tai chi enso

Trained-in response:
un-hesitating action,
thought into space,
nowhere everywhere.

Repeated testing:
action and response,
reflexive thought.

Whole mind,
whole body:

action in balance,
with time in space.

Body becoming
aware of/with/by
itself. Vital posture,
inner pattern.

Just sitting –
Thought into space,
nowhere everywhere.


It can sometimes be useful to offer guidance in a written or diagrammatic way as a means of supporting our physical, practical experience. Here (above, and best viewed on a pc/laptop rather than a phone) I am detailing Tai Chi Form practice within a possible spectrum of neighbouring disciplines. It should be noticed that both directions of travel (or acquiring skill) are possible, and that these are not fixed, but fluid positions.

As a means of setting it down I have made my spectrum linear, yet this is in fact a deceit.
If one were able to lift it from the page/screen and make of it a bracelet, it would reveal itself more clearly, more truthfully.
It would appear more like a cylindrical calendar of seasons, able to rotate on its axis of Tao: where summer runs into late-summer runs into autumn, and so forth in continuity.

Seeing it in this way, one aspect of the spectrum becomes especially interesting – no doubt surprising or even alarming to some – which is that FIGHT SKILL and MEDITATION come beside each other.

China, Korea, Tibet, Japan, other neighbours too, have fostered this approach for centuries, for three thousand years or more. Deep ancestral currents bring it to our present therefore, to which those of us who wish to advance in our practice must open, and be open, and be open.

I have called my spectrum ‘ensō’, perhaps irrationally pairing the Japanese for ‘circle’ with the Chinese of Tai Chi. The reason: because to my mind the highly-treasured ensō represents the apotheosis of the martial and meditation world coming together in calligraphic form – where Japanese Zen (itself originating in the Tao/Chan of its mainland neighbour) fosters Samurai, fosters Zen.

Please note that in my ensō/spectrum TAI CHI represents also Hsing I, Pa Kua together with complementary wushu of China and other countries, and that CHI KUNG stands as an inclusive to term for all aspects of inner/subtle energy practice, namely Taoyin, Nei Kung etc.

Also: verses beginning ‘Earth buries…’ and ‘Sit with Wu…’ in the previous entry may be seen as ensō in word form, prompted as they were from a place of ‘just sitting’ meditation.

For examples of ensō
the internet is a veritable milky-way.
The one reproduced here
I captured many year ago
and cannot now remember its source.
I bow to its maker in showing it:

©August 2018