Advanced martial art (2)

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If you are new to martial arts training and seek to begin with an 'advanced martial art', you may want to think about that some more.
There are many martial arts systems that work very well in combat without claiming to be advanced. Any of these would be easier to learn than tai chi.

Be realistic

Starting your martial arts journey with an advanced method brings with it certain considerations:

  1. Weekly attendance

  2. Prepared to practice at home between classes

  3. Not studying another martial art (no time)

Point 2 is particularly pertinent. If you are unwilling to train at home between classes, your progress will be exceptionally slow.

The basics

The basics are not especially difficult but few people manage to learn them thoroughly. Indeed, most beginners quit without completing the preliminary training.
Without these basics, nothing will work.

Nothing can substitute for serious practice. Practice seriously, correctly and patiently. Use your brain, not just your body. Don't hide weaknesses in your training. Don't lie to yourself. If you cheat, you only cheat yourself.

(Adam Hsu)


The best way to get the hang of the basics is to drill them every day. The more time you commit during the early stages of practice, the more progress will be made long-term.
Drilling literally entails doing the movements again and again; slowly, mindfully and carefully.

Partial artist

An advanced martial art cannot be trained just once a week. Beginners who only train weekly in class may enjoy the class but they will never learn tai chi to a functional level.
Even a student of judo trains 2-3 times a week in class.

McDojo mentality

Modern students often expect high-level skills to emerge almost immediately. In any martial art this is improbable. For an advanced martial art it is certainly not realistic.
Progress cannot happen overnight. Your rate of progress is entirely contingent upon how much time and effort you invest.


Our modern age accepts insincere talk as part of our culture. People lie, excuse, exaggerate and evade responsibility - and we accept it as being just part of life.
This kind of attitude will never lead to advanced martial arts skill.


Almost every problem facing the beginner can be whittled down to laziness. In a transparent attempt to save face, a beginner will manufacture almost any excuse to hide their indolence.
The solution is practice. It is the answer to virtually every question.


The lower kung fu grades are not advanced. How could they be? They are introductory. The student is training 'externally' because they lack the physical skill to be internal.
Internal takes time. It requires years of careful work.

Foundation skills

Certain skills must be practiced extensively:

A wide variety of standing and moving qigong exercises
Skill with form
A diverse grasp of form applications; how they operate and why
Internal biomechanics
Thorough and convincing combat skill
Whole-body movement
Pushing hands
Weapons drills
Stretching exercises
Sensitivity, stickiness and pressure
Excellent balance
Impact/striking skill
A good sense of jing
Comprehensive knowledge of shuai jiao
Strong ability with the different aspects of chin na

You will begin to feel that your tai chi practice goes beyond simple form training, and you will be able to perceive things as energetic combinations, rather than as static physical objects. Your training partners will appear to your senses as dynamic patterns of energy, rather than as clumsy physical bodies. When this happens, you can skilfully switch strategy and tactics in any situation.

(Yang Jwing-Ming)

3 methods

Our students study 3 kung fu methods:

  1. Chin na (seizing)

  2. Shuai jiao (take downs)

  3. Tai chi chuan (dynamic balancing boxing)

They all use the body in an internal way. Chin na and shuai jiao are fighting methods rather than a separate system.

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Page created 21 May 1998
Last updated 30 November 2023