Do What You Claim -by David Dahms

by admin on 2007/04/05

Another obsevation I made is that pretty much everyone who has been doing taiji for sometime can tell you how taiji is supposed to be done and in most cases the things they say I don’t think are wrong but the problem I think is because everyone thinks that they are doing the concepts they talk about and that is why they are not doing them. They just think they are instead of looking at what is really going on and what is really going on is that they are not doing what they say they are doing. They are just fighting.

I think taiji should be as easy to learn as anything else because in other things you see the difference between you and an expert very easily. In taiji you see the difference between beginner and expert. In pushhands so many people claim to be experts but they won’t push with you. If someone were to claim to be an expert hockey player and they can’t even skate everyone would know right away they are a fraud.

Basically Master Chen I have been thinking a lot and the more I think the more everything fits into my logic, and my logic is based off of what I see and to be true and in short the way I see it is almost everything is backwards. 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

chen Zhonghua April 6, 2007 at 12:47 am

Do what you say you are doing is not easy. In fact it is not possible to achieve.

This separates the want-to-bes from the professionals. By professional I mean people who have been properly trained by a professional. These people exhibit qualities in their moves/actions that the self-taught people do not possess.

The professional was physically made to do certain things against their will. They therefore can do these things and might not be able to verbalize them or understand them.

The self-taught person knows what he is supposed to do and he can tell others what they are supposed to do. They themselves cannot do these things either. It takes a couple of days of reading to know what taiji is about. It takes dozens of years to be able to do it.

This is because Taiji action has to come from doing taiji, not reading or mentally understanding it. I cannot say the same about other physical arts. Many people tell me that if they understand why, they will be able to learn/do it better. There is nothing further from the truth than this assertion. In taiji, if you understand, you have failed already.

Understanding of taiji is an after-thought. Once you have gained the ability physically, then you can analyse what you do and try to understand it.

Same as what you have observed, David, everything is backwards: one thinks that one has to understand in order to learn taiji but in reality it is the one who can do taiji that understands it. If one already can do taiji, he/she does not need to understand it.


Scott in SF May 26, 2007 at 6:47 am

I call that kinesthetic learning. The same is true for dance. Actual understanding only comes after you can do it, and explaining it is a completely separate art. Nice blog. I’m planning a piece on the subject in the next couple of weeks. Check it out at “Weakness with a Twist”.


Timbalasian July 9, 2010 at 1:20 am

Yeap, I can put a plug in here for dancing. Lately, I have been asked by the good folks here in China questions such as “what style of Salsa do you do”; or “how long have you studied Cuban Salsa”. The fact is that I have yet to take a day of lessons in Cuban Salsa or most other styles for that matter. The trouble is that, similar to Taiji, people only have a head knowledge for what dancing is, but they have no idea outside of it. My dancing is a direct result of studying rhythm, and how I dance is what I hear. Simple as that. Most people who ask those stupid questions have no idea where the down beat is never mind what Cuban is. I am sure in Taiji, people would walk up to you after watching you practice, and starts a whole conversation of nothing.


Armando Sanjur June 4, 2007 at 11:51 am

Its true the understanding comes afterwards. I am training under Laoshi Humberto Pomales for about 8 months and I would that I only really started to understand some of the concepts about 4 months after I began. The understanding comes like an epiphany. Although I am far from any real proficiency at this time I am beginning to see things much faster now its a wonderful thing. For instance one day I was in class with Laoshi Pomales and some other students and realized something while we were going through the form. Laoshi was teaching the other students the 24 form and my person had learned the 48 form privately with Laoshi. As I was observing the moves that succeed white crane spreads its wings I realized I had been doing them wrong for the last few months. Since I had the moves memorized and I had been practicing them for a while it was at that moment that I noticed the difference in how Laoshi was doing it from I had been doing it. The amazing thing about this art is no matter how small the nuance may be the effect is enormous.


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