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Isn't tai chi just slow motion exercise?
No. Some of the training methods are slow, and some are not. As the student gains greater skill, their movements become fluid and dynamic. They move at whatever speed the situation demands.

Slow motion combat?
Real life combat will not take place in slow motion. Tai chi may have some slow motion training methods yet the actual combat is far from slow.
Students work towards acquiring incredibly fast striking power and superb reflexes.

Nervous system

Slowing your movements entails the release of tension and the softening of the nerves. A calm, relaxed body can move softly and evenly without effort. In time, this enables faster movement.


A nervous person moves in a twitchy, awkward way and speaks quickly. By contrast, a calm, self-possessed individual is measured and relaxed, slower and more confident.
Slowing down enables you to speak more clearly and move with greater surety and control.

Do not rush

When you lack composure, you are easily startled. This leads to hurrying. And anxiety. Instead of patiently waiting to see what unravels, you dither, hesitate and anticipate.
Rushing indicates a lack of competence.


When you slow down, you begin to notice things. By being slow, you can pay attention to what is happening. Rushing is not healthy.
Fast movement is often at the expense of good body alignment and can indicate a loss of composure.

If the opponent's movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly.

(Wang Tsung-yueh)


People are accustomed to daydreaming or 'spacing out'. Tai chi helps the mind to become calm and centred.

Page created 21 May 1996
Last updated 16 June 2023