Why Tai Chi?

It came to me today why I am being drawn towards learning Tai Chi.

Dance has always been a strong ‘language of the body’ for me.  A way of expressing emotions that were always bottled up – even though tears were ever near the surface.  An energetic release that I could control without tears or words.

Ballet requires the ultimate control.  It takes great strength of body and mind to make movements that are so very controlled down to the smallest of muscle fibres, appear fluid.  It takes knowledge of the deepest and highest of emotions to be able to capture the emotions of the audience and make them weep or rejoice with you – without ever saying a word.

Within my fitness world it was about controlled strength.  When pushing the kind of weights I pushed, control and understanding of your body is absolutely essential in order to break the barriers you set for yourself without causing injury.  There is also a very intense mind-game in play in order to constantly push your body into giving just a tiny bit more. 

Bellydance is more of the same – or could be.  I had come to the knowledge that my body would never again attain those lofty heights previously achieved.  Body control was definitely needed in order to execute movements such as belly rolls, flutters, shimmies and balancing a sword on your head!  But with the acknowledgement that I would never be an A-level performer came relaxation and enjoyment.  For the first time, my body became an instrument that could express itself freely and without the high ideals I had set for myself within ballet and fitness.  It was fun!

With age comes reality.
These things are all of my past.  The knowledge of my body and the experiences are all still with me, but the stories are no longer important – other than they are part of what makes me me

I still need to hold my body in control.  My muscle memories demand nothing less.  I can no more slump and slouch than I could cut off my right hand, but age also has a way of taking away that intense pressure of upright, balletic stance – it hurts to maintain that now!  Injury has resulted in loss of the ability to balance that was demanded by ballet. 

I am still, very much, an analyst of movement.  I automatically break down each movement into muscles used and in what manner – isometric, eccentric or concentric.  I automatically check and adjust my posture and I cannot help but look at those around me and analyse their posture, and how that could be affecting their health and what long-term issues they are likely to experience simply because of how they stand or sit or walk.

From where I am now, embarking upon this journey, and after analysing what little I yet know of Tai Chi, I see this is a way of movement that holds the control and minutia of the muscle memory; the demand of core strength and body-balance; and the inner knowing of mind and body required by ballet and fitness, and, through these things, the bringing to the surface of one’s very soul. 

I will never be a Master of Tai Chi – I have discovered this too late in my life – but I see that, for me , it brings the discipline of body and mind that I crave, and eventually, (once I have mastered the movements), the spirit of the movements will emerge as I allow the Energy, the Qi, to flow freely through me. 

And then there is the philosophy and history to learn…   

This is a journey that will take me through the rest of my life.

I see that in Tai Chi, I will be able to relax the mental and physical control I have always moved under and allow my Soul to emerge – and not with any idealism of performance for others.  This one is for ME.

Remember – Flip the Fear, Find the Bling.

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Author: Auri'An

Flip the Fear, Shine your Bling

3 thoughts on “Why Tai Chi?”

  1. I’m also being drawn to Thi Chi as a first in many small steps to change my life and take control of who I want to be. Thought I’d start with a 5 minute Tai Chi that I found on YouTube, then graduate to something longer and then perhaps find a group in a local park. I’ve always been interested in Tai Chi and like yourself a history of dance in my youth (although not so much in more recent decades, though the memory of choreography (and many hours of drills for dance exams) remains. Let me know if you have any preferences regarding digital recordings to follow.

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    1. Hi Tina,
      I looked at many YT videos on Tai Chi and found most of them to be quite difficult to follow. When the instructor faces the camera, and you follow, you have a tendency to mirror his moves – which means you are moving in the wrong direction. When they face away, you can’t see the details of their hand movements. In a video you can’t see the minute nuances. It was frustrating. Then there are the variations that more closely resemble the martial arts side of things and others that look like a beautiful flowing dance. The dance is the style that I am drawn to, but when I discovered the saying that it takes 10,000 repetitions to fully recall all the movements; another 10,000 repetitions to be able to fully enter into the flow and a further 10,000 repetitions to be able to meld into the movement so that it flows within a meditation, I knew I had some work to do!! LOL.
      My teacher gives blow-by-blow very detailed instructions about placement of feet, where your weight is carried, hands, arms, Energy (Chi or Qi) flow and I am finding that this technical information is essential to getting a good grasp on the movements.

      I’m learning Yang Family Long Form (there’s lots of different styles and variations, but this is very traditional). This video gives lots of detailed information, but beware – take very small steps, not the long strides this guy makes. Long steps make it look dramatic, but are for the Master, not the student! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9h7zU7cr6E

      This video is lovely except there is no instruction and the teacher is facing you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4HsTHTUS-0&t=127s

      If you are interested in joining the on-line class I go to, send me a pm and I’ll give you more info.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the videos. I will keep these on my list for when I’m ready to look into something more challenging. Getting moving is a win for me right now and I have to admit I feel so good afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

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