Saturday, June 20, 2009

Facial Expressions

In previous posts, I have written about facial expressions and how to add soul and spirit to taiji routines. Today, as I was watching a Japanese drum performance, I once again thought about the importance of facial expressions.

Meaning (意) and spirit (神) is very important in taiji, and practising routines is one of the main ways of learning taiji. So when we are practising our routines, we need to express the meaning and spirit of taiji, else our routines will be empty, and our practice will also be in vain (just actions, aka 摆架子). Watching the Japanese drum performance taught me the importance of facial expressions. When a good drummer plays, his facial expressions matches the rhythm and mode of the piece, because he is fully engrossed in expressing the rhythm and mode of the piece, such that he becomes one with the music. So when the rhythm is fast yet light, his face shows a happy expression, and when the tempo builds up to a thundering roar, his face becomes more serious. When the tempo softens and slows, his facial expression is relaxed.

The same for taiji. You need to match your facial expression with the meaning and spirit of the movement that you are doing. When the movement is smooth and slow, your facial expression should be relaxed, when the movement is small and faster, your facial expression should become more serious. When your facial expression matches your movements, it shows that you understand the movements, and practice becomes meaningful.

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