Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip #459

Understanding Tai Chi Forms

 I try and convey the idea that the movements are only an expression of what one thinks and feels at a given moment. The other instructors I have trained don’t, and shouldn’t, do the moves exactly like me. No one should do the moves the same way every time they practice. We change at every moment, and we should allow and encourage this change. The Tai Chi journey is one of discovery of who we really are at this moment, not who we think we are. How am I moving today as compared to yesterday? Is my mind active or quiet? One needs to practice enough so the moves become second nature, and then the real journey to monitoring one’s health and well being will shine forth.

We had a wonderful discussion this morning at practice about internal and external martial arts. I came to the conclusion that, at a certain point, there is no such thing as a hard martial art or a soft martial art. There is nothing different between inner directed and outer directed. Every thing is relative. There is no absolute yin or yang, only things relative to something else. Where does the external stop and the internal start? When does someone achieve relaxation? We in Tai Chi talk so much about internal energy. Please explain to me the difference between internal and external. Is the body composed of one or the other, or a combination, or as I believe, everything is composed of the same stuff, only in different concentrations and combinations. The earth and I are one, just as the cosmos and I are one. Everything is ultimately the same. We fail when we differentiate and try to separate. Them and us. Up and down, in and out, good and bad. The only way you can get pushed over is when you make a stand and claim a place, idea, philosophy, and do not budge from this place.

So, for me, Tai Chi is about staying healthy and strong, clear of mind, non-discriminating, accepting, in the moment, and sharing my skills with others.