Nobody is going to the hospital for a relaxation attack.
- Bruce Frantzis
The Seventy Percent Rule
Simple in meaning, the 70% Rule has very deep roots and is an essential principle of learning Tai Chi and Qigong for health and longevity and is at the heart of Taoist practices.
Living and learning in moderation is a very alien concept to many of us who are part of the go-for-the-burn, no-pain-no-gain philosophy of the modern world. In Taoist terms this is seen as "practising towards death."
Strain can be seen as a result of breaking the 70% rule - it is a physiological condition caused by excessive exercise or too much tension / adrenaline. This shouldn't be confused with effort, which may left you feeling tired and exercised, but not physically, emotionally or mentally injured.
And the rule is...
Practise towards life. Quite simply, by completing any Tai Chi or Chi Gung technique to only 70% of your current capacity you can:
• absorb what you learn more easily.
• reduce your internal resistance & maintain the effort for longer.
• store your energy for a time when you really need it.
• increase your capacity as you practise, without stress.
Importantly, this rule assumes you are in normal health. If you are experiencing stress or discomfort at a physical, emotional or mental level, you must adjust the rule to suit your condition. So for a physical injury that is healing you may use the 50% rule for a few months until you feel a release occur, than you may practise using the 60% for the next month, to gradually return your body to normal.