Updated: Feb 2
Appreciate the importance of basics. Good kung fu or tai chi skills are all about being an expert in the basics. The underlying premise in kung fu and tai chi is that we try to achieve mastery through hard work. It doesn’t matter what we’re learning. What it all comes down to is becoming super-good by putting a lot of effort into something that we want to be skilled at.
Enduring through the basics
No person can truly understand the importance of basics without going through the tough beginning. All masters have been students at the beginning of their paths. The beginning is the toughest phase, because our expectations are high. We are enthusiastic about learning, perhaps because we saw the old kung fu movies, or maybe it is just something we always wanted to do. But as we take our first class, we find out how challenging and repetitive kung fu and tai chi really is. This is how it starts for all beginner students. And there are good reasons as to why beginners are expected to perform certain exercises, repetitiously. Below is a list of the most significant ones:
Strength – We must strengthen our mind and body.
Form – We need good body alignment in order to learn how to generate power with our whole body.
Concentration – We must learn to concentrate and coordinate our body with every movement. Concentration helps build better focus.
Discipline – We must develop mental toughness so we can control ourselves and our frustration when we are confronted with feelings of giving up.
Hard Work – We must learn to practice. In order to gain all the benefits that kung fu and tai chi have to offer, we must put effort into practicing it on a regular basis.
The basics consist of a simple array of techniques that are connected with stance work and movement. The techniques themselves may sometimes look simple but there is so much more to them than just their outward appearance. The “real power” is hidden under the surface. Proper execution requires the student to master all the mechanics behind a technique. Even a simple punch can’t reach its fullest potential without mastering the basics.