So you probably heard that you should practice Taijiquan daily. But what is it exactly that the masters say about it? I collected some quotes from different Taijiquan masters about why you should practice Taijiquan daily.
Let’s start with Yang Chengfu:
“Though one may have the instruction of a fine teacher and the criticism of good friends, the one thing which is most important and which one cannot do without is daily personal training. Without it one can discuss and analyze all day, think and ponder for years, but when one day you encounter an opponent you are like a hole with nothing in it – you are still quite inexpert, lacking the skills (Gong Fu) born of daily practice.”
Yang Chengfu (Source)
I think, instead of discussion whose teacher is the best, the real discussion that should be going on in the Taijiquan community should be about how to practice Taijiquan daily! You can have the skillfullest master of the world, but he/she is not worth your money if YOU don’t work it every day.
And even though one little day may seem small, it adds up:
“Professor (Cheng Manching) described the Gong Fu in Tai Chi as akin to building a stack of paper by laying down a single sheet each day. Each additional sheet seems negligible, but if you persevere over the years and decades a single sheet per day grows into an enormous stack.”
Cheng Manching (There are no secrets* p.46)
Now you might think: if I skip just one day, that sure will not be too bad.
“Master Wang Hai-Jun describes learning Tai Chi like riding a bicycle uphill – if you stop pedalling you go backwards. He also talks about the commonly used traditional saying that “one day missed is 10 days back”. In other words you need to train absolutely every single day, otherwise you are seriously hurting your efforts. Tai Chi skill is a cumulative thing, but every day you don’t practice, you have to add “negative skill” to your current level.”
Wang Hai-Jun (Source)
Not convinced yet? Maybe you think: “oh, I heard that you should do minimum 15 minutes per day. So I will do 2 hours on Sundays and that will be on average 17 min/day, so I’m fine!”
Sorry, it doesn’t work that way!
“It is traditionally taught that it is better to practice 10 minutes a day than to practice for one hour on the weekend, and better to practice one hour a day than to practice all day once a week. Practitioners should be encouraged to practice daily. Beginning practitioners, however, are limited in what they can practice and frequently only practice during class time. “
Dr. Yang Yang (Source p.10)
All in all, there are no two ways about it: It is essential to practice Taijiquan daily if you want to reach a higher level. And if you think that you just go to class every day, think again:
“Although the guidance of a superior teacher and practice with fellow students is indispensable, the most important thing is one’s own daily practice.”
(Yang Family Secret Transmission* p.3)
And I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to get the most out of it. I spent a lot of time practicing already, but earlier in 2016 I decided I really want to get into it: Practicing daily.
I researched how I could create that habit in my life. I applied many tools and techniques. And it worked! I am practicing daily now. And I have to admit, I am really proud of it. Because I struggled with it for so long.
However, I developed an eMail course with tricks and tips how YOU can practice more often and hopefully daily, too! Once you know which tools and techniques are the best, it is really easy. And I’ve done the research for you. So start today and try to practice a lot for the next month. Let’s see how far you get!