Tuesday 10 May 2011

Its Official - Now Taijiquan doesn't even qualify as light exercise!

A study into the role of exercise for heart failure patients conducted by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and Harvard Medical School concluded of Taijiquan that: "While it has little physical benefit, patients who do it are more likely to try light exercise". So there you have it, according to these illustrious institutions and reported in a British national newspaper, Taijiquan is now considered to be nothing more than confidence building for those too unwell to do even the lightest exercise. An easy option... Not even really exercise at all!

 Funny that. I've just got back from a week of training in Warsaw with Chen Ziqiang and it sure felt like exercise to me. Applications and push hands contest training with those big-boned Polish guys, as well as dynamic form and sword training - in the words of one of the young students -"every bit of me feels stretched and worked". How can Taijiquan reassert itself as a serious martial art against the misperceptions that surround it. Even in China this is now a cause of concern. Last month in Chenjiagou I listened to a couple of seasoned Chen Taijiquan players debating how to get young people to take up the art with its negative image as being suitable only for weak or elderly people. They asked the question, should Taijiquan training be modified to make it more exciting and the training fast tracked to compete with the more obviously exciting external arts, in the process losing the essence of the system? Or should they continue teaching in the traditional way and see less and less young and fit people taking up the art.
Seems like exercise to me!


  1. Ha! Gotta love the flipping experts. However, my quads and arms would disagree after Saturday's extensive Combat Push Hands workout; and my students will probably disagree after last night's kua-development exercises and intense emphasis on Chen form corrections. But at least we have our confidence.

  2. imo, there is no fast way to learn taijiquan. if the student is dedicated enough, he will see why this is the case.

    im not even going to comment on taiji not being a workout. the thought is ridiculous. have them hook you up to an EG and explain why our brain waves are different from that of normal people.

  3. Its probably not the fault of the studies but rather the fault of what the teachers involved were teaching.

    Taijiquan as a whole has a serious branding problem. It's the comcast of the martial arts world. If it was any other product the first step would be to change the name...'tai-finity' anyone?

  4. Maybe start by quitting this weird talk of TJQ "players"? It does sound like child's play like that. "practicioners", "fighters" if you wish, but "players"??


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