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A student of qigong or tai chi is usually told that the training will make them stronger, more balanced and relaxed. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for some proof.
The world is filled with teachers that have read something of the theory behind tai chi. They are well aware that tai chi is a martial art.
However, they personally possess no martial skills whatsoever. Similarly, qigong teachers will explain the benefits of qi and promise miraculous results.
You have the right to question the validity of such claims.
Talk really is cheap. In our world of e-mails, texting, limited attention spans and instant gratification, talk runs the risk of being completely worthless.
Remember that qigong and tai chi are physical arts. The proof must therefore be physical. An instructor may talk a good talk, but what can they actually do? This is what matters.
A theoretical grasp of tai chi will not aid you in performing the art for fitness or for combat. Talk is (after all) just talk. The menu is not the food.
If you have paid money to learn qigong or tai chi, expect results. You should be taught how to stand and move in a biomechanically efficient, balanced, healthy manner.
There should be opportunities to explore and understand the teachings of The Tai Chi Classics. But remember: if you want results, you need to practice the art for yourself between lessons.
Don't be a talker.
The way most people do tai chi, it's not a martial art. They could never use it the way they're doing it. Everything's in their hands, they just fill in the rest with fantasy talk.
In our school, a new starter usually undertakes an induction course. Rachel explores a number of qigong exercises with them and introduces the first form movements.
She watches the student carefully. If Rachel observes habits of poor body use, she will test the student's structural integrity. Typically it is weak.
The new starter often admits to having bad knees or lower back problems.
Rachel re-positions the student and tests their body once more. Suddenly, the student feels more balanced, stronger and comfortable. Their actions require less effort.
There is a marked difference between before and after.
Rachel invites the student to undertake a whole series of training opportunities. Each situation provides the student with a chance to determine for themselves what works and what does not.
The role of the teacher is merely to present the situations and offer suggestions designed to encourage further exploration and testing. It is important that Rachel does not influence the student.
Her task is simply to let the student discover the truth for themselves.
Our syllabus was constructed by Sifu Waller. It follows an evidence-based scientific methodology intended to enable the student to learn for themselves how the system works.
At each stage of progress, the instructor presents the student with new challenges, opportunities, options and choices. The student must consider the requirement and explore the material thoroughly.
It is quite common for qigong and tai chi schools to operate without a syllabus. A haphazard approach to learning is employed. You may determine the merits of this for yourself.
As a martial art, tai chi is contingent upon the existence of certain biomechanical factors. These factors qualify as a form of 'physics'.
Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of things.
In tai chi we consider the physics of the human body in relation to its surroundings, day-to-day functional use and combat application.
The advantage of science is that the results can be questioned, explored, refuted and tested.
A tai chi teacher can employ scientifically consistent and reproducible methods that prove without doubt that their approach is successful.
Page created 8 May 1997
Last updated 16 June 2023