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Fitness

Fitness is different to health.
Being fit entails a wider range of concerns e.g. increased flexibility, suppleness, strength, cardiovascular health/fitness, agility...
These considerations are addressed at length in the tai chi for fitness curriculum and the taijiquan syllabus.


Tai chi for fitness

Not everyone wants to learn a martial art nor are they seeking to address health issues.
But they do want to get fit without any risk of injuries. Tai chi for fitness is ideal.
The syllabus includes:

  1. Standing qigong (various)

  2. Moving qigong (4 sets)

  3. Long Yang form

  4. Balls & grips

  5. Cardio work (2 sets)

  6. Core strength (3 sets)

  7. Leg stretches (2 sets)

  8. Psoas exercises (4)

  9. Self-massage

  10. Taoist Yoga (4 sets)


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.


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.


Conditioning


Being in condition entails:

Increasing your strength
Improving your ability to last (endurance)
Overcoming fatigue 
Being fitter
Being more efficient in your body use
Being more capable
Overcoming stress


Be realistic


Set aside talk about relaxation, qi (breath), softness and other concerns...
Your body is flesh and bone.
It is moved by muscles.
In order to be strong, agile, flexible and adaptive in combat - you need to strengthen your body.


Modular

Sifu Waller's approach to exercising is to offer modules; each lasting 5-10 minutes approximately.
They
are intense and focussed.
The aim is to avoid complacency and boredom.


Moderation

It is OK to train a wide range of exercise methods without ruining your taijiquan.
The key concern is moderation.
Avoid over-doing it: over-stretching, straining or exerting.
Be mindful of posture, poise and tension.


A tonic

Tai chi is not going to fix you up.
It was never intended (or designed) to be something employed for repair.
At best, it may be seen as a tonic.
It helps to keep you fit, healthy and vital. It is a preventative measure, not a fix.


Do it every day

A tonic is a medicine taken daily in order to maintain and invigorate the body.
It may significantly improve your fitness.
However, you should take note of the small print, the conditions of use:

  1. It must be administered every day

  2. When you stop taking it, the fitness benefits go away

This is something to really think about. Re-read the paragraph if you need to.


Home practice

Most people are not used to training at home.
The key to home training is to work into it gently.
Try doing a small amount every day.
Nothing ambitious.


Exercise with care

People who do a lot of body building and gym machines usually fail to stretch enough.
Their muscles remain over-contracted and become chronically tense.
This reduces the length of the muscles and limits their functionality.


Stretching is vital

'
Stretching' covers a wide range of approaches.
A good tai chi class should offer a varied and versatile selection of stretching methods.


Take it easy

Instead of hammering and punishing your body, you treat it with respect and care.
Your body must last you a lifetime.


Page created 18 April 1997
Last updated 04 September 2017