Wednesday, March 23, 2011
There are six steps to a better Tai Chi form. If you follow the six steps in order, you can improve step-by-step and understand what you need to achieve at each point along the way. As you identify your weaknesses, you will also learn the characteristics and applications of the Tai Chi moves, giving you a better foundation.
Step 1: Understand the Theory and Become Familiar with the Forms
Theory and forms are the start of learning Tai Chi. In this step, you need to become familiar with the basic moves, and understand how they coordinate with each other. Through practice you will learn the basic stance and hand forms. You will understand the direction and angle of each move and how transitions work between moves. Take your time to get each move right before moving to the next move. Once you are familiar with all the moves, consider yourself to have completed the first step.
Step 2: Demonstrate Understanding of each Move’s Requirements and Characteristics.
This step requires your teacher to correct any obvious mistakes, such as failing to keep your body vertical to promote relaxation and combat stiffness. You will also begin to concentrate on some major components such as coordination, breathing, and turning. You will concentrate on few special moves. As you practice, you will incorporate your understanding of these moves’ characteristics into your Tai Chi.
Step 3: Adjust your Movements for Accuracy
After adjusting the obvious movements, now is the time to get in more detail and adjust the rest
of the smaller movements. Imagine carving a jade statue. From Step 1 and Step 2 we get the statue’s basic shape. Now it’s time to carve the details such as the eyes and the clothing lines. Use Standing Post (Zhan Zhuang) as “standing meditation,” a moment to stop and check for accuracy and make sure all your movements are fluid and relaxed. Make sure your upper body is light and spry and your lower body is stable and powerful.
Step 4: Connect Your Body and Be Natural
Once you have mastered the above three steps, you can try to connect your body together and move your energy around your body. You will need to smooth your transitions, and make sure you have round form and even speed. You must perform your moves easily and naturally.
Step 5: Understand Applications
When you are familiar with all four of the above steps, you can break the moves into pieces to learn more details and understand the purpose of each move. You can start to do some Push Hands with classmates to begin to see application in action. Understanding the attack and defense purpose of each move will give you a deeper understanding of all the forms.
Step 6: Define your Form
This final stage requires you to combine concentration, breathing and movement together and have your own form ready. You will be able to do your moves without thinking. Once you reach this stage, you will have reached a new level on your Tai Chi journey.
Keep practicing. Day by day you will be closer to each step.
Copyright@ Huan's Tai Chi 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
An MIT study on how we learn movement showed that although students can visually absorb an entire move, their pupils only focus on small areas. Students can repeat the movements within these small areas very well, but they often have trouble understanding the move as a whole.
Because Tai Chi involves coordinating the whole body, it’s hard to imitate a move correctly if you only focus on part of it. In order to learn a move successfully, you need to step back and watch the entire move several times. Pay attention to the movements of both the upper body and lower body, the left and right sides, and how they move and coordinate together.
Try to imitate the move and ask your teacher for feedback. Notice the areas you need to work on. Have your teacher do the move again. Concentrate and focus on the areas that you have missed. Ask your teacher how your body should feel when you doing the move correctly. Practice it again and have your teacher correct you. Once you have it right, practice as many times as it takes to do the entire move without thinking.
Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi