A few comments from Yang Chengfu’s book Essence and Applications of Taijiquan (Taijiquan Tiyong Quanshu), translated by Louis Swaim.

On the wuji standing posture (update: some mention on EF that he may not be talking about wuji…hmm…):

People all too easily neglect this posture, and really do not know the method of its practice or its application. It is all right here. One hopes that the student pays primary attention to this.

On making progress:

When beginning study of this boxing form, one must not be too greedy. If each day you only carefully practice one or two postures, then it will be easy to glimpse their inner secrets. Those seeking too much will only get superficial information.

Those with perseverance can accomplish results within three years.

I have taken these quotes out of context and in the wrong order. Anyway it seems like clear instruction from one of the biggest historical figures of the art that 1) standing is key 2) practicing long linked form is something for later (if ever imho) and not the beginning 3) getting results (he doesn’t say “mastery”) should be relatively quick, not long (I suppose “mastery” takes decades). I never really paid attention to those sentences before. Always kind of ignored them to search for the wrong sorts of clues. Now that I notice this kind of advice, it pops out so strongly from every good source I can find. It has started to seem completely obvious, but for decades I couldn’t see it. My biggest error and I would venture to say, almost every student’s biggest error is explained by “those seeking too much will only get superficial information.” The same old parable of the student who said he’d try even harder and the master explains that his progress will therefore be much slower.

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