How to practice Tàijíquán

Taijiquan is a wonderfully simple art to practice as, for the most part, it does not require anything other than your own presence and effort to perform.  No special training hall or clothing are required for the vast majority of practice, and the only special equipment needed is when weapons training.

 

Learn the sequence... repeat...repeat...repeat

At first is is necessary to learn the choreography of a new exercise, movement from the Form or partner drill.  Repeated practice will ingrain the sequence as a habit, freeing up your attention to work on the next level of detail.

 

Learn the Accuracy of Movement...

Together the accuracy of position and accuracy of transition comprise the Accuracy of Movement of the Forms.

 

Put the principles into the movement...

To paraphrase Wee Kee Jin, "you don't look for the principles in the forms because if you don't already have them in your body movement you will not find them in the Form.  Instead you should first learn the sequence of the Form and then your training is to put [apply] the Taiji principles into your practice of the Form.

 

Slowly does it...

Practising slowly allows time to adjust and correct your movement and position.  In general it is best to not move any faster than the speed at which you can properly synchronise.  On the other hand, if you move too slowly you may get 'stuck' or tense up.  Everyone's speed of adjustment is different so, when a group are all practising the Form together, they will move at slightly different speeds.

 

Improve your solo practice to improve your partner training...

As a basic guide, it is recommended that the total of one's monthly practice time is divided up with approximately 80% for working on the solo exercises and forms, with the remaining 20% for partner training.  The way of moving in the partner work is the same as the way of moving in the forms and solo exercises.  If you find a weakness in your partner work, seek to put it right in your solo training.

 

Paul Fretter

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