Five Bows 五弓 – Part 4
In Tàijíquán 太極拳 we can use the fist, palm, or elbow to strike. Whenever we strike, we must use the Five Bows 五弓 – two arms, two legs and the body. If we are striking with the elbow, as before, we also need to relax, sink down on our legs – so that the two leg bows are prepared properly and the body and waist bow are ready as well. Since we are using the elbow, we do not need the other hand that much, so it just need to be relaxed. When we strike, all five bows come together and so the legs, body and arms release their power to support the elbow strike. At an advanced level, we can use our footwork to create more power. We never just hit with the striking part of the body, for example just the fist, as this would be too weak. Whenever we move, we move the entire body together. This is a characteristic of Tàijíquán movement. Everything is together and nothing is independent. It is just whether the movement has a big effect or a small effect, a quick result or causes something later on. This is the principle of Tàijí. Tàijí is one, one is everything. If we can understand one, then we can understand everything. Our body is one, but has five parts that connect together and work together – the Five Bows.