The Depth of Tai Chi
"Although I practice Tai Chi Chuan vigorously,
The article you are about to read does not address what
style of Tai Chi is best, or how to use Tai Chi for defense, or give you a
history of some obscure master. It will speak of a more important aspect of Tai
Chi seldom discussed: how to achieve the most in your Tai Chi practice. Who
really cares about ancient Tai Chi masters? You only care about self
achievement. What you really want is to learn Tai Chi and become accomplished at
I still find problems with my physical and mental health.
Why is this so?"
You are not interested in the eternal debate, is my
style better than yours? At first styles have little interest to you, you simply
want to learn Tai Chi. Most likely you never even knew there were styles in Tai
Chi practice, and who really cares anyway? All you want is to learn Tai Chi.
From what you have seen on television Tai Chi looks so graceful and relaxing, and
you want to experience this. You have been told Tai Chi has the potential to
heal many ailments, so you want that. Along with all the other good news, you
find that Tai Chi is also considered a very high form of self defense. What more
could you ask for from one simple form? You jump into your training head first,
eager to learn and ready to practice hard.
But when you have learned the form
you practice faithfully only to find boredom setting in. You expected so much
and you seem to have come to a dead end. Where is this state of relaxation,
inner peace and healing they spoke about? Before long practice stops and growth
declines until nothing is left but a memory.
Now ask yourself these questions: Why do so many older people practice Tai Chi year
after year and seem to enjoy it so much? What have they found that you could not
find? Is there something more to Tai Chi that you may have overlooked? .
Although hundreds upon hundreds of people practice Tai Chi, few understand what
true practice entails.
The human body has to be disciplined, for human nature
tends to make us lazy. Without motivation, we would prefer to just sit back and
do nothing. As you can well understand by my comments I consider the human mind
to be a major obstacle in Tai Chi development. Without this overall development
the deeper meanings of Tai Chi will always remain hidden from you. The truth of
Tai Chi is not meant to be a "hidden" secret. In fact we stumble over
truth each day of our lives, but we stand up, brush ourselves off and move on,
without ever noticing truth.
In fact many other types of exercises use movements similar to Tai Chi movement. Watch a graceful ballot dancer move and you may be reminded of Tai Chi movement. Of
course a dancer moves according to a choreographers vision, whereas a Tai
Chi practitioners moves are based on a martial artists visions and
purpose. With any amount of visual investigation into Tai Chi movements you will
discover Tai Chi movements are everywhere. Why then is Tai Chi movement so
special? Why not just dance instead of learning Tai Chi Chuan?
Because Tai Chi is much more than simply a series of connected movements. Tai Chi is a
very special state of mind. A mind centered towards two special objectives,
namely attaining control over its self, and stimulation of the inner healing and
nurturing energies which we all possess. This energy is called "CHI".
By use of our posture we can channel Chi to the points in the body where it is
needed most. The postures of Tai Chi Ch'uan create pathways used to
transfer chi from one point to another. Though postures are important in the
practice of Tai Chi Chuan, they are only the first step in total Tai Chi
No one style of Tai Chi is better than
another. They all possess the same essential qualities and objectives. Only in
the defensive interpretations do styles differ based on fighting strategies. To
ask which style is best is surely a beginners question. Advanced Tai Chi
players know the true secret of Tai Chi lies beyond the scope of the human mind.
It lies in the "no mind" (Wu Wei) aspect of Tai Chi philosophy. As
long as mind takes part in your Tai Chi practice barriers will be erected that
will obscure the vision of true Tai Chi practice. Our Minds nature is to
think, analyze, evaluate, criticize, worry, doubt. Ask yourself, how can you
relax with all this going on?
Where did Tai Chi
Chuan come from? Many would attribute the creation of Tai Chi to a
martial arts individual in Chinese history, such as Chang San Fung. Mans
mind is always searching for facts, dates and times. However, history does not
always provide these answers. The answers often depend on guess work on our
part. The birth of Christ is celebrated on December 25th, but everyone is aware
that nobody really knows when Christ was born. Mankind needed a date and gave us
one, now everybody is happy. It was once said,
We as a species dislike mysterious beliefs. We want facts
to back up everything. Although with each passing day the benefits of Tai Chi
practice are being documented as fact in medical journals, the real mystery still
remains: How does Tai Chi work these miracle cures we often read about?
"I often wish...that
I could rid the world of the tyranny of
facts. What are facts but compromises? A fact merely marks the point where we
have agreed to let the investigation cease."