Many factors have to be well considered when deciding to practice Tai Chi. Method of instruction as well as practice and styles are some of the key factors to think about.
In the past decade, Tai Chi has been used to promote everything from fitness equipment to expensive cars. The image presented is one of a group of men and women, usually in a town square, dressed in white colored outfits, exercising slowly through a series of flowing, synchronized, soft movements. It is not surprising a lot of men and women want to practice this centering and calming martial art.
A beginner has to take into account many factors before choosing this course of study. Attention to every detail will make the Tai Chi practice a rewarding experience.
Questions beginners should ask themselves:
- Instructor, book or how-to video?
- Where to get training?
- Is there a willingness to practice?
- Which style to practice?
Well written books are useful for explaining some of the theories concerning Tai Chi, like chi and breathing. On the other hand how-to video will enable the beginner to see an expert perform and explain the basic postures and movements. A teacher will carefully observe beginners and correct them when they make mistakes. This form of exercise requires accurate movements. An improper foot posture, leaning very far to the left or right or shifting the body weight will make a big difference in the quality of the form and the benefits a practitioner receives from it. The one and only way for a practitioner to really get better is to have a teacher. The teacher will help beginners understand better what they're doing wrong, show how to do it properly, and also assure they understand the basic principles of what they're doing.
This form of exercise can be practiced anywhere, outside or inside. Group classes are usually inexpensive, but private sessions are expensive.
Beginners have to decide how much time he or she is willing to delegate to Tai Chi. As with all martial arts, a lot of practice is needed. Men and women who practice an hour a day on their own will probably advance faster when compared to those that that only do Tai Chi in class. Most students will be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. It's unmotivating in the start when practitioners cannot remember more than one or two postures and movements. On the other hand, it is vital to practice, even if one only remembers two postures and movements. Without constant practice, progress will be very slow.
There're several different styles of this martial art. All have unique characteristics, however, the basic concepts as well as principles are the same. Chen and Yang styles are perhaps the most popular. Yang tends to move gracefully from one posture to the next. Chen style tends to be more powerful with fast and slow movements.
Tai Chi can provide beginners with better focus, attention in day-to-day work, higher brain performance, and clarity of mind.