Tuesday

Ideal form of exercise

According to the book The Blue Zones it is important to think of exercise in terms of what you can reasonably do long-term. 

The ideal form of exercise is moderate enough that you can do it for the rest of your life. It needs to be joint-friendly, provide a gentle workout and be sustainable. 

This sounds rather like tai chi, doesn't it?

The drawbacks of exercise

Not all forms of exercise are necessarily good for you. For example, running may improve cardiovascular health but is also very hard on the joints.
Lifting heavy weights can cause significant tension to accumulate and - if the muscles are large enough - adversely affect the skeleton. Most forms of exercise have pros and cons; especially sport.

Saturday

Like a lot of people, I thought Tai Chi was just something that old folks did in the park, but the depth of information on the website grabbed my interest, so I gave it a try. So glad I did.

This is real Tai Chi taught to an exceptional standard. At the health and fitness level it teaches you to move efficiently, minimise stress on your joints, and restores flexibility, strength and balance.

But if you want to take it further it opens up the martial arts of taijiquan and baguazhang, which teach you to read your opponents and use their own energy against them. When you see this demonstrated by Sifu Waller you kind of forget any preconceptions.

(Malcolm)
Like a lot of people, I thought Tai Chi was just something that old folks did in the park, but the depth of information on the website grabbed my interest, so I gave it a try. So glad I did.

This is real Tai Chi taught to an exceptional standard. At the health and fitness level it teaches you to move efficiently, minimise stress on your joints, and restores flexibility, strength and balance.

But if you want to take it further it opens up the martial arts of taijiquan and baguazhang, which teach you to read your opponents and use their own energy against them. When you see this demonstrated by Sifu Waller you kind of forget any preconceptions.

(Malcolm)

Friday

Dwell not on the faults and shortcomings of others; instead, seek clarity about your own.

 (Buddha) 

Sunday


What the point of weapons training?

Weapons training builds strength, coordination, manual dexterity, agility and superior motor skills. Historically, taijiquan was not designed for unarmed combat. Weapons came first; namely a stick, swords and knife.

In real life your opponent is more likely to be armed with a knife or a stick. The ability to handle such weapons with dexterity and skill will train you to be able to fight against them. You will understand their strengths and weaknesses, range and power.

Weapons training also works the hands, wrists, arms and back in a way that qigong and the Long Yang form fail to do. Your arms will become very strong but not tense.

The final benefit is 'connection'... being connected within your own body is essential, but being able to extend your strength out into the opponent is vital. To use a weapon properly, you must feed power out of your body and through the weapon. This makes you much more powerful - especially for unarmed combat.

Friday

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness.
Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness.
Thereby you can be the director of the opponents fate.

(Sun Tzu)

Tuesday

In ancient times skilful warriors first made themselves invincible
and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents.
(Sun Tzu)  

Wednesday

He tells himself over and over again in any choice presented to him, "Prefer the hard." This holds good not only in great matters, but also in very small, in fighting by the frozen Danube and in starting the day early.

(Marcus Aurelius)

Tuesday

2000 year old excuse?

Marcus Aurelius (2000+ years ago) said that "not having time" was one of the most pathetic excuses a person can give. It was considered lame back when the Roman Empire was at its peak.

We all have the same amount of time. What we do with it... this is the issue.

Monday

The form comes from the physical properties of the materials used.
(Andrew Juniper) 

We get good at what we do

If you want to get good at form, practice form. If you want to become proficient with weapons, then practice with weapons. The more often your body undertakes the practice, the more familiar it will be.

Saturday

'Sung' means to relax, to be soft.
The whole body has to give up its strength in order to relax.

(Cheng Man Ching)

Thursday

The Emperor's New Clothes

Unfortunately, whole-body strength is a little bit like The Emperor's New Clothes, in that the student cannot feel their own strength. If you feel anything, you are feeling your tension, not your strength.

In order to accept the presence of whole-body strength, it must be pressure-tested. You determine the presence of whole-body strength by its effect. We call this jing.

No time?

A common excuse that tai chi students make is that they don't have time to train at home between classes. This notion is based on a false understanding of yin/yang.

In order to get something, you have to give something. Our entire society is based on this, isn't it?


If you want a loaf of bread, you give up money. You want to watch a movie, you set aside the time. If you want to get good at tai chi, you will need time to practice at home.


Therefore, if you want to practice tai chi at home, you will need to give something up. Make space. This may mean less TV. Less internet. It's your choice...