The Energy Of Change

I’m a huge believer in the Dao, and by that, I mean that I believe that certain universal principles exist.

I’m a huge believer in the Dao, and by that, I mean that I believe that certain universal principles exist. And when you understand and work with those principles, you have the best chance of success. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I have devoted so much of my life to the study of tai chi. Tai Chi (or taijiquan if you want to be precise) is a martial arts system that embodies the philosophical concept of the yin and yang – or tai chi. The literal translation of tai chi is the “great extremes.” So tai chi as a martial art is inextricably connected to the belief that there are forces, that by nature, are polar opposites but that work together in a synergistic dance. In tai chi everything starts with the primary energies of “peng” (ward off) and “an” (pressing.)

I have adopted a new description of these two energies that I originally picked up from my good friend, Sam Masich. Sam calls “peng” supporting energy and “an” resting energy. Supporting energy works against gravity and gives us shape. Resting energy is the complementary opposite, it works with gravity. These energies work together because if you have supporting energy and you have no resting energy then everything just expands out and eventually dissipates. And resting energy without supporting energy is collapsing because it has no structure. It’s the dynamic balance, the correct ratio between supporting and resting energy that gives your movement the shape and the relaxation that makes tai chi tai chi.


I have devoted so much of my life to the study of tai chi.

Jose Johnson

As critical as supporting and resting energies are, it is the third energy that is really interesting to examine. It is the energy of “lu.” Lu is typically translated as “roll back,” but in keeping with my updated lexicon of tai chi terminology, lu means rotating energy. The concept of rotating energy is so simple yet so profound. If you can begin to grasp this concept it will create a significant leap in your ability to navigate and manifest change. So let’s look at an example. If we were to consider yin and yang as being two sides of the same coin, which in essence they are, the side you see is a result of your perspective. If you don’t do anything you will always see the same side.

If you wish to see something different you either have to change your position (which takes too much energy) or you simply turn the coin over. And what type of energy is expressed? Rotational energy. So in essence, the change from one state to another occurs as a result of rotational force. Rotational energy is at the very heart of the movement of the galaxy. It is the energy of change. And when you overlay these concepts with life, you begin to see that to live a harmonious and effective life we need to find a balance between having structure, rest and relaxation, and learning to roll with the flow.


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2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most traumatic times in recent history. First, we experience a global pandemic that resulted in most of the world as we know it shutting down as stay at home orders were implemented, resulting in our economy teetering on the verge of collapse.

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