A magazine of martial and movement arts, with a focus on the internal style of Tai Chi Chuan
by Christopher Dow
Who’d have thought they actually have a name? AirDancers. But of course, they are signs, and their designers probably couldn’t help but give them designations.
AirDancers are those flexible, fan-inflated, Gumby-like figures that you see in front of used car dealerships, strip malls, and other businesses. The fan blows air up through the tube of the torso, and the air whips the arms as it surges through them before being released at the hands.
Sound familiar? In the case of AirDancers, the energy that is propelled upward is air, while in the case of Tai Chi Chuanists, the energy is chi, but it’s interesting that the force that moves upward in both cases does so in pulses that originate in the feet/fan. In addition, it doesn’t just push upward. Instead, it moves in a corkscrew pattern. In the case of the AirDancer, it’s propelled upward through the tube body by the screwing motion of the fan blades, while in the case of the Tai Chi Chuanist, it’s chi that is twisted down the legs to the feet, resurged into the legs, and twisted back upward into the torso. The torso continues the twisting, which whips the arms, the force terminating in the hands.
But the result is roughly the same as the energy then whips into the arms to be released by the hands. I’d bet that one of those AirDancers, though completely devoid of strength—or even real substance—could give you a pretty good whack if you happened to be in range of one of its whipping hands.
Still sounds like Tai Chi.
Air dancer image from Bing Images: