Double Weighting
by Jim Dees

The term double weighting is most often associated with Tai chi. However, it is something that is to be avoided while practicing any internal martial art. The larger question remains what is double weighting? For years, I had viewed this as not fighting force. For example, during pushing hands practice, A pushes against a more powerful B. B uses his muscular strength to uproot A by not yielding to the incoming force rather by deflecting it through superior muscle force. I had been satisfied with this as my understanding until recently. March, 1997 I attended a seminar with Grand Master Chen Quanzhong. With the aid of Mr Yan Gaofei, he made me think about this concept more and offered a deeper explanation.

During the two day seminar we focused heavily on getting a better understanding of chi through structure and relaxation. He pointed out that double weighting occurs not only when we are in pushing hands practice or fighting, but within our own bodies as well. This led to an attempt to define the Chinese word "song". It has often been translated as relax. How many times have we as students heard "sink and relax". Well, the term relax may not be the best translation. In its place I would offer "release of tension". Tension being defined as any conflict be it mental or physical. The term relax, to many, has connotations of lazy boy recliners and postions assumed with less than proper structure in terms of the internal martial arts. In fact, some of you will attest to the fact that learning good structure and posture is anything but relaxing. But, this is how we must re-program our bodies to release the tension within.

Let's take as an example the dreaded hip. Many of us have had the opportunity to watch a good internal martial artist move. It often appears as though his/her hips are able to move independent of each other. This kind of flexiblity, when connected to the entire body, is a result of a release of tension between the hip and the lower extremeties. Remember the spiralling action? Well, that is how the tension is released in the hip. It starts with the toes grasping the ground and the heels pushing slightly out. The knees are then slightly twisted inward as the hip joint along ones side can be felt to protrude resulting in the inner groin making a U shape. While this explanation is a shallow examination of how the hip releases its tension, it should suffice to illustrate that the term "song" is more a kin to a release of internal tension than mere relaxation.

I was so impressed by this deeper understanding, I felt compelled to put it on paper in the hope that others will re-examine their thoughts on this subject. I have and it has helped me in my personal practice to "song" a little more. This applies to wuji, form, fighting, weapons training and movement in general. While I feel I could go on with more examples, I feel it is best that I close now and allow you the challenge of deeper discovery.

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