Archive for Epistemology

The ‘Real Taiji’ : A Lesson in Epistemology

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Arts, Taijiquan, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2011 by Combative Corner

Epistemology, means, well, you know: the study of knowledge.

In terms of being real (and discovering the real in RealTaiji!) consider 3 concepts:

  1. Input/Output
  2. Purposes of Beliefs
  3. Experience is Knowing


We each own various ways and vast potential for bringing information from the World into our bodies and minds. We gather information through sensory systems.

We see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and a lot more. We sense heat, weight, pressure, speed, locations of limbs in space, balance, and more. Each sense offers various ways of focusing intensely or softening and opening-up to a wider range of sensation.

While we gather input in various ways, we only output one thing: tension.

When we talk or gesture or walk or practice Taiji, all we can do is tense our muscles. Relaxation is not-doing; i.e. when we don’t tense, we do nothing. Actions roll between doing and not-doing, literally. Again, remember, this is way down: we’re focused on the nervous system.

It’s very physical: any implications or abstractions you might draw from this fundamental reality may be true too, but abstractions ride on this physical detail. (By the way, I’m not manipulating language: do and not-do reflect how our nervous system physically works.)

Relax: you’ll see more.

Purposes of Beliefs

From a physical reality perspective, beliefs limit our sensory input.

Like a fine strainer, beliefs provide existential relief to systems that would-be or could-be overwhelmed by too much sensational input. (Is that a belief? An experience?)

Beliefs are great at first. They develop naturally. They seem, at first, to keep us safe. And then, they inhibit, limit, and prevent experiencing what’s real.

Beliefs create internal tension.

To see more: relax.

Experience is Knowing

Many forces, the internet, educational institutions, your Mom and Dad, and more…insist that information is power. But we know better. Information is more like a map, a road-sign, or a clue.

When we get real, we realize that experience creates knowledge….

Does attacking beliefs and beliefs systems cause turmoil, relief, or wonder? Let me know by leaving a note…

Either way, I hope studying knowledge…and releasing the hold that tension has on your senses…brings brilliance and vibrancy to your Real Taiji.

About the Author: Steven Smith is the owner of RealTaiji.Com and the online learning aid, Peeking Over The Fence.  Steven Smith teaches people to move with exquisite power & fluid elegance…get access online and visit pristine Montana landscapes.

– Original article posted by Mr. Smith on his website, RealTaiji.Com on Nov. 2nd, 2010.  Re-posted with his permission.

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