Sunday, March 14, 2010

How Long does It Take to Learn Tai Chi?

Recently, I started teaching a new Tai Chi section. I had one student ask me a question that I have heard many times before. “How long do you think it will take me to learn the whole Tai Chi set well?” His question reminded me of an old Buddhist story.

A young man went to a sword master and asked him:
“How long will it take to learn the sword well?”
“30 years.”
“What happens if I practice very hard?”
“40 years.”
“What happens if I practice as much as possible?”
“50 years.”

In Chinese, we have a saying: “you can’t reach your goal if you are in hurry.” Anything takes time to learn well. When practicing Tai Chi, the goal is not speed, it is patience. When we practice Tai Chi we train our patience as much as we train our bodies. Only if you can quiet your mind will you have the patience to pay attention to the details and learn each exercise well. Without patience, you would only jump to the next move without completely finishing the first.

In light of message, I give the following advices to my students:
- There are 85 movements of Yang Style Tai Chi. No need to hurry. Learn one at a time.
- The key is to learn each movement in detail.
- Go over the notes before class, ask questions during class and review at home.
- Concentrate on practicing on the movements you had trouble with.
- Watch the teacher carefully from different angles, and concentrate on how the whole body moves together.
- Ask the teacher how each movement should feel if you are doing it correctly. Do it yourself to make sure you are getting that feeling.

Copyrighted By Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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