|Eyes level, chin drawn in...|
Many, maybe most, people approach Taijiquan training, or any other discipline for that matter, in a pretty haphazard way. It’s not that there’s not lots of hard work and sweat, there’s just too much “blindly chugging away in the weight room” – grinding out the reps without paying attention to all those little details.
The accompanying photos of a group of young Chinese soldiers being trained to hold themselves to the rigorous standards expected of the PLA remind me of the endless hours in Chenjiagou. It doesn’t matter how many times you do the foundation exercises or forms, they can always be embedded more deeply and accurately. Relax the collar bones and draw the chin in so they are connected, lightly lift the top of your head, step out carefully “like gliding on ice” – ready to withdraw your foot at any time…
|Stepping with control, ready to withdraw at any time...|
Asked about the rationale behind these exercises, an army training officer explained that “repeated precision movement” was the best way to make sure that an optimal response would come out when needed. For precise we could substitute accurate, careful, meticulous, exact, correct…
It’s almost heretical in today’s instant and on-demand world to say that the most effective way might not be the quickest way. But training build upon a meticulous attention to detail is the only way to truly establish Taijiquan’s rules within your body. The reward is optimal movement patterns that will greatly improve performance.
|Chen Xiaoxing - meticulous attention to detail|