Double Weighted

Early on in my practice when I was just starting out the concept of ‘double-weighted’ troubled my mind more than it should have. “How can one root and not be double-weighted at the same time” was question that plagued me. In “The Treatise on T’ai Chi Ch’uan” attributed to Wang Zongyue we find the words:

“Sinking to one side allows movement to flow; being double-weighted is sluggish.

Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize, and is always controlled by his opponent, has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.

To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.”

Immediately we think of being double-weighted as sluggish or stagnant, not flexible or agile if we take the text at face value. Some practitioners have said that the body’s weight distribution is equal on each foot or one is standing on one foot. Again, this is probably due to difficulty in translating phrases from one language to another. In the original Chinese language there probably does not exist multiple definitions of what double-weighted means where we can get so confused in English.

Double weighting refers to using force directly against the force of another. The use of my force (weight) against your force (weight) creates two ‘weights’ (centers). When two separate centers of gravity are contending, the stronger always wins. This state occurs naturally with the untrained fighter and is not considered part of a martial art. The underlying principle of Tai Ji Quan application is to join centers with your opponent (one weight) from a dominant position so that you may ‘borrow the opponent’s force’ and lead him. It is interesting to note in the Tai Ji Quan Classics that Double Weighting is considered an “illness,” and the reason practitioners are not successful even after years of training. The key is to join centers with the opponent and move him as a part of yourself.

The above paragraph makes sense after years of training which provide the experience in learning about being double-weighted. At the time of understanding you realize how exceptionally easy it is. Refining the ability of not being double-weighted, though, is a life long pursuit.