As a martial art, T’ai Chi is externally a soft exercise, but internally hard, even as it seeks softness. If we are externally soft, after a long time we will naturally develop internal hardness. It’s not that we consciously cultivate hardness, for in reality our mind is on softness. What is difficult is to remain internally reserved, to possess hardness without expressing it, always externally meeting the opponent with softness. Meeting hardness with softness causes the opponent’s hardness to be transformed and disappear into nothingness.
Yang Pan-hou (1837–1890), influential teacher of t’ai chi ch’uan
Walking towards Shenzhen/China
Getting lost in the mountain