Info required please

Info required please

Postby denipink » Mon May 19, 2003 10:51 am

I am a new self-taught Yang style student seeking specific online information on the time interval practice of Tai Chi from beginners to advanced.

I need to learn and understand the time element involved in how to learn each form, move, exercise from beginners thru to advanced.

Can you help me with this? If not, can you point me to where this information is available online?

Thank you, Denise
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Postby Michael » Mon May 19, 2003 8:23 pm

No easy answers I am afraid. "Advancement" is directly a result of correct posture and most importantly, practice time. One set a day will just help you not to forget. Three sets a day is "necessary" for progress for most of us. The more you practice the more you will learn. Saying that, everyone is different in their ability to "relax", and to "understand". There is no timetable. Don't worry about progression, enjoy the practice that you do, and when you get frustrated, keep practicing, and you will learn more and more. If you are in a hurry, it won't happen.

Good Practice!

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Postby denipink » Mon May 19, 2003 8:34 pm

Thank you Michael, good, authentic advice there. I am thinking in terms of writing a paper to the effect that another would learn from. I would like to say (spend this much time at doing this.)

Is there not a timetable that is traditionally used when teaching others to learn the art of the Yang style of Tai Chi in terms of telling another to expect to progress at such and such a pace?

Of course, being so individual we are all apt to follow our own lead and do what is best and most comfortable for us. In a group setting, in a class instructed setting, the teacher would lose all semblance of good order allowing each student to simply do and progress at their own rate without the benefit of the structure of the time involved.

I am not sure I am even expressing myself properly.

Do you know of an online source where I can learn of such a concept, as an instructed time interval, as generally accepted in learning from beginning to advanced? I am most interested in being able to write on the progression aspect. For example, learn well the first moves, do them over the course of 30 days and then move on to the next. This is the type of thing I mean and then making note of the time element throughout until each and every move is learned through to the advanced level.

Denise Image
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Postby RonKreshmar » Tue May 20, 2003 3:51 am

Hi Denise,

There are 37 distinct moves to learn, so at 30 days for each, 1000 days.

But,usually one move can be learnt in 1 week and added to the previously learnt.

Usually the 108 move form takes about 8 months to learn.

After that "advancement" depends where you want to advance to.

If you want to perform the 108 moves more and more gracefully, its up to you how often and what to what specific standards you wish to perform the form.

Do you want to do the form equally well on the left side?

Do you want to do each move starting single weighted and ending single weighted, ie. all weight on one foot?

Do you want to become a push hands champion?

Do you want to learn actual self defense?

Do you want to learn other styles, and all their sub styles?

So, after you have learnt the 108 form or the 49 form, that's when you 'begin' and then there's endless stuff to learn.

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Postby denipink » Tue May 20, 2003 4:24 am

Thank you Ron,

Would you know of a resource where I could learn of this in more detail? I would like to be able to write a targeted paper on this very subject. I would like to cover, if only in general terms, what the time interval requirement would be to begin and then to move on to an advanced form.

In terms of all of the sub-styles or specific forms such as push hands, I would like to be able to refer to those as options. Yes, they are important, however, just for now, I would like to see the basics covered in more detail in terms of the timing expected to accomplish. That is it in a nutshell.

First, I would like to be able to speak from a place of authority or definitively, if that is possible, covering the major or most commonly studied forms, in terms of the period of time needed, generally, to be able to cover each well. This would be so that the reader would be able to feel that they could do this themselves, if they wish, rather than feeling that they needed to do this in a class or at a specific school. For example, I would like to be able to feel that I am doing what I am learning properly, not just in terms of mastering the moves from the right side and then the left, but also, learning it in the time expected. I would like to understand what I should expect to need to put into this in terms of the time required to do it and do it well. Then, move on to the next and so on.

There must be a very good book available that would offer that information. Better yet, would that information be available to study and understand or learn, online?

What about ebooks? Are there any that you know of that you would recommend that would cover the above?

Really, I am very much a novice at this time and I am hoping to learn of this well enough so that I would be able to pass this information along in writing to another who is just starting out. They would be able to learn, on there own, learning what would be expected of them in terms of the amount of time that would be required to learn all all of the forms or moves, according to the Yang style, in particular.

Those who have studied and accomplished all of the forms, according to a specific timed interval, and then gone on to teach it to others, where have they written of this either online or in print format that I could simply gain access to it and see this for myself?

Can you help me with this further? Perhaps you could direct me to the best place, or person who could help me with this more, or where I could find this very targeted information, step by step.

I do apologise if I am just repeating myself, over and over. I just am not confident that I am expressing myself fully as I should so that I am getting the right meaning across.

I find it unusual, that with all of the many resources available online, from beginning to end and then some, I can't seem to be able to just locate this specific information.

I appreciate very much what you have written here. I feel that I am now getting closer to my goal. For me, this is a very good start.

Thank you! Denise Image
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Postby RonKreshmar » Tue May 20, 2003 5:24 am

Hi Denise,

The reason you can't find anything about learning the form by yourself from books etc.
is that it is very difficult to learn that way.

There are lots of how-to- books but you will need a face to face teacher.

Because you will not know if you are making gross mistakes without a teacher. But there are so many bad teachers.

If you are interested in learning the Yang form then the best teachers will be properly accredited Yang Family teachers. Their homepage should give you the contact info.

In my experience, count on about 8 months to learn the Yang 108 or I would guess the 49.

One move can be taught per week, you practice it. Then the next week you learn another one and add it to the previous moves learnt.

So, one lesson per week, and 6 days of practice with at least one performance of all the moves that you have learnt for 20 minutes per day mininum.

After about 8 month you will have acquired the whole sequence. If you have done it once a day you will have integrated doing it in your daily activity.

That is the basic requirement. The form takes about 20 minutes per performance for the complete 108. So for the 8 months you would set aside at least 20 min per day to do whatever moves you have learnt.

After that, advancement in doing the form depends on how often you do it and a good teacher will still be important.

There is no advanced form as a separate form to be learnt. You learn the form and then advance in your performance of it.

But, perhaps you are thinking about the Yang competition form and what it will take to get up to competition skill level, so as to win prizes and such.

Someone else will have to supply that info.

The question of how long it might take before you are skilled enough to teach it to others is a tough one. It depends on you own conscience.

The Yang family does certify teachers and you could ask them directly what is required.

Be patient, you only posted today.


[This message has been edited by RonKreshmar (edited 05-20-2003).]

[This message has been edited by RonKreshmar (edited 05-20-2003).]
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Postby denipink » Tue May 20, 2003 6:27 am

Hello Ron!

Thank you again! Patience, I have some of that. Pretty much truth be told! That is good.

You have helped me greatly. I understand now so much better.

In terms of teaching ones self, anyone can learn at home from a video, a book, with a friend, along with instruction from a TV show -- there just are many options and ways to learn.

Teachers, we all appreciate, are invaluable and with a teacher learning has many advantages. I am just not so quick to discount self-learning. Many can achieve any number of good disciplines being self-taught. I feel that is proven and a given.

With this fine art, I have no experience, save for what I have read. I also have benefited from others who have achieved the Tai Chi form in all it's glory and they tell me about their experience. Then, I learn from them.

The teaching by a instructor is much different than the learning from ones self. The two are not at all alike. I would not go so far as to say one is superior. One is preferrd, of course. Some will teach themselves, out of desire and necessity and be happy with their results. Are they doing what they learned properly and according to the time interval required? That I have no idea.

My concern, is primarily to find the specific info as I spoke of earlier and then so that a person wanting to learn at home, on their own can know how to do the moves properly and to progress accordingly.

I would like to be able to provide them with a timeline from which to establish their own personal goals and from which to measure their progress according to the Yang style and standard.

Ron, I appreciate your help and I will sit tight with this.

Have a good night! Denise Image
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Postby Polaris » Tue May 20, 2003 7:57 am


There is a story of a student who wanted to study with a famous teacher. When the fellow was granted an interview with the teacher he began to rehearse how much he already knew about the subject in question and how he was sure that he'd work very hard and learn the entire subject forward and back in record time. After a little while of this, the teacher offered tea. The student, by now sure he'd dazzled the instructor thoroughly, happily accepted. The tea was brought in and cups placed on the table. The teacher leaned over and started pouring tea into the student's cup. The teacher poured until the small cup was full. The teacher continued pouring as the cup spilled over onto the table. The student, finally speechless, eventually shouted "Stop, what are you doing?" The teacher stopped pouring and replied: "Not even I, with all of my many years of experience, can pour more into a cup that is already full..."

T'ai Chi Ch'uan, its Forms, Push Hands and Breath Work, is an incredibly complex, demanding and subtle martial art. With all of the acquired experience of generations upon generations of masters preserved in the T'ai Chi families, there is much more to learn about T'ai Chi than any one person could ever learn in an entire lifetime of constant study. Something as seemingly innocuous as the single person Form, if practised even slightly improperly over time, can actually lead to chronic physical damage. Without the experienced eye of someone who has been walked themselves down the path before you, it is simply impossible that you could learn it properly, safely. To date, no one has ever learned T'ai Chi Ch'uan without a teacher. Even the Great Founder, the immortal Chang San-feng, was a disciple of Hsu Hsuan-p'ing. With the best teachers in the world, it still would take at least ten years of dedicated, disciplined correction and training in order to be considered, by traditional T'ai Chi Ch'uan's standards at any rate, to have had the time and conditioning required to develop the kung fu needed to be considered qualified to have a reliable opinion on the subject.

Many people have memorized some patterns that they think must be T'ai Chi from videos, but even after years of repeating these movements they are no closer to understanding what they are doing and can still only clumsily approximate the real article, at least in the eyes of its qualified practitioners.

Therefore, I hope you can see how an expository paper planned and written by someone who hasn't actually learned the art of T'ai Chi about experiences presumably involved in learning T'ai Chi will only find a receptive audience in the most credulous of readers. You seem an intelligent, well mannered person, I would spare you that potential embarrassment.

[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 05-20-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 05-20-2003).]
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Postby denipink » Tue May 20, 2003 1:06 pm

Hello Paloris,

Respectfully, I appreciate your comments and analogy and experience and I consider it a blessing to have read what you write here. I had so hoped that when I posted here I would receive a response from those who knew well of what they spoke.

In terms of not being able to write about and on, a fine art that without having first experienced and embraced it, ones self, I understand your feelings and why you would feel this way.

I don't even feel I am having a good time putting my point across completely well enough.

To simplify, why could I not, just as others have, write on a subject and present it in such a way that is considerate, accurate and honest while simply stating how one aspect of Tai Chi is taught? I am speaking of simply documenting what is already known and understood in the first place. A way of recording that information and no more. I am not asking to teach as in a teacher having accomplished the art in any way. Not as Master or GrandMaster status. So no, I am not looking to teach, for I could not, I am looking to document the information, though, and then pass that info on.

I just feel we can each write on any subject that we choose without having to have embraced its form and principle first. One can write based on learning alone and knowing of the experience of those who have embraced the form, themselves.

Even one who is only beginning, themself to learn, I feel that one could write on the subject if they well knew the subject's theory and application. Now, I would never go on to say that that 'one' would be able to write with authority on the subject. That would be an entirely different situation all together.

I suppose I am not having a very good time of simply trying to acquire that specific information, although I won't stop until I do, or am told that information is not available.

To the library I am going!

Thank you, Denise Image
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Postby DavidJ » Tue May 20, 2003 10:01 pm

Hi Denise,

Learning time varies, depending on the teacher's pace, the student's aptitude and attitude, and the student's quality and quantity of practice.

Individual learning times for the 108 movement long form vary from 7 hours of instruction to 80 hours or more; the average learning time is about 45 hours, with the fast average about 35 hours.

Once the long form is basically correct it is seen as only a framework for the art. The principles are learned in depth, the movements become more refined.

While there is a basic set of skills that can be acquired even Grandmasters are still learning.

You might read what has posted here in the last 2 years or so, and read what has been posted on the TCC list on Yahoo.

You might take a look at a project that seems to have stalled:

These are but three internet sources. There are quite a few more.

Have fun,

David J
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Postby SteveF » Wed May 21, 2003 4:19 pm

In my case, and I'm not sure if this is similar to others experiences, it took just over 5 months to get through the form the first time. I was going once or twice a week. Each lesson I got a small chunk of the form. The entire form was broken into about 28 chunks. At once/week or 4x/month that would be 7 months to learn the form. Go twice a week and it's half that.

But that's just the beginning. You must go through the form in this way twice more to complete the basic form instruction. Each time, the movements are refined and subtleties added. At this point, you are considered to have basic knowledge of the form. This is the starting point for further study of Taiji.

This was simply my experience. Probably different at each school. YMMV.

One point I'd like to make, though, is that even though I was being personally instructed and was able to watch senior students, and read various books on the subject, each time I was corrected on a movement it made me realize how far off I was from doing it "right". This experience leads me to the conclusion that there's no possible way you can learn Tai Chi correctly on your own. You may be able to imitate most of the movements, but without personal instruction, you will never "get it". And what's the point of learning a subtle art like Tai Chi if you don't learn it correctly?

So will you share your paper with us when you are done?
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Postby denipink » Wed May 21, 2003 4:38 pm

Hello Steve,

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with me like this.

In terms of my sharing my paper with you, I would be very happy to. I expect by the time I have completed it will be mid to late June. I will be writing on far more than just the time interval part. I have researched online to write on Tai Chi, Yang style, completely from beginning to advanced or until at the end of that particular discipline. I still need to learn much more to write well on all of this and I am reading constantly.

I especially appreciate this type of learning through the posts. I like so much that you have the experience, which I do not have. I have only the learning so far. I do look forward to becoming more involved in the art, soon.

For now, I am writing and learning and I am absolutely so enthralled and in awe.

My background was Roman Catholic, French Canadian and I received teaching so very different from that of the Tai Chi and Taoism Philosophy. I have a good friend now who is Hindu. She has a Spanish background and we both compare notes so to speak. Now I can relate to her at a far deeper level because of my exposure to the Tai Chi learning.

I have decided to embrace all of this, not only for the art form, but for the spirituality as well. The spirituality is so close to what has been in my heart all along, although, without expression or a vessel. Now I have both and this has made me very happy. I believe strongly that this is how man is intended to be.

I will continue to explore and I feel very enriched for the experience. The Chinese and all those who hold true to what they teach in terms of Tai Chi and the Taosim Philosophy are a very smart and very blessed people. It is truly a privilege to even be a part of it all, if only in a very small way.

Denise Image
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Postby peterstankov » Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:22 am

Hi Denise,

I see you are a learner. I hope someday you become a teacher as well (we both know you will). I’ll tell you what I mean (as an addition to what DavidJ said):

In every forum (and all over the world), there are two types of teachers. The first is learners and the second one is only teachers. If you stay a learner, you’ll become a teacher.

Actually, the meaning of this is explained in a great way by the story posted on 20 May. But the real thing is to realize this story and practice its meaning and improve your practice every day.

So, I’ll enjoy reading your work on Tai Chi. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert, as long as you do it with love.

I wish you good luck on your quest for spirituality.

Peter Stankov
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Postby peterstankov » Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:23 am

P. S.

Maybe it’ll be interesting for you - my background (before Tai Chi) is indology – I’ve studied for 3 years now. And I’ve practiced Yoga (learning from a book and from my mistakes :-) and Tai Chi (with a great master) for 1 year now.

P. P. S. (Everybody reads these:-)

Let’s say you have the opportunity of knowing a great master, but if you don’t really learn, it’s no good. And if you learn – a good book or video can give you great ideas to work on.
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Postby denipink » Wed Jun 11, 2003 2:15 pm

Hello Peter, thank you kindly for your sage words of wisdom. I have been writing now for the past three weeks and I handed in a completed first draft, yesterday. The buyer is very pleased, so far. I do have a ways to go.

I have learned so much and will continue to learn. I now desire to take classes, myself and am looking into what is offered, locally. I am a bit East of Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

I love all that I am learning and I am growing in many wonderful ways.

I feel very blessed to have found Tai Chi.

Thank you for sharing a little bit of yourself with me, here.

When the book is complete and ready for publication I will be posting here with details. My name will not be attached, however, I am considered a ghostwritter. Funny name that!

Have a lovely day! Blessings of all that are good and true be with you this day and always,

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