Friday, April 6, 2018

Embodying The Principles Of T'ai-Chi

A Lifelong Process
I aim to embody the principles exemplified by the T’ai-Chi symbol, hard and soft in balance, in every area of life, including but not limited to martial arts, as long as I live. This aim leads to a certain kind of life.
If my aim was to see how quickly and how good I could get at the art itself and only the art itself, that too leads to a certain kind of life.

Embodying the principles is a life long process and involves working on things like:
posture and joint alignment
integrated strength and flexibility
suspended and relaxed joints
agility and mobility
power and ease of motion
spatial awareness
As well as things like:
preserving health throughout life
preventing injury throughout life
balance in diet
physical balance
emotional balance
psychological balance
relationship skills
relationships with intoxicants
relationship with everything

Focusing only or mainly on excelling at the art itself, the drills, forms and techniques, tends to lead to channeling most available energy into work that yields results the fastest and that are felt the most directly.
In the process, some, perhaps half of the above areas of life are not explored or worked on. Someone in training for a big tournament is unlikely to be working on being a good friend or exploring his available range of emotion. It’s just the nature of the beast. When getting good as fast as possible is the focus, certain sacrifices end up getting made and this includes an increased risk of injuries. It’s hard to be as safe as possible while trying to go as fast and far as possible.
I’m not knocking this by the way, even though it’s not my way. I have watched and enjoyed a ton of boxing in my life, and I’m pretty sure the guys I was watching and enjoying so much were not looking to make the principles of boxing the guiding philosophy of every area of their lives for the rest of their lives. Both approaches are valid depending on what you want out of training and out of life.