Internal Arts IA

martial arts , health enrichment, development of consciousness

Form Practice Suggestions

Posted by Editor on July 19, 2006

Form practice is obviously well recognized as a vital component of Taiji training. Perhaps less recognized is the vast variety of approaches one might employ, in the days, weeks, months, and years of daily form practice. Following is just a sample suggestion for a conscious strategy one might employ to focus on during form practice, for specific areas of enhancement.

Take a day or a few in practice of your form, with one very specific focus:
every second of the form make perfect balance your task. That means do it really, really, really slow, but still smooth. So each posture is like zhanzhuang, with a slight flow in perfectly balanced transitions, all co-ordinated with very slow effortless breath (about 4 breaths or less per minute) corresponding to movements and stepping. So your mind and body are absorbed in constant, comfortable centering and balance, nothing else.

With this isolation of focus, you may find that many postures or stances you previously thought were “instructed” as being correct, may change when you feel more central equillibium and balance in every part of the body.

One common challenge facing Taiji practitioners is the process of integrating elements of transition and motion, while sustaining focus on stance and posture. There is usually a tendency for students to want to do everything faster and learn many things all at once in Martial arts. The secret is to recognize the basis of the whole unique approach of the MA tradtions: With total devotion and supreme patience, learn one thing at a time really well, then learn one more thing, etc.
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As an aside, I am by no means the first to suggest such an approach. Many teachers have suggested that a good way to approach forms practice is to isolate some special focus when doing the form, ie, different focus one day or for awhile, then to work on some other area to develop as practice evolves.
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Workshops with top level teachers may illumine the importance of developing balance and central equillibium, especially if one is interested in verifying their true level of progress in things like push hands and sparring. My impressions suggest there is great value in emphasis on sharpening focus on this experience.

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4 Responses to “Form Practice Suggestions”

  1. […] Wow.. Internal Arts IA IS ON A ROLL! After writing an entry about the silk reeling primer, another post regarding Form Practice Suggestions appears! One common challenge facing Taiji practitioners is the process of integrating elements of transition and motion, while sustaining focus on stance and posture. […]

  2. hi – found this site via Wujimon and I hope you keep posting because I like your style – good and clear – and your emphasis on approaching a movement or a whole form by concentrating on one aspect of it at a time. I do that but I wish I could remember to do it more. best wishes, Andi

  3. Hi Andi,

    Thanks for your encouragement. Hopefully in the next week, we can explore more strategies for beneficial practice. Check back for posting of articles also. The articles will be springboards for detailed focus in future posts.

  4. […] Form Practice Suggestions […]

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