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'Bearing' is the way in which you carry yourself. How you stand, how you move.
It is not the same as posture.
Bearing encompasses behaviour as well as physical positioning and body usage.


Miyamoto Musashi's advice concerning bearing is worth listening to.
He asserts that your bearing should be constant, whether you are in combat or performing an everyday activity.
It is important to consider why he says this.


If you consider the way in which you move your body throughout the day, you probably adopt a wide variety of physical shapes.
Extremes are usually avoided, as these can lead to injury and damage.
Invariably, you move in a fashion that is comfortable.
This may be regarded as your familiar body usage.

Tai chi fighting method

Sifu Waller only teaches natural, comfortable body movement.
There are no extremes, no pushing, no strain.
We encourage easy stances, relaxed movement of the joints and a calm temperament.


If your tai chi is not physically comfortable, it may be that you are too tense and lack the necessary release.
Tai chi should feel quite similar to everyday movement except that the emphasis will differ.


In combat, your bearing must feel natural. Your demeanour should also be relaxed and comfortable.
Physical or emotional tension will prevent you from employing your tai chi effectively, so your bearing must be composed.
If you seem friendly and amiable, but not nervous, you offer a poor target.
If your tai chi body usage feels familiar and comfortable, you are more likely to do something constructive in self defence.


It is necessary for your everyday bearing to change when you learn tai chi.
You must become more aware of your body and the way in which you use it.
This will cause a subtle ongoing change to occur.


You will see more, feel more, be more receptive; how you interact with your environment will alter.
Gradually, there will be little difference between your everyday bearing and your martial.
If you find yourself performing 'stork spreads wings' whilst waiting for the train, you have sadly missed the point entirely.

Generally speaking,
it is essential to make your ordinary bearing the bearing you use in martial arts,
and make the bearing you use in martial arts your ordinary bearing.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)

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Page created 6 April 1999
Last updated 16 June 2023