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Why does “temple-style” Taichi rely on direct verbal teaching from a master rather than simply reading a book? Because words are so limited when it comes to discussing a moving meditation and art like Taichi. Words freeze dynamic concepts and experiences into a static definition that rarely captures the full truth.

Master Waysun Liao explains: “Any terms, such as open or close, expansion or contraction, floating or sinking, etc, used in Taichi teaching through the years, were just borrowed from daily life. Those words the old masters used in books like the Taichi Classics, try to convey an idea in Taichi, or to describe an invisible state or characteristic of energy, such as Chi or Jing.”

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“This is just like in the Tao Te Ching when Lao Tzu tries to use many common words such as water, weak, soft, and dark to explain the state of Truth,” observes Master Liao. “All his different analogies are trying to explain something that can’t be explained by words alone!” 

“The old temple traditions insist on verbal teaching only instead of written teaching to ensure no misunderstandings.”

Verbal teaching allows for multiple different analogies, dynamic demonstrations, questions and answers, as well as capturing the unique “mouth to ear, heart to heart, and energy to energy” component so critical to Taichi achievement.

“That’s why I recommend students use to benefit from the old practice of repetition by watching, listening, and re-watching the same video from time to time, regardless at what level they are, to reach a higher state and aim toward full understanding,” says Master Liao.

“Remember, Taichi has unending levels!”

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