Moderation and Honesty is the key to good Tai Chi
Introducing the Seventy Percent Rule
When I started learning Tai Chi with Brian Cooper, and later also with Bruce Frantzis, one of the first lessons was to try and understand and implement the Seventy Percent Rule. Many years on when I am trying too hard ( and isn't it so easy to try too hard...) Brian will always take me back to the early days and remind me about this first principle. The problem is, we all want to succeed at anything we are attempting to learn, and this is not at all unreasonable; but can we really reap the benefits of our study if we have also picked up a parasitic tension in the process? That tension can actually end up making us totally dissatisfied with what we have learnt, and laying the blame at some randomly selected doorway, leave us feeling cheated, perhaps enough to abandon our study and seek something 'more to our liking'. It may be hard to perceive that this is what has happened, but I know from personal experience it's exactly what happens, whether you acknowledge it or not.
The 70% Rule is an essential component of learning Tai Chi and Qigong for health and longevity. It is at the heart of all Taoist practices. Put simply, when you exercise you should only operate within a range of around 70% (see below for exceptions) of your current maximum capacity. This will allow you to:
- absorb what you learn more easily.
- reduce your internal resistance & maintain the effort for longer.
- be able to relax enough to be honest about what your limits are.
- increase your capacity as you develop your practise, without stress.