"To study Tai Chi Chuan means to learn to relax. Relax, let go of all tension, all hardness, be soft. Hardness is the discipline of death; softness if the discipline of life. So, wherever you identify tension or hardness let it go. Relax completely. This is what it means to study Tai Chi Chuan."
30/12/2015 08:12:19 pm
There are so many layers of tension – I thought I was relaxed before I knew anything about letting go of tension!!
Thank you once again Jen for sharing your beautiful poetry amazing the gifts mother earth bestows.
30/12/2015 08:27:05 pm
Thank you John for generating such an interesting discussion on “relaxation”. I agree with Jen, that there are many layers of tension that happen to anyone and agree with John that we do carry our baggage for life. We can only go back to the philosophy of the ancient Chinese on how an “art” is taught. First train on the human (man) level, then progress to the earth level and then on to the heaven level. (Refer back to John’s article on the Compass and the Square). This philosophy and way of teaching is embedded in ancient Chinese thinking and is the Way all arts were taught. The art of martial(fighting) and the art of healing(medicine) were often practised together (Yin and Yang) and most martial arts teachers were also healers and bone-setters. Traditionally, students of martial arts schools were live-in students (just like boarding schools) where they trained and followed their teacher to observe and learn not only how he practised his art but also how he lived his life. This was carried through to Japan where live-in students called deshi were taken in by teachers.
I’m not a teacher though I have taught over the years, but I still consider myself a student practitioner, I can't speak on the finer details of teaching or of being a teacher per se. I know of only one secret in my practice and it so simple all one has to do ultimately, is practice.
30/12/2015 08:33:07 pm
Thank you again John for your precise explanation. There is no substitute for correct practice. I agree wholeheartedly. The point about studying with a good teacher is just as important. I remember how I initially learned the Cheng Man Ching form from a teacher from America who had studied under Ben Lo. He gave me a vague understanding of the principles but did not teach the function of the form and also did not teach sensing hands. Then I had another teacher from the Gold Coast, who taught the form and some fundamental exercises and some sensing hands but again not in depth about following the principles. It wasn't until I met Sifu Roman that I started my real learning journey of tai chi chuan. I cannot thank him enough for teaching me the finer points of the principles of this art.
30/12/2015 08:36:15 pm
Thank you, John. It is much clearer, I understand where you are coming from. Your explanation of what we are doing in sensing hands is very helpful. I will remember that in my practice of the form.
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John Hartley, Founder and Principal Instructor of Inner Health School of Taijiquan, Adelaide