Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Improvisation of Tai Chi

Author: John Crewdson

With tai chi it's very important to learn to color inside the lines. It's essential to do each move in just the right way. Once you learn to do this, you begin to feel the energy within your own body.

Once you are able to 'play' with the energy you must learn when to ignore the lines. In my view Tai chi has a number of similarities with improvisational acting. Improvisational acting paradoxically has rules to follow, the primary rule being to say yes to whatever line or whatever situation is offered you. Everything is a gift.

My take on tai chi at this moment in my training, is that every move your opponent makes is a gift for you to accept. When you are able to feel your own energy, you can also begin to feel your opponent's, then you can take their energy in and redirect it where you like … once you've begun to master the art. I'm still working on it.

A training brother of mine told me he was cautioned to give tai chi 10 years before he could really feel he had learned something. Later someone told him it took 20 years to achieve anything of note. He and I both think it was because the first person had been studying more that 10 years and the second, more than 20. No one seems to think they are where they should be.

My senior training sister and teacher, Miriam, was told to start teaching beginners after a few years of training. This was both a compliment of her abilities and a way to ensure she continued to advance. She says she learns as much from her students as they do from her and I feel the same way. Now, after more than 14 years, she still feels she is just beginning to learn the depth of tai chi chuan.

My master, after well over 50 years of study, still says he wishes he had listened to his grandfather more. His grandfather was a senior disciple (protege) of the great Yang Chengfu and is the master who took over the northern part of his Chinese training route. My master and his grandson, Master Cui Zhongsan, is a well known high level master in Beijing China.

It seems that the journey never really ends, that there is always more to learn. This principle is the challenge, the mystery, and the reward of studying taijiquan. I have found a greater purpose for myself and it is saying yes to learning all tai chi can teach me, and a part of this lesson is discovering ways to say yes to whatever life offers.

posted by John Crewdson - http://www.beginningtaichi.net/ blog Experience Free Bursts of Tai Chi(TM) click here - http://tinyurl.com/3n9zj8

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