You might call bodybuilding a philosophy built around consumption and power projection. Tai Chi is very different. It focuses much more on managing forces projected onto the person vs. seeking to project force.
In this video analysis (Quicktime ipod compatible, 38MB; Google streaming flash video), we see Hua Jin Hong demonstrating Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a defensive martial art that many Chinese engage in as a sort of meditative practice. The demonstration takes place at Tianjin University of Commerce on the East Coast of China. Hua Jin Hong speaks in Chinese, and there is translation in the background.
As shown in the strip of pictures on the left, Tai Chi involves a set of precisely defined movements. Focus is on body positioning and precise execution. In the video, Jin Hong (in chinese names the surname is first and the given name second) deconstructs the sequence and explains the imagery practitioners might use to help them execute.
I decided to publish this video in Muscle Ventures because, as I have traveled in China, I've been struck by how much weight lifting and bodybuilding depend on cultural constructions. Much of bodybuilding is about creating a body image using precise nutrition control and various weight training regimens. In some ways, you might call it a philosophy built around consumption and power projection.
Tai Chi is very different in its underlying philosophy. It focuses much more on managing forces projected onto the person vs. seeking to project force. However, like bodybuilding, the notion of control is very important. One can't help but remark that during much of China's history since 1949, survival not consumption, has been the issue for much of the populace with average people sometimes resorting to foraging for food during lean times.
- Our bodybuilding posing series describes a level of concentration similar to that required to execute Tai Chi.