THE BENEFITS OF TAIJIQUAN (TAI CHI CHUAN)
Indeed, it has left me a little disheartened because I cannot imagine a Shaolin set having such fluid and open movements that are not only combat efficient but excellent for promoting health and vitality.
— Jamie, Scotland
As usual but unreasonably, many people may be unhappy and some may be angry when we mention that our Taijiquan students get more benefits in one year than most other Taijiquan practitioners get in ten. But this is the truth, and it can be easily verified.
How many Taijiquan practitioners today who have ten or more years of Taijiquan training, for example, have internal force or can apply Taijiquan for combat? We can proudly say that every one of our students who have practiced for a year have these two benefits. Of course, we mention this truth not because we want to glamorize ourselves or belittle others, but to help preserve genuine, traditional Taijiquan.
You would be happy to note that our Taijiquan students can achieve such remarkable result because of the successful transfer of learning from our Shaolin teaching methodology. Hence, not only you should not be disheartened, you should rejoice.
Indeed, the set you referred to, “Flowing Water Floating Clouds”, has such fluid and open movements that are excellent not just for combat but also for health and vitality. Realizing this fact is a first important step.
But do you also realize two other important points? Firstly, not many people, including those who may practice this set, realize this fact. Secondly, even if they do, they would be unable to obtain the practical benefits from this set. In other words, even if they know that this set can give them combat efficiency, health and vitality, they still would not get these benefits even when they practice this set for years.
Yet, you go a step further. You and all those who have attended my Special Shaolin Kungfu Course can compose similar sets with similar benefits. In fact you did that, albeit on a smaller scale, as an exercise in the Special Shaolin Kungfu Course you attended in 2005. You were required to compose a set from the patterns of your chosen specialized set to meet various objectives.
To compose a set like “Flowing Water Floating Clouds”, or its Shaolin equivalent or any worthy set for that matter, you need to consider three dimensions:
- Aims and Objectives
- Scope and Depth
- Resources Available
Briefly, in composing “Flowing Water Floating Clouds”, the aims and objectives were to enable advanced Wahnam Taijiquan practitioners to have a set of movements that fulfilled all major benefits of practicing Taijiquan, including good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness, combat efficiency and spiritual joys.
The scope was that the set should be about 108 patterns long covering all the four categories of attack and defence, and the depth would cover the aspirations of advanced practitioners. As for resources, I had access to many Taijiquan classics which I could make use of, as well as my understanding and experience of Chinese martial arts.
Let us now take another example from the other end of the scale, “White Crane Flaps Wings”, which was meant for beginners.
Although it is meant to be an elementary set, I want its practitioners to experience and benefit from all major aspects of Taijiquan, including stances, footwork, body-movement, basic techniques, energy flow and combat application.
In terms of scope and depth, I intended the set to be short so that students could learn it in a relatively short time, yet they could enjoy and benefit from practicing it for life. I have the whole repertoire of our Wahnam Taijiquan for my resources.
The above is taken from Question 2 of March 2009 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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