Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Build upon the basics

Beginners must first place more emphasis on the "physical shape" and less on "mind intent". First achieve "physical likeness", then work on "spiritual quality".
As in learning to write with the brush, the writing should be practised first in regular strokes. When the shape and structure of the strokes are correct and standard, then only progress to practise for instance, "reverse in and flat out", "close the stroke by concealing the point" techniques. The next stage may be progression to running script and cursive script. Practise diligently and constantly until the brush is used freely and spontaneously whilst functioning within the rule of writing. 
Grasp the fundamental rules of Taijiquan, and you will always maintain the correct posture and structure even in complex movements. Building upon the basics probe further to understand the intended meaning of postures and movements. Correctly grasp the underlying principle. Embody coordination of different parts. Pay attention to timing and rhythm. Demonstrate the unique characteristics of the art. Express the spirit. Improve the standard of training. Learn to train the "jin". Don't emphasise one thing at the expense of the other.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Making positive progress

Don't isolate yourself when you are learning Taijiquan. Observe how other people train and what they do.In the early stages of your practice you may like the 'look' of a person but may not be able to say exactly what is good or right about the form. You may be impressed with the superficial and obvious kicks, punches and low stances. This is because you don't sufficiently know and understand the principle of the system. In time, your understanding and perception increases and gradually you will have your own realisation. You will see the less apparent subtleties and nuances that underscore each execution. You will be able to be selective about what to watch and to be able to articulate your views in a constructive way. It means that you have made positive progress. Assess what you see and use it as a mirror. Learn and draw from the good. Regard mistakes as your own and make sure you don't repeat them.

The key to progress is "training" and "realisation". There is no shortcut. Follow and train according to the underlying principles. Combine theory with practice to get the correct result. To learn the movements of a form is easy, to do it correctly is not. Study the foundation form thoroughly and all other forms will stay within principle. Once the rules and principle are realised, they will be clearly manifested in all movements and postures.

Although there's the saying "practise ten thousand times and the reason will become clear", you have to have a basis from which to train. Train regularly and logically. Otherwise, it's a lot of effort for little result. Wang Zongyue's theory on Taijiquan states: "A slight deviation leads to huge error. The learner must be able to differentiate". Be guided by a good teacher. In the absence of your teacher, consult with your contemporaries.