Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 319
Progress in Tai Chi is hard to gauge. In most other martial arts there are levels of attainment as signified by belts. A black belt is said to have reached a higher level then a brown belt, for instance. In Tai Chi, we have no belts, so our progress is mostly an individualistic inner knowing, or if you are lucky enough to have a good teacher, the teacher can help you see how far you have come and how to move forward.
I feel that there are three basic levels in Tai Chi training and these relate to the three dantiens. The first level is the physical or martial correctness, and this corresponds to the lower dantien. The body is moving using the Tai Chi principles, and the student knows what he wants the body to do, and it obeys. He has attained external control.
The next level is integrating the internal with the external. There is a feeling of calmness and comfortable looseness to the form The form is inner directed and the chi leads the movements as directed by the spirit (higher self). This represents the middle dantien.
The highest level is that of spiritual attainment. The individual is functioning in accordance and in harmony with the Tao. The spirit leads the movements directly without thought or obstruction. The individual radiates peace and good health, as well as the universal principles of brotherly love, concern for others, and a positive nature. He functions in the upper dantien with no fear of the next step.
Once you have reached a level, you can function on that level or the one prior to it. You can even sometimes function at a higher level, but it is mostly hit and miss. I feel the key to progress is practice and meditation. This will surely be your ladder to higher states if only you put it to use.
Reminder: Our close look at the 54 form will be starting on June 2. We will start at the very beginning and put the form under the “Microscope”. All interested students welcome. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 9 to 10 is warm ups and other exercises to help with learning. 10 to 11 is working on the form. If you can’t attend all classes, no worry. Some students choose to do only one class a session. No problem. It will be fun and interesting no matter what.