Tai Chi Rocket Man

Greetings. We are just coming out of a wet and gloomy period. November is usually like that. Now for some sun and outdoor activity. Hope all is well for you and yours.

Our president recently called the head of North Korea “Little Rocket Man”, meant to be an insult. It got me thinking about that term – Rocket Man.

As I thought about it, I realized the name was one that I could embrace, and hope people would refer to me in that way. Let me explain.

Rockets that are designed to go to the space station, moon, and beyond, are designed in multiple parts or stages. The first stage is always a large booster rocket that is used to get the whole rocket off the ground and out of our atmosphere. That takes a lot of power.

When that is finished, it drops off to lighten the load for the next stage or stages. Each time a stage is finished it drops off and the payload, or capsule will be left to either join with the space station or land on the moon, or Mars. I know this isn’t the most scientific explanation, but I think it will serve my purpose for the following analogy to Tai Chi.

Let’s assume the rocket has three stages – large, medium, and small. The large, or booster, can be compared to the Tai Chi classics – the writings, oral teaching, historical facts that made Tai Chi unique and separate from all the arts that came before it. It is upon this knowledge, that all that has come since, rests. This stage also contains all the great masters who have furthered our beloved art. The Chen, Yang, Wu, Tung, etc. These people, and classic writings, are the foundation of Tai Chi. Stage One.

The next stage is medium sized and represents present day instructors, including me. I have taken all that I have learned, studied, practiced, and continued on with delivering the payload to the final goal, whatever that may be. This middle stage doesn’t seem as important as the initial booster, or the final capsule that contains the astronaut – you. My job, as an instructor, is to make the first stage (classics, master teachings) take you to a place where you can let me go, and head the final distance to your goal.

The final stage, the capsule, is guided by you. You decide where you are headed with your Tai Chi studies, and how you are going to hook up with your final goal. Actually, you might make a stop, say at the space station, then get refueled and head onward to new uncharted territory.

So, you have the classics and masters, then your instructor, then your own inner knowing. If you follow this well worn path, you will certainly attain your goals. Set your goals, head in that direction, and don’t be afraid to change as you see what works for you, what you enjoy most. Blast off!