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Why Can’t I Get It?

posted 11 Sep 2019, 01:42 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 11 Sep 2019, 01:48 ]
This was a question I was asked in one of my classes and I am sure it is one that many frequently ask themselves. My answer was ‘don’t try to get it, just let it happen ’. From my own experience, we try way too hard to ‘get it’ and the mind plays a big part in overcoming this. The most important factor is to have the right way of thinking- check out my previous posting ‘All in the Mind’. I have witnessed all sorts of emotions in people on the journey and, usually it mirrors something about the type of person they are-perfectionists, egoistic, easily frustrated, anxious, impatient-the list could go on! Certain traits will make the learning more challenging, hence the words ‘letting go’ are often used.

As I have mentioned before there are no shortcuts in learning Taiji. The first step is to understand and manage basic body movements and this task is often painstaking and arduous for some, it all depends how you approach it-the mind again! The Taijiquan classics state ‘if one is persistent, eventually, he/she will achieve a breakthrough.’

I have just been reading a book ‘Illustrated Elements of Tai Chi’ by Angus Clark who founded the School of Living Movement based in Devon. I found it very inspiring and his words about practicing and learning Taiji are well worth sharing with you.

“Before making any plans to start tai chi it is essential to be convinced that it will be worth all the effort. The decision must not spring from a sense of duty (“I ought to get more exercise;” or ‘I really ought to do it for my health”) but from a yearning to give something to yourself, from an inner desire to learn tai chi. Practice must be something every learner looks forward to. It must never be enforced, never an activity that has to be stuck to because you have made a promise to yourself. A real desire to learn tai chi comes from deep inside, from self-love, a form of energy responsible for the well-being of body, mind, heart and soul. If you are really motivated, your commitment will work out because it is based on inspiration and not on discipline.”

Inspiration comes from within but it also helps if you can find a teacher/instructor that inspires you. Everyone has their own approach to teaching Taiji and you have to find a class that feels right for you. It is easy to blame the teacher if you are not progressing but it is worth remembering that, in most classes, the teacher is doing their best to work with a mixed range of abilities and it is tricky and challenging to keep everyone happy. If you find yourself questioning or getting frustrated with the way the class is taught then that is the time to look elsewhere.

Much of your learning has to come from outside of the class as well. Applying the basic body movements into your daily activities will help tremendously as will practising. Any time you find yourself waiting- kettle boiling, standing in a queue etc- do some movement whether it be shifting your weight from leg to leg, loosening the body and joints, doing a Taiji move; everything will help-‘ten minute heartfelt endeavour is better than an hour’s drudge.’ If you are struggling to ‘get it’ or you feel your progress is slow just remind yourself of the Aesop Fable- ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. Who wins?

West Devon Tai Chi has been established four years this month and I give thanks, every day, that the classes keep on rolling and new faces are always walking through the door. It has, and continues to be, a real learning curve for me. Thank you all for your continuous support, kind words and inspiring me greatly on my Taiji journey.

Autumn Equinox Blessings to each and every one of you.