Plough through to the other side of practice

You have to keep ploughing through to the other side of your practice to arrive at a particular level of understanding. When you do, you see why it’s worth trying in the first place. This is a magical moment that you can reach in the practice of tai chi. My favorite practitioners of taiji are so happy to be doing what they do that it is easy for them to practice everyday regardless if anyone is watching. Many of us have to get through when we don’t feel like it. Getting motivated is hard to do. Why it’s easy for some and difficult for others is a fascinating topic, but I couldn’t tell anyone why if they were to ask. All I know is that something compels some people to come to taiji class.

Many if not most people who have come to my class have never returned. I don’t really know why. Did it have to do with my teaching style or the information itself, or if they just don’t have the conviction. Some people dream of becoming healthier, to heal themselves. They try taiji perhaps to address those needs. Does anyone who quits practicing ever remember why they thought of taiji in the first place? That original spark of interest?

One thing I have concluded from my own experience is that it helps little to try convincing someone that something is good for them when they don’t accept it for themselves. They may know it’s true, but many would rather believe in something else. In my case, I acted in spite of my tendency to quit, in spite of my doubts. My thinking was that I wasn’t doing anything else worthwhile to improve my health anyway. Not an ideal line of thought, I guess; but effective.

Plus, I always admired the strength and graceful coordination of martial artists. The energetic effortlessness of their movements. They also seemed to merge healthy activities with philosophical views about the world and their place in it. Not that others don’t do that, but in martial arts I feel more like I’m thinking about my place in the world and society deliberately as part of my taiji practice. How you interact with others is not only a martial encounter. Martial training is an umbrella concept for any encounter, including peaceful. This is a more holistic approach for me.

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