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Practical Tai Chi Training: A 9-Stage Method for Mastery leads the reader into the inner energy practice of tai chi and serves as a bridge to connect tai chi theory to practice. Jesse Tsao, PhD, and his longtime student Jason Weil provide clear training stages useful to both tai chi players and tai chi instructors. Teaching tips, sidebars, new translations of ancient texts, and over 200 illustrations make the technical topics easier to understand. Detailed descriptions explain methods for developing internal energy and strength. While no book can fully replace in-person training with a skilled teacher, dedicated practitioners of all levels will benefit greatly from the clear presentation of a wide range of theoretical concepts and practical applications, including many concepts that are not easily accessible without the ability to read and understand the original Chinese texts. 410 pages, 7" x 10" paperback.
Tai chi’s form practice is a vehicle to fulfill goals of better health or martial arts training through neigong (内功), internal energy cultivation, and neijin (内勁), internal strength development. Tai chi should not be an empty exercise, a performance art, nor even a competitive sport. Qi (氣) is the vital energy and core concept in tai chi practice. This book fills a gap in the literature as there are few materials published in English related to neigong, neijin, and the theoretical basis of tai chi.
Tai chi forms (or routines) can be practiced with different approaches. During each stage of your tai chi journey, you will focus on different goals using the same form.
Stage 1: Be Like a Copycat
Stage 2: The Posture and Form Correction Stage
Stage 3: Muscle Memory and Enjoyment of the Flow
Stage 4: Tai Chi Classics and Qigong, Neigong, and Neijin (Jin)
Stage 5: Tai Chi Neigong—Practice Form to Cultivate Qi
Stage 6: Tai Chi Neijin—Practice for Your Internal Power
Stage 7: Tai Chi Training with Weapons
Stage 8: Tai Chi Practice to Display Your Spirit
Stage 9: Tai Chi Practice to Attain the Realm of Emptiness
This 9-stage method for tai chi mastery is a proven process developed from Master Tsao’s teaching experience over the past three decades, including valuable feedback from the annual Tai Chi Healthways summer camp. Some of the core topics are based on his doctoral research at Shanghai University of Sport on topics including tai chi practice methods according to seasons, interpreting Tai Chi Classics for practical neigong training, and neijin push hands training methods. These concepts apply to all tai chi styles.
To support the reader’s learning, the authors posed for hundreds of sketches illustrating key points. The depth and richness of the material will both challenge and reward the motivated student and be an invaluable resource for tai chi teachers. Master Tsao is generous with his knowledge, openly sharing the “secrets” of the inner practice of tai chi. Even so, the secrets will only reveal themselves to the student who carefully reads, digests, and applies the teachings. Many hours of deep reflection and dedicated practice will be needed to penetrate the essence of the teaching.