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A question all taiji students should ask themselves is, what is the value of Taiji? Is the value in the maintenance of tradition, in the lineage of the style, in the comradery of the classes, in the health benefits or in the fighting skill? Each of these answers will have their own advocates, but there is an interesting tendency in traditional arts. It is the tendency to weight value more on the things that DON'T involve the practice than those that do! 

Many folks in the coaching, teaching or instructing world jump on the opportunity of the New Year to let their students and potential students know that ‘its just another day’ or that ‘ resolutions don’t work’ etc. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that resolutions don’t work in the vast majority of cases.

In this edition of unpacking the classics we examine a line that explains the progression of training in Tai Chi. From the beginner to the advanced, from external to internal, how do we alter the focus of our training over time?

In this fascinating verse, we see the idea of hiding ourselves from our opponent while simultaneously understanding what they wish to do, clearly a useful skill to have. In this edition of unpacking the classics we will dive into this subject to discover the ways in which the our own structure can hide us from the listening skill of our opponent, while simultaneously giving us access to them.

If there is up there is down,When advancing have regard for with drawlingWhen striking left pay attention right

As a fighting art tai chi is known for its close range methodology. When we practice tai chi for fighting it can be very easy for us to slip into a kickboxing type of engagement. Actually, the strategical approach of tai chi  is to get as close to the opponent as possible, while still being able to deploy our most effective weapons. This approach is relatively unusual in the martial arts, not because arts do not get close, but because tai chi is able to deploy highly powerful striking, grappling...

In this article we will examine a phrase from the classics that describes a tactic that Tai chi employs to gain its favourable position in combat. It is a nuanced skill and one which links to a number of other qualities that Tai Chi trains, as well as the overarching strategy of the style.

The originators and developers of Tai Chi likely had the goal of creating good fighter in mind when creating the training practices of the art. But many soon realised that, not only were some the attributes created by Tai Chi useful for combat, they were also useful for health. Indeed, many of the methods of health and wellness were required before the fighter could truly utilize the arts combative side after all, what use is a sick or immobile fighter? The training methods of Tai Chi are design...

Continuing with our look the various texts known as the ‘Tai Chi Classics’, this month we look at what the Tai Chi Chuan Ching has to say about posture and movement. This section from the Tai Chi Classics describes the way the body should be trained, both in its posture and in its movement, and although just s few short lines it is a great signpost for our practice. Indeed when we think of this verse, we quickly can associate it with the graceful movement and body position of the Tai Chi Adept.

Many of the Tai chi classics refer to postural conditions, and will talk of the waist, the legs or the position of the head focusing on how this impacts the various internal processes of the body and our movement. In this month's edition of unpacking the classics we look at a verse that is more concerned with the mind and it's link to the body.

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