Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip – Number 239

Live for Today?

We in the West are not encouraged to plan for the future. We often hear the philosophy of living just for today, for there most probably won’t be a tomorrow, because of the threats of growing population, pollution, crime, dwindling agricultural land, and more. So people tend not to take care of things; they don’t take care of their health, family, or community. It is a sad state of affairs. But don’t give up.

A recent study at Harvard named the 5 most effective exercise systems to maintain health. Tai Chi was one of them (the others being swimming, walking, strength training, and pelvic floor strengthening). Tai Chi Chuan is known to be one of the very best exercises for older people to maintain good health, yet here again, so few plan for the future.

It takes many years of study to arrive at a place in one’s Tai Chi practice where it will do the most good – on the energetic level. One should start learning when younger to gain benefits when they need it, yet it is precisely at that time that the younger person is living for today. This is a dilemma.

It is never too late, but I encourage all people to start learning this fine art early, and not to stop practicing no matter how poorly you think you may be doing in relation to your instructor and other students. The consistent practice will almost guarantee a healthier, happier life.

One of my online students (lives in Romania) said it is difficult to learn the form with so many varied details. Why not just have one Single Whip (repeated 10 times in the long form) rather than 10 different ones. As I’ve said over and over, Tai Chi is a lifetime meditative exercise practice, and the more different psycho/physical connections, the better. I also think that learning and remembering many forms (short and long solo forms, weapons forms, partner forms) will keep the mind limber.

Be patient, take your time learning, enjoy yourself, and the rewards will be worth all the effort. And if all the variations are too complex, just do the one you enjoy the most. Just pay attention to the principles, the philosophy, the basics, do your best, and you will succeed.