The Three Stages of Tai Chi Attainment

THE FOUNDATION STAGE

During this stage it is important to focus your energies on the body and its shape. The body should be loose and the mind clear of distractions. Getting the posture correct must include the methods outlined on this website i.e. the hand and step type, agility, technique, foot and legwork and the eye method. Tai Chi requires the body to be loose with the mind calm, tensions of life should be discharged along with all distrations. Concentration is key to getting the coordination of the body and mind, and by ensuring accurate footwork to keep the centre of gravity between the points of foundation. As Tai Chi requires the practitioner to be in the squat or half seated position, power is needed to hold this position and move gracefully into the stretching positions at the end of each step. Tai Chi requires continuous smooth and natural movements so the mind should compliment not fight the actions and thus preventing tension and loosing control leading to falls.

Note: It is important to attend classes or one on one training to master the coordination of the feet,hands and eyes. THS Teachers can instruct in accurate and timely Tai Chi

THE IMPROVEMENT Stage

During this stage the practitioner should improve the technical aspects of Tai Chi. The skills learnt during this stage will coordinate the hands, legs, feet and eyes through the pivotal parts of the body i.e. the waist, so that the body is moving as a single unit. The waist has a very important function in Tai Chi and special attention needs to be paid to it, it should always stay in a natural position guiding the upper and lower points of the body so that the centre of gravity stays in the correct position to ensure stability. Tai Chi is a continual moving actions or steps so the body is moving naturally and smoothly changing positions but maintaining stability and the centre of gravity between the points of foundation i.e. the feet.

Stretching and flexing the leg will improve your general and competitive Tai Chi level, improve the leg power and reduce the incidents of injuries. Flexibility training, of stretching exercises, kicks, splits and certain leg movements can improve coordination of the nervous system and muscles.

Note: The use of information on this website, the use of DVD's for home use and attended classes is the best way to improve this level of attainment

THE MARTIAL AND SPIRITUAL STAGE

In this advanced stage it is essential to improve the techniques further by understanding the difference between the Spiritual and Martial aspects of Tai Chi. The practitioner should develop and cultivate the spiritual Tai Chi internally while perfecting the martial externally; physical culture is internal and martial arts external. Those whose practise is successful both internally and externally will reach the highest level of attainment. The spiritual is the essence and the martial is the application. When the martial is matched with the spiritual and it is experienced in the body and mind, this then is the practise of martial arts. The development of the spiritual and martial must unfold in the correct and proper sequence, and the root of physical culture. Therefore, the practise of the martial arts in a spiritual way is soft-style exercise, the sinew power of “ching” (metabolic energy), “ch'I” (breath energy) and “shen” (spiritual energy). The spiritual is internal principle; the martial is external skill. External skill without internal principle is simply physical ferocity. This is a far cry from the original nature of the art, and by bullying an opponent one eventually invites disaster. To understand the internal principles without the external skill is simply an armchair art. Without knowing the applications, one will be lost in an actual confrontation.