Do 2 Year Old Self Correct Language When They Speak Tai Chi Myths Exposed – 7 Myths About Tai Chi That Continue to Confuse and Mislead Beginners

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Tai Chi Myths Exposed – 7 Myths About Tai Chi That Continue to Confuse and Mislead Beginners

Note: “Tai chi” and “Tai chi chuan” are romanizations of Chinese terms using the older but still popular Wade-Giles system. “Taiji” and “tajjiquan” are the equivalent terms of the now universally recognized Pinyin system.

Myth #1 ‘There is only one true Taiji style, the rest are impostors.’ This is the way cultists promote their own schools. Over a period of almost 30 years I have encountered many styles of tai chi and although the emphasis varies from one style to another, most of them agree on the fundamental principles, and most of them produce real health benefits if practiced regularly.

Myth #2 ‘To be good for your health, what you practice must be exactly right.’

There are two things wrong with this proposal:

First, that somehow exercising incorrectly is inherently harmful. If you never allow yourself to “get it wrong”, you will certainly never get it “right”. The most dramatic health benefits I got from tai chi practice actually came during the first 4 months when my “shape” was still a complete wreck. I beat my chronic asthma; my posture, body mechanics and energy levels improved tremendously and I began to control my usual anxiety. (Of course, I at least tried to get it right!)

Second, that someday your practice will be just right. Anyone who has been practicing for many years will tell you that there are always new challenges, higher levels to strive for. Practice and research regularly and patiently without lust for results, and progress will come naturally.

Myth #3 ‘It’s best to learn from a Master.’ People who call themselves Masters should be viewed with skepticism. If you study and practice something for many years, it is reasonable to assume that a degree of mastery will follow, but the most advanced practitioner I have ever met never called himself a Master. Nor was he ever publicly humiliated by a challenger.

On the other hand, it is sometimes difficult for an advanced practitioner to remember or understand the difficulties that beginners face. Experienced teachers often assign intermediate students to teach beginners while they focus on the more advanced students. There is something to be said for this method.

Myth #4 ‘It’s best to learn from a Chinese teacher.’ This is up to the individual teacher. Some Chinese teachers are ill-equipped to deal with language and cultural differences when teaching Westerners. Some Western teachers do a very good job of communicating concepts that come from a very different cultural context.

Myth No. 5 ‘Tai Chi is a Martial Art, so your instructor must be able to use it to fight, or else they are useless.’ Although it is true that the origins of taiji quan lie in a sophisticated system of armed and unarmed combat, the widespread use of firearms has constantly transformed the meaning of “combat”, so the fabled superhuman feats and skills of the old Masters are probably lost. forever Taiji survives as a cultural practice in the modern world primarily because of its known benefits for the mind and body as a form of moving meditation.

Myth #6 ‘Taiji is not useful for self-defense.’ While it is true that it takes more study, practice and training to develop tai chi fighting skills than most of us are able or willing to do, it is also true that probably 90% of self defense skills have nothing directly to do with fighting skills; keen awareness, good posture and body use, relaxed but resolute manner and clear-headedness, together with the body language these attributes give rise to, are known deterrents to would-be robbers and bullies.

Myth #7 ‘Because Taijiquan means “supreme ultimate punch”, once you learn it, you will be able to beat all other styles.’ If it’s really fighting you want to learn, you’ll need to study and expose yourself to many fighting styles. It is naive to think that any “style” of combat can prevail over all others. An untrained person with a gun can “defeat” a highly experienced martial arts practitioner. The ultimate solution to violent confrontation is not to be there in the first place.

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