Where does Tai Chi fit into everything?
Tai Chi is in everything and this isn’t something I even realized until I returned to teaching a few years ago.
Tai Chi happens in stages, it grows with you and you grow with it, it is the most powerful symbiotic relationship that exists. You can practice it at any age, there are no limits with what you are able to learn, see and feel through supplementing your life with Tai Chi Chuan.
Tai Chi Chuan is a Martial Art.
It is the most sophisticated of all Martial Arts Systems, because it is Fighting Art as much as it is a tool for Self Growth and Understanding, not just of ourselves, but it enhances our ability to see, feel, learn and grow. It has the fascinating ability to help you look inwards and with time, this inward gaze, which is hard to understand at first, is what ends up becoming a life long introspective study. To understand life and individuality, you must always have an honest understanding of who you are, which means being truthful of your shortcomings, appreciative of your good qualities and understanding most of all, that you are unique, in the same way everyone else is and this should always keep you humble, hardworking and respectful. Having said this, you also have to understand that not everyone will be humble, hardworking and respectful in the manner which you practice and this is always a lesson to learn from. I have found that you either learn how to be better, or you learn how to just stay away from things and/or people who disrupt the good flow of your energy.
Tai Chi Chuan as Self Defense is the most simple, yet sophisticated art forms I am still learning. Simplicity always yields a very special, honest kind of sophistication and what ends up being so sublimely sophisticated is when you discover the simplicity of actual sophistication. To make what can end up becoming an outrageously overly verbose explanation, especially from me, I will try and keep it simple by just saying, Tai Chi Chuan makes you better friends with yourself. It trains you always understand yourself and reinforces this throughout your years of practice. If you don’t get yourself, you won’t get Tai Chi Chuan, but if you want to learn about yourself, Tai Chi Chuan is the ultimate learning tool for constant self-improvement, enlightenment, kindness and happiness.
Most pugilistic crafts focus on the outward appeal of creating bumps, bruises, sweat and tears to others. What people don’t realize is that the bumps, bruises, sweat and tears will be mostly of your own, especially when you don’t have a better enough understanding of you and your own abilities. Tai Chi is strategic in this way, we start from the inside-out approach. Learn yourself through the language of feeling. It is only through understanding yourself that you will be able to respond and response is a balanced interaction to elements outside of your control. Tai Chi Chuan is about always being in control of yourself, so that you can not only adapt to your environment, but in some cases, get your environment to adapt to you. Life is a game of constantly balancing sensitivities, the key is to be able to constantly sense without becoming overly sensitive. Don’t make personal what is just another person’s personality, but do have the sense to know when certain personalities are toxic and stay away.
Through the language of feeling we then learn the dialect of coordination. Without coordination, you have ZERO skills and coordination goes much deeper than just throwing accurate punches and kicks. Accuracy and coordination is also about having the ability to listen to the environment you are in and timing, through feeling your arsenal of skills best suited for the situation. Coordination is about physical ability, combined with mental maturity and sensible response which is all gained through practical experience and diligent training.
The slow movements of Tai Chi Chuan are meant to channel your internal energy flow, or more simply put, accessing your own understanding, awareness and ability to feel. We all feel differently, so this is what is your superpower, understanding you. We all have a unique sense for our own particulars which you can’t understand about somebody else, you can only learn to understand your own and you are your own life study.
Tai Chi Chuan is not about physically moving slowly. Tai Chi Chuan is not a physically external art, it is an internal art. You can not judge an internal art by what the eyes can only interpret, however, the deeper you learn to feel, the deeper you can see and this doesn’t just go for how you see yourself, this is something which will help you see deeper into the intent of others, in the pugilistic ring and the life ring.
What appears to be the physically slow elements is your body responding to how it is feeling in the environment you are surrounded in. The constant physical environment we are responding to is gravity, as we “float” through the air that surrounds us. What is happening internally is your energy flowing. Energy Flowing is something immeasurable and physically unique, it is feeling and Tai Chi is the mechanism for feelings that flow, it unlocks blocks and opens reservoirs, creating an endlessly internal learning environment. When we train in anything, the skills we acquire are drilled until we accomplish the right feeling and once we learn the right feeling we always want to learn the better feeling from now having acquiring the right feeling. You always know what is right by how it feels, the same way you know when something is wrong with a situation. This is also called instinct and your instinct is designed to keep you safe, healthy and balanced.
Tai Chi establishes and re-establishes internal balance from the sensitivity of feeling all of the time, the feeling of the right feeling from within, so you are able to understand what is around you. Without knowing yourself, you cannot understand how to respond. Response is and always will be your superpower.
Tai Chi trains Response and there is no fight in the world that has ever been won without the Power of Response. Response is about your inner strength prevailing over the recognized weakness and/or shortcomings of others. Reacting is you giving up your Power to the weaknesses and/or shortcomings of others. There can be no other superhero in your life other than you, never allow the shortcomings of others who choose to get in that ring with you cause a Reaction over your Power to Respond. This is the Power of Tai Chi Chuan.