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The taiji classics tell us that when we are in an urgent situation, we need to turn and sink.

When we do this, as long as there’s a good peng structure (our external shield), we are able to neutralize incoming force and stay solid in our space. To feel it, simply stand up tall with your feet together and ask your partner to try to push you over. While they do this try to remain balanced and keep your space firmly. You might be able to twist and to dodge the first couple of attempts by your partner, but after that you will definitely feel what we call an urgent situation. Don’t worry. Eventually you will not feel urgent and learn how to resolve the situation - the urgency.

This is called centering practice and it points to crucial experiential learning for continued Taiji development. Let’s remember that the external reflects the internal. We cannot see the psychological body nor the emotional body; however, we can learn to resolve urgency in these bodies. What we are trying to cultivate is the awareness to feel incoming pressure and to prepare our structure so we can act accordingly. We don’t want to overreact or submit to dominating urgency. But we want to understand and assess our own bodies and the forces which put us in that urgency because the fact is that we are constantly facing incoming forces from all angles. Unfortunately they ARE penetrating and we are tired, confused, and on edge.

We need to build an impenetrable core and center. When disease penetrates our immune defenses we get sick. Similarly our peng gives us a shield, not to use as a battering ram, but to sense those incoming forces.

How do we develop this defense and protection? Meditation to build self awareness as well as situational awareness. This is a good place to start, while having a good centering practice. This means exercising solid Qigong foundations to build relaxed awareness. Breathing needs to be regulated to stay relaxed but focused so that the mind is connected to the peng structure