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TAIJI 太極 QUAN: UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS

TAIJI 太極 QUAN: UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS

Humans forget and effective ways are lost. This has happened with traditional Chinese martial arts. What made Taiji Quan popular was its effectiveness in combat. The health aspects and the benefits that arise from its practice are side effects of practising it, but not its reason for being. When one begins to understand the underlying principles of Taiji Quan, one can apply it to life.

Unfortunately, in modern times especially in the West, it has been plagued with people who claim to say they only practice it for health. This is an illusion and they usually do not understand the depth of this science. They do random slow-paced dance movements and call that Tai Chi Chuan!

The story that it is only for old people, is another deception, like all martial arts, practising it at a young age and throughout your life will reap benefits. You do not need to start practice only at 80 years of age. And it is not easy as most things in life, some may have talent, but will and determination are paramount to gain any skill. One needs kung fu after all.

The slow movements deceive those who do not know what is going on. They serve a purpose. Same way hitting a speed bag, serves a purpose. Fighting is not slow, sometimes those who are inclined to learning fighting see the slow movements and foolishly discard it.

And amongst the greatest lies, is that it is pain-free. One of the main principles, is to “sink” and in the beginning, one has to “open up” the sinews, they need to be flexible. This requires work and one will run through pain and obstacles. The legs need to be strong in that sense.

This is a foundation found in all traditional Chinese martial arts. The mind takes over as well, this is where the challenge for internal martial arts come in. And this is what is meant when they say internal martial arts may take longer to achieve skill. Whereas the external is also hard, but the progression is usually faster and visible. In Taiji Quan, you go through the struggle of not only connecting the mind and the body but of using the mind and not physical force. Learning to neutralise your fight and flight response. Taiji Quan like all martial arts, needs practice, dedication, and hard work.

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