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Disadvantages of not grading

An undisciplined student is unlikely to make real progress.
Their skill level lacks depth.
The student may be tempted to gauge their own standard of competence.
There may be a desire to learn more advanced skills without possessing the required foundation.

Everything has its pros and cons.

http://mysteryandpower.blogspot.co.uk/

Advantages of not grading

The taoist approach to learning is pretty unstructured.
People are free to learn from everything they encounter and proceed relative to their capabilities.
This has the advantage of allowing students to move at their own pace.

Do you need a belt?

Belts are a fairly modern teaching/learning device.
Historically, they were not used.
The use of belts to chart progress probably stems from judo; a fighting art/sport responsible for introducing many modern innovations found in the dojo/kwoon.

A student can learn taijiquan just fine without a belt.

The perfect exercise

In modern life, time is in short supply and a person wants to get the best possible benefits from any new endeavour they undertake.
Harvard Medical School suggests that taijiquan may indeed be the perfect exercise.
It combines 8 crucial ingredients:

  1. Awareness (including mindfulness & focussed attention)
  2. Intention
  3. Structural integration
  4. Active relaxation
  5. Strengthening & flexibility
  6. Natural, freer breathing
  7. Social support
  8. Embodied spirituality (including philosophy)

These 8 taijiquan components offer a multi-layered approach to the cultivation of health, vitality and wellbeing.
The depth of study available within a bona fide system of taijiquan is incredible; a student can quite literally explore the art for their entire lifetime and still discover new mysteries, secrets and skills.

As a martial art, taijiquan is unparalleled in its sophisticated biomechanics, diversity of combat skills and variety of application.

Why do we offer grading?

Our school offers grading for kung fu student because we feel that it helps people to better structure and focus their efforts.
Normally, in a martial arts school, students are seeking to make strong progress.
They want to pass belts. They want to get ahead.
We cater for this.

However, we recognise that taijiquan and tai chi for health students probably will not want to grade.
We allow for this also.

Confucius

Grading, ranks and belts are not commonly found in a taijiquan school.

In principle, hierarchy, standards, charting progress and everything being in its proper place is more indicative of a Confucian approach rather than a taoist one.

What is the difference between qigong, tai chi and yoga?

Yoga involves various stretching and balancing methods designed to increase strength and flexibility.
It radically improves the range of movement but can be difficult for people with tense muscles, stiff joints, balance issues or poor mobility.
In yoga, the student stretches in order to relax.

Qigong employs simple movements or stationary poses to improve strength, restore balance, boost energy and promote a calmer mind.
The movements are exceedingly easy to perform and gentle on the joints, but the standing can be challenging.

Tai chi for health is similar to qigong but uses simple movements rather than static poses.
It also incorporates pushing hands exercises that provide biofeedback concerning mobility, postural tension and the necessary application of pressure.
In tai chi, the student relaxes in order to stretch.

Taijiquan uses simple-seeming movements fuelled by ‘reeling silk’ biomechanics designed to employ the entire body as one cohesive unit.
Although taijiquan contains all of the health benefits of qigong and tai chi for health, its real purpose is martial.
The training methods are extremely comprehensive and diverse in scope.

Awareness

Taijiquan involves the cultivation of moment-by-moment awareness, paying attention to what is taking place as it is taking place.
Unlike mainstream
meditation, this does not involve sitting.
It is an active process, involving your body as well as your mind.

The physicality of taijiquan enables you to take the skills immediately and directly into everyday life.

Holistic health

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi lists 8 ingredients that promote good health:

  1. Awareness (including mindfulness & focussed attention)
  2. Intention
  3. Structural integration (including dynamic form & function)
  4. Active relaxation
  5. Strengthening & flexibility
  6. Natural, freer breathing
  7. Social support (including interaction & community)
  8. Embodied spirituality (including philosophy & ritual)

These 8 taijiquan components offer a multi-layered approach to the cultivation of health, vitality and wellbeing.

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