Relaxation benefits both health and the ability to perform martial arts. According to ancient traditional Chinese medicine theory, there are many energy channels running throughout the body. When the channels are free, the energy flows smoothly, the body is in good health and it is hard for sickness or diseases to enter the body. However, many people have problems relaxing due to mental stress, poor posture (raised shoulders, over bending knees and tense muscles) and incorrect body movements. If the body is not relaxed, the blockages of the energy channels occur, slowing down the energy flow inside the body. This stops the blood circulating freely as well as limiting internal energy.
In order to solve these problems, Chen Style Taiji exercises require people to relax their whole body. This can be done by putting every single joint and every part of the body in a specific relaxed position or posture allowing the internal energy to flow freely. The simple example is when you bend your elbows too much the blood circulating through your arm will become weak and less blood will be delivered to the tips of your fingers. Less energy will be flowing through your arm. That is the reason that Taiji requires people to bend the arm slightly, only in a rounded circle shape, all the time. The positions and postures in the forms were created and tested by the highly skilled Chen family masters in the past based on their own experience from generation to generation. That is why Chen Style Taiji puts so much emphasis on relaxation. Particularly, it is important to get the postures and positions altered and fixed with hands-on manipulation by skilled masters in person (in Chinese called "Tiao Jia Zhi").
For martial arts, when the body is not relaxed, the ability of sensitivity and stamina decrease. A tense body leaves you vulnerable to your opponent's arm lock or energy release. If you are tense, their Fajin (energy releasing) can harm you and, if you are relaxed, you can absorb it more easily. Be relaxed, but not floppy in Taiji along with a stress-flee mental state during application movements. These conditions are necessary to perform high level skills not only in Taiji, but any physical sport.