The media depict martial arts in an unrealistic way; either as entertainment in movies and TV shows, or as sport.
Now and again tai chi is lauded as being wonderful for the health.

Somewhere along the way, people become convinced that it is easy to learn a martial art.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
It does not matter whether you plan to learn tai chi, baguazhang, wing chun, ju jitsu or the countless other styles and systems available to you.
Martial arts are not easy to learn.


Natural range

In tai chi you must always remain within your natural range of movement.
Any stretching is done subtly and never forced; the body is allowed to open by itself, rather than be forced.
By encouraging the joints to be free, mobility increases radically and the body can move more comfortably.
Tai chi should never strain or hurt the body.

Some movements may feel uncomfortable if you have bad postural habits and this is to be expected - your body is already used to set patterns of movement and poise - and the tai chi is gently changing these.


Beyond knowledge

A person may know a lot of information and be academically clever, but neuroplasticity is not about knowledge.
It is about functionality.

How flexible is your mind?
How easily and skilfully can you adapt, change and improvise?
Can you learn from everything you encounter?


Is it really taijiquan ?

If your school promises to make you an instructor in 2 years, they are deceiving you. After 2 years, you have a vague sense of taijiquan - nothing more. You should be capable of self defence and possess the ability to deliver raw jing, but your skills are fledgling.

Taijiquan is a martial art. You cannot learn any martial art in a brief span of time.

If you think you're an instructor after 2 years, go try your skills out in a real martial arts class. Go see what happens.

If your school is teaching bona fide taijiquan, then you are gaining hard-earned physical skills that require patience, correction and a thorough understanding of what you are learning.

If you are learning 'taiji-style exercise', you are gaining only a fraction of the health benefits and your practice will be bereft of martial competence.


Wang Shujin

Poked and prodded

Peter Southwood once asked Sifu if he'd be willing to submit to a battery of NLP tests, designed to investigate and catalogue Sifu's unusual cognitive talents. Sifu did not care for the idea and Peter never brought it up again.

(Shaun Ullah)



Working with a heavy weapon can be pretty taxing.
Stick work involves a rattan stick or staff for everyday practice and an oak staff for strength-building.
Practice swords are very lightweight, but a real sword is extremely heavy.


January Sales: kicking you when you're down...

January Sales are very cynical.

People overspend approaching Christmas and then they are usually broke until the end of January.
Then, early January the Sales begin...

You get to see items discounted that you paid full price for a few weeks earlier...

You are goaded into sending more and more and more...

On what? And why?
What is it that can't wait? What is so important? So immediate? So necessary?

January Sales are designed to get rid of excess stock and take even more money from the consumer.
You will be encouraged to over-stretch. To over-spend. To go into debt.

It is quite easy to say no.
Why not spend January doing quiet things at home or outside?
Avoid the shops.
Avoid online shopping too.

You'll barely even be aware that the January Sales exist...



Students practice broadsword drills and the sabre form.
This heavy weapon offers a notable workout.

It develops upper body strength, whole body movement and wrist flexibility. Students learn how to extend their energy through the blade.