Fitness level
External strength
     

classes     taijiquan     baguazhang     self defence     qigong     about us     reviews     a-z


Fitness

There are 3 areas of fitness:

  1. Cardio

  2. Strength

  3. Flexibility

In order to exercise the body properly, you need to gain aptitude in all 3 areas.
Many people can lift heavy weights but they are not flexible/breathing hard after mild cardio.
This is not good enough for a comprehensive training approach.



Hard work

The
taijiquan combat work demands a high standard of personal fitness.
Each successive grade augments your taijiquan.


Deliberate practice

Hard work alone is not enough, though.
Simply working hard will not necessarily lead to progress.
It needs to be deliberate, focused improvement designed to improve your practice by developing key skills outlined by your instructor.
The student must implement corrections, study the recommended books, undertake assignments and challenge their comfort zone.


Beyond the beginning

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.
 

Breathing hard?

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.

 

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)


Be realistic

People often see taijiquan as being an easy martial arts option.
They are the naive ones.
Sooner or later they always quit.


Martial artist?

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.


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.


Qigong

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.


5-10 times

Qigong exercises should be repeated 5-10 times per side.
This encourages the body to relax more and the root to grow.
 

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)

Drills

Drilling every day will have a similar effect to the qigong exercises.
Your body will change, your reflexes and stamina will improve.


Form

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.


Lazy

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.


Gentle

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.


Awareness

Be gentle with your body. Treat it with care.
High repetitions and exotic stances are not taijiquan training methods.
Train with mindfulness.
With attention.
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.

(Hagakure)
 


Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 14 November 2017