Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 363
Comfortable Stance
The only stance that is correct in Tai Chi, as well as other internal arts, is a natural, comfortable stance. If it is not natural and comfortable, you will lose relaxation, causing tension, which will result in loss of speed, clarity of thought, and the ability to unify with the life force.
In order to find a natural stance, one has to follow those who have gone before – your teacher and advanced students. Most students start with a shoulder-width stance, and as they get stronger and more relaxed, they move to a wider and deeper stance. This wider stance is not the end goal however. It is a training device to help the student return to a natural, shoulder width stance, and have all the control needed to gain mastery of internal arts.
Start out shoulder width, develop good habits, then move to a wider stance, gain relaxation and strength, then move back to a natural stance. You will be happy you took the time to follow this well-worn path.
Note: I redesigned the traditional Yang form to include all three stance widths – wide, medium, and narrow. That way I get to practice all widths during every practice session.
Still the Same
My father was born and raised in the Odessa area of Ukraine. His father was a furrier and was a Jew. They lived a quiet life until around 1915 when the Jews were rounded up by the Russians and set to extermination camps. My father’s family managed to escape, made it to England, got a boat to Canada, then ended up in Minneapolis. My father never talked about this part of his life.
In 1971, I took a Green Tortoise bus, headed from London to New Delhi (77 days). I spent a couple of months in that area, mostly in Afghanistan, and then took a train, local busses, and hitch hiked back to England. On the way I stopped in Odessa, and was so amazed that so many men looked just like me. The magic of genes.
What is happening in the Ukraine now is much like what happened during my father’s youth. I can not imagine how people can do any of the horrible acts to others that we hear so much about. It is so important to stay open to all people, find that place of love in our hearts, and pray to whatever force you believe can help.