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The real deal
This website places a major emphasis upon the importance of doing taijiquan correctly. In modern times much of what passes for 'taijiquan' is not really taijiquan.
It is often some sort of watered-down approximation. Ask yourself: how can you reasonably expect a diluted emulation of taijiquan to provide the tremendous fitness benefits expected of the real art?
Modern people accept their decrepitude as being 'natural'. Normal? Yes. Common? Yes. Natural? No.
Stiff neck, stress, high blood pressure, bad back, bad knees, anxiety, poor sleep, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, headache, inflexibility...
These common problems/ailments are accepted as part of our culture. They are considered to be quite normal and perhaps unavoidable.
Quality of life...
It is important to evaluate your own quality of life. Are you aging with fitness, strength and dignity or are you simply suffering over a prolonged period of time?
Many people look old by 40; they have very poor flexibility and bad postural habits. When you are sickly, ill and suffering, life is no fun.
Practiced properly - as part of an overall fitness regime - the art offers the opportunity for incredible fitness and wellbeing. You do not simply feel fine; you feel amazing.
Your body is strong, nimble, agile, flexible and resilient. Your mind is calm and clear. Your emotions are balanced and settled.
Not quite like the gym
People who run or work out at the gym probably feel pretty good too. After all, these activities are quite popular. However, many runners look to be in anguish.
They have support braces on their knees, their bodies stoop or move in an unbalanced way. There is a dogged desperation in their heavy footfalls.
Instead of tranquillity, their ears are filled with motivational music designed to compensate for relentless tedium of running.
A balanced approach?
For many people, their fitness regime does not take into account agility, mobility, relaxed spontaneous movement, balance, ambidextrous body use, joint health, coordination, emotional wellbeing or psychological flexibility.
Often, injuries arise and bodies are pushed too hard. Taijiquan is not like this.
Taijiquan is like a tonic
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:
It must be administered every day
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.
A balanced way
Taijiquan is not just a form of exercise. It offers a multifaceted approach intended to affect and improve your overall lifestyle. The mind does as much work as the body.
Emotion is as significant as muscle. A tai chi student aims to harmonise body, mind and spirit.
Not just OK
The aim of taijiquan is not just to feel OK. You want to feel fantastic. You want an uncommon degree of dexterity, balance, coordination, focus. You are seeking to start each day with vitality and zeal.
Not every tai chi student gains the benefits of taijiquan. We can use swimming as a metaphor... Most people are 'toe dippers'.
They dip their toe in the shallow end of the pool and test the temperature of the water. Finding it pleasant, they are satisfied and stop there. This is your practice-once-a-week student.
Get in the water
Half-heartedness is not the Zen way. To gain the real benefits of taijiquan, you must actually get into the pool. It is fine to gingerly ease yourself into the water.
There is no need to jump or dive. But you do need to get in the pool.
Little & often
Taijiquan encourages moderation. No pain, no exertion, no suffering. Become fit in a gradual, gentle way. Give your body time to change. Training taijiquan little and often is the key to success.
It is common for people to exercise their body yet neglect their mind. Yet, mental health is a major problem in modern times.
Sudoku, watching TV, doing crossword puzzles, browsing the web, playing video games, reading pulp fiction, newspapers, magazine articles or engaging in gossip or politics will not improve your mental health.
You need to be far more serious than that.
Here is a summary of simple considerations that will dramatically improve your wellbeing:
Sleep for 7-8 hours per night
Eat a balanced, healthy, nutrient-rich diet
Take some time to be alone; to think, to contemplate, to rest
Undertake constructive reading
Constructive rest at least once a day
Commit to a moderate program of daily exercise:
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 02 September 2021