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Chen Xiao Wang Taijiquan Association
Training Advice for Chenjiagou Taijiquan
By CHEN XIAO WANG
Learning Chenjiagou Taijiquan is similar to learning
other forms of sports. There are some basic facts and training requirements
which will be helpful to know. I hope that what I have delineated below
will benefit all who love learning Taijiquan.
1. When learning Taijiquan, do try and practice in a place which
is quiet, peaceful and the air is circulating freely throughout. The ground
that you are practicing on should be level as well. If practicing outdoors,
pick a spot which is not too windy. When you are practicing indoors, do
leave the windows open to let the fresh air circulate around the room, as
the fresh air will have positive effects on your health and for training.
2. There’s a saying for learning martial arts, “饿伤气，饱伤胃 (er shang
qi, bao shang wei)”. This is practical commonsense which states that when
you’re hungry, training harms your qi, and when you’re too full, training
will harm the digestive system. When you’re too hungry or too full, you
should not go into too taxing a training routine. If you have to train
soon after a meal, do make sure that it is only a very light training workout.
3. Always start from a high stance to loosen up the joints.
When you feel sufficiently relaxed and warmed up, you can then practice at
the more demanding middle to low stances. This way, you lessen the chances
of getting a muscle pulled or other sports injury.
4. After your training, please do not sit down immediately to
rest. Do walk about a bit to let your breathing regulate itself back to
its normal mode before sitting down.
5. Do take note that with martial arts training, you must not
try to accelerate your progress by over-exerting your own limits. It does
not work that way, there are no short cuts, and it means you must train
yourself in stages, bit by bit. Train with moderation. Adjust the frequency
of your training, the intensity and the level of difficulty based on the
height of your stances according to your age group, fitness level and physical
health. As a rule of thumb, if you feel relaxed, comfortable and alert after
training, it means you have trained at your optimal intensity and level
(that is just right for you). On the other hand, if you feel shaky, tired,
and take longer than others to recover your breath, it means you have trained
beyond your body’s capacity. In this instance, you must tone down your
training activity accordingly.
6. A proverbial saying goes that,”练拳如逆水行舟，不进则退 (lian quan ru
ni shui xing zhou, bu jing ci tui)”. Literally, this means learning Taijiquan
is like a boat flowing against the current, if you are not determined in
pushing your way forward, you will be swept backwards. The key to learning
Taijiquan lies in your perseverance. As far as bodily fitness and self-defense
skills are concerned, these will only materialize after you accumulate concerted,
regular practice over a period of time. If you are in the habit of “三天打鱼两天晒网
(san tian da yu liang tian sai wang)”, it will be very difficult to evidence
any improvement in your level of skill or foundation. The saying uses the
example of a fisherman who casts his nets 3 days for fish and thereafter
needs 2 days to rest and dry his nets. It is used to exemplify an individual
who is weak-willed and lazy. Actually, learning Taijiquan will train up
your self-discipline and determination. Even if you are not in the mood
or feel lazy, you will be able to overcome these internal blocks and carry
on with your own training. However, in this situation, start off your practice
with a fairly relaxed stance level. When you have not fully controlled your
inner emotions, you will not be able to concentrate on generating your qi.
So if you try to train at the lower stances, you will not be able to maintain
a line of connection for your qi, it will get broken easily, and your qi
will not reach your “梢节 (shao jie)”; the tips of your extremities. When
this happens, you will find your postures awkward and it may have negative
effects internally. So, when you are feeling low, please do not attempt
to train intensely at low stances to trigger your mind and body to set off
adrenalin, and to set you into the right mood. Only when you have sufficiently
adjusted your mental and physical states, then you may practice at your
regular intensity and level.
7. If women in their menstrual period continue with Taijiquan
training at a suitable intensity, it will help to regulate and maintain the
flow of blood and qi along the body’s meridians. As the saying “通则不痛，痛则不通
(tong ci bu tong, tong ci bu tong)” goes, when yur body feels pain, it means
the balance in your body is disrupted. Conversely, you will not feel any
discomfort when your body’s qi is flowing smoothly through the meridians.
Hence, there is no harm in keeping up with a light dose of Taijiquan training.
In fact, the Taijiquan training may even help to prevent or alleviate the
various abdominal pains associated with having menstruation.
8. Women in their pregnancy may also continue with their Taijiquan
practice. However, they should practice very gently, and it should not be
vigorous or aggressive. For those movements which are more extreme, they
can simply execute a rough approximation of them, so long as they do that
with the intent firmly in mind (example: do not stamp your foot, do not
fajing etc). Symptoms of bloatedness, constipation can be avoided during
pregnancy simply by observing a light practice Taijiquan regularly. Metabolism
will be improved as well and will facilitate an easier delivery. It is beneficial
not only for the mother but for the foetus as well.
9. During training, if you feel thirsty or dryness in the throat,
you may drink a little warm water to moisten your throat. On one hand, drinking
too much water during your training increases the workload on your digestive
system, and causes undue pressure and harm to it. On the other, it also
causes you to loose a lot of salt and electrolytes when you perspire which
is not good for you too. Especially in hot weather, when you are more prone
to perspiring, try adding a little salt to your drinking water to quench
your thirst and to replenish the salts lost through your perspiration. After
training, you should not consume cold liquids as well. This is because the
heat generated in your body after the training will be in opposition to the
coldness of the liquid. This causes an imbalance which disrupts the flow
of blood and qi.
10. For your Taijiquan uniforms, you do not need to bind your waist
tightly with sashes unlike other forms of martial arts. Just make sure
that your fastening at the waist is right for you, and does not interfere
with or obstruct your movement and breathing.
11. After your Taijiquan training, remember not to fan yourself or
sit down immediately. Wipe your perspiration away quickly to prevent getting
chilled. You must “避风如避箭 (bi feng ru bi jian)” avoid the wind (getting chilled)
like avoiding arrows.