The Wisdom of Beautiful Whiskers
by Bataan Faigao
16 The Discipline of Longevity
1. In Single Whip, while the left, forward foot turns with the waist/hip, the right shoulder stays with the right back foot, thus opening up the lungs. This posture is directly related to Lao Shr's illness (tuberculosis). Lao Shr's teacher spent seven years teaching him that opening. It was beneficial for his lungs once he corrected himself.
2. In t'ai-chi ch'uan, the deterioration of health from the peak (40 years) happens gradually. From 40 on you level off gradually. This is the discipline of longevity. The practice of t'ai-chi ch'uan make this gradual levelling off possible. There should never be an abrupt decline of energy.(*4)
The brain gradually shrinks from 40 on. Your vision is clearer, intuition is stronger and sharper. Memory decreases. The baby's brain is contrarily expanded. At seventy years the brain expands again if it is not used. (*5)
3. In dealing with anger, hollow out the chest and let all the weight drop to the root.
*4 Establishing the peak at 40 is not necessarily true. For all we know there might not be a peak.
*5 This is no different than western conceptualization of developmental growth. When Lao Shr says "shrinks" as translated, he is talking about the convolutions of the brain being set and fixed. Convolutions are produced by the utilization of that part of the brain over and over again. The t'ai-chi ch'uan form must cut deep into the movement region of the brain, creating a convolution of the form. Use it or lose it!