The common aspects of Taijiquan styles.
With the frequent practice of Taijiquan the general physical condition of the organism is improved and a vigorous energy is also available for personal work.
The general characteristics of Taijiquan lie in moving smoothly, slowly, circularly, and continuously and therefore requires great concentration. In addition, the upper and lower parts of the body must be harmoniously combined, clearly distinguishing the loose and the tense in it. Taiji requires acting continuously and circularly, moving at a balanced speed, and arching the angles of movement of the body. All the action is carried out in a continuous way as if a cloud were moving or as the water that runs in a river, flows smoothly without stagnating or stopping.
Basic points for the practice and learning of Taiji quan.
- Maintain a balanced speed. The initiates must learn with slow movements and master the essential points of each exercise well. Once the technique is mastered, keep the movement balanced, fast or slow.
- It is not advisable to change the chosen height level from the first moment of the practice in the first movement. Beginners can perform the exercises a little higher or a little lower depending on their physical abilities and strength. However, once the height is chosen in the initial posture, it must be maintained throughout the form or all the exercises to be carried out in it (except for the movement called “pushing down”, or those in which it must be lowered by below the waist slipping). Those with weak health should adopt a higher height until they master the techniques and strengthen their physical capacity, then they can choose to lower their posture and so on until they are comfortable in their development.
- The physical exhaustion that occurs with the practice of Taiji quan must be controlled very well. Although Taiji is not a violent sport like other types of current gymnastics (for example, Aerobics) or other styles of martial arts, its practice requires a lot of physical exhaustion and effort, since many movements have to be performed carefully and slowly with a proper bending of the legs and torso. The practice requires that the weight of the body be well distributed between the legs: the weight of the body is frequently supported on a single bent leg, and during the transition of the body from one posture to another, the body’s center of gravity shifts from one leg to the other in a slow movement, which increases the effort of the lower body to support it during this process. It is therefore natural for initiates to feel fatigue in their legs at the end of Taiji exercises.
- We will vary the duration of each exercise according to the different circumstances of work or study of each one and according to their physical constitution. The repetition times and physical wear that is required. On average we will say that a healthy adult can practice for an hour each day and it will be more advantageous if he does it during the early morning hours.
- According to the physical conditions of the practitioners, beginners and those with weak health can perform the practice once a day of the entire sequence of movements followed. They can also practice a single posture in isolation and repeatedly to strengthen themselves, for example: “Stroke the bird’s tail”, or turn both hands as if they were waving the clouds, or other exercises.
I advise you to keep in mind the saying of gradually progressing from the easy to the difficult and little by little. This is how techniques and exercises are matured.
The principle behind the practice of shadow boxing is: “a calm heart, in addition to a concentrated mind”, which allows the nervous center to rest, improving the ability to coordinate the functions of the different organs of the body. Relaxation of the whole body, deep and natural breathing, gentle bow-shaped actions centered on the waist, and a training method aimed at bringing one’s internal strength to the tip of the lower limbs through the use of the mind – all this results in a harmony of the interior and exterior of the body, the Jinglou unhindered, blood vessels and lymphatics, and improved functions of the skeleton, muscles and digestive system. In this way, shadow boxing is the most suitable for both training and fitness. As evidenced by its social application over the last dozen years, shadow boxing has certain curative effects for chronic diseases such as neurasthenia, neuralgia, hypertension, gastroenteritis, heart problems, arthritis, diabetes, etc. However, people with serious illnesses should be advised / controlled by a doctor, if they practice shadow boxing to better monitor their exercise and physical exhaustion. And this should advise the technician to indicate which exercises he cannot perform, due to his physical condition. But if the doctor also does not know about these types of internal exercises and their physiological functions, then he should seek advice from a specialist in the field. And with this we all cooperate together in a better state of our health and quality of life.