How long should I practise everyday in order to gain benefits?
- For casual learners or busy people, we recommend daily practices of 20 minutes in order to reap the benefits of better health. The practice should be a mixture of basics and form.
- Individuals who wish to progress further, we recommend daily practices of one hour.
- The more traditional and rigorous training for both health benefits and martial arts applications, we recommend 2 hours or more daily practice.
How long does it take to learn Hao Style Taiji?
Ideally with persistent practice and under proper guidance one should achieve basic level of mastery in 4 years (see below on the different stages of tai chi learning). Note that this is fast by all accounts but will form a solid foundation to develop the higher level skills. Simply learning the forms (which can be undertaken in a few months) without understanding the internal requirements amounts to not much more than learning some relaxation exercises, not the true tai chi. As Master Liu likes to say, “there’s no tai chi.”
What are the stages when learning Hao Style Taijiquan?
- Beginning: During this period the learner is expected to learn all the forms and understand the requirements and torso methods.
- Intermediate: Here the learner focuses on learning the body coordination and further internal requirements.
- Advanced I: Hao style requires that the learner grasp the separation of yi (intention) and qi (energy).
- Advanced II: Hao style requires the learner to grasp the character secrets as transmitted by Wu/Li.
- Advanced III: The detail of this is beyond the scope of this FAQ.
How do I know if my teacher/coach is qualified?
Selecting the right teacher is an important decision and will make a huge difference in the long run. Most beginners can get a rough idea of the external form from any teacher whose level is not very high. However there will be a limit to how far one can progress since there will be a lack of understanding of the true nature behind the movements.
Beginners should keep in mind that there are teachers who intellectualise the practice of Tai Chi or interpret the methods with their own understanding through experience of physics or engineering etc. this may sound impressive but lack actual ability to demonstrate Tai Chi skills. Unfortunately there are many which fall into this category due to lack of understanding and misinterpretations.
A beginner cannot judge another’s level of accomplishment. Unfortunately, the beginner will not have the background to make the necessary distinctions. External postures are not criteria to determine Tai Chi level although most nowadays most look for modern concepts (stance height, kick height etc) aesthetics. If you only want to look good then this is an easy decision to make.
A teacher should have at least ten years of experience who can trace his/her lineage to a founder. Learning from a lineage holder may not be practical, second to this would be to learn from disciples of the lineage holders as they are likely to be in possession of true knowledge.