Phases of Learning

LIAN GONG PIAN (how to practice taiji)

1. Beginning Phase (Zhao Shu)
In this phase the student must grasp (understand in both mind and body) every sequence in detail. This includes, but is not limited to, the postural requirements and meaning (application) of the sequences. This phase requires about 3 years.

2. Middle Phase (Dong Jin)
In the second phase of training the student must gain a detailed understanding of how the various forces change in the movements. It is at this phase that the form movements begin to take on a quality of 'aliveness'. This phase requires about 3 years.

3. Improving Phase (Shen Ming)
In this phase the force changes developed in 'Dong Jin' become very fast and powerful. Many Masters of Taiji practice this phase for the length of their lives and constantly refine and improve their skill over the years.

These phases are developments of both the outside body and the internal mechanics.

How to Practice

1. Three principles must be observed:
- Everything must follow natural law in a scientific way.
- Understand the concept of 'Balance' in all things. 'Yin' and 'Yang' must be balanced in movement.
- Understand the concept of 'Middle' (Zhong Yong) in all things. For example, the force upwards from the head must be balanced with the force from the sinking of the body downwards. Zhong Yong is closely related to the concept of 'Balance'.

2. Body posture must be correct. Correct body posture promotes the smooth flow of Qi in the body. Various parts of the body must be encouraged to regain their natural function. For example, the chest must neither 'stick out' or 'collapse', the lower back should not 'tuck' - a common practice amongst Taiji practitioners - which will often result in lower back pain or a stooped posture, the lungs must hang naturally and the diaphragm should relax encouraging Qi to return to the lower Dan Dien below the navel.

3. Relax and practice slowly.For health there is no need to practice extensive 'Fa Jing' - the release of whole body force. When practicing for self-defence you must practice 'Fa Jing' but it must be built upon the relaxation of the body developed by first practicing softly. If this is not the case practice may be harmful due to a lack of force dissipation from the body. For example, when using 'Fa Jing' it is important that the base of the feet relax, the natural arch of the foot is maintained and the hip sockets are relaxed. If this is not the case the force from the ground can rebound and shock the back of the skull.

Another site by Differentia

W3C Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional W3C Valid CSS