The Five Bows is a concept in Tai Chi which helps a practitioner to understand and develop the internal wisdom of the art. These bows are used to store and release energy when interacting with another person and they act much like a bow and arrow.
The practitioner uses their mind the properly for the bow internally, which is like stringing the bow. Then, when the practitioner receives force from the opponent, this force stretches the bows. If their timing is right, they can release this potential energy and send the energy they just received back into the opponent.
- Two bows of the lower limbs with the legs and hips as the tips of the bow, the knees as the handle of the bow.
- Two bows of the upper limbs with the shoulders as the tips of the bow, the elbows as the handle of the bow.
- The bow at the trunk with the lowest vertebra and the lumbar vertebra (where the shoulders meet the spine as the tips of the bow, the waist as the handle of the bow.