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Start with the fitness routine. If you can handle that, you have the physical foundation upon which to build your martial skills.
Unless you can perform the qigong and tai chi for fitness material with ease, you are not yet fit enough for taijiquan.
Many people who commence taijiquan practice are essentially 'daydreamers'.
They have fanciful notions of becoming a martial artist but entirely lack the grit and determination required to accomplish the task.
Instead of committing to a challenging regime of on-going comprehensive, rigorous training, the student is contented with the dream.
Combat is not easy and there is a risk of injury if the student is unfit. This is true of any martial art. To reach a high level of skill, the student needs to take a lesson from sport.
They must become a martial athlete.
In addition to...
The martial routine is practiced in addition to the fitness routine. Not instead of. A martial artist needs to be strong, flexible and mobile.
How much should you do?
The key thing is to practice what you have been
Practice often enough to remember the art.
Train frequently enough to progress at the speed you want, relative to your own individual ambitions and expectations.
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.
Sore muscles are fine but aching
joints are not.
If you experience any lasting discomfort, see your instructor immediately.
Invest in form
Students normally underestimate the significance of form. Bad form = bad taijiquan. It is that simple. Your form reflects 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.
Beginners (health) routine
Up to one hour a day. Core:
Moving qigong (15 exercises) and/or ba duan jin (8 exercises) and/or reeling silk exercises & standing post (10-20 mins)
Standing qigong (10 mins)
Leg stretches (set 1 or 2) (10 mins)
Form (10-30 mins)
Taoist Yoga (day 1, 2 or 3) (5 mins)
Constructive rest (10-15 mins)
circle qigong (30 mins) should be performed weekly.
Intermediate (fitness) routine
The next level of training involves a lot of applications, along with martial drills. These need to be practiced frequently. Significant progress with form is also required.
Experienced (technical skills) routine
If you make it past the
foundation level, you will
need an established home training routine in order to maintain and improve
your standard of fitness.
Being in condition is a must.
Neglecting your fitness means injury. The skilled routine must include everything you have previously studied, plus everything new... It may take 2 hours to perform...
An instructor's routine exceeds anything shown above. The Tao Te Ching teaches: master self before attempting to master others.
As an instructor, if your own training is lax, you are not doing the art (or yourself) justice. You owe it to your students to set the example. Your skills cannot ever be mediocre or unrefined.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 25 April 2019