January 2020 Tai Chi Notes
When we begin Tai Chi we steadily practise until we get it right.
If we only practise when we are at the class then we will remain as a beginner. To make progress we need to practise until we can’t get it wrong.
These forms are cumulative. Ten minutes a day to do a few Donyus, Toryus or a section of the Set will give the most benefit. Try to practice daily, at the same time every day if you can but anytime is better than never.
Our 5 rules of practise are
1) Back foot at 45°, the front one straight.
2) Knee over foot.
3) Squaring the hips in forward stance.
4) Straight line from head to heel.
5) Equal and opposite forces. Into that you could also add extending the arms, straight line from head to tail-bone.
A mirror is a wonderful training aid for the beginner.
By watching ourselves in the mirror we can improve our external form. In time we can focus on the internal workings of our body and then we will gain immeasurably.
As we move we need to look for balance and weight shift, the tension and relaxation exchange of your muscles. Feel the difference between muscles, tendons and ligaments and experience the joints rotating and moving. Feel how the weight sits on the bottom of our feet. Master Moy use to tell us “Don’t just do the move, feel the move“. Most people don’t feel their inner body unless it hurts. We can go exploring by looking for any tension and discomfort and then adjusting the way we do the move thus creating harmony and balance.
Please never hold or lengthen the breath. Breathe naturally. Let the movement of our bodies control our breathing. With time and effort we can control our bodies movement with the breath.
Our Tai Chi is personal, with our own levels and intensity for training. The amount of effort we use should gently push your limits but not so much that we feel out of sorts the next day.
The sets are broken down into bits and pieces then named and numbered purely for teaching/learning proposes. Once the we can do the sequence then comes the task of forgetting all the bits and pieces and making it all one move. To the trained eye the student will stop and start between moves for some years.
A mirror is a wonderful training aid for the beginner. If you’re watching yourself in the mirror then your mind is outside of your body and not inside of it. The mirror for the most part is so the instructor can keep an eye on things.
As you move look inwards, feel the balance and weight shift, the tension and relaxation exchange of your muscles. Learn the difference between muscles, tendons and ligaments. Feel your bones rotating and joints moving. Feel how the weight sits on the bottom of your feet. Master Moy use to tell us “Don’t just do the move, feel the move“. Most people don’t feel their inner body unless it hurts, go exploring. Look for and make harmony and balance.
These forms are cumulative. Even if all you can spare is ten minutes a day to do a few donyus and toryus you will get the most benefit if you practice daily. The same time every day is preferable but anytime is better than never.
Never hold or lengthen your breathe. Breathe naturally. Let the movement of your body control your breathing. With time and effort you will be able to control your bodies movement with your breath.
Don’t practice when you’re too hungry or too full. Small amounts of fruit and or carbs make a good snack at a workshop. Don’t eat a big meal right after a long session, wait an hour or so.
Keep your fluid intake up both during and after practice.
Never drink anything cold! Never gulp or guzzle!
Drink room temperature or warm fluids.
Don’t drink too much water.
Don’t sit down right after practice, walk around for a bit. If space is limited walk in a circle.
If it’s cold or wet outside, cool down before going out.
Understand your personal level for training. Your intensity should gently push your limits but not so much that you feel out of sorts the next day.
The sets are broken down into bits and pieces then named and numbered purely for teaching/learning proposes. Once the student can do the sequence then comes the task of forgetting all the bits and pieces and making it all one move. To the trained eye the student will stop and start between moves for some years.
Master Moy used to tell us “Do the set as if your enemies were all around you.” These forms are three dimensional, they must be alive in all directions, not just where your nose is pointed.
If something doesn’t feel right there’s a reason. Stop, re-adjust and try again.
If the student wants to be good at these forms then they must spend a lot of time thinking about them when they’re not doing them and not thinking about them while doing them.
If the student is not serious about their practice then the deeper understanding will not come.
When doing the exercises Master Moy told us not to count them because then your mind is on the goal and not what you’re doing.
Lifting weights, doing push ups and chin ups are all hard style exercises and have no place in our game plan as they will nullify what we’re trying to accomplish. The movements of the three are for the most part linear while everything we do is rotational. The two exercise systems build muscle tissue in very different ways. Linear movements build short thick tissue while rotational movements build long sheath-like tissue. Linear movements build unsymmetrical tissue with weak spots while rotational movements build symmetrical filled out tissue. With linear movements it’s very easy to damage tendons and ligaments. With rotational movements they become stronger and more flexible.
Sit ups are also hard style but the consequences of doing them are much more deleterious. When you create a hard exterior as in the proverbial six pack then do the rotational movements found in our forms you are compressing the internal organs against the walls of the artificially hardened abdominal muscles. Serious damage can be done to the kidneys by insisting on doing these.
When doing donyus if the toes need adjusting, do it while the body is going up. If the heels need adjusting, stop.
When doing donyus start with high ones and work your way down as low as you feel comfortable. When they start to get too hard go back to doing the high one and work your way down again. Keep doing this until you can no long keep the form.
When doing consecutive sets of the forms make each set a little slower than the proceeding set.
Be patient with yourself, you have a lot to learn and remember it’s not a race.
Trying too hard can be just as detrimental as not hard enough.
Keep a diary. Very important for your growth.
To imitate is easy, to understand is hard. Strive to understand.
Repetition is the origin of skill and training is the door to expertise.
Suffolk Tai Chi Academy
Suffolk Tai Chi Academy.
Formed in 2013 the Suffolk Tai Chi Academy was set up to provide a relaxed environment for instruction and practice of Tai Chi as promoted by Master Moy.
Our classes are where ideas can be exchanged to help all students develop their style and form.
Classes comprise absolute beginners and those with many years experience.
The Academy is concerned only with Tai Chi as a whole body and mind exercise it is not a belief or religion. (See the 'About Tai Chi' tab)
There are many Tai Chi Academies please see the links tab to visit their sites.
For those living in Suffolk and surrounding areas, such as Melton, Woodbridge, Ipswich, Kesgrave, Hasketon, Hacheston, Playford, Framlingham, Wickham Market, Easton, Felixstowe, Bredfield, Waldringfield, Martlesham,