Put Down That Tai Chi & Qigong Book!

You can pretty much throw away those “instructional DVDs” while you’re at it.

One of the key takeaways from Sifu Fong Ha’s tai chi workshop was that most people complicate learning a tai chi form. It’s almost as if there wasn’t enough of a learning curve in tai chi.

Fong Ha taught the first 13 postures of the traditional Yang style tai chi form to my students in 2 days. It took me 6 months and maybe even more to teach the same exact material!

How did he do it? Check out the photo here of the first tai chi posture called “right ward off” and mimic the older gentleman on the right. The only instruction I’ll give you is that your right leg should bear most of the weight during this posture, turn your body to the right corner of the room, and hold it while relaxing your whole body for a minute.

Next, mimic this posture for the left ward off. Put most of the weight on your left leg while having your body face the front of the room and hold the posture while relaxing your whole body for a minute.

Voila! You just learned two tai chi postures already! Do this for at least 30 minutes alternating from right to left and you have yourself a good exercise routine.

Most books and DVDs will go on about how flowery the movements in between these postures should be. According to Fong Ha, IT’S NOT NECESSARY! By cultivating the stillness in these two poses, you are programming your muscle memory. Furthermore, you should not worry about how to get from the right ward off posture to the left ward off posture. Follow the famous Nike slogan “Just do it.”

This practice not only transformed my understanding of the tai chi form, but it also transformed the way I teach it.