Taijiquan - How long should you practice everyday

Xue Sheng

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Taijiquan - How long should you practice everyday - Blog Post

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Flying Crane

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My feelings on training time have changed over the years. When I was young and single and had few other obligations, I could train for hours each day, and I loved it. That is well and fine when you are young and full of energy and unattached and with few other obligations.

As we get older, most of us have other obligations and don't have the time available to keep up that pace. We get married, we have children, we have jobs, we go back to school, etc. these are important things, and absolutely deserve our attention. If I didn't spend time with my son as he grows up, developing that relationship with him, because I wanted to spend two and a half hours a day in training, and that was the only way to carve the time out of my busy schedule, that would be a real shame. That is a sacrifice not worth making. I hope he will be interested in learning Kung fu as he grows older, and that will be time for he and I to spend together and will be more time for me to train again. But if I fail to develop a strong relationship with him when he is young, I can all but guarantee that he will not want to spend the time with me when he grows older. That's a bad trade.

That aside, I do begin to wonder, when someone trains for six hours a day, for what are they training? Life needs balance. Training all the time can exclude other things in life that are also important, like family and friends and school and career choices. Being a one-trick pony gets old, and that level of intensity requires constant work to maintain it. Your life can become all about training, simply for training's sake, with no real purpose.

Your training should serve you. You should not become a slave to the training. And life should have balance.
 
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My feelings on training time have changed over the years. When I was young and single and had few other obligations, I could train for hours each day, and I loved it. That is well and fine when you are young and full of energy and unattached and with few other obligations.

As we get older, most of us have other obligations and don't have the time available to keep up that pace. We get married, we have children, we have jobs, we go back to school, etc. these are important things, and absolutely deserve our attention. If I didn't spend time with my son as he grows up, developing that relationship with him, because I wanted to spend two and a half hours a day in training, and that was the only way to carve the time out of my busy schedule, that would be a real shame. That is a sacrifice not worth making. I hope he will be interested in learning Kung fu as he grows older, and that will be time for he and I to spend together and will be more time for me to train again. But if I fail to develop a strong relationship with him when he is young, I can all but guarantee that he will not want to spend the time with me when he grows older. That's a bad trade.

That aside, I do begin to wonder, when someone trains for six hours a day, for what are they training? Life needs balance. Training all the time can exclude other things in life that are also important, like family and friends and school and career choices. Being a one-trick pony gets old, and that level of intensity requires constant work to maintain it. Your life can become all about training, simply for training's sake, with no real purpose.

Your training should serve you. You should not become a slave to the training. And life should have balance.

Agreed

My shifu was in his early 70s, his kids were grown and his wife was off somewhere with friends and he was not interested in going. It was California, it was warm, so he did taiji for 6 hours and loved it. But then he loves taijiquan. As for his regular training schedule, he was up awful early in the morning (4) and later in the evening around 11. Now I do not know how much he trains at the moment, I do not see him that much these days and he spends much of h is time baby sitting grandchildren. But then I do not think he views it as training, it is something he simply loves to do.

As for in Hong Kong, that was the norm for his shifu's students at that time, of course he was in his late teens/early twenties then too.

As for me, the reason I have not train 1.5 to 2 hours a day of late is my daughter, she needed me more so I was there. Now, she needs me less, she is older, so I have found myself sitting and watching TV when I could be doing taiji, or anything else for that matter
 

Flying Crane

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Agreed

My shifu was in his early 70s, his kids were grown and his wife was off somewhere with friends and he was not interested in going. It was California, it was warm, so he did taiji for 6 hours and loved it. But then he loves taijiquan. As for his regular training schedule, he was up awful early in the morning (4) and later in the evening around 11. Now I do not know how much he trains at the moment, I do not see him that much these days and he spends much of h is time baby sitting grandchildren. But then I do not think he views it as training, it is something he simply loves to do.

As for in Hong Kong, that was the norm for his shifu's students at that time, of course he was in his late teens/early twenties then too.

As for me, the reason I have not train 1.5 to 2 hours a day of late is my daughter, she needed me more so I was there. Now, she needs me less, she is older, so I have found myself sitting and watching TV when I could be doing taiji, or anything else for that matter
Yeah, there are times in life when more training is possible, and appropriate, and times when it is not. The key is to recognize when it is, and when it is not. In the end, don't ignore your family, don't become a slave to the training, don't be a one-trick pony. Find balance, and that can mean different things at different times.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Also, as a Xingyi/Taiji Shifu from Beijing once told me, when we were discussing Santi Shi and how long to stand in it.

His Shifu, when he was training, stood in Santi shi a minimum of 2 hours a day.... He added "no one has that kind of time these days so you stand as much as you can"

Same goes for training Taijiquan, my shifu had all day to train when he was in Hong Kong in the late 40s to late 50s.... Try that in Hong Kong today.
 

Flying Crane

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There is also the reality that today most of us do not need the skills to save our butts on a regular basis. We have the luxury to not train, and allow our skills to deteriorate, if we so choose.

If the safety of our lives and our family and village depended on how diligent we are with our training, we would make the time and make the sacrifices to stay on the cutting edge with our skills. But that is not the reality in which most of us live.
 

DanT

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How much should you train? It depends! What are your goals? I would say at a minimum, 7 hours a week (1 hour each day), for minimum proficiency.

Maximum I would recommend to anyone is 6h a day 5 days a week, or 5h a day 6 days a week.

5 x 6 or 6 x 5 is pretty standard in terms of professional training in any sport, from golf to curling to basketball to kung fu. Reason is because everyone needs an off day to avoid burnout. I personally train 4.5 to 5 h a day, 5 days a week, as this gives me balance for school, work, family, etc.
 

oaktree

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I don't think the length really matters.
What matters in my opinion, is the internal principles being followed. Doing say stance training for 20 minutes correctly is better than a form for 2 hours incorrectly.
Here are some banana chocolate chip cookies I baked, I have been baking more these days.
 

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Xue Sheng

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But 30 minutes correctly is better than 20 ;)

The same shifu I mentioned early in the discussion on Santi said he would prefer his students do 30 minutes per side, per day. However 20 was better than 15 and 15 was better than 10 and 10 was better than 5 and 5 was better than nothing. You do what you have time for in the 21st century.

Length of time does matter, but you are right, it needs to be correct, but then, as DanT said, it depends on your goal. That is also what was said on the Wu-Hao site that I quoted in the blog.

Now I have time so I should stop typing and go train
 

Dong xiao hu

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I agree with you guys. 10 years ago I gained custody of my 3 children. My training time was gone just POOF! I however would work on things in small segments. Like San ti shi before bed or go through the first two palm changes before they got up in the morning. Now they are all teens and more independent so I found myself with free time to train. I have also returned to teaching. I still like to sneak in a bit of Kung Fu at work though.

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Buka

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I agree, all day training really doesn't make much sense for the average person. And it definitely takes one's life out of balance. Always tried to steer the students who veered that way in another direction. I've found that most of the times the student is experiencing Martial Puppy Love....and just wants to do this forever!

I think the most difficult thing is having kids. I don't think there's anything more important, or time consuming, than caring for children. I don't have children by choice. I knew I didn't want children when I was seven years old (honest). Never regretted it.....and sure as hell don't want any now. And I'm not worried about the human race, they seem to be populating their brains out just fine.

back to point - if you're not the average enthusiast, and are going to make a living teaching or fighting, it's not a bad way to go - if you love it, can afford it.....and can still keep your life in some resemblance of balance. I quit college because of the Arts, it was just taking up too much time from my training. Tuned down jobs that didn't fit with an eight hour training day. (some were good jobs, too)

But it all led to a satisfying, fun career which wouldn't have been possible without it, and a pretty darn happy life (but my guess is that would have happened anyway). And I definitely took advantage of not having kids. Raised a lot of them on the dojo, though. I know, I know - but not teaching classes. Was in a position to help. Went to their schools, met with their teachers, knew their moms, knew the dads of those that had dads. Disciplined them when they needed it. Bailed some out of jail. Helped get them into colleges, got some jobs when they were adults. I'll bet I've got fifty jobs for people who were once kids in my dojos. Some of those jobs turned into life long careers. A couple of those kids ended up being my bosses.

None of it would have been possible had I not been a full time, absolutely possessed, dojo rat. But it's not for everybody. But what is?

And always remember......too much of a good thing....is still a pretty darn good thing. :)
 

Buka

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What I think is important, is to not discount small training sessions by yourself, even if for only ten minutes. By itself, not much, but when you're in a busy life that's keeping you out of normal training sessions, instead of missing four days in a row, you stoke the fire a few minutes each day - because you really can find the ten minutes.
 

Morningstar

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My Master would tell me to practice taichi everyday, it doesn't matter the time as long you practice with dantian.
 
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