Friday, April 15, 2011

Tai Chi Applications: Good Idea for Beginners?

In Tai Chi, we say, “Train the body, but practice the applications.” To train the body is to improve your forms and energy. To practice the applications is to practice how to use Tai Chi on offense and defense. Most people think of Tai Chi applications as moves like punching, kicking, or joint locking.

However, if we only use one or two applications to explain a single movement, then we can’t really understand the movement. Because each movement can be used for many different applications, for a beginner to understand a form in the context of a single application may be misleading.

To really improve your form, you must be familiar with all its parts, master all the gestures and then get rid of stiffness and soften and smooth all the moves. After that, your whole body can move together. Your internal and external body will coordinate and you can then increase your energy. Once you have more energy, then you will sense and listen better.

A good time to learn applications is after you have smoothed all the movements and softened all the joints. The application will come out more naturally without a lot of effort. It will take you more time to learn but you will have a greater understanding.

Hurrying to focus on applications as a beginner is not a good idea. In Chinese, we say, “you can’t eat hot Tofu in hurry.” Tai Chi applications are like hot Tofu. Take your time!

Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2011

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