Intro to General Taiji Discussion

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leftsider
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Intro to General Taiji Discussion

Post by leftsider » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi All,

I've been taking taijiquan at the DC GRTC for 9 months. I have no experience in martial arts, self defense or structured fighting. I like to think of myself as a blank page, ready to be written upon by Laoshi and my seniors. :wink:

I've been lurking the forums for about 6 months. There's a lot of information, but most of the recent activity is by 5yr+ students about 3yr+ -level topics. At first I wanted to complain about that, then I thought to ask every question I could think of; but any good forum participant knows to look for your question in the archives before asking. It was here that I found several threads mostly from 2-4 years ago (when all you guys were closer to my level!) that are really useful to total beginners like myself. I decided to list them here for the benefit of others; maybe this can become a "sticky" thread that stays at the top if it becomes valuable enough.

If you have any threads you think are of particular use to a novice, please share.

Taijiquan 101 FAQ:

On The Taiji Roadmap
A basic discussion of where you start and how you progress/grow through the various classes GRTC offers.

On The 5 Principles
Choose a principle each week and incorporate it into your daily practice. Practice daily!

On Progressing with Patience
I wish Laoshi would supplement this with the talk he gave in class recently about the distance from 0% to 95% and the distance from 95% to 100%. The combination has really helped me to commit to a long-term schedule of perpetual improvement.

On Taiji and Other Forms of Exercise
This is not as firm an answer as one might hope, but gives clarity to the aspects of exercise and strength training that could inhibit taiji progress.

On Commonly Mentioned Concepts
Yi, Qi, and two perspectives on what it means to relax when practicing taiji. Other useful threads cited.

On Fangsong
A lot of you like this explanation... I'm still re-reading this and each time it provides greater illumination

On Balance
I've always wondered if the arch of the foot had bearing on the recognition of the "bubbling wells" in the feet. If you have flat feet and/or are experiencing trouble balancing, check out this thread.

On Press... (not Push!)
Possibly the most insightful thread I've read sofar. Helpful instruction like this is why this forum is so valuable. I look forward to creating or contributing to a thread like this for each of the 8 movements, each of the 37 postures, and every single one of my common beginner mistakes. :lol:




I hope this is helpful for others who are looking for basic info as they begin taiji. We are all learning together so don't be afraid to look to your seniors for fundamental answers and to each other for help and support!
Last edited by leftsider on Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

leftsider
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Honorable Mention

Post by leftsider » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:09 pm

Important Exercises
The only reason I didn't include this is because I've been unsure of the exercises themselves. Is "tiger's back" the "carry tiger to the mountain" that we do as warmups? Is "turn and pat" exercises the same as "willow bends"?

Zhan Zhuang
I really need direction with this and this thread was helpful (particularly at the end), but it spun into the "who said this" that I find to be distracting at my level.

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Linda Heenan
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Re: Intro to General Taiji Discussion

Post by Linda Heenan » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:47 pm

Leftsider, why don't you write what you heard on the 5%-95%. I would dearly love to hear anything you guys hear in class. You have a feast. Please share some.
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Re: 0-95%, 95-100%

Post by leftsider » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:51 pm

As I'm new I'm hesitant to retell the thing--my understanding of concepts is surface at best. Perhaps Laoshi can clarify if I run astray.

Essentially he encouraged us to push to proper form and structure. As new practitioners there's lots of room for improvement, but that room for improvement is not an arbitrary space. There is only one proper form; if you're not doing it 100% correct, you're doing it wrong. This was not a put-down but an admonition; be happy about the progress you've made but never accept it as "good enough." 95% is still incorrect--it will not correctly balance, not allow correct flow of energy and not produce maximum fajing. A half inch can be the difference between fangsong and damage to joints and muscles.

He mentioned his son's participation in a recent tournament, if I remember correctly he ranked 9 out of nearly 100. That was an achievement, but to best the 8 ahead of him would be much more difficult than surpassing the lower 80 or so. He also referenced a sign at a nearby business that noted the amount of effort needed to get from 0 to 95% was the same as the effort needed to get from 95 to 100%. As we get better, correction and improvement gets harder, but we must accept the challenge if we are to become true practitioners of taijiquan.

Linda, which forum posts would you recommend to a newbie?

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Linda Heenan
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Re: Intro to General Taiji Discussion

Post by Linda Heenan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:58 am

Thanks for explaining that. I don't get the weekly class instruction, so all of it is important to me.

As a newbie, I asked all the simplest questions from 7 years ago up until now. Since I can't go to class from over here, I'm still asking beginner things from time to time. If you put my name in the search here in these forums, you'll find beginner questions from the earlier dates to the later ones. I've also put a lot of beginner information on my website, designed for people who want it explained in simple terms. Much of it is about sword, but all the principles are there. Richard White's article on basic strikes http://www.chinese-swords-guide.com/tai-chi-moves.html is excellent beginner material. So are the taiji principles found in the Taiji Sword section. Use the site map to find information there.
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Re: Honorable Mention

Post by leftsider » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:50 pm

leftsider wrote:Important Exercises
The only reason I didn't include this is because I've been unsure of the exercises themselves. Is "tiger's back" the "carry tiger to the mountain" that we do as warmups? Is "turn and pat" exercises the same as "willow bends"?

I talked with Laoshi about this last week and he clarified that these daily exercises are not what I was thinking but advanced exercises that I would encounter later.

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Re: Intro to General Taiji Discussion

Post by Psi Man » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:32 am

Good thread idea, leftsider.

I always have a lot of questions about TJQ that I think about posting here, but then I realize most of them can only satisfactorily be answered by my own consistent practice. However that attitude is a luxury that has a lot to do with being in such constant close proximity to Laoshi Rodell, so maybe it is worth discussing our doubts aloud our for the benefit of others.

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