One topic that I covered extensively for one student this week is the topic of sitting in a stance.
In some traditional arts a student may be made to stand for a few months to a few years to master the basic stance. However, in Tai Chi we do not really need to do this. Why would anyone want to spend years learning how to sit when this is something that can be learned fairly quickly.
What we cannot hasten is the mastery. This calls for a lot of practice. However, practice without understanding or practice based on trial and error do not guarantee success because you are groping in the dark.
Proper learning means you know which direction to grope. Then you feel in the general direction until you find it. This is as opposed to trying to grope wildly without a proper sense of direction.
The topic of proper sitting is covered in Beginning Posture. A good foundation is conditional on key basics. Get one right and the other piece will fall into place. You don’t have to force it. However, if you don’t know what you are doing then trying to force your body to do something is common and makes it difficult to learn properly.
To me the easiest way to learn to sit properly is by learning Beginning Posture. However, for students who have difficulty getting it a round of learning via analogy or experimental learning may work better.
Experimental learning could start off by asking a question – what is a stance exactly; what are the physics behind it, the key biomechanics, the use in application, etc. With a basic understanding we can then try a few simple experiments.
One simple experiment is by having the student push the teacher. The teacher should point out to the student the key problems with his current approach. An example would be how the student has to use a lot more strength to resist pressure. The teacher could also point out the fallacy of generating strength through the legs as commonly explained; how it actually violates Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion and destabilizes rather than stabilizes one’s balance.
The next part of the learning would be how to form a stance. What are the steps involved. This is the formal learning that is found in Beginning Posture. An alternative method of learning how to form a stance involves experimentation with the act of sitting. The act of sitting is a useful method to learning about the proper formation of a stance for those who are not so strong in learning through visualization.
The learning of a stance is really also the learning of body structure. This is because if your lower structure is solid but your upper structure is flimsy the overall result is still a weak structure.
You need good discipline to learn the details in Tai Chi. Learn one thing at a time. Try it. Think over it. Try again. And again. Still want to Master Tai Chi Today? Its no walk in the park but can be deeply satisfying once you get it.
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