Greetings. I have received quite a few comments and suggestions for tips, as well as tips from some of you. I received a request from a Canadian Tai Chi player, Lincoln Chew. He asked for some stories from Master Choy’s class and my relationship to him. I will from time to time share some with you.
Master Choy Tip
The first day of my first class, Master Choy had written up on the wall – “Respect Your Teacher, Obey the Rules, Live your Life in Truth and Righteousness”. As I said, in 1968 I was a hippie, never had a teacher I respected, and didn’t believe in rules. As for the other, it didn’t make much sense to me. Only later, when I started teaching, did I realize how important these were for the personal development of the student.
When I look back on the teachers I had in school, I never knew anything about them. Like who taught them, or who was that teacher’s teacher’s teacher. In Tai Chi, and all Chinese schooling, the Confucian doctrine of showing respect is so important. If one does not respect what one is learning and from whom, one usually won’t place any, or much, value on it. We, in Tai Chi studies, can name our lineage back for at least a couple hundred years. It gives meaning and value to the practice. If you can’t respect your instructor, find someone else. In this day and age of the internet, it shouldn’t be too hard. Also, avoid the disrespectful habit of, when the instructor asks for questions, making statements to show how much you know. If the statement is not correct, it puts the instructor in an embarrassing position of having to correct you in front of your classmates. The instructor knows you better than you think.
I have evolved into thinking that rules are, for the most part, there for a reason. In our crowded world, rules help to keep order, and allow a smooth flow. In Tai Chi, there are rules, shared by one’s instructor, to keep you safe, and allow the student to travel the path to mastery. That doesn’t mean we have to follow all rules blindly forever, but in the beginning, listen to what the instructor says, practice until you make it your own, and only then can you change what you were taught.
As for Truth and Righteousness, it goes without saying. Tell the truth, seek the truth, stand up for the truth, and you will lead a righteous life.