When we begin the study of Tai Chi why do we not jump right in and learn the weapons first? This is an interesting issue raised by an recent enquiry to learn Tai Chi.
99% of potential students would expect to learn the solo emptyhand form to begin with. However, this student with no Tai Chi background wanted to learn the straight sword first.
As a teacher my consideration would be can a student with no experience handle a weapon which we regard as an extension of the hand?
The answer is simple – No.
A newbie would not only have a problem learning the straight sword but will struggle with the learning. Why?
A new Tai Chi student is expected to learn how to balance, how to move the hands, turn the body, step in a certain pattern, pose in a certain way, move into predetermined strategic positions, etc. Then these are tested and refined in push hands.
By the time the student has finished with the solo form he would have a certain foundation. The boundaries of this foundation are further explored through the learning of the straight sword.
The early learning of the straight sword is concentrated on getting the movements right in a more defined manner. The latter learning is on how to step swiftly while flowing into the positions and executing the techniques quickly.
If a student is unable to control his wrist movement at the solo form level he will have a hard time doing the circling motions, cuts and thrusts demanded of the straight sword user.
In addition, because a straight sword attack can be fast the practitioner has to be able to minimize his exposure to attacks. The study of posing properly is initially learned in the solo form at an intermediate level and mastered in push hands. Without the prior studies the straight sword student will find the use of the weapon difficult to comprehend.
This is why the process to Master Tai Chi Today requires learning first things first. If you learn in the wrong manner then your progress would be slower and progress would be difficult. This is why we need to learn properly rather than by learning what we fancy if we are serious about mastering the art. Otherwise, we might as well just learn the Tai Cheeeee dance that is so beloved by the practitioner in general.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style (TaijiKinesis) lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today