Over the last two decades or so in the tai chi game, I’ve noticed that many practitioners have unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve in short timeframes. Many times, students seek to learn a form and gain a high level of skill within a period of a few months, which of course is impossible unless you’re a rare genius in mind-body-chi. The irony is that those who let go of these expectations are usually the students who advance more quickly and, more importantly, experience the deeper health and healing benefits for which tai chi is renowned.
In my 2011 Five Element Qi Gong retreat in Crete, I discussed ways to restore balance in and revitalise the body. One method for fretting out imbalances and getting real about your practice is training with a partner, which accomplishes three important goals:
The question of how long to train Tao meditation and energy arts is one of the most frequestly asked questions.
I advise all students, but especially beginners to qi gong, tai chi, bagua or meditation, to mind their two-thirds of effort in mind-body-qi, and save 45-minute to hour-long practices for many months (or even years) down the line, once they have a solid foundation in nei gong. Otherwise, you may injure yourself or build up too much internal resistance and stop practising.
New to Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Bagua or Meditation?
First and foremost, you are welcome to attend just about any public course I offer–unless prerequisites are expressly stated, which is rarely the case. All of my weekend seminars in London, Manchester and Stuttgart, as well as my retreats in Spain, include a parallel curriculum for new and beginning students. So we’re ready when you’re ready!
Attending a Class
Although it may sound counterintuitive, beginners learn almost exactly the same material as experienced practitioners because energy arts training is more about what is being emphasised and at what depth than the exercise per se (e.g., a
qi gong set, tai chi style, bagua palm change or breathing technique). So most courses start out with everyone together in one group—whether you are learning or reviewing the theory and fundamental practices that underlie the more in-depth material to come.
The primary difference is that whereas beginners learn body mechanics that develop qi, experienced practitioners learn energetic techniques that develop the body. It’s two different angles on the same game.
Recently, I posted a blog entitled “Tai Chi: The Art of Softness”, but is it possible to ever say enough about the form’s yielding nature?
Even though tai chi is the youngest of the internal martial arts, it has a quality that is absolutely unique unto itself. The intrinsic yin nature of tai chi allows deep healing to occur while the practitioner executes the form in the most gentle of ways. It is this hyper focus on the soft quality that often leads tai chi practitioners astray.