Everyone knows that the practice of taijiquan involves very slow movements which should be co-ordinated with the individual’s breathing (Xi). But it takes a tremendous amount of concentration by the individual to maintain this slow speed, without suddenly speeding up and then slowing down or without pausing or hesitating. Learning to develop a very slow, smooth and continuous speed in the practice of your taijiquan can only be achieved by hours of repetitive self practice of the taijiquan form.
Developing a strong concentration in the practice of taijiquan can take some individuals a long time to improve their mental focus. But there are plenty of subtle mindful exercises within the practice and study of taijiquan that can gradually strengthen each persons ability to concentrate. The maintenance of the same slow, even speed of your taijiquan movements is just one mindfulness exercise that is very important for every person to develop, especially when you harmonise your breathing with your movements.
There can be many reasons why certain individuals suddenly find themselves speeding up when performing their taijiquan actions. It could be that their mind is full of anxiety and tension and it effects their ability to relax (Song) and concentrate, especially if they have rushed from work to their taijiquan class, or it could be through a lack of practice that the individual is not confident enough to remember the order of the taijiquan postures that they begin to pause and hesitate. Another common mistake is that some individuals follow the person standing in front of themselves, as again they cannot remember their taijiquan movements, so they follow someone else who happens to be moving to fast. But usually if any person begins to change their speed in the performance of their taijiquan form, it is through their lack of ability to concentrate.
At a much higher level the practice of taijiquan is known as “Moving Meditation” (Dong Jing Xin) where each individual has developed a calm and still mind that is fully focused on the harmony of their taijiquan’s breathing and the opening (Kai) and closing (He) actions of their movements and the correct slow speed that balances “Stillness with Movement”. In the practice of meditation everyone try’s to achieve what is known as the “Still Point” (Reng Zhong) where the individual suddenly becomes unaware of their breathing, posture and mind. In the study and practice of taijiquan as a “Moving Meditation” practice the individual is trying to achieve the same “Still Point”.