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!

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