THE AMAZING INTENSIVE TAIJIQUAN COURSE
I have made an outlandish statement in my “Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan” that more than 90% of Taijiquan practitioners get less than 10% of the benefits provided by Taijiquan, which is usually spelt as “Tai Chi Chuan” in English.
The statement, though outlandish but true, is based on the following facts. Taijiquan is an internal martial art, but there is nothing internal and nothing martial in the Taijiquan practiced by more than 90% of its practitioners all over the world! What they practice is just external Taiji form, or Taiji dance. Many practitioners add salt to injury by adding music to their dance.
It is not even a healthy dance. A survey showed that more than 60% of Taiji dancers had sustained knee injuries. I believe these knee injuries were due to practitioners performing wrong stances, which also led to back problems.
These more than 90% of practitioners who perform external Taiji form, or Taiji dance, have no internal force and cannot use their Taijiquan techniques for combat – the two features for which Taijiquan is well known. Because they do not develop internal force, their training does not give them good health, vitality and longevity – for which internal force contributes to. Because they do not train Taijiquan as a martial art, their training does not give them qualities which they can use not only in combat but in their daily life, like being relaxed, quick decision making, and confidence. If they have these qualities, like good health and confidence, it is because of other factors, and not because of their Taiji training.
It was to enable Taijiquan practitioners to gain these 90% of benefits that the Intensive Taijiquan Course was first introduced. The Intensive Taijiquan Course benefited much from the earlier Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, though the course material of these two courses was quite different. It is incredible that the course material, which any genuine Taijquan master should know, is taught to course participants in just a few days.
Like the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, course participants at the Intensive Taijiquan Course review the basic stances, which constitute the most important single category of exercises to develop internal force, which in turn contributes to good health, vitality and longevity, as well as peak performance and spiritual joys. Course participants then learn basic Taijiquan movements and patterns, including the famous principle of “starting with the back leg, rotating the waist, and ending at the hands”, and patterns that form the typical Taijiquan sequence, “Grasping Sparrow’s Tail”.
Two special features of the Intensive Taijiquan Course, which are not found in the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, are Tui Sau, or Pushing Bands, and Da Sau, or Striking Hands.
There are two parts in Pushing Hands, namely Stationary and Mobile. Important combat skills, like being relaxed, sensitivity, flowing with opponent's momentum, and neutralizing opponent's force, are learned in Stationary Pushing Hands. Four main techniques, which are pushing forward, pushing from the left, pushing from the right, and pushing from the back, are taught in the first part of Mobile Pushing Hands, and four tactics, which are continuous attack, confusing attack, immediate counter and interception, are taught in the second part.
There are 12 combat sequences in the Intensive Taijiquan Course. These 12 Taijiquan combat sequences not only put into practice all important Taijiquan principles but also include all the four categories of attack, namely striking, kicking, felling and chin-na. When a practitioner can apply these 12 combat sequences, he (or she) can handle any form of attack, irrespective of the practitioner’s size, age or gender, for which Taijiquan is famous.
We have to thank the great Zhang San Feng for integrating the three aspects of kungfu, namely physical, energy and spirit, into one unity. Hence, when we practice Taijiquan, we perform triple-cultivation. In other words, there is no need to introduce from outside internal art training and spiritual cultivation when we practice Taijiquan. The practice of Taijiquan itself is triple-cultivation, i.e. cultivating the physical, the energy and the spirit.
The Intensive Taijiquan Course is amazing. In just a few days, course participants learn material that genuine Taijiquan masters should know.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
12th December 2016