BENEFITS OF PRACTICING TAIJIQUAN
ESPECIALLY THE 48-PATTERN TAIJIQUAN SET
What benefits can we get by practicing Taijiquan, like the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set?
There are many benefits to practice Taijiquan, particularly the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set, not just for combat but also to enrich our daily life.
Taijiquan is an internal martial art, though today there is nothing internal and nothing martial in more than 90% of Taijiquan practiced all over the world! The great majority practice Taijiquan as external Taiji forms. We are proud and happy that in our school, Shaolin Wahnam, Taijiquan is practiced as an internal martial art.
As an internal art, Taijiquan brings good health, vitality and longevity to its practitioners. It is worthy of note that there is no need to bring any exercise from other internal arts, known in Chinese as nei-gong or nowadays as chi kung, into Taijiquan. In other words, by just practicing Taijiquan, practitioners can get the benefits of nei-gong or chi kung. Nevertheless, if other internal art exercises can benefit Taijiquan, it is useful, though not necessary, to do so.
It is also worthy of note that good health includes, and surpasses, overcoming illness and pain. In other words, if a person has illness, like diabetes, rheumatism or even cancer, or if he has chronic pain, by practicing genuine Taijiquan alone, without practicing other internal art exercises, he can overcome his illness or pain. However, if he practices exercises from chi kung, like Five-Animal Play and Eighteen Lohan Hands, he is likely to overcome his illness and pain faster.
Good health, vitality and longevity are the basic benefits of practicing any internal art. Higher-level benefits of internal arts are peak performance, mental clarity and advanced spiritual development.
In other words, if a person practices a low-level internal art, he will have the benefits of good health, vitality and longevity. The lower the level, the longer the time it takes to obtain these benefits, and also these benefits are less. The higher the level the same internal art is practiced, not only the time taken to obtain the benefits is shorter and the benefits are more, but also the practitioner will have peak performance, mental clarity and advanced spiritual development.
Again, we are proud and happy that the Taijiquan practiced in our school, like the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set, is of a high level. Hence, our students practicing Taijiquan will have good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance, mental clarity and advanced spiritual development. On the other hand, those who practice external Taiji forms, and not Taijiquan as an internal martial art, will not have these benefits as a result of their practice. If they overcome their illness or have good health, for example, it is due to other factors and not because of their Taiji external form practice, like they have seen a doctor or have good genes from their parents.
As a martial art, Taijiquan like the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set contributes to practitioners’ combat efficiency. They will know how to apply Taijiquan techniques and skills for combat. It does not mean that they will always win in combat. They may lose to a better fighter, not because of their lack of combat efficiency but because the other fighter has better combat efficiency.
Another important point to note is that being combat efficiency does not mean wanting to fight. They are different issues all together. A Taijiquan practitioner may be combat efficient, but he may detest fighting. However, if he has to fight, he will fight well.
More importantly, practicing Taijiquan as a martial art will give Taijiquan practitioners benefits which they can apply in non-combat situations more effectively that other arts may give. For example, practicing other arts of chi kung can give practitioners good health, but the qualities of good health from practicing Taijiquan as a martial art are of a higher order than those from chi kung.
For many types of chi kung, the concept of being healthy is being free from illness and having a general sense of well-being. In Taijiquan training, the concept of being healthy as martial artisst is not just being free from illness and having a general sense of well-being, but being calm and relaxed in demanding situations and being fast in both thoughts and actions.
In other words, practicing Taijiquan as a martial art gives practitioners benefits that are not only useful for combat, but also useful in our daily life, and these benefits are of a higher order than what may be obtained from other arts.
Moreover, these benefits from Taijiquan are, in my opinion, better than similar benefits derived from other martial arts. Taijiquan is often known as a scholars’ martial art. It is a matter of opinion, but personally I prefer to be scholarly looking, yet combat efficient, than to be rough and tough as in many other martial arts.
To be relaxed is a very important aspect in Taijiquan. The more relaxed a Taijiquan practitioner is, the more efficient he will be in combat as well as in his daily life. In many martial arts, practitioners have to tense their muscles, and sometimes have to be in a frenzy, in combat. Again, it may be a matter of opinions whether one likes to be relaxed or tensed, but regardless of their opinions, it is a fact that if one is tensed, his efficiency will be unfavourably affected in both combat or non-combat conditions.
All these benefits are obtainable by practicing any style of Taijiquan. But if one practices the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set, he has an added benefit.
If he practices the 24-Pattern Taijiquan Set, he will learn Yang Style Taijiquan. If he practices Flowing Water Floating Clouds, he will learn Chen Style Taijiquan. If he practices the Wudang Taijiquan Set, he will learn Wudang Taijiquan. But if he practices the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set, he will learn all the major styles of Taijiquan.
This is simply because the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set consists of all the techniques of all the major styles of Taijiquan, whereas the 24-Pattern Taijiquan Set consists of only the techniques of Yang Style, Flowing Water Floating Clouds consists of only the techniques of Chen Style, and the Wudang Taijiquan Set consists of only the techniques of Wudang Taijiquan.
This does not mean that the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set is better than the 24-Pattern Taijiquan Set, Flowing Water Floating Clouds, or the Wudang Taijiquan Set. This is a different issue. But if you wish to learn all the major styles of Taijiquan in just one set, the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set is a good choice.
Obtaining these benefits is a matter of course. Naturally, the longer one practices Taijiquan correctly, like the 48-Pattern Taijiquan Set, the deeper will be the benefits. Obviously, if he just attends a course but never practices it or practices incorrectly, he may have some theoretical knowledge but not practical benefits.
Wong Kiew Kit
29th April 2016
Finale Ligure, Italy
48-Pattern Taijiquan Set in Pictures
48-Pattern Taijiquan Combat Application Set
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