Fit for combat?
Written by Rachel
     

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Liability

Our insurance company states that taijiquan students can only train material appropriate to their level of fitness and ability.
This means that the syllabus must take the student's condition into account at all times.
Although this may sound restrictive, it is actually quite sensible and safety conscious.


Naivety

If a student is not fit enough to undertake certain aspects of the syllabus - but erroneously believes themselves capable - they run a serious risk of injury.
As a business we cannot cater for wishful thinking.
Fitness is provable
.
Good intentions are your own concern.


Martial arts are dangerous


The British Medical Association Guide To Sports Injuries states:
 

Combat sports such as boxing, judo, karate or kung fu make tough demands on the body; training is intense, and participation requires all-round fitness. Regardless of the fitness of the participants, however, the aggressive blows traded between opponents means that these sports always carry a serious risk of injury.


Martial fitness

All martial arts require the student to be fit for combat.
Taijiquan students train: core strength, massage, leg stretches, cardio work, yoga, qigong, neigong, form, partnered work, martial sets & drills, combat and weapons.
The training is done carefully, gently - in a controlled manner - without exertion or strain.


The physical

This is step 1.
If you pass the physical you can start taijiquan training.
 

When we are young, we can enjoy lots of external movement. When we are older, we become less active and can't as easily enjoy large movements, speed, high impact, and quick twisting of the muscles. Unfortunately, this is exactly the time our bodies really need good exercise to maintain youthful energy and health. Most of the exercise systems available in our society can't satisfy this need.

(Adam Hsu)

Beginner

Getting through the taijiquan material is step 2.
This is easy stuff.
Just some qigong exercises that require limited mobility and coordination, along with basic partner work.
A student must pass the material ASAP if they hope to undertake further martial training
.


A taste

Sifu Waller offers beginners the occasional taste of combat.
But he is limited by the student's own level of fitness...
Rigorous martial arts training assumes a reasonable degree of fitness - by our standards - not by yours.
If a student struggles to make steady progress through the beginner's grade we must conclude that they are not suited to martial arts training and the martial opportunities will end
.


Tai chi for fitness


If a taijiquan student flounders with the material or fails to attend weekly classes we are obliged to move them to tai chi for fitness.
There is no shame in this.
It is for your own wellbeing.
As a business, we have no
choice but to look after your own best interests.


Warning

If a student starts to develop a health problem such as a 'stoop' they will initially be told about this.
Should the individual choose not to address the matter, they will begin working on the problem in class (rather than undertake taijiquan training all evening).
The final stage would entail a move to tai chi for fitness.


Taijiquan

Every student who trains taijiquan has proven that they know the basic qigong exercises and partner work.
Sifu Waller assumes that they are training at home and improving their skills.
If a student demonstrates ineptitude or neglects their fitness, they will be required to rehabilitate with the tai chi for fitness students until this problem has been remedied.


Step 3 - OK standard

A taijiquan beginner undertakes 'the physical' at the completion of the grade.

They are required to pass each category at an OK or Good standard.
A Poor rating means re-hab with tai chi for fitness until the problem is resolved.


Step 4 - Good standard

The intermediate physical must be passed with a Good standard.
They must be adept with:

  1. Standing qigong (various)

  2. Moving qigong (4 sets)

  3. Long Yang form (full)

  4. Solo drills (various)

  5. Partnered drills (various)

  6. Weapons drills (various)

  7. Balls & grips

  8. Leg stretches (2 sets)

  9. Psoas exercises (4)

  10. Core strength (3 sets)

  11. Cardio work (2 sets)

  12. Taoist Yoga (3 sets)

  13. Self-massage


Shuai jiao

Step 5 is for shuai jiao and only applies to students training the kung fu syllabus.
To be permitted to engage in the complete range of shuai jiao skills, considerable suppleness is a must
.


Experienced

The sixth step takes place in the experienced syllabus where the acquisition of weapons forms will significantly improve stamina, agility, flexibility and strength
.


Baguazhang

A final step in terms of combat fitness lies with the baguazhang training.
Baguazhang is not part of the taijiquan syllabus and only offered to students who are very fit indeed.
Training in this higher level art requires a notable degree of internal strength.
 

Many beginners think that they do not need to warm-up. Skipping a warm-up will automatically result in pain later on, and that will restrict your fighting abilities. A good pre-workout warm-up protects against future aches and pains. Furthermore, it is also an immediate factor in improving performance.

(Frederic Delavier)



The risk of injury in combat sports is especially high. To prevent injury, do the following: 1) Learn to warm-up well before any exercise, 2) Do everything possible to accelerate recovery between workouts.

(Frederic Delavier)
 


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Adapted from Sifu Waller's writings by Rachel
Page created 21 May 2009
Last updated 12 November 2017