People come in to Tai Chi Chuan and complain about Tai Chi Chuan causing knee problems. Tai Chi Chuan didn’t cause your knee problems, your approach to learning, which probably involved a more outward perspective is what crippled your learning process of Tai Chi Chuan. Do you listen to speak? Or, do you listen to respond?
How you answer each will help you to think about how you understand your learning process.
Sometimes its a picture we think we need to imitate and sometimes its the practice of older, more experienced masters we want to like. Let me remind you of something here. I am not supposed to look like you. You are not supposed to look like me. We are not supposed to look like any of the Great Grandmasters who are mostly caught in stances frozen in photos. For starters, being photograph tends to cause people to “pose”, what is captured in those poses are very rarely reality, but you also have to realize the reality of that moment was to capture what looks good on camera. Tai Chi Chuan is not something that is meant to look beautiful in photos, because Tai Chi Chuan is meant to be felt. A common complaint I hear when beginners start to learn Tai Chi Chuan, is that their knees hurt. This is either because you are bouncing in the knees or you are trying to turn in while staying weighted in the leg you are trying to move. Tai Chi Chuan is about frictionless movement. You need to shift your weight from the leg that is supposed to move and it is the anchored leg that is actually pulling or lifting the now free leg into place.
We also get a large number of people who come in with Yoga injuries. Believe it or not, Yoga is not meant to be practiced in competition with who you see next to you. Yoga too, is an inside job. You are supposed to feel your limits and listen to your boundaries. You are not supposed to go outside of minding your own business to look like anyone else or better than anyone else. Not minding your own business is what creates Yoga injuries and if you make it a competition with anyone else, karma might just bite you in the ass with a self inflicted injury.
When practicing internal arts it is perhaps also important to understand the perspective of learning, from where you should be focusing and that is really all about you, all about you in the very Non-American way, which is about minding your own business.
Yoga didn’t injure you, your inability to practice internally did.
Tai Chi Chuan didn’t hurt your knees, your lack of listening to you, did.
Flow is not about how you physically can manipulate your body, Flow is about how well you can fully connect to yourself. This is where you begin Body Mechanics and from Body Mechanics will come your technique.