Method, Verify, Validate

If we are sincere to learn and improve our Tai Chi skill we must be wary of falling into the “teacher says” trap. Too often, too many students take what is told to them at face value and never looker deeper into what they are told. To compound the problem some students even take it upon themselves to guide their fellow students – a case of the blind leading the blind.

To Master Tai Chi Today we should not be shy of asking ourselves three important questions :-

1) What exactly is the method and how is it in compliance with the principles of the Tai Chi Classics?

2) How do I verify that the method that I am practicing is correct?

3) How can I validate the method?

For example, tonight I worked with my student on how to move the right arm out to intercept an attack. So the method must answer some important questions such as :-

1) How do I move my arm exactly using the 3-Count method?

2) How do I comply with the principle of being natural?

3) Why do I move this particular way – what are the advantages? Disadvantages?

4) How do I use intention to minimize the use of strength whilst keeping the structure strong?

5) Which principle of the Tai Chi Classics must it comply with?


It is only when the above five or more questions can be answered and the movement performed properly that we can move on to verifying that the movement is correct. In this respect there are few ways we can check this. One of the ways is that the positioning will create a natural rollback path.

After the verification is able to confirm that the movement has been learned properly then we can validate the learning by doing basic pressure test. As we move on we will eventually go into pressure testing during push hands against a resisting training partner.

With the above three steps of learning we have a better assurance that our learning is not just reliant on “teacher says” or “senior says” but a more objective and verifiable method of learn, check and test.


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

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