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New taijiquan students often fail to make progress.
Typically they falter before they have even really started.
Everything is new
Yes, the novelty is initially exciting.
But this passes and the student is left with the intimidating realisation that they don't really know anything.
Tai chi for health
All students commence training studying tai chi for health. The student only moves from the tai chi for health training onto taijiquan once they have passed the qigong ticksheet.
Not so easy
A new student must learn all manner of skills that are unfamiliar to them:
Their previous knowledge and
life experience is often irrelevant.
Or worse; it is an actual impediment to progress.
Most people quit
The sad truth is that most students quit before they've even got going.
They give up at the onset.
It is easy to talk about challenges but far harder to endure them.
In order to function beyond the
use of ordinary strength, you must study what seems inconvenient and then work
to make it efficient.
The answer is to work hard until the new is no longer new.
Once a student is adept at section 1 of the form, it is far easier to learn section 2.
The same applies to qigong, partner work, assignments and applications.
Yes, there are new and intimidating things to learn.
There always will be.
But much of the syllabus is merely a variation on a theme.
Get used to it
Once you get used to doing something, it no longer seems like work.
It actually feels easy.
e.g. a student who learns the entire pattern of the Long Yang form normally has no difficulty mirroring the sequence or learning a weapons form.
At some point, the student gets the knack of doing it.
People who don't quit usually settle into a comfortable rut.
They attend class, have a good time and feel great.
They are resigned to the fact that they are unlikely to really penetrate the mysteries of the art.
The advantage of working through the beginner's syllabus and lower grades as quickly as possible is that once climbed, the hurdle is gone.
There are always challenges but the newness of taijiquan is long forgotten.
Variations, permutations, possibilities and options are fascinating rather than intimidating,
Anything unfamiliar is embraced rather than rejected because the foundation training enables the student to cope with the challenge.
Climbing over the hurdle has to be the priority during the early stages of the syllabus.
Aim to set time aside - regularly - between classes in order to practice qigong, form and read the books for the assignments.
This will ensure strong, steady progress.
Concentrated practice in
the early stages of an endeavour dramatically improves the value of
• The basics
• A method
• How to pass your first grade
• You make it happen
created 21 May 2007
Last updated 29 April 2021