The Secret to Mastering Tai Chi.

Here’s the secret to mastering Tai Chi.

Now, you’re going to have to add some hard work. I can’t do that part for you.

…but if you take this secret and put in the work, the sky’s the limit.

Without this, mastery of Tai Chi will always be beyond your grasp.

First, we need to understand a little about how our mind works.

I’m going to show you a picture.

One square is a distinctly different color than the others. I want you to identify the square that’s different. Then ask yourself how long it took find the square & how accurately could you find it under pressure.

Learn more about our perception of color with this video and this radiolab episode.

Learn more about our perception of color with this video and this radiolab episode.

For most westerners the difference is very subtle.

However, if we go to Namibia and show this picture to members of the Himba tribe they’ll have no trouble spotting the difference right away.

They have a different word for the color of the square that’s different.

…and because they have that word they can much more easily recognize that color and pick it out from similar colors.

What their language doesn’t have is a word for blue or the difference between blue and green.

…and when researchers showed them a picture like the one above with one blue square, they had a very tough time picking out which square was different.

Because the word ‘blue’ is part of our language, we train ourselves to see it.

Because of that training we can quickly pick it out of a lineup and we can use it in many different ways.

That’s the secret to Tai Chi.

The most important skill you can develop is your ability to perceive what is happening inside yourself and inside the opponent.

Fortunately, we have lots of vocabulary words in Tai Chi.

The next step is to connect those words with the things they represent so we can train ourselves to recognize them.

Until we connect those words with concrete feelings inside ourselves we are blind.

What are you doing to build deeper root?

How deep is your root now?

10 feet below the ground? 20 feet?

If you can feel how deep your root is, then you know how deep you have to go to build more.

If you can’t feel that, then you don’t and you can’t.

If you can’t feel your opponents root you cannot learn to attack it.

This ability to perceive is called listening in Tai Chi.

Your skill at listening determines how good you can get at all other internal Tai Chi skills.

The more work you put into building your listening skill, the faster and easier you will be able to develop all other Tai Chi skills.

Your ability to understand what a teacher is showing your will increase exponentially.

(and your ability to understand what they are doing but now showing you.)

Your skill at finding and correcting errors in yourself and your training partners will increase.

Learning to listen is hard.

Especially at first.

It feels clumsy and awkward and slow.

However, it makes everything else much much faster.

10 – 20 minutes spent building your listening is worth hours or days of training any other skill.

Help us make Tai Chi better.

Listening is so important we’ve put together an extensive free course on this skill called The Practical Guide to Internal Power.

This will give you the tools to build top notch listening skill and it introduces skills like, root, internal power, sung, 3 powers and much more.

It doesn’t matter what style of Internal Arts you practice.

The better you are at listening the better you will be at fixing errors and duplicating what your teachers are able to do.

You can use the tools from this course to make any internal practice better and more efficient.

All you have to do is practice.

Click Here to study The Practical Guide to Internal Power.

We’d like to see this training spread as far and wide as possible for a couple reasons.

The unselfish reason is that the quality of internal arts instruction will improve and everyone will benefit.

The selfish reason is that the better you are at listening the easier it is for us to teach you intermediate and advanced Internal Skills.

Anyone studying our programs who wants to move beyond a basic self defense level of skill should consider this training mandatory.

Click Here to get started with The Practical Guide to Internal Power.


  1. I think I got it within about 20 seconds, But I also saw 1 a little darker and 1 a little lighter Which one is it

  2. I practice what you have taught me every day and apply it to my other martial skills and my daily life. You have broaden my studies and I am experiencing new phenomenon in my practice.
    Thank You,
    Harold Golden

  3. Westerner here. Spoilers below for those looking at the squares… but I want to know if what I see is “right” — it’s hard to tell!

    The first square that I thought was “different” was the big white background square.

    But since the article mentioned that the difference was “subtle”, I kept looking. When I tilted my laptop screen, the top-right-corner greenish square looked lighter than the others. Is that the one?

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