Posts Tagged ‘taijiquan’

The stages of Tai Chi progress

February 2nd, 2009 No comments

Most students go through a series of stages as they progress in their Tai Chi practice. This is my current impression of the order of the stages, which may be revised at any time. The order of the stages is also fluid, with students flowing in and out of a stage at different points in their progress.

Stage 1: gentle movement. At this stage, the students go through the motions pretty much like a slow-motion dance. At first, they may feel awkward, but eventually become accustomed to their own interpretation of the motions and postures of the set. 

Stage 2: relaxation. Once the students have an idea of which moves come next and how they want to perform the moves, they begin to actually enjoy doing the set and begin to relax as they do the slow-motion dance. It would be great if the student started practicing on his/her own at this point.

Stave 3: correction of structure. If the students continue to attend class, they will no doubt receive some correction from the instructor regarding their movements and postures. This is not meant to bring the appearance of the student’s performance closer to that of a particular master, but to help the student feel more connected while practicing. Usually these corrections teach the student to move from his/her core, to connect body parts through roundness and to remove extraneous motions.

Stage 4: internal sensitivity. Given that how the students feel is more important than how they look, at this point they need to evaluate their own postures and movements through increasing proprioception, or internal sensitivity. The students learn to better sense where their weight is, to sense whether they are moving limbs in isolation or in concert with the body core, or to sense where they are keeping tension in their body.

More advanced stages will be covered in a future post.

Categories: Tai Chi Tags: , ,