Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 433


Every student of Tai Chi and other internal arts has heard the word ”Relax” countless times. Each time I say this word I see students tense up slightly in trying to find relaxation in their body. We have placed more tension in the mind by putting this pressure on the student.

The Chinese say “Sung”, which has much the same meaning, but is more of a dynamic state than relaxation implies. I have started to replace the word “relaxation” with two words – calm and comfortable. These words somehow do not cause as much anxiety for students, and yet convey the feeling we are seeking to achieve. These words let the student be who he or she is now and still leaves room for improvement.

Say these two words to yourself and see how you feel. They might work better than “relax”.

Good vs Wise

There is a saying, “ A good teacher teaches what he (she) has been taught. A wise teacher teaches what he has learned.”

I think that many of us in the internal arts have had teachers who have a good grasp of some form or system and can even share this information, yet rare indeed is the teacher whose life really reflects the years of practice and internalization of the philosophy to become a true master.

The same can be said of students. A good student mimics his teacher and can do as he is instructed. He feels confident and comfortable in the forms and may even do well in competition. Yet, he hasn’t taken all this in and incorporated the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects wholly into his life.

A wise student studies the why as well as the how. He finds the philosophy in everything he sees and does and applies the lessons to all aspects of his life. He has no goal in mind, only a love for the journey and a sense of wonder of how it is unfolding.