Taijiquan Progress

Prince Zuko: Enough. I've been drilling this sequence all day. Teach me the next set. I'm more than ready. Uncle Iroh: No, you are impatient. You have yet to master your basics. Drill it again!

- Avatar: The Last Airbender

We get the same corrections repeatedly. It's not that we don't improve, but with each new challenge, some basics can be harder to maintain. Rooting, body alignment, softness, relaxation, certain mechanics, focus, intent, etc... You can develop them at slow speed Taijiquan practice and they'll go out the window once you speed up and/or add fa jing. You can focus on a few corrections and some of the others will slip. It gets even uglier when you're under pressure during a sparring round, test, demo, competition, or video recording.

Out of curiosity, I rounded up my previous Taijiquan videos to compare them with my most recent recording. My form has improved, yet my eye for detail has also improved so I'm no less critical of myself. Without turning this into a book, I've picked out the major corrections.


  • Move from the Dantian more

  • Four-Six Stance to Mountain Climbing Stance: back foot needs to be angled more forward, back leg needs to extend more, hips need to turn completely forward (*previously injured ankles, knee, and hips makes this difficult to fix)

  • Arms & legs should finish extension at same time

  • Be softer

Part 1 Slow: 2014 April (6 months of training)

  • Beginning: don't bend knees first, movement should come from center, arms need to follow spine wave, stay rooted

  • Single Whip: smaller coil

  • Brush Knee: arms & legs should finish extension at the same time

Part 1 Medium: 2014 December (1 year, 2 months)

  • Beginning: movement should come from center, arms need to follow spine wave, hands too far apart

  • Grasp Sparrow's Tail Right: right forearm should be slightly more vertical (narrower angle)

  • Ji: rushed from Peng, incomplete before going to An

  • Brush Knee: fa jing needs to be longer distance (start further back & extend further forward)

2015 October - 2016 January: 4 months minimal training due to filming "Assassin's Creed"

Slow with Fa Jing Mix: 2016 September (3 years)

  • Beginning: tension in shoulders, slightly lifted

  • Grasp Sparrow's Tail Left: soft-hard jing not soft enough

  • Yang Signature Move: way too big

  • Ji: fa jing needs to be longer distance (extend)

  • An: fa jing needs to be softer and longer distance (extend)

  • White Crane Spreads Its Wings: soft-hard jing not soft enough

  • Draw the Bow and Shoot the Tiger: punch rotates too early

  • Seal Tightly: softer, Fa Jing not crisp

Part 1 Fast: 2017 October (4 years)

  • Details in Taijiquan Check post (I described my movements as awkward)

  • Fa jing not crisp

  • Beginning: left hand is higher than right hand and more tense

  • Lack of Yi (intent)

  • Lack of Neutralizing Jing

2018 February - September: 8 months minimal training due to injury

Part 2 Fast: 2018 October (5 years)

  • An: arms and legs need to finish extension at the same time

  • Single Whip: softer fa jing on last strike/takedown

  • Circle the Fist: follow through with strike

The correction that bothers me the most is the one that's the most difficult to correct due to injuries. (You can see it in the thumbnails of the 3rd and 5th videos). It also holds me back the most - my stances are high, I lose root, and I lose power generation. It's a process.

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