Time and place for training

Traditionally people say you should train at the same time of the day, in the same place, every day.

I’m sure you had this experience, one day during practice you had some new insight. Then you didn’t practice for a while, and later, after you resumed your practice, several sessions into it you had the same insight again. And you think: I can’t believe I lost that. If you practiced everyday, you would’ve be reminded of that immediately next day, and you build upon that… Replicating the training environment also conditions you get into that really deep, focused state faster. It’s really one of the best things you can do to optimize your training.

In term of training space, it should be an area that is well lit, has good air qualities, flat, free of obstructions, and secluded.  Doing Taiji Quan en mass in the park is a fairly recent phenomenon.  Professional or serious practitioners generally do it out of public eye.  For one thing some things are secret.  But the other major reason is you don’t want any distractions.  The traditionally form of Chinese residence is the si he yuan (四合院), literally “courtyard enclosed on four sides”.

Even up to my teacher’s generation, who trained in the 70’s and 80’s in Beijing, people trained mostly in their private courtyards. But location of practice does make a difference. For example you will have a very different feeling practicing Taiji or Bagua here than in your small private yard:

Lu Mountain 庐山


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