Friday 20 May 2011

The four Q's

I often get asked by beginners things such as "how long does it take to learn the form?" and "are we going to be learning lots of new movements?". And indeed, I used to ask such questions when I first started, as it is natural to want to feel a sense of progress and gauge your development.

However, after a few years, you realise that even people who've been practising their whole lives are still doing the same foundation exercises that the beginners are doing. What this means, is that Tai chi is essentially about quality not quantity. Refining a small number of movements to perfection rather than developing a huge repertoire at a substandard level is the name of the game.

The problem is however that such a statement doesn't really sound appealing to beginners. Mainly because new learners have no appreciation of the depth and subtlety but also because it is not quantifiable. How many moves you know is quantitative - a number you can see increasing, how good your movement is is a feeling and therefore qualitative. It's difficult to gauge progress in a qualitative way when you are new to the experience (and even when you're not!).

Qualitative quality - not quantitative quantity!

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