5.a.xxxv-what-can-i-do Section

 What Can I Do To Improve My Taijiquan?

written by Nick Gudge – revised September 2012

There is a path to gaining the skills of taijiquan. That path is simple in nature but difficult in execution. It requires three elements: a good teacher, good practice and good understanding. (These three elements have been described in depth in three separate articles.)

If you do not know what taijiquan is, research and understand it until you do know what the basic skills of taijiquan are at least in your mind. (You can find a good description of taijiquan in a small number of books. You can also read my article on taijiquan theory which includes what the highest level taijiquan practitioners today have written on this subject.)

If you do not have a good teacher, go and find one.

If you do not know if your teacher is good, gauge how well the teacher’s students demonstrate the basic skills of taijiquan. If the students’ basic skills are evident in what they do then clearly the teacher has some skill as a teacher. If the students’ basic skills are not evident in what they do then clearly the teacher does not have some skill as a teacher.

Even if you study with a good teacher, regularly train with their teacher so you can get a broader views on both taijiquan skills and the limitations of your own teacher.

If you wish to improve your understand, practice a lot and listen to what your good teacher tells you to do. (Don’t bother with Youtube.) A small amount of reading may help but beware that most of what is written on taijiquan was written by those without significant skill.

Practice as much as you can.

Practice more than once per day.

Practice for at least an hour at a time, particularly as you make progress.

Don’t practice blindly. Quieten the mind and focus on what you are doing. Each form should improve on the one before. (Get stronger by the thickness of a piece of paper each form.)

If you follow this advice your taijiquan will improve, of that there is no doubt.

Nick Gudge is a student of Wang Hai Jun and teaches Chen style taijiquan (tai chi) classes in Limerick.


If you are interested in reading more you might be interested in the following articles:

The Value of Practicing Taijiquan Forms (1 page article)

Three Reasons Why I Practice Taijiquan Forms (1 page article)

The Process of Training Taijiquan (1 page article)


A Good Teacher (10 page article)

Good Understanding (9 page article)

Good Practice (3 page articles)


Six Stages of Training Taijiquan Skill (4 page article)


More detailed technical information can be found in the first two parts of my four part series

Gaining Taijiquan Skill – Part 1: Theory (10 page article)

Gaining Taijiquan Skill – Part 2: Beginning – reaching Level 1 (10 page article)