When and why did UK taijiquan practitioners start emphasising standing qigong?

1991.
Lam Kam Chuen’s Way of Energy book was published and popular.

If you read material published before that time there is typically no mention of standing.
Lam wasn’t even teaching taijiquan…
He was doing dachengquan/I chuan – a xingyiquan variant that utilises static postures rather than forms…
There is no static standing in taijiquan.

In the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance Matt Damon must play against 2 experienced, season professional golfers: one is a scholar and a gentleman whilst the other is a scoundrel.

When Damon starts to improve his game and present a real threat, the scoundrel offers him a job if he agrees to lose.

By contrast, the scholar tells Damon that this is to be his final game of professional golf and thanks Damon for making it more challenging.

This contrast of character was wonderful; as it beautifully illustrates how we can approach adversity in different ways. The scoundrel resented the competition whereas the scholar relished the challenge; recognising that it required him to be a better player.

The role of qigong in the internal martial arts

Taijiquan, baguazhang and xingyiquan use forms to practice combat movements, build strength and gain agility.
The forms are highly intricate, with many different levels of skill.

Yiquan (mind fist)/dachengquan (the great accomplishment) – an offshoot of xingyiquan – does not use forms.
Instead, it uses static standing qigong postures in lieu of form.

Xingyiquan uses form(s) for power development.
Dachengquan uses standing qigong.
See the difference?

What should a tai chi school do?
The answer is somewhat self evident, isn’t it?

Taijiquan is not dachengquan.
It uses forms, not standing qigong postures.
Read The Tai Chi Classics… There is no mention of standing qigong but a whole lot of information about movement.

Many people have attended our class over the decades and occasionally the naivest sort leaves believing themselves on par with Sifu in some fashion – despite typically still working on the preliminaries – it makes no sense at all.

To paraphrase Sifu, it is often folly to look for reason when the very concept of reason implies reasoning/thinking things through… when most people simply react emotionally, impulsively and then seek to attribute a reason in retrospect.

One of the biggest problems facing all of us is procrastination. Typically we think of it as putting things off. In truth, procrastination is the process whereby we find legitimate, necessary things to do rather than address a larger, perhaps disagreeable task.

Procrastination isn’t laziness. It is the habit of doing something else in lieu of the required activity.

Peter Southwood said that an internal martial artist must be like an assassin who never kills and a thief who never steals.
This is a strange and paradoxical idea.
The answer is simple: possessing the skills is one thing, employing them wisely is another.
Chinese martial arts are filled with mysteries and ‘dark’ skills.
It is our responsibility to make the right choice when it comes to using them.

Taijiquan can help

Avoid/offset the common problems associated with modern life:

• Stress
• Memory loss
• Lack of mindfulness
• Low energy
• Reduced sex drive
• No peace of mind
• Diminished brain activity
• Poor focus/concentration
• Sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging)
• Reduced joint function
• Unbalanced/unsteady
• Bad circulation
• Heart problems
• Respiratory problems
• Poor lower body strength
• Imbalanced body use
• Reduced stamina and endurance
• Deeply-held muscular tension
• Poor awareness
• Restlessness
• Poor sleep
• Agitation
• Limited flexibility/suppleness
• Bad coordination
• Not relaxed
• Bad poise and posture
• Slouching
• Too much sitting
• Obesity
• Arthritis
• Reduced mobility
• Back problems
• Knee problems
• Unfit
• Poor condition
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Sports injuries

Medical research has proven that a small daily commitment to taijiquan practice can produce tremendous results over time.