Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip – #310
Tai Chi from the Heart
Many, but not all, of the Internal Arts are martial arts: the study of how to defend the self without resorting to the use of excessive force. The greatest martial artists are those who do not even have to touch their opponent to cause positive change in the situation. Just their presence is enough.Today, the martial artist is skilled on many different levels.
I used to teach a Tai Chi class in a park in Tucson. There was a particular group who hung out there, and who thought it amusing to come over and disrupt the “strange” activities of our class. This was before Tai Chi was well known in the US. Many of these guys came off at first as very belligerent. It took all my skills learned through practice to keep harmony, without resorting to anger, and without letting these individuals interrupt the class.
I never failed because first of all, I felt a place in my heart for these guys and wanted them to end up feeling better about themselves when they left. Even someone intent on causing trouble will respond to real love from the heart. So while many martial artists train muscles and body reflexes, I spend quite a bit of time working on my heart center, knowing I’m strengthening my ability to deal with unwanted situations in a loving way.
We have exercises where we do a form and focus on one particular center or other – the lower around the belly button, the middle around the center of the chest, and the upper between the eyebrows. If you do a form and concentrate on one of these areas as the place where your consciousness is resting while playing the form, you’ll probably discover where you are most comfortable – on a physical (lower), emotional (middle), or mental (upper). For me, I feel most at home in my middle Dantien. Strong emotions, either happy or sad, cause my heart center to overflow in the form of tears. Natures way of finding balance.