Ben wrote:I think the answer is simple, This kind of thing is to hard for most of the Tai Chi people out there. They don't want to put the effort in.
Maybe you are right but... But I feel that this might be only half of the truth. There are Yiquan practice which is in my opinion even more torture, and a whole lot of similar practice in other styles. I see it more like an evidence on how Tai Chi practice has changed and been watered down. Why don't we even read about this kind of practice in books from people who market themselves to know just about everything about IMA? I do believe that Tai chi practice, and Tai Chi itself was much richer in earlier days. The history that is presented in most books seems to be only half of the truth or less.
Dmitri wrote: Personally I think there's A LOT more value in continuous slow movement (when done properly) than in holding a series of static postures, but that's just me.
It does sound like good gongfu practice...
Well I personally do don't see it like Gongfu or external practice, not at all. I see it more like stance practice, like Santi or like combining Tai Chi with Yiquan. And I don't think that "continuous slow movement" is better practice. I do think that they really complement each other and should not be compared that way.
Gotta wonder though, given that everyone has limited amount of time to practice, would holding postures be the best way to spend (most of) that time?
Sometimes you can choose slow practice only and sometimes practice with holding postures. Nothing says you must choose between those two. Or even that you would benefit more to make an absolute choice. Why don't you play with it for one or two week and see if you like it?
And I don't believe that we should always practice in a certain way. If practice become only routine, we loose our creativity and slow down our learning process. I almost never practice the same way or focus on the same things for more than a week. I build everyday's practice from scratch. Mostly it will deal with my weaknesses or just what I feel would be fun to explore at the moment. (The only "bigger" choice, or serious on, I've made the latest years was throwing my bagua out through the window. )
For myself (the few days when I have a lot of time to kill) I can play a form one time at average speed just to "warm up" the system, or doing some other exercises to get the motor running. After that I play a part with ding shi as described. I ususally dont hold each and every posture. After that, maybe after some ten-twenty minutes break, I play the whole form slow and focused in the more "common way".
This kind of practice REALLY help your form and improves the over all quality of the postures and movement. If you have spent some time practicing like this, you might see great improvements.
Chris McKinley wrote:These days, I use it for sharpening the resolution of my proprioceptive feelings in parts of a movement that don't feel as well wired-in as others. Finding the trouble spots and holding them for a bit helps provide me with a clearer set of tactile feedback when later performing it as part of the whole movement again.
Well, yeah, that sum up much of the benefits. When we stand in one posture we must do the posture as good as we can. We must find the correct angles and alignment. We must be able to breath and relax properly and hold this posture. Its more easy when you are changing all of the time, and when we are able to cheat with the actual postures. Sometimes we won't realise how we cheat with, or misjudge our own postures when we practice slow and continuosly. But when we freeze the postures, we might understand some of our weakness.
Sometimes we might need to make some changes with our postures, and what we discover are things that we would not discover if we only practice in the more common ways.
But there are also different ways we can play with alignment and structure when we hold a posture. If you have studied Yiquan you might understand more how to "play" with static postures, or use them to discover more about yourself.
Qiphlow wrote:this is an awesome way to torture a beginner's forms class.
Well, yeah... I like torturing students as well!
And I think a beginner will improve a lot due to better understanding of the postures and speed up his or her learning of the form. The only "danger" is that the students might see it like you just want to go around and check their postures. You should make the clear about what it's all about, even if you have to torture them a little bit more to get to the point.
... I ususally say that Santi teaching is great, because it allow you as a teacher to go an errand or take a coffée. Well, why should only Xingyi teachers have that privilege?
... btw... that ridiculous big frame we see in modern Yang practice, like people doing the "24 forms" practice, has no place in the format of ding shi practice. If you practice tai chi as this type of "old people's qigong" only, you might as well skip it.