Perseverance has the meaning of stamina. The five-point motto of Ma Yueliang finishes with perseverance. It says that while practising Taijiquan one has to have a long the four points of stillness, lightness, slowness and conscientiousness also perseverance. Only then Taijiquan can develop its effects.
Taijiquan is not a panacea, which works right away. Taijiquan follows the "laws of the nature", does search for "being conscious" and the endowed inborn root of the movements. The basic ability of the conscious movement is inborn, but "being close to each other by our inner nature, we separate from each other by our habits". Because of this one loses the inborn. So in physical exercises one does not develop one's original capabilities to the full extent, as it would have been possible, or worse, one develops unfavourable variances. When practising Taijiquan one goes through subjective efforts, but it is a process that changes the objective world and where one looks for the lost endowed inborn.
This process is long-term and life long. Though the Taijiquan movements should become part of daily life, at best a kind of key idea, which you are looking for in all movements, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying down. However, if you "diligently work one day, but there are ten days of rest" you are not following the five-point motto of Ma Yueliang. This also means that you do not prevent diseases or strengthen the body. The goal of Taijiquan, the long life and the eternal spring, will be a question.
It is unusual for young people to begin to learn Taijiquan. They often find not much joy in this kind of movement or even think they are boring. So at the start one should make an individual plan for each one. It is essential to fix the time frame and the amount of stuff to learn. This must be done consciously. But one must also decide with the whole heart to improve. It's like in calligraphy:
"Only after a hundred days of practice with the characters it shows effect."
When you practised Taijiquan three months, you can see the first effects. One can e.g. feel fine, the appetite is good, the limbs are healthy, and after a long time, chronic diseases can improve or the outbreak of them can be prevented. If one gets the taste for it, it increases the confidence and the resolution to practice Taijiquan.
The conditions of individual students are not the same. This must also have an influence to the character and the level of training. The old teachers demanded that one should do the form a ten thousand times in about three years. This shows that if you do the form just once a day, it is only enough to keep it. For today's people, it is certainly very difficult to do the form ten times a day. It would be best to do the form twice a day, because the first time is just to warm up. This is important, because you can't reach stillness by just pushing a button. Only at the second time you can achieve "The heart/mind (xin) leads qi. The qi moves the body.", because now the mind got still. Body and spirit are in harmony, what even increases the result.
As in the phrase: "Relax and stillness as the reaction", you will feel very comfortable now. Even if you want to stop, you can't do it and you feel like a third time. On the other hand, if you are to much distracted by the daily live and it is just hard to concentrate and you have to force yourself to do Taijiquan you should stop the training for a while or take a rest after the first irregularities.
Taijiquan can be divided into two major parts. One part is called the "exercise of the foundation (ti)" or the "exercise of the cultural (wen)." The exercise of the cultural is the high ability (gongfu) of the knowledge of oneself and the practice of the conscious, original abilities. The doing of the form is the practice of the cultural. One must also practice to let the qi flow, even if "the qi flows throughout the body without hindrance" is not easy and it needs two or three years of practice. The second part is the Push Hands.
Push Hands is the "exercise of the application (yong)", also called the "exercise of the martial (wu)". It is the high skill of how to deal with somebody else. You have to reach the level of the understanding jin-power (dongjin), which is not easy and only succeeded after a long time. Only if you have done an extensive training for a long time, you can find step by step depth through practice. But if you go this way, you will find success. But, no matter whether exercising the foundation or the application, if you want go this way, in any case perseverance is the most important point.
Tai Chi, as the art is sometimes called, is actually a martial art as well. It is indeed, despite its deceptively gentle movements, a sophisticated fighting system.
Photo: Tai Chi, as the art is sometimes called, is actually a martial art as well. It is indeed, despite its deceptively gentle movements, a sophisticated fighting system.
The Chi (breath) should be excited.
The Shen (spirit) should be internally gathered.
We breath continuously all day and night. Throughout our normal activities we rarely think about it. When students initially learn various breathing methodologies like abdominal and thoracic breathing, they erroneously abandon their naturalness and become forced and mechanical, making loud noises and stiffening their body. Thinking the objective is pumping more air in, they go down the wrong path.
Natural breathing is restricted when we do not softening the body and yield to the internal pressure being created inside our body as air fills the lungs. Greater range of motion (opening the body) is achieved as the body continuously softens and expands, yielding to the internal pressure. Air is not forced into the body like blowing up a balloon, but a study of anatomy will reveal the diaphragm draws the lungs down during inhalation, sinking the Chi down to the Dan Tien. During exhalation the diaphragm comfortably ascend to a relaxed position. It is feeling (sensation) of the internal movement inside the body that is the focus of all internal studies.
If the body is still (sitting and standing), breathing will naturally become long and slow. As activity is increased through physical movement (stepping, kicking, leaping, etc.) a greater demand for oxygen is required by the body causing a shorter and faster respiration rate. The point to breathing is, just like in form practice, discovering and correcting impingements that cause blockages to the body's natural movement is the objective, and not mindlessly forcing a change to simply meet a desired objective.
As the mind focuses on the immediacy of full awareness on the practice, "letting go" of any discursive thoughts as they appear in the mind, the Shen (mind - logic and heart - emotions) unifies. The Yi (Will / Intention) is totally absorbed in the work at hand.
In essence, this is the mind and body blending together becoming one functionally. A combined strength of mind and body implies using intention over force. When Form (quan) follows Function (gong - skill) the energy manifests naturally. How can there be peace of mind, if the mind is lost in the fundamental study of remembering choreography?
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