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What do you want out of class?
Think about what you want out of a taijiquan class. Your hopes, ideas and expectations will help to determine your level of commitment.
How long does it take to learn to play the
guitar? How many lessons are needed to speak Japanese? Obviously it depends
upon your purpose. Do you want to be the next Segovia or Clapton, or just to
play a few simple tunes? Do you intend to translate haiku, or are you simply
preparing for a two-week vacation? Although the skill of your teacher and
your talent level will certainly influence your progress, the duration and
intensity of your study will be determined ultimately by the level of
expertise that you seek.
Taijiquan (high commitment)
Seeking to learn a martial art is no mild endeavour... Most martial artists attend classes 2-3 times a week. Taijiquan is an advanced martial arts system, so commitment is even more pertinent.
In taijiquan much of the work is done at home. Without a commitment to daily practice, there is little point in undertaking taijiquan. It would be far wiser to study tai chi for health...
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 taijiquan - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people.
If this sounds like a lot of exercise, why not chop it up into smaller increments spaced throughout the day? How many people watch 90 minutes of TV every day?
Tai chi for fitness (moderate commitment)
Some people want to get fit from their tai chi... Being fit entails a wide range of concerns e.g. increased flexibility, suppleness, strength, cardiovascular fitness, agility....
Getting in shape is going to require some work.
Tai chi for health (mild commitment)
Some people want the famous health benefits of tai chi...
Tai chi for health medical studies indicate that 12 weeks of daily practice are required for the health benefits of tai chi to become evident.
Without a commitment to daily practice, the results are meagre.
Committed to class
A student who attends lessons every week has made a commitment to improving their fitness and wellbeing.
Committed to learning taijiquan
A student who does a moderate amount of practice every day at home has made a major commitment to improving their fitness and gaining powerful martial arts skills.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make
Can't be bothered?
This is perhaps the laziest era in recorded history. People are not wanting a challenge. They lack interest, passion and enthusiasm. Rather than work, people just want to be entertained.
New students often have great ambitions but little interest in practice. We live in an era where people often seek short-term gratification. They are not prepared to be patient or plan ahead.
Tai chi cannot be approached in a haphazard, piecemeal fashion. There needs to be a framework for learning.
This would be true of any subject: Spanish, cooking, carpentry, music, ballet, massage, accountancy, engineering, botany, computing, rugby...
Learning requires commitment
Students begin with basic skills and gradually build to a richer, more complex grasp of the subject. Tai chi must be studied methodically, regularly and consistently.
This way, you make the most of the class, achieve tangible results and get the best value for your money.
An earnest student joins the school because they are committed to learning tai chi properly.
It is absurd to think you are going to get anywhere by
giving only an hour a week to your practice or that you can regularly skip
Martial arts is not like a bridge club, where you drop in when you have nothing better to do. Martial arts will always make greater demands on your time than would most hobbies or avocations.
Page created 8 May 1996
Last updated 29 April 2021