For many years I trained in Boxing, Kickboxing and the hard styles of Karate, all my training was directed towards my mind and spirit overcoming the pain and reluctance of my body, I literally punished and pushed myself for decades! Today my body pays the price, with joint replacement, nasal surgery and all my old injuries returning to haunt me on a daily basis.
Training in Tai Chi totally reversed this thinking. I was in Hong Kong having a lesson with Ma Lee Yang (Yang Sau Chung’s daughter) when we were discussing the transition from Mol Gik to Tai Gik and then into the Tai Chi form, I described Tai Gik in the usual way as the ‘intention’ to do Tai Chi and Ma Lee thought for a few moments and said “No, it’s when Tai Chi arrives”….
This simple statement made me realise that I was still ‘doing’ Tai Chi and needed to ‘let go’ to let the magic of tai chi work in me. If I stood properly at the beginning and took myself mentally, physically and emotionally to the place where tai chi could enter and ‘do me’ it would work it’s own unique inimitable magic. Tai Chi is often described as a ‘Great River’ that sweeps you up and carries you along – as long as you can let it in.
This philosophy reflected through everything I did. My injurious health was the result of me not listening to my body but forcing my will over it. My relationships with others and my coaching methods consisted of me forcing my will and mindset on friends and students, my business was stunted because I centered it around me and my personal skills and not around a good foundation that involved the progression and development of others and the good of the community.
So in practicing ‘letting go’ and allowing Tai Chi to enter and move me with a ‘gentle hand’ I allowed the magic to work, I discovered that sometimes I was doing more by doing nothing, listening to and talking to my body I worked with it as opposed to against it. With my relationships I learned to listen and not just wait to talk, with my business I learned to look for the larger good and dig deep foundations working on all the related skills of running a club and group developing the skills of my staff and students and qualifying everyone including myself in good coaching and safety skills and working with the community in areas that we could really help those with special needs.
My mind became a bigger room in which to operate, I became interdependent with my body and with others working together to make things work instead of just trying to impose my will and wants over them.
A Tai Chi approach to life creates success, not by becoming remote to it but by learning to engage fully and allowing the magic of life itself to work through me.