Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Taijiquan Training Advice

This was posted on a Taijiquan mailing list that I am on. It was accumulated from various sources over the years. Enjoy.

* We do Taiji slowly in order to be tranquil. Tranquility leads to
contemplation. Contemplation leads to clarity. Clarity leads to
comprehension. Comprehension enables us to dissolve all doubts.

* The best part of Taijiquan is not the external form, but the
internal cultivation. You need to practice the external in order to
find the internal.

* There's no right or wrong in one's practice, only different levels
of understanding. There's no perfection in one's practice, only
different levels of refinement. There's no graduation in the art of
Taijiquan, only different levels of progress.

* Taijiquan should not be a set of habitual movements, rather, moves
consciously. Mindless repetition of physical practice is only a
mechanical exercise.

* The mechanics of Taijiquan can be taught, but the of Taijiquan can
only be comprehended.

* You cannot enjoy the beauty of Taijiquan if you just practice but
don't understand it. Thirty-percent of understanding comes from your
teacher, but seventy-percent from your diligent practice.

* It is our body that calls us to practice, for it wants to be in
balance; Instead, it is our mind that cries out: "Wait---not today!"

* Don't find excuses not to practice, instead find every opportunity
to practice.

* You have to open your mind first, then your body. You have to relax
your mind first, then your body.

* Cultivate your body in order to accumulate skills. Cultivate your
mind in order to accumulate wisdom.

* It is good to have faith in our practice, but a strong faith needs
to be built upon our deep understanding of the art.

* When you are puzzled, your teacher is the answer. When you have
comprehended, everything is your teacher.

* Indeed, some people feel more relaxed in a couch than at Taiji
lessons, however, they cannot take the couch along with them.

* The success of many ancient Taiji masters was not from reading but
training hard.

* In the old days, students were told to practice first, understand
later. Nowadays, students want to understand first, practice later.

* To study with a famous master does not guarantee that you will be
a successful disciple; you have to make success of your own practice.

* A master is to teach us to be a student of Taiji, not his.

* A master's virtue should be more important than his powerful skill.
Skill dies with the master, but his virtue gets passed down.

* A master's personal interpretations often became a lineage's secret
transmission, and with a theory behind them.

* All masters believe in their own interpretations, there's no point
to compare their differences.

* Tension is like hard knots hidden in our muscles, in our minds, and
deep within our hearts. We practice Taijiquan in order to discover
those hidden knots and dissolve them.

* A relaxed body is a body that does not hold onto things. A relaxed
mind is a mind that does not hold onto things.

* If you want to be relaxed, practice Taiji. If you want others to be
relaxed, practice Taiji (on them).

* There are four levels of relaxation:
Level one: relaxing the shoulders and arms
Level two: relaxing the waist and lower back
Level three: relaxing the knees and feet
Level four: relaxing the mind.

* It is easy to see "what," easy to show "how," but takes true
understanding to explain "why."

* Taiji does not eliminate stress; it only helps you to manage it.

* You have to master yourself in order to master Taiji, and Taiji is
about mastering yourself.

* Don't try to surpass another's ability; instead, surpass your own.

* Taijiquen practice is a slow fix; sometimes it is so slow that the
need to fix the problem is no longer important.

* It is not how many rounds of the routine you've done, it is how
deeply you've worked on it.

* Don't just do the movements---feel them.

* Don't let the unconscious body steer your mind, instead, Let your
conscious mind steer your body.

* You are not doing movements wrong, you are just doing them

* The common fears of learning Taijiquan:
fear of falling behind
fear of being ignored
fear of being incapable
fear of losing face
fear of physical pain
fear of learning the "wrong way"
fear of showing the "wrong way"
fear of giving commitment
fear of false fantasy

* One bad thing about Taiji is that it is difficult to understand.
One good thing about Taiji is that once you understand it, there's
more to learn.

* The rich contents of Taijiquan are hidden within the transitional

* Any posture in stillness can be considered a Wuji stance---Not
moving but ready for any action.

* Qi sinks to the dantien is only the midway. Qi sinks to the feet
is the final destination.

* The highest level of Taijiquan has no need of form and
movement---It is a state of non-intent.


David Alastair Hayden said...

Great advice. Thanks for posting this.

If I haven't commented here before, I enjoy the site and I've been following it for several months now. Thanks.

Rick Matz said...


Thanks for visiting, and commenting.

Zen said...

Good post , thanks, always something to learn