Yunrou’s automotive metaphor for Tai Chi

Over the holidays I caught up with a few back episodes of the Forbidden Rice Podcast. produced by the renowned American Taoist, martial artist and writer Yunrou.

One episode that stuck with me was the following automotive metaphor for Tai Chi.

A car is a machine that uses an engine to convert fuel into power. That power is then connected to the ground using the transmission and directed using a steering wheel.

Here’s how Yunrou relates this to Tai Chi.

Gravity is the fuel for Tai Chi – without gravity one cannot drop the centre of gravity, because there isn’t one!

Relaxation is Tai Chi’s engine.  Relaxation can be thought of as the body’s response to gravity, hence it does the same job as an engine, converting fuel into power.

The Tan Tien ( a point about an inch below the navel, 3/7 of the way from back to front) is Tai Chi’s  transmission – it connects the power to the ground.

The Lower back is Tai Chi’s steering wheel, through which one directs the power to the hands and feet and the rest of the body.

Keep this in mind next time you practise. I found it helpful and I hope you do too.


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