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The taijiquan combat work demands a high standard of personal fitness.
Each successive grade augments your taijiquan.
If you want to become more than a beginner, it is important to recognise that the training will become increasingly harder.
At some stage you pass through a capacity barrier and it will no longer feel difficult.
But that may well be years away.
If you are tired and out of breath after a few minutes of training, then you are simply not fit enough.
The training has barely started.
You must improve your fitness considerably if you want to complete the fundamentals.
This means training qigong and form regularly, along with perhaps walking, jogging, swimming or cycling between lessons.
People often see taijiquan as being an easy martial arts option.
They are the naive ones.
Sooner or later they always quit.
Taijiquan is an internal martial art.
Once upon a time it was only taught to students who were already highly proficient at external martial arts.
External training is not mild; it requires considerably strength and stamina.
Taijiquan was what they did after all those years of hard training. It was the next step up the ladder.
If you train the qigong exercises at home every day, your chest will open and you will start to develop greater strength.
You will breathe more deeply and your endurance will improve.
There will be a notable change in your physical appearance.
Qigong exercises should be repeated 5-10 times per side.
This encourages the body to relax more and the root to grow.
Drilling every day will have a similar effect to the qigong exercises.
Your body will change, your reflexes and stamina will improve.
This is the cornerstone of your taijiquan training.
If you are neglecting to practice this daily at home, then you are missing out on a major training opportunity.
The form offers you a chance to train everything at the same time.
It will not get easier.
If you are lazy now, expect difficulties ahead of you.
We are expecting your fitness level to improve as you move up the curriculum.
This should happen naturally.
You grow stronger, fitter and far more capable.
But it will not happen by itself.
The trick with taijiquan is to keep your training mild.
It is not a gym workout.
You are not meant to be sweating and straining.
Go easy on yourself.
Little and often is the key.
If the training is gentle but works your muscles nicely, then it is easy to sustain and your energy levels will stay high.
Overdo-it and you will suffer from fatigue, aching joints and sore muscles.
Be gentle with your body. Treat it with care.
High repetitions and exotic stances are not taijiquan training methods.
Train with mindfulness.
Pay attention to what you are doing, and train it slowly, thoroughly and cautiously.
If anything feels unpleasant, something is wrong.
The more difficult the problem is, the
higher your talents and willingness will rise in order to cope with the
difficulties. You must not hesitate; if you do so, this will make all the
difference in the result.
18 April 1995
Last updated 17 February 2017