Sunday, March 18, 2012

How many hours do I need to practice a day?

How many hours do I need to practice a day? Good question. A question that I asked myself frequently when I started practicing in earnest many years ago. This question is most relevant to the internal disciplines, like meditation, zhan zhuang, chi-kung and tai-chi. Why? Because if one can't get into the zone, one can't work with strong enough chi as the day before. When a practitioner gets frustrated or agitated, he will go down-hill with his chi generation ability.  And it is not an uncommon reason for some to quit the practice altogether!

The key of the matter is, to have to keep up with a high performance level in chi-related discipline, one have to do literally 24 hours a day!

In Zen Buddhism, it is called being in Zen during walking, living, sitting and lying down (行住坐卧). Wang XianZai had been reported to be asking some of his students something like: "try to 'attack' me in surprise and you'll know my art". His physique was supposed to be trained and being ready at all time.

Recently I came across a book by a student of the late Yang-style master Wang YongQuan (汪永泉) publishing his study notes. It was said that Wang advocated 24 hour tai-chi practice, in the sense the the body and mind of a practitioner shall be in a state according to tai-chi requirements as taught be Wang, which essential means chi-ready.

I totally agree with this advice of 24 hour practice. How to creatively execute this objective in practice will be another issue.  One example is my previous post: Power Mudra for everyday use.

24 hour practice


  1. It seems to me that internal martial arts training aims to teach the body to move in a particular way (among other things). If indeed you can make this way of moving habitual, then you are well on your way to 24 hour practice.

  2. Yes, I would add that a feeling of chi, and/or chi movement, can serve as a useful yardstick of whether one is on the right track.


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