Do you have a regular training regimen? In my last blog I discussed the value of a morning
ritual, but this question takes a slightly different orientation. Whether it is morning, noon
or night, do you have a regular practice schedule?
"It is better practice 15 minutes each day than 3 hours on Saturday." This is another way of
saying "don't be a weekend warrior", but it means much more. The practice of Tai Chi Chuan is
cumulative in its benefits. Part of it is the acccumulation of muscle or cognitive memory; part
of it, the accumulation of chi (qi).
The most reliable way to build a training regimen is a little bit at a time. If you tell yourself
"I'm going to start training 3 hours every day," that's great, but if you go from zero to 3 hours,
chances are you will not stick with it. It will be easy to find excuses not to take up 3 whole
hours every single day. As a result, you'll end up training maybe 3 hours on Saturday only, if
So literally start at 15 minutes or so, if you are starting from scratch. If you are in my
class, I will be showing you how to spend that time: standing meditation for centering,
breathing and relaxing; linking movement for exercising the Linking Vessel and dropping
your chi to your dan tien; and Step Back and Whirl Arm, for using the waist and coordinating
the arm and leg together.
Add time slowly as you adopt additional exercises.
As you begin learning form, add what you are learning. It will come slowly, so practice a lot.
You may not be practicing correctly at first, but you will begin to train your memory, and it
will lead to valuable questions to ask your teacher.
Beyong Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong, though, everyone needs basic strengthening and conditioning.
This does not require weights, though weights are one way to approach it. Pushups and stomach
crunches are useful. If you really like pushups, there are many different kinds to choose from.
From there, Chinese pole training; leg swings; stretching; and kicking and punching on a bag
are all useful types of conditioning. These will all help provide a cardio workout. If you
do a lot of long, slow, deep breathing of the kind I teach, you can build your pulmonary
fitness that way. Otherwise, consider cycling, walking, swimming or, last because of
impact trauma but not least, running.
Too many people think you have to be a jock or athlete to enjoy working out. It's just a
frame of mind! As soon as you begin your training, you will find your frame of mind taking
on a much more positive cast. Think of your workout as a treat, not a chore, and the rest
will take care of itself.