Why does Qigong rate so highly in our traditional style of Tai Ji Quan?
The above questions have easy answers and I can give you an instant one, it’s about commitment. If you truly want to understand Tai Ji Quan you have to study Qigong to a greater depth than just once a week in class! Tai Ji Quan is an art, and any serious artist wants to improve, not to show off or sell something, it’s about personal achievement. Ask any musician how long it took them to become proficient in music, they would probably laugh and say they are still working at it after twenty years. Likewise, after 35 years I’m still working at my TJQ. The truth is the more you practise you will understand that you need to do more practise.
Our training is divided into three sections created by the Yang family to enhance an already well-defined form. (Please check out the lineage). The Preparatory exercises to prepare the mind and body and crack synchronicity. Qigong to develop a sustainable strength with controlled breathing and added mind control. Thirdly the form, which is to instil the ten principles into the body and to create harmonious equilibrium or in other words maintain homeostasis. The individual performing the choreography of the form should also endeavour to incorporate various movements that involve spiralling, forming circles and moving as one unit; e.g. legs and arms moving at the same speed and finishing at the same time with a good attention to accuracy. The reasoning behind this is, if you finish the posture in an incorrect stance you start the next movement from the wrong place.
Although Tai Ji Quan is a martial art, it is defensive, it endeavours to ward off any attacking forces be they internal or external. Zhan Zhuang, or to “stand on a post”, which is an interpretation of the meaning. I’ve said before, this practice goes back many 100’s of years, and in the modern world it is hard to see the benefits until you’ve practised it for a number of years. If during this horrid period of so-called lock-down perhaps you could find ten minutes to spare and stand still every day. Get into your horse stance with your arms in any of the eight positions. Engage your resolve to self-motivate and hold the posture, perseverance and patience are needed, and to help you on your way, see if you can control the breathing too. If you manage it, I’ll heap praise on you as you’ve looked after yourself for ten minutes, and I bet you feel good. Next the first part of the form should take 6 minutes to complete if you need to check something out call me or have a look at the website as there is a group film clip from a residential that is good enough to check out.