Conditioning is massively overlooked in Tai Chi Chuan. Other martial arts have conditioning wether it be running or hitting wooden boards or doing walking on hands while feet are carried or some other such activity. For some reason people seem to think that simply doing form is enough. For some reason people seem to think that doing form will be enough to make them effective in use. Form is great for strengthening the legs, especially the deeper stances and the arms and back can be strengthened by the weapon forms. This only works to a certain point though. In the Wudang style the Nei Gung exercises strengthen the body significantly more than the form and these exercises are the core of the style. There are many conditioning exercises that improve strength and flexibility that are not documented in the syllabus. There are exercises that are documented such as punching with weights and handstands and things like that. These aren’t actually Tai Chi exercises as such but they are necessary to develop and strong and healthy body, especially when it comes to fighting. After all, let’s not forget that the “Chuan” in Tai Chi Chuan means “boxing” or “fist” or some other connotation towards hitting people. If the purpose of class is to train the technique and application of the form in hurting other people then the flip side of this training is that we’re also going to have to accept the fact we’re going to get hit.
Training a martial art is not easy and conditioning is massive overlooked precisely because it is difficult. It would be nice to think that simply training form will be enough to get us out of any difficulty that arises.
Sadly this is not the case.