Number of Sets to Get Substantial Health Benefit

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    I have heard Bruce say that two hours or more of practice per day are needed to get good at tai chi. Many of us for a variety of reasons may not be able to commit to such a schedule. Assuming one has reasonable expertise in the tai Chi form or other energy arts practices, what is a good number of sets for busy people that would provide substantial health benefits? Thank you


    Becoming competent at any internal art requires both focused
    attention and a certain amount of time to practice. It’s not just practising
    for two hours per day. You must be focused, present and aware of what you’re
    doing. So Bruce’s statement of “two hours” is for the average person.
    However, one person may require much more time, while others could do it in
    less. The main thing is that you are really “inside” of your practice
    and not floating off and dreaming while supposedly “practising”.

    All things considered, it takes about 20 minutes to get
    blood and qi flow to a substantial flow rate for the average person. So
    anything less than 20 minutes really doesn’t do that much when you’re training
    for “substantial health benefits”. Therefore, anything more than 30
    minutes a day of concentrated practice will put you on the path for which you
    are looking. If you can do an hour of concentrated practice, the results will
    be exponentially greater than the 30 minutes. So if you can do one hour of
    sustained, concentrated practice in one go, rather than two 30-minute sessions,
    you have the potential to develop further.

    Now forcing yourself into practising for longer
    than your mind, body or energy is willing will detract from any potential
    health benefits from internal arts training. Always slowly build and develop
    the amount of time you can practice in any single session, so that you do not
    build up internal resistance to training. The general feeling at the end of any
    practice session should be that you could’ve done a little bit more, but not a
    whole lot more. This keeps you well within two-thirds of your effort, out of
    the realms of strain and allows your practice to develop into the future. If
    you do this properly, you may find the time and ability to practice for two hours
    a day and it’s no big thing!


    Many thanks Paul for your rapid response. The details in your response were just what I needed to know. I had been doing tai chi in the morning and Gods Playing in the Clouds in the afternoon. Now I’m adding the Five Keys to my practice so I really do need to find a larger block of time for one long session of practice.. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    I assume its ok to include a variety of practices in the same session. If not. or if there is a preferred order in which these three types of practice should be done, please let me know. Thanks again and I hope you have a great new year.


    Yes, you can train a variety of practices in a single session as long as
    you follow the Rule of Thirds, leaving one-third of your energy/effort
    in reserve. “Play” and see what changes and what does not…

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