to life, while dispersal of energy leads to death. ” Chinese medical theory believes that spirit, as a vital matter of life , consists of inborn kidney essence and the essence contained in food and drink we consume everyday. The existence of energy is manifested by certain physiological functions, and its formation is closely connected with the internal organs such as the kidneys, lungs, spleen and stomach. That is why we say spirit and energy is the bottom line to interpret Tai Chi Chuan . Tai Chi Chuan calls for cultivation from both inside and outside, its breathing exercises meeting the demand of supplying and nourishing energy.
Concentration comes from inborn essence and acquired energy. It is a denotation of life representations including the activities of the brain, the internal organs, the jingluo and the blood. Just as it is argued in The Yellow Emperor's Book on Internal Activities, “Spirit is inborn, and concentration is the effect of spirit.” That is to say, energy comes from spirit, the change of spirit is reliant on energy, and the effect of spirit and energy is expressed in concentration upon which regular human activities depend. Traditional Chinese medical science views concentration as dominant in human life. Under the influence of health-care culture, the approach to Tai Chi Chuan practice goes in two branches: the exercises to benefit the internal organs as well as the exercises to benefit the muscles and bones. Regulation of the brain, the breath and the body enhances a person's digesting and assimilating ability to achieve luxuriant spirit, sufficient energy and exuberant concentration. To build up one's body by giving concentration practice priority sharply defines its national feature.
Beside the theory of yin and yang , the unity of spirit, energy and concentration, other philosophical ideas such as the five-element theory, the jingluo theory mentioned above and the concept that “Men act in harmony with nature ”, etc . all occupy their respective places in the formation and maturation of Tai Chi Chuan .