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Daily exercise

Dr Michael Greger (author of How Not To Die) recommends 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people.


No time?


A common excuse that tai chi students make is that they don't have time to train at home between classes. This notion is based on a false understanding of yin/yang.
In order to get something, you have to give something. Our entire society is based on this, isn't it?
If you want a loaf of bread, you pay the shop and they sell it to you. You want to watch a movie, you set aside the time. If you want to get good at tai chi, you will need time to practice at home.
Therefore, if you want to practice tai chi at home, you will need to give something up. Make space. This may mean less TV. Less internet. It's your choice...



Little & often

Rather than train for a lengthy period of time, aim to practice little & often. 20-30 minute increments, with rest breaks in-between is ideal.
Instead of pushing your body hard and putting it under duress, just do a little exercise. Resting will keep your concentration sharp and offset fatigue.
 

Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand taijiquan.

Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others.
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far.
It is said, "Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray."

The practitioner must carefully study.

(Wang Tsung-yueh)
 

Follow our recommendations, not your own

Cherry picking has serious drawbacks. Our syllabus offers a balanced, step-by-step approach to gaining a thorough and comprehensive understanding of taijiquan.
Emphasising the parts that you like best or omitting the aspects you do not care for is self-indulgent and will lead to major gaps of knowledge and skill.


Training tool

To gain power and skill in any endeavour, there must be commitment, teaching, sustained practice, focus, on-going improvement, refinement, corrections and a lot of hard work.
Self-discipline is a must. A taijiquan student cannot wield a blade or engage in combat successfully if their body is a mess and their mind is scattered.

Form is the main tool we use to discipline both body and mind; to bring harmony and order.


How do you move?


Form reflects the way in which you personally move in taijiquan. If your form is clumsy, then you are clumsy and that is useless for combat.
Your taijiquan must be fast, sensitive, alert, powerful and lively. The cat-like grace of taijiquan encourages agile, strong movement, excellent poise, high energy levels and a feeling of vigour.



Invest in form

Students normally underestimate the significance of form. Bad form = bad taijiquan. It is that simple. Your form highlights and determines how you move, how you use your body.
Invest as much time as you can in form practice. The better your form, the easier all aspects of the taijiquan will be to pull off.


Muscle memory


One major advantage of consistent on-going home practice is the cultivation of muscle memory. Rather than having to recall every movement, the exponent's body knows where to go and what to do.
This is the first step in moving in a taijiquan way... What's the catch? To accomplish this, frequent, mindful practice is needed. There's no other way to attain this skill.
The more often your body performs taijiquan movements, the more likely it is to remember them automatically.


Autopilot

High repetition of qigong and taijiquan movements results in muscle memory. The muscles are familiar with how and where to move and the brain directs the action.
It will feel as though they moved by themselves. This is essentially no different to what happens when you drive a bicycle or a car.
However, with taijiquan you are learning long, complex sequences of movements/combat drills/applications, so the challenge is greater and more diverse. The advantage of muscle memory is habit.
You do not have to think as much. You can become immersed in the event itself.
 

I have recently being working through form applications. Surprisingly, they all felt quite easy and straightforward. They also worked very well. No difficulty at all. How come? Daily form practice. Sifu Waller did not have to waste time correcting my form during application practice. We could simply focus on the applications themselves. Correct form meant smooth, powerful, controlled, effective applications.

(Rachel)
 


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Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 30 August 2018