26 September 2017

Why study T'ai Chi?

Why we start T'ai Chi often has little in common with why we continue.
Here's a few reasons that I have heard from real folks over the years, as to why they started T'ai Chi:
Their doctor suggested it as good for arthritis / heart conditions / blood pressure.
It was trendy at the time.
They saw it in 'Calendar Girls'.
They saw it whilst visiting the parks in Hong Kong.
They want to be an invincible boxer.
They were trying to impress a boy. (yup, that's my one folks)
They had read about the Tao.
They used to do Karate / Kick Boxing / Tae Kwan Do and now their joints won't take it any more.
They were bored and free on that evening.
They needed something to help feel less stressed.
They were passing by and saw the poster.

Why we continue- again, a few reasons from actual people:
They are not sure but it feels right.
It's the only thing they never got to the bottom of.
It's relaxing.
It's a habit, easier to continue than stop.
They feel so much better when they do it.
They like the people who come along.
They are learning something really challenging.
They can't imagine life without it.
They fancy someone else who goes along.
It's time out of busy life.
It helps them stay sane / fit / calm.
They still want to become a peerless boxer.

John Kells' instructions for T'ai Chi were simply these:
1: Start T'ai Chi
2: Continue T'ai Chi.

Everyone bangs on about intention these days, as if meaning well were an end in itself. Attention to intention is useful, but 'the road to hell is paved...' etc. I am more interested in principles and in actions in the world. Much 'good' has been the inadvertent result of some terrible deeds. Much disaster has been caused by well-meaning intentions. All actions have unintended consequences, that's the nature of the complex web of life on this planet. Wu wei, or 'uncontrived action' can help lessen the unintended effects, and our art is a rich embodiment of this. Feel free to start T'ai Chi to polish your ego or get better than everyone else at something. If it's good T'ai Chi you get involved in, one thing's for sure, that won't be the end result of your studies. You may even inadvertently learn to yield to your own conditioning. Hell, you may even 'become one with the Tao'. You'll certainly be more stable on your feet, more nimble, relaxed, and have better posture, they are our famous side effects.

No comments: