I believe that there are three great secrets to learning in the Study of Tai Chi. In last months post I talked about the importance of finding a good teacher. The first secret to truly learning Tai Chi is to believe your teacher. A good teacher will tell you the truth and share with you the depths of Tai Chi to the extent they understand it at this time. They will be forthright. Sometimes you might not like the answer they give you and sometimes the answer will be “no”. If you really want your Tai Chi to develop believe your teacher and follow what they tell you. Do make sure they are a good teacher. A good teacher will not steer you wrong.
The second secret to learning and deepening your Tai Chi practice is to believe the classics. The Tai Chi Classics are a compilation of writings handed down over many years. They were developed in the usual classical Chinese way. There is an original writing that treatises and sayings are added to. My favorite book of the classics is Waysun Liao’s “Tai Chi Classics”. Just open it to any page and there is material worth pondering for a long time. Make the classics a study and then embody them.
The third great secret is that as you assimilate what your teacher tells you and develop a relationship with the classics, question everything. Tai Chi has a rich history with deep roots in the past but it is not a dead art. Tai Chi is an alive practice that is still in development. If we are true practitioners of the art we should be adding to the body of knowledge and practice that make up Tai Chi. One should approach Tai Chi as a study. I remember one time Sifu Fong Ha said to me “Tai Chi is a non-spacial replacement exercise”. I had very little idea what he meant at the time but it became my Tai Chi koan. I learned a lot from contemplating and questioning what he meant.
There may be one more secret and perhaps it is the most difficult for people. The biggest secret is to practice.
To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on Maui.