Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


Archive for April, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan – Polishing the Stone

Posted By Tom Daly on April 15th, 2010

Maggie Newman had a few classes a few years ago that asked us to do a very vague yet specific “principle” while doing the form. Polish the stone!

Tai chi is an exercise where we are making ourselves more round and relaxed, more oval-ish and smooth. We are balancing our chi so the whole chi is full and round and soft. We were asked to do the form as if we are polishing our outer surface and making those rough edges and sharp corners smooth. It is as if we are a stone being prepared as a perfect gem. Make the chi smooth, make it glisten, make it round. You are the stone and you are the jeweler, polishing as you go along.

How? Well, therein lies the challenge. No one can tell you how.

Awareness, attentiveness to detail, relaxing, not being hard on yourself, softening the interior so that the exterior is also soft, pulling back where you are sticking out, filling up those areas that are too collapsed, melting away tension that impedes the fullness of the stone to appear, finding ways to hold this precious body in your hand as if it were a precious jewel. It is, after all, the most valuable thing you own. Take care of it.

There is only one way to approach this. Just do it. Explore, discover, play, try some more.

You are the stone, you are the polisher.

See what happens.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – Polishing the Stone

Tai Chi and the Entrepreneur, Part 2

Posted By Tom Daly on April 11th, 2010

“As entrepreneurs, we move a thousand miles an hour, seven days a week and it is not good to move so quickly all the time. To practice Tai Chi, you have to slow things down. This translates to slowing things down and taking the time to breathe and concentrate in the business world which leads to better decisions and relationships.”

Ray Madronio, Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO, Local Bigwig LLC

Tai chi has many valuable lessons that can be applied to an entrepreneur’s skill. Let’s see how tai chi might help us out to create profitable businesses.

William Baumol, a New York University economics professor, defined an entrepreneur as the “the bold and imaginative deviator from established business patterns and practices” (2007). Howard Steveneson, a professor and Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business School, defined entrepreneurship as the “pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources you currently control” (2006).

Tai chi is a completely experiential exercise. It is a series of relaxed, slow moving martial arts shapes that looks like a Chinese dance. Because it is not conceptual, the lessons learned are extracted from the principles of tai chi which create balance, relaxation and alignment. These express themselves organically in life. We become what we practice. My discussion here looks at what a tai chi practitioner experiences and then applies that potential to the work of entrepreneurship.

There are two essential exercises in tai chi. The first is the form itself. The second one is an exercise called “push-hands” where two individuals move in an interlocking pattern. The pattern affords each the opportunity to push the other one out. If you are attacked, you need to find a way to prevent yourself from getting pushed out. The real challenge here is to accomplish this without the use of force. You never get tense or hard, always remaining flexible and supple. This is a technical as well as a mental achievement.

Innovation. Some might not see “innovation” in tai chi. Innovation can be incremental, modular, architectural or disruptive. Tai chi is actually disruptive. That new idea is using relaxation and non-doing as the key to getting things done. The doer disappears into the action, and action becomes effortless effort. The product is a new body that functions along the lines of this new idea. As expressed in tai chi, this is not an idea at all. It is a way of dealing with the world. The subtle difference here is that tai chi teaches you to deal with the world on the world’s terms, not yours. By accommodating the world first, you have access to better solutions and ideas that would not be there if you dealt with the world on your terms. The needs are more apparent and creative thinking can evolve by this recognition. Once you see your innovation, the idea leads and the organization follows.

In order to see how tai chi can help the entrepreneur, I will oscillate between high level tai chi principles and how these relate to the needs of the entrepreneur and business. Warning: tai chi is a high level system used to achieve a simple result. In other words, it is so simple, it is hard to do. The gap between “idea” and “result” can be huge. You take a leap of faith in pursuing tai chi and only learn by doing. I would guess the same is true for entrepreneurial pursuit….

I asked a small business owner who has ventured into the world of restaurants and bars. Jean-Pierre began as a pastry chef and opened one business that lead to another that lead to another in New York City. To ground this discussion with a real world example, he practices tai chi regularly, despite a busy schedule involving his business ventures and a family life. Tai chi gives JP a sense of balance and centeredness that helps him in dealing with lawyers, accountants, NYC government officials, banks, fire department regulators, health department inspectors and the like. Each bears down on him with specific pressures. JP feels better equipped to handle them without reacting to them. This helps him to deal with many problems directly. Tai chi helps him to keep a clear head and to stick to his goals. He feels he has learned how to keep moving forward and not look back. The basic benefit of tai chi is better health and less stress. JP has both.

Stick and follow. OK, you may assume entrepreneurs lead and innovate and they do. But the best leaders know how and when to follow. With their nose to the ground, they hear what needs to be heard. They gather research, ideas and opinions. They are focused on what is going on now, and that only clarifies their ultimate vision. “Feel the pulse” may be another way to look at this. In tai chi, we stick and follow with a group of practitioners – our fellow partners – and become one unit, and we stick and follow with an individual partner in push-hands practice and become one unit. Rarely does success come from a vacuum.

Listen to your partner(s) and receive what you hear. This is a high priority in push-hands practice and any business venture. You need to know enough to discern the real from the false, the good from the bad, the useful from a time waster. But we welcome all information in order to make better judgments.

Total awareness. At any point in time during the tai chi form, we are also aware of where this moment is heading. NOW tells us about NEXT. The mind is aware of what is going on everywhere and has some vision of the future, where it wants the body to go. Your business has to attend to this step now, but this is to serve the movement of the whole enterprise to reach its end goal. While we don’t put the cart before the horse, we do direct that horse down the path to get to where we want to go. There is a path. Both ends of this equation are included in what is going on right now.

Here leads to there. Being here fully will give you a clearer sense of there. There is the end point, but it may be altered because of the information that you are getting from here. Neither place needs to be static. Just the opposite. Both are in relational motion and changing.

Commitment. A large component in learning tai chi is having enough commitment to get you through the rough spots. Tai chi is a slow process and the foundation in tai chi is a long term project. Those who try to rush it often quit or entirely miss the point. Knowing you are in for the long haul pays many many dividends. How long does it take your business to take hold? Most often, unless you have something that is really easy to execute, this takes a great deal of commitment. The director to the hit movie Precious hounded the author for the rights to the film for 9 years. Sylvester Stallone carted Rocky around to producers for years before it was accepted. Bill Mayer notes that a comedian hones his craft for years before success.

More work than you may think needed. In tai chi, as that article from Entrepreneur.com noted, the masters of tai chi give the basics a lot of time. In business, you may need to slow down from time to time to do the same. Business is a large and complex undertaking.

Adjusting as you go along. There are constant adjustments in going through the moment by moment process. You have a goal in mind, but mostly you are following the small steps needed to accomplish this goal. As you go along, you are very very attentive to the changes that are happening and carefully moderating your responses. You will change course a bit here or there, change speed, follow the lead of the group, hold back to get in sync with the group or business partner and so on. This serves the longer term goal of getting to where you want to go.

In tai chi, this statement is as clear as a bell. With enough attention, your business will be following the same principle. The modulations here imply the other principle of total awareness. You are in touch with your immediate need, but you are also aware of what others are doing at the same time. This is WHY you are making adjustments. Taking some time to slow down from time to time may be exactly what your process needs. It opens doors. You can see, feel, hear, know, understand and be more fully present to clarify your goals.

Don’t be “double weighted”. In tai chi, this means that your weight is never on BOTH feet at the same time. It always shifts from one foot to the other. The reason is simple. When you are on both feet, your hip joints are locked and you lose the ability to turn and be flexible. In business, you also need to be flexible. So those things that lock you into place could be seen as a double weighted position. You have to move, turn, rotate, alter plans, redirect goals, add needed functions, change, change, change as new information, economic drivers, social conditions and so forth change.

The mind and the center are working together. Tai chi emphasizes moving from your center, literally below the navel about a third the way into your body from the front. This is what physiology would call your “center of gravity”. The parts of the body, like the steps in creating a new product and getting it out on the market, have to move in sync with each other. They need to communicate with each other intimately so that everyone is working towards the same goal, through this center, with impeccable timing. Internal squabbling is wasted energy. Getting back on course makes the whole structure accomplish what needs to be done with much much less effort. In fact, the effort required is minimal when all the parts work together. That is an obvious statement, but how easily we forget it and are not aware of parts that are not functioning with the whole.

In tai chi, the central control of all of that is the mind. It observes and redirects the parts when it sees that those parts are not working together correctly. We are trying to eliminate wasting valuable time and energy that would better serve the whole by working in unison. The mind is creative and emotionally feeling and conceptually aware of what needs to happen in order to achieve success. In the best businesses and the best tai chi, the mind can disappear and join hands with the body (the workers, the building you work in, the computers and desks, etc.) and not be “directing” from above. It permeates all that is happening.

Another way to say this is that all the parts are reflecting the mind’s intent. In that way it lets go of control (but may have to reassert itself more visibly should conflict take over or redirection is needed.) The most successful enterprises are not really aware of the mind’s activities. The mind (business leaders, creator) should be more focused on the creative effort of where the body needs to go: the end product. The parts know what they have to do without being told. They know why they have to do it without being told. They know how their activity fits into the larger picture of the organization.

I am not suggesting this is an automatic event. We study tai chi to realize these goals. This is a highly skilled balancing act of physical and mental coordination. I know of one entrepreneur who tells me that he takes a great deal of care when hiring new employees. The right fit with the organization is a high priority. Obviously it is easier to take time to establish working principles early in the process. This way, each employee knows intimately what needs to be done without constant external guidance. I think if more businesses took the time to have this level of internal understanding in place early on, they would have greater success later on. The skill of the entrepreneur plays a key role in defining the parameters of the business, how it functions, and how it can grow.

This is more than aligning strengths to the tasks at hand. This is aligning strengths to the goal (innovator’s dream, business leader’s ultimate targets.)

Tai chi is very efficient in its use of effort. It is interesting to read Carl Roger’s book on A Way of Being. Early on, his group process is NOT efficient or easy. But it results in a group of people that can buy into a large idea. It unifies, creates purpose and creates satisfaction. The messy work of human collaboration takes place early on.

It reminds me of the confusion that most tai chi students experience at the beginning of their study. Once that is over, tai chi creates vitality and order.

An entrepreneur can do the same.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi and the Entrepreneur, Part 2

Tai Chi Bloggin’ – What 4?

Posted By Tom Daly on April 11th, 2010

OK, I know of some tai chi-ers who would never ever want to read any of these blogs, or any other tai chi blog. It’s an experiential thing and words just don’t cut it. Tai chi is not verbal. I basically agree with that assumption. It’s all in the doing.

In general, in life, I love to argue and be right. Convincing you of my rightness is great fun. But in tai chi, especially with this blog, I’m not really interested in being right or being wrong. I’m not interested in pitting my opinion against your opinion, as if the holder of the best opinion makes you better somehow, or me less somehow. I basically assume many statements today will be altered tomorrow. This is but a moment’s observation that I’m enjoying.

How often are conversations a battle of words? “I think/feel the sky is blue.” “Well I see/feel the sky as red.” And it ends right there. We agree to disagree. I have my opinion. You have yours. No one died, but this is not so interesting is it?

Another verbal game is the battle of the info-maniacs. The person with more information and data is the winner here. This is a bit better I think because at least you learn something factual. Perhaps. Facts are always clothed in context and context can be harder to express or even hard to see in many cases. I have looked at various narratives, personal and not personal, only to see it later in a completely different light. My contextual awareness changed and I was forced to arrive at a different conclusion. In the battle of the facts, you may be ignoring emotions aroused in yourself or the other person. (Self recognition pains me here!)

By expressing my tai chi opinions, I want you to explore better approaches or new attitudes in practicing tai chi. They can be my ideas, or they can be completely different ideas. Perhaps my idea has sparked yours. New views lead to new things to try in tai chi practice.

You may think my idea is all wrong. Some would end the conversation right then and there and feel some sort of satisfaction. Nope, this is not the point. I’d hope your next step is to discover what you think you should be doing and then go out and prove your point by practicing it. Tai chi, in part, is about moving forward.

I hope my words stimulate some action, or a change in the way you work with others. I want them to be tested in your body, not rejected in your mind. Or even accepted in your mind. Prove it in your body. Or disprove it in your body. Explore, discover, verify.

Then we have something to offer each other when we share our words and experience. And so it goes.

That’s my idea of play.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Bloggin’ – What 4?

Tai Chi Chuan – Perpetual Doubt Syndrome?

Posted By Tom Daly on April 10th, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan – Perpetual Doubt?

It’s hard to say it, but if you want to progress, you have to stop once in a while and doubt yourself. To look at this another way, I read a study once on people who never doubt themselves. Sounds good on paper because we equate not doubting ourselves with self confidence and that is generally considered to be a good thing. But the result of the study is that those who never doubt themselves make more mistakes than those with less self confidence (or less delusion depending on how you choose to look at it.) Surprised?

Oh no! you say, that makes perfect sense! Yes, it makes perfect sense except when the doubting comes from YOU. It doesn’t feel good. Knowing feels good and that’s the problem.

In tai chi, you need to be open to many new ideas. And then you have to be open to revisiting all those new ideas. Setting aside those of you who are geniuses and really have this tai chi thing down, to be open to new information is akin to admitting that there may be more to learn here than you first thought.

Maybe the whole principle wasn’t digested as fully as it can be. Maybe you even misunderstood the instruction the first time around. Perhaps you did understand the instruction the first time around, but that instruction was only 30% of the picture. Maybe the instruction works half of the time, but other situations require a different piece of instruction. Maybe (in your zeal to do it right) you are simply doing it wrong. Are you sure you have it right? Absolutely sure? How do you know you are right? Are you aware that habits feel good?

In tai chi, I think it is safe to say that today’s solution could be tomorrow’s problem. Whatever seems true needs to be balanced by the opposite of that truth. Yes, relax. But don’t collapse. Be upright, but not rigid, and so forth. That is why it is necessary to keep being open to a new, better, more satisfying solution or answer to the “challenge” tai chi perpetually presents. That challenge is wholeness. Being seamless. Finding comfort while discovering alertness. Balance.

After all, it can always be better. If it can always be better, then it is wise to assume that something you are doing is either wrong, or incomplete, or too shallowly experienced, not fully expressed.

So how do you proceed with an attitude of doubt, yet continue to want to practice or even enjoy practice? I think the answer is to simply enjoy practicing at whatever level you experience tai chi, and enjoy the possibility that this can even be more satisfying. If you take that positive approach, doubt is not depressing or an expression of low self esteem or low self worth. Doubt is simply a door to open to an even better understanding, that is, a better experience than the one you have. It can always feel better.

The other approach is craving that you have the final solution. A closed door in tai chi! Craving the final solution is basically a hidden desire to be king, a master, the one who wins, the emperor. Your ego.

Sure, it is fun to win in push-hands, or have someone compliment your form work. But that moment of ego will hopefully pass. It won’t give you an even more satisfying solution or process that leads to a better experience. It leads to nowhere.

Even the masters want more.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – Perpetual Doubt Syndrome?

The Humble Hound – New York Times Op-Ed article

Posted By Tom Daly on April 9th, 2010

This article has a tai chi sensibility written all over it. It completely endorses a questioning, probing openness that does not assume some sort of total expertise, but keeps testing the decisions being made. Read further if leadership issues interest you. Tom

April 9, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist
The Humble Hound

Some leaders are boardroom lions. They are superconfident, forceful and charismatic. They call for relentless transformational change.

The Times’s Sunday Business section this week had an interview with Andrew Cosslett, the chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group, who seems to fit this general model. “I’ve always been very positive and confident,” he told Adam Bryant in the Corner Office column. “I can talk about changing things for the better, even if I don’t know what it is we’re going to change. I’ll just say we’re going over there somewhere. And I don’t quite know what that looks like, but it’s going to be fantastic.”

Cosslett went on to talk about the skills that have helped him succeed: “I’m very sensitive to how people are thinking and feeling at any given moment. That’s really helpful in business, because you pick things up very fast.” He added, “I’ve always had a slightly maverick side that actually stood me in great stead.”

We can all point to successful leaders who display this kind of self-confidence. It’s the sort of self-assurance that nearly every politician tries to present.

Yet much research suggests that extremely self-confident leaders can also be risky. Cosslett’s record is good, but charismatic C.E.O.’s often produce volatile company performances. These leaders swing for the home run and sometimes end up striking out. They make more daring acquisitions, shift into new fields and abruptly change strategies.

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” and “How the Mighty Fall,” celebrates a different sort of leader. He’s found that many of the reliably successful leaders combine “extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”

Alongside the boardroom lion model of leadership, you can imagine a humble hound model. The humble hound leader thinks less about her mental strengths than about her weaknesses. She knows her performance slips when she has to handle more than one problem at a time, so she turns off her phone and e-mail while making decisions. She knows she has a bias for caution, so she writes a memo advocating the more daring option before writing another advocating the most safe. She knows she is bad at prediction, so she follows Peter Drucker’s old advice: After each decision, she writes a memo about what she expects to happen. Nine months later, she’ll read it to discover how far off she was.

In short, she spends a lot of time on metacognition — thinking about her thinking — and then building external scaffolding devices to compensate for her weaknesses.

She believes we only progress through a series of regulated errors. Every move is a partial failure, to be corrected by the next one. Even walking involves shifting your weight off-balance and then compensating with the next step.

She knows the world is too complex and irregular to be known, so life is about navigating uncertainty. She understands she is too quick to grasp at pseudo-objective models and confident projections that give the illusion of control. She has to remember George Eliot’s image — that life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own. It is complex beyond reckoning.

She spends more time seeing than analyzing. Analytic skills differ modestly from person to person, but perceptual skills vary enormously. Anybody can analyze, but the valuable people can pick out the impermanent but crucial elements of a moment or effectively grasp a context. This sort of perception takes modesty; strong personalities distort the information field around them. This sort of understanding also takes patience. As the Japanese say, don’t just study a topic. Get used to it. Live in it for a while.

Because of her limitations, she tries to construct thinking teams. In one study, groups and individuals were given a complicated card game called the Wason selection task. Seventy-five percent of the groups solved it, but only 14 percent of individuals did.

She tries not to fall for the seductions that Collins says mark failing organizations: the belief that one magic move will change everything; the faith in perpetual restructuring; the tendency to replace questions with statements at meetings.

In the journal In Character, the Washington Post theater critic Peter J. Marks has an essay on the ethos of the stagehands who work behind the scenes. Being out when the applause is ringing doesn’t feel important to them. The important things are the communal work, the contribution to the whole production and the esprit de corps. The humble hound is a stagehand who happens to give more public presentations than most.

If this leadership style were more widely admired, the country could have spared itself a ton of grief.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on The Humble Hound – New York Times Op-Ed article

Tai Chi Chuan – Don’t Worry, Be Open

Posted By Tom Daly on April 5th, 2010

Remember that silly ditty that said, “Don’t worry, be happy”? It was hard to tell if it meant what it said, or if it was sort pulling your leg. Had we entered a zombie land where the American landscape was so brain dead that this was the best we could do? It was a razor sharp moment in American Pop Culture. Just like “we all live in a yellow submarine” in the 60’s with the Beatles’ hit tune, we all sang along, either “in” on the joke or thinking we had discovered a way to be happy!

As the title to my blog here states, I would say with Tai Chi, the song would be “Don’t worry, be open”. To be open is one of the prime goals in tai chi. You learn a great deal by just practicing being open with your physical body, to have the body feel relaxed and open on the inside so that forces on the outside have less impact. You have internal space, physical as well as mental, to absorb pressure and then respond. While responding is another level to this art, the prerequisite is to be open.

What does it mean to be open? Physically, you relate to the ground, the air, and the “heavens” (what is above you) in such a way as if you are exchanging some sort of gentle energy. Your feet, hands, top of your head and all of your pores in your skin are entry points for this energy. Putting aside whether this is “real” or imagined, I would say that if you assume this is true, you feel different than if you don’t feel this is true. It creates a mind that seems to relate to space in an open manner and your body feels differently as a result of this sense of openness. So from my perspective, it doesn’t matter if it is “real” or not because the result is real. You will experience a change. The mind and the body fuse in being open to the environment. In being open, you have to relax. In relaxing, you become more open. Inside, it is as if you are spacious and full.

But “don’t worry”? There is a relationship to being open and not worrying. While worrying is a mental game generally not worth overdosing on, being open could and should reduce your worrying thoughts. I, for one, do worry needlessly at times over the seemingly insolvable problems in my life. A general cognitive method to reduce this is to assume the worst and make a plan should the worst actually happen. And if there is no plan to be found, then decide to deal with the worst should it occur. While this is not optimal, often the context of the situation will determine the right action and you can’t necessarily predict the context of the situation. You won’t know what to do until the moment arrives. Sharing your concern with others can open doors that you may not have access to. In other words, a friend may have information or experience that can be of help. That is a cognitive approach.

Being physically and mentally open – tai chi goals – can also help. It’s as if the organism is connected to the outside world directly to all that it has to offer. After all, an open mind is more likely to see, appreciate, absorb and incorporate some piece of information than a closed worrying mind. A worrying mind is generally a closed loop. It keeps knocking on the same door again and again and again. The open mind trusts that the outside world is there and has solutions. It only has to be open to receive it. Being physically relaxed and open allows you to not be tense, tight, rigid and inflexible. You are supple and can bend with various pressures as they arise.

The tongue outlasts the teeth. Grass bends when the wind blows and remains rooted and flexible. It doesn’t break and die.

This is something worth working on.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – Don’t Worry, Be Open

Tai Chi Chuan – The “Bad” News!

Posted By Tom Daly on April 3rd, 2010

I recently ran into one of those Wall Street Journal articles about “leadership in a crisis.”  That is, what a leader needs to do when faced with crisis.  This was a pedestrian article, with one small exception.  The statement ran thus:  “No matter how bad things are, they will get worse.”  The gist of the advice was to get leaders to focus on reality, not dismiss bad news but to take corrective action for a worst case scenario.

The reason that little portion grabbed me was because unlike most advice, this one did not have a smiley face slapped on it.  As a nation, we tend to take every opportunity to turn negatives into positives.  We like positivity so much that we ignore many things until, well, we simply can’t.  Worse, we manipulate tragedy to find some sort of spin that will make us feel better about ourselves. 

Example:  That pretty AIDS quilt to “honor” those that have passed on.  This turkey was dropped only when it dawned on everybody that the cost of parading a pretty quilt around the country was a waste of money.  It did nothing to stop AIDS. 

Example: We have benefit concerts to raise money for disaster relief, as if to say that we CAN have a fun time in the face of tragedy and do good at the same time!  Cheerful us!  (I hear my derisive Russian friend calling us “happy carefree affluent Americans.”)

Example: We glorify “cuteness” and being “bouncy” to the extent that some folks actually listen to Sarah Palin. It may be OK in a Progressive Insurance ad, but not in politics where lives are at stake.

Yes, being positive at all costs is infectious, I admit, but this is sort of aggravating at times.  Our capacity to be out of touch with reality is disturbing.  True, nobody likes a downer and we have to carry on despite what goes sour in the world.  But can’t we tell the truth, the whole truth, so help us G-d, and just take a hard look at reality? Can we stop opening new doors when one closes – at least for a moment? Can we stop looking for that tiny silver lining for a beat and focus on the huge storm cloud instead?  Can we stop making lemonade when life hands us lemons – just once?  Will that kill us? (My point is not suggesting we become inert and inactive. My point is that before we shift into “proactive”, “Yes We Can”, “take it to the next level”, “turn it around”, “learn from our mistakes”, take on this “challenge”, or create a “win-win”, that we clearly see the situation at hand for what it is.)

I’m the first to exclaim tai chi’s benefits and I do.

But here is the “bad” news:

Tai chi requires consistent effort.  A little every day is needed (if you want to gain benefit and find progress.)  You need to practice regularly.

Attending tai chi class is very important if you want to make any progress in tai chi.  Commitment is key. You have to give up something and make this a priority.

Progress is usually slow in evolving because our habits run deep.

There is no guarantee that this will “work”. 

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward.

“No pain, no gain” Ben Lo

You may have to accept your own physical limitations.

Alas, in general, more practice time is usually better than less, so you have to be careful to pace yourself according to time allotment and competing needs.

It will be dull at times.  Being there has more reward than being thrilled.

You have to work very hard to be honest about yourself in this practice.

It is helpful to be very attentive to details.  Checking out mentally doesn’t work here.  “Stress free” here means work, not going to la-la land!

It is helpful to let go of all details and not micromanage.  Being obsessive here doesn’t work.  “Stress free” means “Stress free.”

Letting go of expectations, striving and goals is a good practice in tai chi. 

While thinking about it is helpful at times, doing it is important all the time.

While doing it is important all the time, thinking about it at times is helpful.

You won’t like doing push hands with everyone!  It is a good habit to push hands with everyone!

It’s not all about you.  Ultimately, it is about them, too.

“Invest in loss” (a tai chi principle in push hands) is NOT fun!

 “No burn, no earn” Ben Lo

You can “win” in push hands and still be doing poor push hands….

Ready for some lemonade?

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – The “Bad” News!