How often should I practice my Tai Chi?

Having watched students attending my Tai Chi classes over the last 40+ years these are my observations.

Those who attend class regularly, listen to instruction, and then practise diligently make the most progress. When asked by beginners how often they should practise my answer is:

About 10 to 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a week, preferably every day. My experience is until the new students have been attending for many months I find 20 minutes or so is about right, more than that and concentration is lost and therefore the benefits gained may start to unravel. Of course people who have built up an ability to concentrate for longer through the practise of other disciplines such a Yoga etc., may be comfortable practising for longer. So the individual must decide when their concentration flags and then stop. Another practise session later in the day, time permitting, is okay. But learning not to rush the learning process is a very important lesson. As one learns more moves and becomes more proficient, the more the practise time can be extended. My observations show me that students who practise little and often develop greater stamina over time along with the many other benefits that regular Tai Chi practise brings.

I am sure most of you have heard the story of the ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’.

The hare was once boasting of his speed. "My speed is such I have never yet been beaten," said he, "Is there anyone here who thinks they can challenge me?"

The tortoise said quietly, "I accept your challenge."

"That is very funny," said the hare. "I could dance around you all the way."

"Lets race then and keep your boasting until you've won," answered the tortoise.

So a course was fixed and the race started. The hare darted off at great speed, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The tortoise plodded on and plodded on, later when the hare awoke from his nap, he saw the tortoise nearing the finish line, but he could not catch up in time to save the race.

Moral: Consistent unhurried practise of Tai Chi wins every time.

© Copyright 2012 Howard Gibbon – all rights reserved

About the Author Howard Gibbon

Howard, who was a student of the late Grand Master Chee Soo for 21 years has been practicing and teaching the Lee Style of Tai Chi and related arts since 1973.

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