There are so many things I have absorbed from my dad throughout the years.
Tai Chi Chuan isn’t for everybody, but our school isn’t about teaching Tai Chi Chuan, I think that is why we have such an appeal to so many people and why our approach is more about the fun and intrigue of learning than it is about anything else.
What we do at our school isn’t about going through the memorization of historical facts and it isn’t your typical learning environment, but it is most definitely an enrichment center and I could feel this as a small child.
I enjoyed being at the school because everyone that was there enjoyed being there. I loved seeing people love my father and I also loved watching my father teach and the reactions people would have to him. It was so unique to watch learning this way, because I did not get this at school. School to me was torture and most of my teachers didn’t make me feel the way I saw dad make everyone else feel. One of my most significant memories is knowing that dad was always happy and enthusiastic, he couldn’t wait to share his ideas with his Tai Chi children and there was always an electricity about him that is positive, carefree, open and always childlike. He is my dad, but he looked like the kind of playmate I wish I had. Someone who would show me their ideas with enthusiasm and someone I could enthusiastically share my ideas with too. The crazier you sound, the more I am drawn to what I need to learn to understand you and your ideas.
Our school always looks like play group and it was always this treasure trove of magnificent people from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, countries, upbringings and we are all simply part of the same rainbow, made only more beautiful because we all added our own unique quality that always fit in perfectly, because the more unique you are, the better the rainbow you help create.
What gives our school the strength in energy are our students. We have everything from A-Z and everyone meshes beautifully. The absence of arrogance only infuses the essence of brilliance when all kinds of minds come together to just learn, because we enjoy learning and real learning can only be done when you are having fun with each other.
“Bouncing your nose off the floor” – WmCCChen
This is something I heard dad say in a workshop once and it has stuck with me always. It’s just such a fun way to communicate the feeling of what is supposed to be accomplished in the form. There couldn’t be a more accurate language to convey the needed dynamic of an established, connected root to initiate the internal synthesis of energy flow.
I used this when I was teaching yesterday. I was teaching, because dad was still in the sand, sun and warmth of Hawaii. Yes, I might be a little jealous, because I didn’t pick up the “Bouncing your nose off the floor” from dad because I was in Hawaii with him, but that’s ok, because I really had such an enjoyable time teaching yesterday.
Back to class…
Kyoko, one of our long time students who is a dancer by profession and was so happy with the “Bouncing your nose off the floor” idea. She came up to me to thank me for it and talk about it. As we spoke I realized that this is something that is just symptomatic from studying at the school. We have so much fun.
For those of you who are going to try this at home, let me give you slightly more instruction.
“Bouncing your nose off the floor”, is accomplished releasing the hip joint to create an established root from your base (feet), which creates a deeper connection with energizing into the floor. Knees stay soft and you never straighten in the knee. The soft knee is what maintains your rooted base, into the floor. Your hips joints need to release, creating a tipping motion in the upper body, with your back/spine always being straight. This physical dynamic gives you the leverage necessary for rooted movement, which allows your body to release and sink, this is where the nose bounces down. The nose comes back up when your internal energy flow finishes sinking and naturally “fills you up” to your next posture.
You always “root” your movements out and this isn’t just in Tai Chi, this is true for everything having to do with movement. Without the ability to feel your established self, which is physically established from your root, you have no internal connection or body mechanics.
The dynamic of bouncing returns us to our childlike self of play and fun and just jumping around, we revisit that essence of feeling automatically. This is an instance where words have more than meaning, they restore our feeling state which is our innate learning state.
Think about it, when a child is learning how to walk, this happens before they have the ability to speak. We are born to feel and we begin our lives from the language of feeling. Nobody corrects us in our early stages of life, we correct ourselves, based on how we feel. There is nothing more intriguing to watch and listen to children’s ability to learn because it happens from such a pure space, they feel on a level untainted by life. When we can figure out how to return to this state, this is when we accomplish more than we ever dreamed, because we don’t expect, we don’t manipulate, we don’t ruin our present by tainting it with a future we can’t control.
Tai Chi Chuan is about the restoration of our childlike state.
You can only truly learn when you can achieve a feeling state.
You only grow when you can exist in that feeling state.